Friday, November 28, 2008

Choosing a Brew Kettle

Choosing a Brew KettleFor people who are just getting into homebrewing beer, selecting the right equipment to use for making your brew may seem to be an intimidating task. There are so many choices out there for items to make beer with. So before you go out and buy equipment you've got to do a little homework before you buy. One of the first pieces of equipment you'll need to buy is a brew kettle and depending on how and what you want to brew will determine which brew kettle is right for you. I've done some research and thought I'd post some findings during my search for the perfect brew kettle.

Consider your batch size first

I plan to make small batches initially, up to 5 gallons at a time to start out with. I want to get a brew kettle that can grow with me and big enough to avoid boil overs. A 5 gallon brew pot is essentially too small to boil with, particularly if you want to do a full boil. So a bigger brew pot is definitely in my scope.

Brew kettles come in all sizes and are generally measured in quart capacity. There are 24 qt (6 gal), 32 qt (8 gal), 40 qt (10 gal), 60 qt (15 gal), 80 qt (20 gal) and some as big as 220 qt (55 gal). In considering the right size brew kettle for my budding young brewing career, I fear that a 15 gallon brew pot might be way too big for what I plan on doing for the first year or so. I could easily get away with using a 40 quart (10 gal) kettle. Yet, several homebrewers I've talked with tell me that eventually I'm going to want to brew bigger batches and may as well consider a 15 gallon pot to start out if I could afford it.

The thinking is, if you buy a larger brew pot now, you won't have to go back later and spend a lot more to get a bigger pot. I suggest you get a kettle that can grow with you. Some manufacturers recommend buying a pot twice the size of your desired finished batch size so that you can account for evaporation loss and avoid boil over.

You want to have a big enough brew pot so that you can do a full batch boil, if you want, plus have enough extra room to add in more water to make up for the evaporation that will occur. If your kettle is too small, you'll eventually run into a situation where your wort will boil over the top of your kettle as it foams up. So adding some extra boil space is highly suggested.

I can envision eventually having a nice semi-professional brewing system in my garage where I can have three large kettles for sparging, mashing and boiling, so perhaps for me a 15 gallon kettle is the size to start.

Evaluating the different brands of kettles

So what are the popular kettles on the market these days? Most of the stainless steel brew kettles sold today are typically made with 18-8 gauge stainless steel and have thick bottoms to help distribute heat evenly. However, there are some thinner and cheaper alternatives out there. Here is a rundown of what I've found. The majority of the brands evaluated will be the 15 gallon size.

Blichmann Boilermaker G2

Blichmann BoilermakerThis is probably considered one of the top of the line brew kettles. They come in sizes ranging from 10 gallon up to 55 gallon sizes. Blichmann kettles come with a stainless steel lid, a spigot for draining wort or hot water, a built-in temperature gauge and a capacity gauge to see how much liquid is in the kettle. Prices range between $315 all the way up to $690. The 15 gallon size costs around $415 and must be ordered through a retailer and shipped from Blichmann directly. This can take up to 3 weeks. The 15 gal kettle is about 16" wide and 19" tall. Optional accessories include: false bottoms, hop blockers, quick connectors, auto-sparges and electric heat coils.
Price a Blichmann G2 kettle.


Megapot kettlesMegaPot 1.2™ is a stainless steel brew kettle available in 8,10, 15, 20 and 30 gallon capacities. Every detail has been thought through to enhance the homebrewing experience. The heart of the kettle is a 4mm thick Tri-Clad bottom- made specifically for even heat distribution. The 1.2 proportion of MegaPot has been scientifically designed to promote a vigorous boil and reduce off-flavors. This brand is built well and can save you some dollars over Blichmann. Prices with ball valve and a thermometer run from $180 (8 gal) up to $400 (30 gal).
Price a MegaPot.

Tall Boy Brew Kettle

These heavy duty stainless steel Tall Boy® Kettles are proportioned to an optimal height to diameter ratio of 1.2. Brewing science indicates that this is the ultimate ratio for home brewing. The Tall Boy® Kettle optimizes yield by promoting a vigorous boil, helpful in volatilizing off-flavors. It also minimizes losses from evaporation. The Tall Boy® Kettles feature a 4mm tri-clad bottom (aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel) that reduces hot spots and minimizes scorching. This is a decent brew kettle at a price worth considering. The Tall Boy logo is etched into the kettle. Sizes range from 8, 10 to 15 gallon with prices ranging from $99 to $160.
Price a Tall Boy Brew Kettle.

Brew Magic / Sabco Kettles

Brew Magic / Sabco converted kegsFor those of you interested in brewing from a converted beer keg, then Brew Magic may have a line that will interest you. Brew Magic (aka Sabco) takes either new or used kegs and converts them into professional quality brewing kettles. These converted kegs can also have all of the same features as the other retail brands. These converted kegs do come at a premium price however, as their 15 gallon "keggles" typically run between $1959 to $549 depending on accessories and newness of the keg. Considered by many to be the perfect kettle and well worth it, if you can afford it.
Price a Sabco Kettle.

Other brands

For those on a more tighter budget, there are some cheaper alternatives. Bayou Classic makes a no frills stainless steel 15 gallon pot for $119. Winco USA makes a nice kettle for $190. Be aware that some of these brands may have much thinner walls than other pots.

You may also consider getting an aluminum pot. Aluminum is known for better heat distribution but also rumored to possibly change the taste of your beer a bit. 15 gallon aluminum pots range in price from $55 (Thunder Pot) up to $160 for a pot found on Aluminum pots typically have walls between 4mm to 6mm thick.

Stock pots can also be used as brew kettles. Amazon has one that that will do the job: 44 Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot for just over $80.

Please note: prices on all kettles are subject to change at any time. Please check retailer's prices carefully before making any purchases.

Build your own kettle

Convert a kegFor those who are extremely handy with a welding torch or know a friend who is, you can pick up a used clean keg very cheaply (some as low as $15 on Craigslist or at your local brewer) and convert it into a kettle yourself. Add all the accessories you want and you can have a nice 15 gallon brew kettle for well under $100.

Please note, most empty kegs are the property of a local brewer and cannot be purchased from liquor stores. Always check with your local brewery first for used kegs they no longer wish to use. In some cases they may part with a decent one for less than $50.
View a video on how to convert a keg into a kettle.


Hopefully, this information has given some of you food for thought in considering which brew kettle to buy. I recommend shopping around for the best value and checking out the various homebrew forums on the Internet to get more opinions on certain brands before pull out your wallet. Once you've obtained your 1st brew kettle you're well on your way to getting ready for brewing day. Happy Homebrewing!

Suggested vendors for brew kettles
- Williams Brewing
- Northern Brewer
- Austin Homebrew Supply
- High Gravity Homebrewing
- Your local homebrew supply store.

Once you select a brew kettle you might also want to get a good copper coil immersion chiller to cool down your wort with.

Last updated: February 22, 2015.

Related articles:
- 15 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Homebrewers.
- Putting together the home brewery - Part I.
- Getting back into homebrewing.
- My humble homebrew beginnings.
- Colorado homebrew clubs listing.
- Colorado Homebrew Supply Stores.
- Testing the 15gal. Blichmann Boilermaker.
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Abita Turbodog review

Abita TourbodogI happened upon this beer by chance during a beer run and exchange with Eli and Erik from BeerTapTV. I traded one of my brews for one of these. Today's beer comes from the Abita Brewing Company of Abita Springs Louisiana just north of New Orleans and is called Turbodog.

Turbodog is a dark English Brown Ale by style and weighs in at 6.1% ABV. For you calorie counters, Turbodog has 168 calories per 12oz serving. Older versions of Turbodog were 6.1% ABV, today it's more like 5.6%.

I had never tried a beer from Abita Beer before so I was looking forward to it. Abita Turbodog was brewed with a mix of pale, crystal and chocolate malts and was dry hopped with Willamette. The brew was then fermented with some German Alt yeast.

Originally, Turbodog was one of Abita's specialty beers but it quickly became one of their most popular brews and now is one of their 3 flagship beers.

Turbodog poured a very dark brown with reddish highlights. I served this cold out of the fridge and it left a small, less than a finger tall, light tan head that quickly disappeared. This beer seemed to have a very low amount of carbonation as well.

Being a darker beer, I knew to let this beer warm up a bit before sampling. The hop smell became a bit more apparent as it warmed up. Strangely enough, I couldn't get much of a smell out of this beer. I could detect the dark malts but it wasn't very dominant in the aroma.

The taste reminded me of molasses, some coffee and caramel malts. It also had a mild spicy hop bitterness.

One thing I noticed was shortly after the first taste my mouth began to salivate heavily. It left my mouth with a strange feeling that I've not experienced before. The water they brew with must be a bit different as to trigger a mouth watering effect.

In this sample, I can only describe Turbodog as nutty but somewhat flat. It burped with little aroma or taste. The brew slightly coated my tongue.

For a brown ale, the flavor just wasn't all there for me. I expected a bit more sweetness and maltiness but rather I got more roast. I bet this would have tasted much better on draft with a bit more carbonation. However, by the end of the glass this brew was starting to get a bit better.

I suggest drinking this beer fresh and well carbonated (on tap would be best) and not too cold else you risk masking the flavor. I ended up liking this beer but couldn't help think it could have been better.

I'll give this beer a Thumbs Sideways rating for now with the desire to try this again later. Brown ales aren't as flavorful as other styles so seek this out if you are looking for a step up from a typical session beer.

Did you have a similar experience with this beer? Think I just got a semi-flat bottle? Let me hear your opinion in the comments below.

Related articles:
- Enjoy the holidays with Newcastle's Man-ual.
- Brew review - 2 from Crabtree Brewing.
- Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale review.
- Avery Ellie's Brown Ale review.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

North Coast Old Stock Ale review

North Coast Old Stock AleThere's something about big beers that seem to draw me to them. The last few years in craft beer have seen more and more big brews being made and more beer drinkers becoming fans. Today's beer is another from the North Coast Brewing Company in California and is labeled with a vintage year (2008) and is called Old Stock Ale.

I've heard from other beer bloggers that Old Stock Ale is one of the best beers you can buy to age in your beer cellar. Seeing how this ale is measured at 12.5% ABV and 36 IBU you just have to believe it will hold up to the test of time. These beers aren't cheap though. They come in a 4-pack and cost even more than a decent craft brew 6-pack.

This brew is classified either as an Old Ale or as a Barleywine, depending on your point of view. North Coast uses Maris Otter malt and bitters with Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops - all from England. This brew seems to win medals each year since it was first tapped in 2000. But how would a brand new bottle taste before aging? I needed to find out.

Old Stock Ale pours a deep Mahogany red in color. When served ice cold this beer will pour with a small off-white head. There was a nice hiss when opened and it had a low but adequate amount of carbonation.

The aroma even smells aged already, almost like a bourbon whiskey. Strong nose of caramel malts and dark fruits (raisin or figs). The taste is hugely malty and semi-sweet as well as bitter. The alcohol is very present here with a spicy hop bit that lingers well after it's gone. The brew is very warming as it goes down.

At first taste it reminded me of something medicinal, but that was probably due to the high alcohol content. I can see why they suggest aging this beer. It needs to mellow a bit, both in the alcohol and the hop spice. You have to respect this beer and drink it slowly. It reminds me of a Scottish Strong Ale.

This beer will grab you right up front. Just one of these beers is all you're going to need that night as it's as potent as 3 regular session beers put together. Being this strong it's also a bit hard to judge. I can't help but feel that this beer MUST be aged in order to truly mature. While the beer is OK by itself now, it will surely improve over time.

I'm a bit mixed about this beer right now. While I was easily able to finish this beer I was hoping it will mellow in a year. The more I drank it, the better it got. I'll give this beer a slight Thumbs Up for now and putting the rest of the 4-pack away for at least a year to age. I'll mark my calendar for next October 2009 to open this up again.

Related articles:
- North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout review.
- North Coast Red Seal Ale review.
- Beer Cellar Aging - a short experiment.
- 2010 Big Beers & Barleywines Festival plans announced.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Upslope Brewing opens in Boulder

Upslope Brewing CompanyA brand new brewery has opened this month in Boulder Colorado. Please welcome Upslope Brewing Company to the family of Colorado breweries. Upslope Brewing had it's official Grand Opening on November 2, 2008 at their new facility. The brewery is located at 1501 Lee Hill Road #20 in Boulder Colorado in the North Boulder Holiday neighborhood.

Head brewer, Dany Pages and founder Matt Cutter plan on offering all their beers in cans, similar to the success that Oskar Blues of Lyons, Colorado has. Their first offerings will be a pale ale and an India pale ale. Upslope Brewing firmly believes that canning great microbrew is the way to go in these days.

Presently, the only way to get a hold of their initial beer offerings is to visit their tap room. Tastings are available Thursdays and Fridays from 4:00pm to 6:00pm and also Saturdays from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.

If you'd like to get on their mailing list, send an email to: If you hurry, they'll send you a coupon for $1 off a growler or 6-pack or $10 off a keg when you visit their brewery.

Upslope Brewing cansWelcome Upslope Brewing! Always nice to have a new brewery in the area.

Breaking news: Upslope Pale Ale and their India Pale Ale are now available at:

Boulder Wine & Spirits
Bottles (Boulder)
North Boulder Liquor
The Boulder Wine Merchant
Superior Liquor

Related articles:
- Colorado Brewery and Brewpub list.
- Upslope Brewing offers up 1st single batch beer.
- Upslope Brewing rolls out more single batch beers.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Get to Know the Kegerator Before Buying

I'm always searching for my dream gifts to put on my "wish" list. As someone who plans on kegging his homebrew someday instead of bottling it, I've been interested in learning more about kegerator kits for my home. I ran across an online social network sponsored by Micromatic that's dedicated to those who use or plan to build kegerators in their home or businesses - The Kegerator Social Network is an excellent source of information to start learning about kegging your favorite beer at home.

Micromatic came up with an introductory video on "The Anatomy of a Kegerator" and has a nice overview on the parts that make up a kegerator and the tools you'll need to assemble and maintain it. If you plan on owning your own kegerator, you'll want to know about all of the different components of a unit and what kind of maintenance is involved. Check out the following video below.

If you're thinking about buying or building a kegerator, I recommend checking out the Kegerator Social Network first to learn from those who have had experience with them, and then go over to Micromatic to check out their clearance specials on kegerators, kegerator kits, custom tap handles and other kegging accessories.

Related articles:
- Behind the scenes on keg systems.
- Breaking in a Bayou Classic SP-10 propane burner.
- Putting together the home brewery.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Deschutes Black Butte XX review

Deschutes Black Butte XXWord of mouth can be a powerful promoter for a beer these days, especially when you use many of the useful social media sites these days such as Twitter. I recently heard of a 20th Anniversary beer that was brewed by the Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon. They took one of their regular porter recipes and transformed it into an imperial porter. I'm talking about none other than their Deschutes Black Butte XX imperial porter.

The Black Butte XX came in a big 22 oz bomber bottle that was topped off with a thick layer of black wax. It took a while to peel off 2 different layers of wax to get to the bottle cap. Once the wax was off it revealed a special 20th Anniversary cap underneath. That special cap added a nice touch and made the beer seem more special. After the cap was off I poured this beer into a nice goblet cup.

Appearance: This beer poured very dark and was being served cold. This imperial porter poured with very little head to it and left a thin tan ring around the glass. I should know better than to pour a very dark beer when it is too cold as it tends to inhibit the head formation.

Aroma Immediately, I could smell an abundance of rich coffee, caramel and toffee aromas. It was hard to get much hop smell out of this beer, but that's ok for this style of beer. I could smell the heat in this 11% ABV brew and also picked up some wood overtones. It smelled wonderful. This beer was made with cocoa nibs, a lot of dark roasted coffee and then a portion of it was aged in Stranahan's Colorado whiskey barrels for extra flavor. It seems like several craft brewers these days are finding the advantages of aging in Stranahan's barrels (Oskar Blues for one).

Taste: I bought this beer in the late summer and managed not to touch it until November. Given the higher alcohol content, this beer should age very well. Upon the first sip, I immediately felt the alcohol warmth. The coffee and cocoa nibs hit me up front as well. It had a nice smooth dry finish to it and warmed my throat on the way down. I could tell right away that if aged longer, this beer could mellow out quite a bit more.

Deschutes bottle capI've had their regular Black Butte porter before at an Old Chicago during the big beer run with the BeerTapTV boys (Erik and Eli) and enjoyed that, but this beer was something extra. Wow! It's much stronger than the regular porter. I definitely could taste the flavor of the whiskey barrel in this beer as it imparts some nice vanilla overtones.

As this beer warmed, the cocoa nib flavor really started to come out more. This was excellent! The beer itself packed a wallop. If you're drinking this bottle all by yourself, you'd best not drive anywhere afterward. I've tasted a number of porters and so far, this one is my top favorite so far. The 2nd pouring of this brew yielded a much better head than when cold, so if good head is important to you (no pun intended) then let this baby warm up a bit first.

I couldn't resist the temptation to pour some of this over ice cream. Good imperial porters and stouts always taste good with ice cream. In this case, I poured some over the top of some Oreo Cookie ice cream. Simply fantastic! Stock up now and age this puppy because this beer most likely disappear soon. Good thing this is an annual release.

Related articles:
- Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter review.
- Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter review.
- Full Sail Top Sail Imperial Porter review.
- Alaskan Smoked Imperial Porter 2008 review.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

HaandBryggeriet Haandbaak review

HaandBryggeriet HaandbaakADon't let the name of this beer put you off. Just because you can't pronounce this beer doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. This beer actually came as a recommendation from the beer geek at Liquor Max in Loveland Colorado. Nick stated that they had just gotten bottles of this beer in and he had heard this was a great example of a sour ale. I had to try it. Today I'm reviewing a beer called HaandBryggeriet Haandbaak from the HaandBryggeriet brewery in Norway. Yes, they do ship beers from Norway to the US! There's a reason to my madness for selecting this beer - I'm a big sucker for wood-aged sour ales these days. Ever since I got my hands on some New Belgium La Folie a year or so ago I've been hooked on sour ales.

HaandBryggeriet Haandbaak is classified as a sour lambic. It came in a 16.9 oz (500L) bottle and weighs in at 8.5% ABV. This beer was originally brewed in September 2006 and aged in Norwegian wood barrels. It was finally bottled on March 22, 2008 so it's been around a while. Seeing how this is an aged beer and imported from Europe it costs a slight premium. This bottle just over a pint in size cost $9.89 with the 10% discount I got. So this isn't going to be your everyday beer you drink but rather a beer for a special occasion.

Appearance: Haandbaak poured a dark burgundy color, almost plum brown. It was cloudy and while the 1st pour didn't have much head, the 2nd pouring had a much better head on it and had an off-white foam. It poured fizzy with a decent amount of carbonation to it. I must admit I love the size of this bottle. It's just right for a single serving or enough for two if they've never tried a sour ale before.

Aroma: This beer has a classic sour smell which reminded me of La Folie. I detected a slight vinegary aroma but that's expected from a sour lambic. You could also pick up on some woody overtones as well. Later, I could detect a slight cherry or sour apple aroma and slightly acidic.

Taste: Upon the first sip, it seemed to attack the tip of my tongue with a sour tartness that I can only describe as sharp. This beer was tart, sweet, sour and had a dry finish. It tasted well when chilled. As you drink more of it, the taster really grows on you fast. It's as good as I had hoped it would be. In fact I believe I like this beer more than the New Belgium La Folie.

When I swished this beer around in my mouth, it left a nice sour taste on my lips. This is a beer worth savoring. The sour taste lasts and lasts well after you swallow it. I love this! I could feel the alcohol kick in early. I suggest you roll this beer around in your mouth a bit before swallowing. It was interesting to see how the beer affected every part of the tongue. Even when I burped, it brought out an intense sour flavor.

Overall: If you love sour beers as much as I do now, I highly recommend you try this beer. HaandBryggeriet Haandbaak may cost a bit more than other beers but it is well worth it. I'm giving this beer a very very big THUMBS UP and a definite repeat buy recommendation. Drink this beer slow to savor it while it lasts. Well done Norway!

Related articles:
- Oud Beersel Kriek Ale review.
- GABF Video tasting notes.
- New Belgium La Folie review.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

December 2008 Colorado beer dinners and tastings

Here are some of the known beer dinners, tapping parties, tastings and beer pairings known to be scheduled in Colorado for December 2008. Check back here often as the list will be updated regularly.

Boulder Beer's Beer School
December 1, 2008 (Mon)
Boulder Beer Company
Boulder, CO
You can get an MBA (Masters of Beer Appreciation) from Boulder Beer as they announce the return of their monthly Beer School which is now in session. Each first Monday night of the month from November 2008 through April 2009, Boulder Beer will be hosting seminars that feature samplings of seasonal beers, and a discussion led by their Brewmaster, David Zuckerman. Last year’s classes included a session on hops varieties; firkins; filtering; stouts, porters and barleywines; and how to taste beer like a professional. This years classes will fill up fast as they are limited to 30 students each. For $10 you can reserve a seat for the month and receive a generous amount of samplings with your class. Contact to reserve a seat.

Falling Rock Christmas Beer Dinner
December 2, 2008 (Tue)
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
11th annual beer dinner starts at 7:30pm. Come taste some of the season's best offerings including Saison DuPont's Avec les bon Voeux, Avery Old Jubilation '07, St Feuillien Noel & Others. Beers will be paired with a fabulous 5 course meal prepared by Chef Cheryl. Tickets are available now & are $55 advance (tax & gratuity included) if purchased by Sunday November 30th @ 7pm, $65 after that if available. Web site.

Mephistopheles' Stout Release Party
December 3, 2008 (Wed)
Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, CO
Avery Brewing releases their coal black, velvety smooth Belgian Imperial Stout on Wednesday, December 3rd. Come and be the first to taste the 2008 Vintage. For those severely twisted and deranged souls who can't get their stout fix from Mephistopheles', they'll also have a keg of Out of Bounds Stout on the Cask and their Czar Russian Imperial Stout on tap for the evening. Stop by, taste a few, and walk away with some bottles of Mephistopheles. Event runs from 4-7 PM. Avery Tap Room, 5757 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, CO. $10 per person. Web site.

Rock Bottom Beer Tasting
December 4, 2008 (Thu)
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
Westminster, CO
Each month Jack Johnson, brewmaster, taps a new brew for every to try. Join Rock Bottom Brewery in Westminster for complimentary glasses of their specialty beer Old Curmudgeon English Strong. They'll tap the beer at 6:00pm with a description from Jack and pour until 6:30pm. 14694 Orchard Parkway Suite 400, Westminster, CO.

25 Years of Chimay in the USA
December 5, 2008 (Fri)
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
Chimay Trappist Ales have been brewing in Belgium for 146 years; the U.S.A. has been enjoying this beverage for 25 years in the states. In recognition of this grand occasion, Bières de Chimay has designed a special collector goblet to recognize the exportation of Chimay Trappist Ales to the United States for 25 consecutive years. Come out and join other Chimay fans for a celebration of Chimay at the Falling Rock Taphouse! Event runs from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

Left Hand Smokejumper Release Party
December 5, 2008 (Fri)
Left Hand Brewery Tasting Room
One of Left Hand's most demanded beer, most unique beer, and most complex beers is coming your way this Friday, December 5th. The Smokejumper Imperial Smoked Porter, the official beer of the National Smokejumper Association, is being released around 5pm in the Left Hand Tasting Room. Look for one of their most unusual beers, the Smokejumper Imperial Porter, as well as some food and even a few of those real-life heroes that risk their lives to save our wilderness. They'll have a tip jar out accepting donations for the association and plenty of beer flowing. After you try the new brew you'll understand why they're the "keepers of the flame" and LH is the "keeper of the smoke". Web site.

75th Anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition
December 5, 2008 (Fri)
Where: Everywhere!
75 years ago on this date, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution repealed the 18th amendment and gave Americans back the right to buy and drink alcohol. Go out to your favorite bar, pub, liquor store, restaurant or local brewery or winery and celebrate your right to drink alcohol in this country! Support your local establishments!

Proto's Pizza & Beer Tasting
December 9, 2008 (Tue)
Proto's Pizzeria Napoletana
600 Airport Road
Longmont, CO
Come out to Proto's and enjoy some fine Left Hand beers, exquisite pizza and other delicious side dishes. This event will run form 5:30pm until 9:00pm. Cost: $12 which will get you food and 5 samples of Left Hand Brews. Proto's web site.

Charles Dickens Christmas Beer Dinner
December 11, 2008 (Thu)
Wynkoop Brewery
Denver, CO
A festival holiday dinner and brew will take place between 6:30pm and 8:30pm on December 11th. Cost: $35 a guest (plus tax and gratuity). Call for reservations (303) 297-2700. A four course menu is being planned, each paired with a different beer. Entrees include: Cornish Lamb Pastries w/ Apples paired w/ Frambozen. English Cheddar Ale Soup w/ Banger Sausage paired w/ St Charles ESB. Goose and Duck Ballotine w/ Hazelnut Stuffing, Roasted Vegetables, w/ Cranberry Sauce paired w/ Churchyard Ale. And Figgy Pudding w/ English Toffee Sauce paired w/ 20th Anniversity Barleywine. Web site.

December 12, 2008 (Fri)
Sancho's Broken Arrow
Denver, CO
It's the Hollyfest! Soon to become a staple in your Christmas party rounds. Breckenridge Brewery and Sancho's come together for free food and free beer (Avalanche Amber Ale, 471 IPA, Thunder Stout Agave Wheat and Christmas Ale) for all of their friends 4:00 - 6:00 PM. Cheers! Sancho's Broken Arrow 741 E Colfax Denver, CO. 303-832-5288. Web site.

Snowbound Pair and Share Event
December 15th, 2008 (Mon)
Left Hand Brewing Tasting Room
Longmont, CO
It's that time to spark your stove, turn on your blender, and drink a beer is here again and Left Hand wants you to make a dish. Every year they do a series of beer and food pairing competitions that not only make for some very happy bartenders, but also make for some delicious recipes for everyone to enjoy. This month they're offering their Snowbound Winter Ale as the inspiration for their Pair and Share event. All you need to do is enjoy a Snowbound Ale, come up with a recipe that either includes the beer or pairs nicely with the Snowbound, and bring in the dish to the Left Hand Tasting Room with at least 10 small servings on Monday, December 15th. All entries need to be submitted by 6:00pm. First, second, and third place get beer to take home, and everyone has a good time.

Look for the 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals listing available now.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille review

Oud Beersel Oude Kriek VieilleEvery so often I choose to drink a fine imported beer and one happened to catch my eye the last time I went into Liquor Max in Loveland. This beer was called Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille or simply Oud Beersel Kriek Ale. This beer is classified as a sour lambic brewed with cherries. I am always on the lookout for a good sour ale and Nick at Liquor Max pointed me in the direction of this beer.

Oude Kriek Vieille comes in a tall green bottle with a wired cork top. This sour lambic weighs in at 6.5% ABV and comes in a 375ml (12.7 oz) serving. This ale was brewed by Oud Beersel in Brij Boon, Lembeek, Belgium and is referred to as the sparking pink wine of the ale industry. With a description like that, I was intrigued.

Kriek ales are known for the cherries they are fermented with. This beer poured ruby red in color with a pinkish head 2 fingers tall. It was dark enough that you couldn't see through it. There was a very loud pop when you removed the cork. The brew poured with a high amount of fizzy carbonation too. I swore I was looking at a glass of sparking wine but from the sour cherry smell, I knew this was a malty beverage and not wine.

The initial aroma was somewhat acidic and reminiscent of something medicinal but rather different. You can definitely pick out the cherries in air. This beer had a unique aroma with a classic funkiness to it that sour beers give.

The sourness hit me right up front on the tip of my tongue on the first taste. It was sweet yet with a hint of vinegar, just how I like a sour beer. It was very tart and made me pucker a bit as I swished it around my mouth. There were lots of bubbles in this brew. It coated my teeth well. The sourness reminded me of another brew I'll be posting on shortly - the Haandbaak from Norway.

Be careful when pouring this brew as there was a lot of dark yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle. If you get some in the glass, no worries, it all adds to the flavor. The more I drank down this bottle, the more tart and sour it became. Oooo ya, I like that.

If you're a fan of sour beers, you can't go wrong with this. At a 10% discount, I got this bottle for $8.09. May be a bit more expensive for a single beer but well worth it for sour fans. I'm giving this sour Kriek a big Thumbs Up and a repeat buy recommendation.

Related articles:
- New Belgium La Folie review.
- What did you drink at the GABF?
- All Colorado Beer Festival 2008.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Bristol Brewing to release Old 23 Barley Wine

Bristol Brewing CompanyFresh from the brewer's newsletter is word that Bristol Brewing Company of Colorado Springs is going to hold a celebration in honor of tapping the 2008 batch of their Old #23 Barley Wine. This annual brew weighs in a a hefty 12% ABV and is one of their holiday season favorites. The brewery will offer up a tapping of this year's vintage at a party starting at 5:00pm this Friday, November 21st 2008 at the Bristol brewery. The party will be stocked with plenty of snacks by Blue Sage Catering.

While you're there, try out some of their other favorite brews like: Laughing Lab, Winter Warlock, Red Rocket, Mass Transit and their Edge City line of brews. Tell 'em that Chipper Dave from Fermentedly sent ya.

Related articles:
- Bristol Brewing Company IPA review.
- Bristol Brewing Red Rocket Pale Ale review.
- Bristol Brewing Laughing Lab review.
- Bristol Brewing XXX Warlock review.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

When beer and poker collide

Beer and PokerIf there's one thing I like almost as much as beer - that would be playing poker. I've been a poker player ever since my father and my Aunt Anita taught me how to play when I was just a kid back in the late 1960s. Back in 1984 when I first moved to Greeley Colorado and got my first real job, it didn't take long to find some new friends and form a regular home poker group. We used to get together about once every other month for a night of cards and of course plenty of beer. Beer and poker just seem a natural and as long as it's between good friends and nobody takes things too seriously - all is well.

Last night my old poker group got together again and this time around it was at my house. While we didn't realize it at the time, this night was practically our 25th anniversary of poker night with the guys. Over half of the guys in our current group have known each other for a quarter century now. Some things tend to change over time, like how much hair we have, the size of our waistlines and the number of wrinkles around our eyes. But sadly some of the guys' taste in beer hasn't changed in over 25 years.

Now admittedly, some of the guys in my group have become big wine enthusiasts. Depending on who is hosting poker night, some of the guys pull out some really incredible looking wines for poker night. But my house is a beer house and I made sure I had plenty of craft beer in my cooler for the wine geeks to try.

Typically the host supplies the main food dish and everyone else brings their favorite beverage and snacks. I cooked up a batch of "Halftime Chili", a recipe that I found on the Internet just the night before. I also pulled out some of my favorite go to beers that I made sure everyone there got to see: Odell Extra Special Red, Great Divide Yeti, Twisted Pine Raspberry Wheat, Dale's Pale Ale and some Victory Storm King Imperial Stout.

Most guys chose to start off with the beers they brought. So what did these guys bring? Budweiser, Bud Light, some Zima like drink, a sixer of Negro Modelo (from Corona) and surprisingly some Avery Ellie's Brown Ale. So as you see, their tastes for many of them were still set back in the 1980's.

Once their first beer was done, I offered them one of mine. Now granted, I didn't pull out all of the stops and offer them any of my St. Bernardus Abt 12 or Chimay Grande Reserve, but I did let them look over my selection in the cooler. I did get 1 or 2 of them to try one of my beers. It was interesting to see the reaction on their faces to their first sip of a craft beer. It ranged from surprise, to shock to "What is this?". I deliberately steered them away from a couple of the super hoppy beers and let them try an amber or a wheat first.

I noticed that they sipped on those beers very slowly. Much more slowly than their Buds and Zimas. After all, my beers were a bit more hefty on the ABV's and malts. I figured their taste buds were reacting similarly to how I first reacted to a new craft beer. It takes time to become a fan of new beers.

So while my little experiment may not have been an overwhelming success, I did at least get the word out on several new brews they may not have ever experienced before. I think I'll keep up the momentum I've started this weekend and continue to bring several different craft beers to the next poker night.

Many of my readers may not realize that before I was a beer blogger that I was a poker blogger. I still write to my poker blog on occasion and this weekend had several highlights to blog about.

Related articles:
- Victory Storm King Imperial Stout review.
- Dale's Pale Ale review.
- Odell to discontinue Single Batch Series.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Video tour of the 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival

The finishing touches have finally been made on the new video that was made at the 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival last weekend on November 8th at the Mr. Biggs Event Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chipper Dave takes you on a video tour of the event floor. Included in the video is a short interview with Eli Shayotovich, the Mad Beer Man from Confessions of a Beer Geek and

You can view the breweries in attendance, the beers they were pouring, the crowd that showed up and a bit of the music that was playing during the 2 day festival. If any of you were there in attendance for the Saturday afternoon session perhaps you were caught on video! An estimated 300 people showed up to the early Saturday session but both of the evening sessions were packed with over 500 people!

Here's a bit of what you missed at the 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival. For more videos about craft beer and homebrewing like this one from Fermentedly Challenged, visit the official FermentedlyChipper YouTube channel.

Volunteers wanted for the 2009 ACBF!

Related articles:
- All Colorado Beer Festival review.
- 2008 GABF video tasting notes.
- Behind the scenes at the 2008 GABF.
- A beer run with the BeerTapTV guys.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

CSU brewing class debuts beer at Odell Brewing

Late breaking news! Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado announces that today from 4:00pm to 6:00pm they will sponsor a tapping party for the Colorado State University's Brewing Science and Technology class as they present their new beer Hoppy Days IPA.

Students learned the process of making beer using equipment donated to the class by Odell Brewing Company. Then in cooperation with Odell Brewing, the students brewed their Hoppy Days on the small batch 5-barrel system at Odells. For those in the area, this is a chance to taste a new limited release beer made from students at CSU. The beer is in limited supply so be sure to get to the tapping room soon to get a taste.

Odell Brewing Company
800 East Lincoln Ave.
Fort Collins, CO

Related articles:
- Odell taps their Woodcut series.
- Odell taps their Double Pilsner.
- Odell hosts Isolation celebration.

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Colorado Homebrew Clubs

Colorado Homebrew Clubs ListHere is a list of known homebrew clubs in the state of Colorado as recognized by the American Homebrewer's Association. Club listings are subject to change at any time so please contact the clubs before deciding to attend a homebrewing meeting. These clubs may brew beer, wine and even mead. These clubs are listed in alphabetical order by city. If you notice any discrepancies or omissions please leave a comment.

Colorado Homebrew Clubs List
Last updated: July 2, 2016

Hop To No Good
Arvada, CO 80002
Phone: (303) 881-3261
Email: hoptonogood[at]

Olde Town Mash Paddlers
Arvada, CO 80005
Phone: (303) 421-1874
Email: oldetownmashpaddlers[at]

Rocky Mountain Foamin' Homies
Arvada, CO 80005
Phone: (303) 423-8769
Email: jeffandmarni[at]

Amateursville Brew Club
Aurora, CO 80045
Phone: (517) 862-7363
Email: amateursvilleBC[at]

Beacon Pointe Brew Club
Aurora, CO 80016
Phone: (303) 680-3366
Email: beaconpointbrewclub[at]

Colorado Wine Club
Aurora, CO 80015-1837
Email: moniquescovil[at]

Outlaw Brew Club
Aurora, CO
Phone: (720) 238-5373
Email: Tagcampbell17[at]

Treeline Brew Club
Aurora, CO 80015
Phone: (303) 359-0347
Email: treelinebrewclub[at]

Berthoud Barn Burners
Berthoud, CO
(970) 532-7827

American Institute of Chemical Engineers at the CU Boulder Homebrew Team
Boulder, CO 80303
Phone: (720) 233-2236
Email: aiche[at]

Hop Barley & the Alers
Boulder, CO 80308-0935
Phone: (303) 494-6547
Email: hopbarley[at]

Home Brewers Club at The University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80302
Phone: (303) 917-2791
Email: tarik.ibrahim[at]

Veterans Brew
Boulder, CO 80020
Phone: (720) 938-0143
Email: adminitrator[at]

Tappers Brew Club
Brighton, CO 80601
Phone: (303) 558-0766
Email: tappersbrewclub[at]

KROC (Keg Ran Out Club)
Broomfield, CO 80038-1162
Phone: (303) 469-1793
Email: info[at]

Dead Fellows
Buena Vista, CO 81211
Email: deadfellowbrewclub[at]

4 Guys & a Keg
Centennial, CO 80015-3632
Phone: (303) 353-4185
Email: fourguysbrew[at]

Best Villains Brewing Club
Centennial, CO 80122
Phone: (720) 369-7666
Email: Bvmfnbc[at]

Skunk Works Home Brew Club
Centennial, CO 80015
Phone: (720) 870-9668
Email: Skunkworkshbc[at]

Spruce Tips
Centennial, CO

The Fermentologists
Centennial, CO
Phone: (303) 578-2206

Daydream Brewing
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Phone: (913) 645-3321
Email: daydreambrewing[at]

Brew Brothers of Pikes Peak
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Phone: (719) 629-7025
Email: contact[at]

Daydream Brewing
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Phone: (913) 645-3321
Email: daydreambrewing[at]

Peak Brew Crew
Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 459-8466
Email: peakbrewcrew[at]

Pikes Peak Zymurgist
Colorado Springs, CO 80903-2724
Phone: (719) 475-2796
Email: Brewhausnews[at]

Mesa Verde Mashers
Cortez, CO 81321
Phone: (970) 564-9677
Email: MVM[at]

Northwest Colorado Brew Club
Craig, CO 81625
Phone: (970) 629-3552
Email: nwcbrew[at]

Wort Hog Homebrewers
Dacono, CO 80514
Phone: (303) 818-3878
Email: knipmeyers[at]

5280 Fermentation Society
Denver, CO

Colorado Libations Union Brewers (The C.L.U.B.)
Denver, CO 80227-3865
Email: 1COBrewer[at]

Denver Homebrew Club
Denver, CO
Phone: (720) 272-2043
Email: chris.washenberger[at]

Denver Drink Tank
Denver, CO 80209
Phone: (720) 532-4528
Email: denverdrinktank[at]

Flocculant Basterds
Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (720) 840-4177
Email: beerbasterds[at]

Foam On The Range
Denver, CO 80222-7645
Email: webmaster[at]

Gambrinus' Honeys
Denver, CO 80211
Phone: (970) 275-8948
Email: krthomas814[at]

Mile High Monks
Denver, CO
Phone: (303) 818-4175
Email: tinybrewery[at]

School of Homebrew
Denver, CO 80212
Phone: (404) 860-BEER
Email: pete[at]

The Brewer's Basement
Denver, CO
(508) 431-7288
Email: scottciampa[at]

The Brewers of Tomorrow
Denver, CO
Phone: (719) 369-0534
Email: thebrewersoftomorrow[at]

Animas Alers
Durango, CO
Phone: (970) 310-4063
Email: brian.leaves[at]

Durango MAFIA
Durango, CO 81301-5755
Phone: (970) 946-8388
Email: kjvetter[at]

Durango Pour Friends
Durango, CO 81302-3374
Email: bigfatsnowboarder[at]

The Yeasty Bottoms
Edgewater, CO
Email: chrismendez2005[@]

Foam On The Range
Englewood, CO
Phone: (303) 694-0014
Email: webmaster[@]

Erie, CO
Phone: (720) 841-6425
Email: brude[@]

Erie Village Brewing Collective
Erie, CO
Email: marksp56[@]

Indian Peaks Alers
Erie, CO 80516-9053
Email: ipa.pres[at]

Big Thompson Brewing Collective
Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: (970) 372-7050
Email: BigThompsonBrewingCollective[at]

Brewnion Colony
Evans, CO 80620-1413
Phone: (970) 350-6887
Email: brewunioncolony[at]

Aggie All-Grainers
Fort Collins, CO 80527
Email: reufroman[at]

Fort Collins HopHeads
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Phone: (970) 213-9929
Email: emcdonald724[at]

Liquid Poets
Fort Collins, CO 80526-5353
Phone: (970) 226-4790
Email: hopaholic[at]

Monster Mashers Brew Club
Fort Collins, CO
Email: monstermashersbrew[at]

Northern Colorado HomeBrewers Organization
Fort Collins, CO 80525-7132
Phone: (303) 895-8125
Email: nocohomebrewers[at]

Hops On The Plains
Fort Morgan, CO
Phone: (303) 775-2532
Email: hopsontheplains[@]

Northeast Colorado Home Brew Club
Fort Morgan, CO
Phone: 303) 775-2532
Email: inquiry[@]

Carbon Valley Brewers
Frederick, CO 80530
Phone: (720) 329-2719
Email: chris.ormsby[at]

High Desert Brewers
Fruita, CO 81521
Phone: (970) 210-2482

Roaring Fork HAMs
Glenwood Springs, CO
Phone: (970) 618-4603
Email: jeremyjwest[at]

Big Lebrewskis, The
Golden, CO 80403-8511
Email: jmoulton1[at]

Colorado Ale Lab
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: (720) 722-1253
Email: co.alelab[at]

Fermentation Organization At Mines (FOAM)
Golden, CO 80401
Email: stsimpso[at]

Golden Anti-Sobriety Society
Golden, CO
Email: coputnam[@]

Sons of Zymurgy
Golden, CO
Phone: (303) 406-8518
Email: info[@]

Bookcliff Homebrew Club
Grand Junction, CO
Phone: (970) 623-6051
Email: issac.t.frye[@]

Treehouse Brewers
Greeley, CO
Phone: (970) 978-1244
Email: d.swingler[@]

The Weiss Guys
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
Phone: (720) 295-9556
Email: theguys[at]

Homebrewers of the Arkansas Valley Area Brew Club
Howard, CO 81233-9536
Phone: (719) 942-4055
Email: lesselzer[at]

Greater Denver Yeast Infection
Littleton, CO 80123-3303
Email: D_malone102[at]

The Motley Brew
Littleton, CO 80123
Phone: (303) 748-1131
Email: TheMotleyBrewHBC[at]

F.A.B. Football`s A Brewin`
Louisville, CO 80027-2726
Phone: (303) 653-7602
Email: fab[at]

Louisville Homebrew Club
Louisville, CO 80027
Phone: (720) 432-3894
Email: lhc[at]

Weiz Guys
Loveland, CO 80538-2349
Phone: (970) 461-0106
Email: barley_crusher[at]

Black Canyon Homebrewers Association
Montrose, CO 81401
Phone: (970) 596-2625
Email: info[at]

Peak to Peak Hoppers
Nederland, CO 80466-2066
Email: pob2066[at]

Sand Box Brew Club
Northglenn, CO 80233
Email: sandboxbrewclub[at]

Homebrewers of Pagosa Springs (HOPS)
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-2436
Phone: (970) 264-0093
Email: speeddirecttech[at]

American Breweriana Association
Pueblo, CO 81001-0157
Phone: (719) 544-9267
Email: breweriana[at]

Steel City Brewers
Pueblo, CO 81005
Phone: (719) 647-7865
Email: bpcarter[at]

Hefe Hitters
Pueblo, CO 81007
Phone: (509) 438-2392
Email: troymtu[at]

Three Ounces of Fuggle
Pueblo, CO 81001
Phone: (719) 544-9267
Email: andrewlwashburn[at]

Arkansas Valley Homebrewing
Salida, CO 81201
Phone: (719) 539-7243
Email: ark-valley-brewing-team[at]

Steamboat Homebrewers
Steamboat Springs, CO 80488
Phone: (412) 400-6954
Email: aplaks[at]

Superior Homebrewers
Superior, CO 80027-6068
Phone: (303) 601-6623
Email: superior.homebrewers[at]

Homebrewers Above The Clouds
Woodland Park, CO 80863
Phone: (719) 641-3392
Email: Joshua[at]

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November beer dinners and tastings in Colorado

The beer festival season may be over, but that doesn't mean there aren't any beer related events going on in the fine state of Colorado. Here is a list of a half a dozen or more beer dinners and tasting sessions that are planned in and around the state of Colorado. One may be just the right one for you.

More beer events may be found in the 2008 Colorado Beer Festival listings.

New Belgium's Lips of Faith Release Party
November 15, 2008 (Sat)
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
Join the gang down at the Falling Rock at 5pm for the tapping of the latest Lips of Faith beer, Ben's Saison. Ben's Saison starts slightly sour and citric across the palate with a quick blast of cranberry tartness. New Belgium made a very limited quantity of this brew so be sure to try some soon before it's all gone. Web site.

Boulder Beer Brewmaster's Dinner
November 18, 2008 (Tue)
Dolan's Restaurant
Boulder, CO
Join Boulder Beer's Brewmaster David Zuckerman at Dolan's Restaurant in Boulder for a four course meal paired with some of the best beer from Boulder. The meal starts at 6:00pm and runs until 8:30pm. The cost is $35 per person plus tax and tip. Tickets are available at Liquor Mart in Boulder (303-449-3374) or call the restaurant at 303-444-8758.

Great Divide Beer and Dessert Pairing
November 18, 2008 (Tue)
Great Divide Brewery
2201 Arapahoe Street
Denver, CO
Head on down to the brewery in Denver from 5-8pm for a pairing of some delicious desserts with some of the best Great Divide brews. Contact the brewery for more details. Cost: $10. Please RSVP to Web site.

Pumphouse Fall Beer Dinner
November 18, 2008 (Tue)
Pumphouse Brewery
Longmont, CO
Join the Pumphouse Brewery staff as they offer up a Fall Beer Dinner on November 18th starting at 6:30pm. The meal will feature their house brewed ales and a beer from their new bottle list. The food will be prepared by Chef Cesar and Chef Chris and hosted by David Mentus, Head Brewer. Cost: $50.00 per person (tax and tip included).

AiX & Great Divide Brewing Company Tasting Dinner
November 20, 2008 (Thu)
AiX Restaurant
719 E. 17th Ave.
Denver, CO
Come join the chefs at AiX and the brewers from Great Divide for an evening of modern cuisine and ale pairings on Thursday November 20th at 7pm. A four-course tasting dinner has been planned with the beer lover in mind. Cost: $35 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Reservations with credit card are required due to limited seating. Call: 303-831-1296. AiX web site. Brewery web site.

Craft Beer Education - Beer 101 Class
November 20, 2008 (Thu)
Cook Street School of Fine Cooking
Denver, CO
Come attend a beer education class that will teach you about the history, regions and production of fine beer. The instructor - Scott Kerkmans, Chief Beer Officer at Four Points by Sheraton Hotels, a Certified Cicerone, a BJCP certified beer judge and a former brewer at Alaskan Beer Company will guide you through this 3-hour session and let you taste 6 different beers of varying tastes and intricacies. These craft brews offer just as much complexity as the finest wines and he will help you pair them with your favorite dishes. Class hours: 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Cost: $59 per person. Cook Street School, 1937 Market Street, Denver, CO. Phone: 303-308-9300. Web site.

A Decade of Hog Heaven: 1998 - 2008
November 21, 2008 (Fri)
Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, CO
A celebration of the 10th anniversary of Avery's Hog Heaven barleywine. Aged versions of this big barleywine will be served (some really old). The event will be catered with light food including fine cheeses and meats to compliment the beers served. Show up at 7:30pm to taste some new brews and then stick around until 8:30pm for the Hog Heaven celebration which lasts until 10pm. Advance ticket sales only @ Avery. 50 person max. Web site.

Great Divide Beer and Cheese Pairing
November 25, 2008 (Tue)
Great Divide Brewery
2201 Arapahoe Street
Denver, CO
A pairing of 5 different cheeses and 5 different brews will be offered at the Great Divide brewery in Denver. The cost of this event is $10. The pairing will be held between 5-8pm. Please RSVP to Web site.

Related articles:
- 2008 Colorado Beer Festivals.
- 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals & Events.
- Samuel Adams Beer Dinner Highlights.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 All Colorado Beer Festival highlights

One of the last regular season beer fests in Colorado is held down in Colorado Springs. For the second straight Veterans Day weekend, the 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival was celebrated at the Mr. Biggs Event Center. I had missed this event last year and was determined to get down to it this year. Last year there were at least 20 Colorado breweries in attendance. This year was going to be even bigger.

I had never been down to the Mr. Biggs Event Center. When I looked up the facility on Google, I noticed that it was part of a large amusement complex. Half of the complex was made for children! OK, I wondered how they would keep the kids from raiding the kegs. I mistakenly went into the main family entrance and wandered around looking for the beer fest. I found a sign pointing to the Events Center and followed it to a small open door. I peaked in and found the beer festival, only problem was, the festival hadn't opened yet and I was essentially sneaking in the wrong door.

It didn't take long for security to notice me and politely escorted me to the Events Center main door where they kindly put me first in line right outside the door. Well at least I wouldn't have to wait long in line when the doors opened. Heh. All tickets were either sold online or at the door. You'd save $5 if you bought in advance which is exactly what I did. I just had to check in at Will Call to claim my entry.

The event room reminds me of an old Western town. There were mock building fronts lining the walls and all of the breweries were at tables along the boundaries of the room. The first people I noticed there were Eli Shayotovich and Erik Boles of They were a 1st time sponsor of the event and they had a booth set up complete with live video on their laptops and a mini-studio set up for doing interviews. After shooting the bull with the boys for a while I headed to the tables for some beers.

While I didn't count all of the breweries in attendance, I was told by Ed Sealover at the Beer Run Blog that this year's brewery count had grown from 20 to 24 breweries. Among the breweries that I took notice of these were the ones in attendance this year:

Anheuser-Busch, Backcountry Brewery, Odell Brewing, Bristol Brewing, Boulder Beer, Arctic Craft Brewery (now closed), Left Hand Brewing, Oskar Blues, Ska Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, Glenwood Canyone Brewpub, Durango Brewing, Rocky Mountain Brewery, Trinity Brewing, Twisted Pine Brewing, Del Norte Brewing, New Belgium, Rock Bottom Brewery (Colorado Springs), Trinidad Brewing, MillerCoors, Steamworks Brewing, Phantom Canyon, McClellan's Grill and Brewing, and Blue Moon Brewing Company. That's 24 by my count.

Being true to my beer geekiness, I brought along a log book and my trusty Flip Mino video camera to record everything I did. My philosophy is, if I don't record it, I'm not going to remember it the next day. And man, I'm glad I brought them along. I tasted nearly 30 beers that day and jotted down a line or two about every one of them. Here are a few of my tasting highlights:

Bristol Brewing - Winter Warlock. I've heard a lot about this beer but had never tried it until now. Nice roasted malt taste. I asked about their XXX Winter Warlock and was told they will never make that again - was too difficult and too costly.

Trinity Brewing - Farmhouse Saison. One of the newest breweries from Colorado Springs. I tried their new Saison. OMG what's in this? It had White Sage, Corriander, Lavender, Grains of Paradise, Pumpkin and a boat load of Brown Sugar. The aroma was dominated by the sage. Sweet, spicy, very unique and not bad. Also tried their Awaken stout. Not bad.

Twisted Pine - Northstar Imperial Porter. This was one of the few decent seasonals that I saw breweries bring along. I applaud Twisted Pine for not just bringing their typical line. This porter was excellent. Roasty with a different kind of finish. Also had their Cream Stout which is only available in their variety 12-pack. Got one at home still from mine.

Trinidad Brewing - Wee Heavy Lassie Scottish Strong Ale. Ever since the GABF, I've really gotten to like Scottish style strong ales. This one was very malty and sweet with the typical Scotch effect. Very good.

Blue Moon - Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale. I don't know why I can't seem to pass up a Pumpkin Ale. This one was spicy but did not remind me of a pumpkin pie like others of this style do. It was OK but was hoping for better.

Rocky Mountain Brewery - Rump Romper Raspberry Cyder. Classic. What a name. Even the label showed a beautiful scantily clad lady. This was a hard cider, an exception to be found at a beer fest. Very tart and tasty. A good palate cleanser. I absolutely loved this. I've become a hard cider fan this past month or so.

Arctic Craft Brewery - Patientia Sour. I finally found a Colorado brewery besides New Belgium that brought a nice sour ale. Wow! This brew was a cloudy orange and was aged in wood for 9 months. Very tart, sour, funky and damn good. I voted this my best find of the session by far. I went back for 2nd's and 3rd's on this stuff. Excellent. They also had a Milk Stout with a nice roasty aroma. Was quite the shock going from a sour to a stout. It wasn't a good transition.

Rock Bottom - Russian Imperial Stout. See a trend here? There were a lot of good dark beers at this brew fest. I skipped these at the GABF and wasn't going to pass them up here. Strong 8% ABV, nice bite and decent RIS.

I could go on but this blog entry is already long. They had a live band going and while they were good, they were also a bit too loud for decent conversation to take place.

I applaud the volunteers and staff for running a great show. I was only slightly disappointed that some of the breweries here had very little presence and impact. And I was even more disappointed that there were some notable no shows: Great Divide, Bull & Bush, Fort Collins Brewery, Crabtree Brewing, Estes Park Brewery and others. I think it would be a much better brew fest if more of those breweries had been in attendance.

I'm already looking forward to next year. Hopefully there will be even more people show up. There were only about 250 people show for the Saturday afternoon session and 500 people for the Friday night session. Not sure how many showed for Saturday night. Stay tuned for video coverage of this festival. Should have some footage compiled later this week.

Continue reading: Video tour of the All Colorado Beer Fest.

Volunteers needed for the 2009 ACBF!

Related articles:
- Celebrating anniversary at the GABF.
- Rocky Mountain Brewfest 2008.
- Odell Small Batch Beer Festival 2008.

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