Sunday, August 31, 2008

Colorado Front Range Beer Map

Colorado Brewery MapHow do you find a brewery near you in Colorado? Simple! Fermentedly Challenged has split the state up into 6 different regions and placed all of the breweries and brewpubs on easy to use Google maps. Zoom in or out on the region map you are interested in and you'll find a brewery for you. Drag and move the map around to to see more locations.

Click on the Colorado Brewery Map links below. Please note: some breweries do not have a tasting room and are production only. Call first if not sure before visiting any location.

Colorado breweries may also be found listed in alphabetical order.

Boulder-Longmont Colorado Brewery Map
Including: Boulder, Erie, Frederick, Gunbarrel, Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, Lyons, Niwot.

Denver Metro Colorado Brewery Map
Including: Denver, Arvada, Aurora, Brighton, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Commerce City, Englewood, Golden, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree, Northglenn, Parker, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge.

Northern Colorado Brewery Map
Including: Ault, Berthoud, Eaton, Evans, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Greeley, La Salle, Laporte, Loveland, Johnstown, Milliken, Severance, Sterling, Windsor.

Southeast Colorado Brewery Map
Including: Black Forest, Cañon City, Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek, La Junta, Lamar, Monument, Palmer Lake, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Trinidad, Walsenburg, Woodland Park.

Northwest Colorado Brewery Map
Including: Aspen, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Central City, Dillon, Eagle, Edwards, Estes Park, Frisco, Fruita, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Grand Lake, Idaho Springs, Keystone, Nederland, Palisade, Rifle, Silverthorn, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Winter Park.

Southwest Colorado Brewery Map
Including: Alamosa, Bayfield, Buena Vista, Cortez, Crested Butte, Del Norte, Durango, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Paonia, Poncha Springs, Ridgway, Salida, Silverton, Telluride.

Related articles:
- Colorado Breweries in Development.
- Colorado Beer Dinner & Pairing Events.
- Colorado Homebrew Store Listings.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog. Don't miss another article. Subscribe to Fermentedly Challenged by RSS today.

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Beer Diet Challenge - End of week 2

Today marks the end of the 2nd week of the Great American Beer Diet Challenge. This has been a terrible week for me health wise. It had a great start though as I reported having a wonderful beer run on Sunday to DaveCo in Thornton with some fellow beer writers. But it quickly went downhill.

By Sunday evening I was getting a sore throat and sneezing and getting stuffed up. By Monday I could not speak and felt absolutely plugged up. I was coughing as well. I spent Monday and Tuesday working from home (one of my luxuries) but wasn't very productive those days. Needless to say I didn't exercise those 2 days.

By Wednesday, I was feeling OK enough to go into the office but was still coughing and a bit congested still. My fellow office workers sure noticed. Perhaps I should have stayed home one more day. I did get to exercise a lot on Thursday but felt really drained after that.

I had been avoiding all alcohol this week until last night. It was the first day I felt like trying a beer again. But man, do I wish I had waited longer. My sense of smell was totally out of whack. I had opened up a nice Belgian dubbel, one from my beer run and poured it into a nice wide glass. Trouble was, I could barely smell anything. Dang it! No matter what I did, I just could barely smell anything but some alcohol. The whole experience seemed rather medicinal than an enjoyable experience.

I sadly finished the entire glass without being able to truly taste much of this beer. Instead of having a nice wonderful write-up on a Westmalle Trappist Ale, I've got an empty glass and some frustrating couple of lines of notes. It simply wasn't possible to review this beer with the slight congestion I still had. What a shame. I felt it was a big waste of a good beer.

I ended up not exercising much the entire week due to my health. In fact I sat in a folding chair all day long outside in hot 90 degree heat watching my son play in a tennis tournament. I'm sunburned, tired and in need of some skin cream to soothe the burn.

I wondered just what, if any, weight I had lost this week. Being sick may help keep the calories off because I didn't feel much like eating for 3 days. So this morning I got on the scale and saw 186 pounds. What? That's 5 pounds lighter than last week! I didn't believe it so I got on the scale again. It then showed 188 pounds. I wondered what was going on so I ended up moving the scale around and ended up weighing myself 5 times. At the highest it showed 191 and at the lowest it showed 185.

I decided to take the average of those 5 readings and officially mark myself down at 188 pounds. That's 3 pounds lighter than last week. Nothing big and considering being sick I guess I'll take it.

My biggest fear is that I'll get real hungry this week as my health returns to normal. I'll have to fight that urge and get back to exercising and watching what I eat again.

I managed drinking only 3 beers last week (2 Sunday and 1 Saturday) so I wasn't able to keep up with that, but given the circumstances that's all I could manage.

I heard from BeerBuddha earlier this week. He's having to evacuate in advance of hurricane Gustav. He dropped another 5 pounds as of Thursday and is down to 272. Way to go! I've yet to hear back from "A beer sort of girl" and fear she may be out of the competition. And James Spencer, please chime in with your weekly update when you can.

Here's hoping that I get back to normal this week and can fully continue exercising again and continuing to drop more pounds.

Related articles:

- Beer Diet Update after Week 1
- Let the competition begin!
- The Great American Beer Diet Challenge

Read the full article here...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A beer run to remember

Eli Shayotovich and Erik BolesI'm here to report on my most ultimate beer run that I've had in a lifetime. I got a message from my good Internet beer buddies (pictured here) Eli Shayotovich (The Mad Beer Geek and the former Colorado Springs Beer Examiner) and Erik Boles (head honcho of BeerTapTV / Drench Networks) about a beer run they wanted to do and wanted to know if I could come along. Heck ya! I've been wanting to meet these guys in person for a long time and now I finally had the chance.

They suggested three destinations: Applejack Liquors in Wheat Ridge, DaveCo Liquors in Thornton and LiquorMax in Loveland. At first we were going to visit all three stores but ultimately decided on DaveCo. And wow, did we make the right choice.

For those of you not familiar with DaveCo Liquors, they are the World's Largest Liquor Store. Yup, the biggest according to the Guinness Book of World Records. I mean this place was HUGE! I called it the Super WalMart of liquor stores. This place was bigger than my local King Soopers and every aisle was packed with wine, beer or hard liquor.

Erik brought along his trusty iPhone and recorded our reaction in a video to the massive selection of bottles we saw in the coolers. I'll post the video below as well. If you can't view the video below, check it out on QIK.com.

We must have spent a couple hours in that store just gaping at the selection. They had a nice section dedicated to 6-packs and 12-packs as well. Here is a run down of the selections I made: - Breckenridge 471 Small Batch 22oz - St. Bernardus Abt 12 - Chimay Blue and Red - 330ml bottles - Avery Ale to the Chief - 22oz - Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti (x2) 22oz - Duvel .750L - Stone Vertical Epic 08-08-08 22oz - Russian River Pliny the Elder 16oz - Russian River Blind Pig 16oz - Westmalle Double 330ml - Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate Stout 22oz - Boulder Beer Cold Hop 22oz - Left Hand Oktoberfest 6-pk - Great Divide Yeti (regular) 4-pk - Twisted Pine Sampler (12-pk) Plus I got to swap 1 or 2 bottles from Eli and Erik's cart and picked up some extra singles. After checking out, the damage was added up and I managed (somehow) to spend less than Eli or Erik, but as Erik says "We've got a beer show to put on". He needed to stock up for their future shows. We ended our beer run with a stopover at the local Old Chicago's in Broomfield just a bit southwest of DaveCo. I had a delicious Deschutes Black Butte Porter and a bunch of yummy nachos. Needless to say I wasn't very hungry for dinner when I got home. Ah well. Great beer run guys. Let's do this again sometime soon, er that is, once I've managed to deplete most of this stock. Related links: - Eli's account of the beer run. - Erik Boles' QIK video page. This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com Help us grow. Forward this article to a friend and have them subscribe here

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Beer Diet Update - after Week 1

The Great American Beer Diet Challenge is now a week old and it's time for the first update. As you recall last week, we have a total of 4 people competing to lose the greatest percentage of body weight from August 17th to October 11th. One person who can beat my % weight loss will win a 6-pack of Colorado microbrew from yours truly. So let's get down to details.

My exercise bike got put to use quite a bit last week as I got on the bike practically once or twice a day to burn some calories. I also did a few sessions of Aerobic exercises on my Wii Fit. My beer of choice during my work-outs was Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale. Definitely not a light weight brew by any means.

I exercised daily Sunday through Thursday and then took a couple days off to drive to Gunnison, CO to drop my daughter off at college. Most of my hard work Sunday through Thursday was negated on Friday and Saturday as I was forced to eat out for two solid days.

All was not lost, however. The process of carrying heavy boxes up a flight of stairs and moving my daughter's stuff into her apartment was a workout by itself. I even managed to help her roommate move in as well. And yes, I did cap off the apartment move-ins with a nice delicious Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale at a local restaurant. I think I sweated off a couple pounds to counter balance the extra calories I took in at the local restaurants.

I was soooo tempted to run inside the Gunnison Brewery while I was in town, but my wife and daughter had other plans for me. Running to the hardware and food stores kept me busy. It will have to wait (again) for another visit.

So enough excuses. How much did I weigh this morning? Drum roll please.......

191. There you have it. I lost a measly 1 pound this last week. But hey, a pound lost is a pound in the right direction! I figure I probably was down another pound or two before the weekend started but you gotta count every single day.

OK, now it's your turn Beerbuddha, James Spenser and A Beer Sort of Girl. Time to chime in and let us all know how you're doing. I fear I'm behind the progress of some of you at least. And for those of you just playing along at home, if you're joining in the fun yourself, tell us all what you are doing to lose weight and also what beer(s) you are enjoying along the way.

Related articles:
* Let the competition begin!
* The Great American Beer Diet Challenge
* The truth about calories and beer.

Read the full article here...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Odell Brewing officially taps their Woodcut series

Odell Woodcut No 1Every once in a while one of the local breweries here in northern Colorado come up with something brand new and throw a celebration. For the last year, the brewers at Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado have been busy using their small batch 5-barrel system creating a special Old Ale. But this isn't just a typical Old Ale, this one was to be aged in American oak barrels. The insides of these oak barrels were torched with fire. The idea was to age some of their best old ale inside these oak barrels between 4 to 8 months to extract some of the extra flavors of the wood. The oak imparts flavors of vanilla, almonds and even dried fruit.

So finally, after 8 long months of work, Doug Odell and his team finally bottled the fruits of their labor in July. About 179 cases (2148 bottles) were hand corked, signed and numbers and prepared for the big debut yesterday, Monday August 18th, 2008 at 1pm local time.

I had the pleasure of being invited to join in on this celebration. About 100 or more of the local Odell faithful gathered at the Odell tasting room for the event. Doug Odell and his staff were on hand to personally welcome all the guests and officially toast and break open the first bottle of Woodcut No. 01 - Oak Aged Ale. All of this premiere batch was put into 750ml bottles with a wire twist cork top.

The following video captured Doug Odell as he welcomed the crowd and opened the first bottle. Listen to how he describes this "Labor of Love". If you can't view it below, watch it on YouTube.



After the initial opening, the Odell staff handed out 3 oz samples of this new oak aged brew. The brew had a nice bourbon like aroma. You could tell right away that this brew had spent time mixing with the oak. I've only had the pleasure of tasting oaked beers a couple of times prior to this but this one really had quite a nice aroma to it. The beer was a dark amber, almost light brown in color and looked like a whiskey with a nice thick light tan frothy head. I wanted to smell that aroma over and over but my taste buds were yelling at me to try it.

My first reaction to this? I said simply this: "Ooooo! Nice!" Rich caramel malts. Highly carbonated too as it had a lot of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the oversized shotglass. The oak really brought out some extra flavor in this beer. I was almost at a loss for describing it. From the smell I was almost expecting a bourbon or brandy like taste but instead got a rich, smooth and almost tangy taste. This was good stuff! I purposely sipped this slow, not only because it was higher in alcohol than most beers, but also to enjoy the aroma again and again.

This beer is certainly very distinctive and unlike any other Odell beer I've tried before. I've had a glass of an experimental oaked beer they did last year - an oaked version of their 90 Shilling, but this was so much more flavorful. The beer left a very nice lacing on the glass that lasted a long, long time.

The line quickly formed to buy the 2-bottle max per person brews. The retail price of these bottles are $24.99 each. Steep yes, but for what they've done for this brew, it is well worth the price. I was graced with bottle #132. It was hand signed by Doug Odell himself on 08/13/2008.

After the festivities, I got a chance to talk with Doug about this new Woodcut series. He's needing to expand his operation in order to have adequate room for this new oak aging line. Odell is already working on Woodcut No. 02 that should debut in another 6 to 8 months. The next batch will be a Golden Ale. They won't make as much of the next batch however, so it will be a bit harder to get in stores. They plan on breaking ground late this year on an expansion that will allow them to grow their tank farm as well as add some much needed office space.

Most of this Woodcut beer was already spoken for. They had 7 cases available for the tapping party and the other 172 cases were reserved for specific stores and clients. If you happen to spot a bottle of this grab one or two of them. Drink one now and then continue to age this beer further. It's bound to keep improving for a while. Now I just have to pick a special date to open this bottle on. Either that or go out and get another bottle soon.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog. Don't miss another article. Subscribe to Fermentedly Challenged by RSS today.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Let the competition begin!

Today officially marks the beginning of the Great American Beer Diet Challenge. I have three brave people who took up my challenge to lose the greatest percentage of body weight from August 17th to October 11th and still drink one beer per day in addition to excercising. The one who loses the biggest percentage of body weight and beats my numbers will win a 6-pack of Colorado craft beer from yours truly, Chipper Dave.

Here are the competitors:


* Beerbuddha - from thebeerbuddha.blogspot.com
* James Spencer - from BasicBrewing.com
* a_beer_sort_of_girl - from beergirlsblog.blogspot.com
* Chipper Dave - from fermentedlychallenged.com

Now for the official starting numbers on me. When I announced the challenge, I started out at 196 pounds. But I didn't wait until today to start exercising and losing weight. I'm officially starting out the contest weighing in at 192 pounds. The picture to the right shows my numbers as of this morning. Yes, I'm 4 pounds lighter than a few days ago but those 4 pounds won't count (luckily for you contestants). I now ask that my competition please post your official starting numbers on your web sites and post a comment here with your starting numbers. Anyone else who wants to join in this little weight loss challenge are more than welcome, but you won't be eligible for the beer.

All I ask of the competitors is to not give up drinking your favorite craft beers during this 8-week competition. Post a weekly update of your progress including some details on what you're doing to lose weight and what beer you've been enjoying during the challenge.

I'm using my exercise bike, a Wii Fit exercise program and my trusty tennis racket for playing tennis. I'll be initially sipping on some Dale's Pale Ale this week to kick things off. That's no light weight beer either.

Good luck to all participants. May we all end up losing a lot of weight. Or if not a lot, at least have some fun in the process and lose a few. Looking forward to seeing your weekly updates! Now get out there and start exercising !Cheers!


Related Links:

* Original Challenge Post
* The truth about calories and beer.

Read the full article here...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale review

Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden AleMy last beer run offered me many choices. I knew I wanted to try out an Oregon brewery and Deschutes Brewery of Bend Oregon was on my list. The primary beer that was on my list to try was their Black Butte XX, but when I went to select that bottle I also saw a bottle of Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale. This brew was apparently one of their 1st attempts at a Belgian Strong Ale and a hefty one at that coming in at 8.7% ABV.

The interesting part was, this beer was already a year old, circa 2007, and had a year behind it. I wondered how a beer who has sat in the store cooler would taste. I was curious enough to buy it. Sure beat cellaring it myself for a year.

I purposely selected one of the bottles near the back of the cooler as it would have had less direct contact with the florescent light at the front. This bottle was relatively inexpensive coming in at just $3.59 for a 22oz bomber. So whether this was to be good or bad, the price wouldn't be hard to swallow at least.

Today was a gloomy, cold 60 degree rainy day in Colorado. A rare cool August day. It's been a nice change of pace from the long string of 90 degree days of late. I had a free afternoon and decided it would be a great time to open up the 19th Anniversary Ale. I put this beer in the fridge the night before and it was decidedly cold upon opening.

This beer pours a nice golden color. The beer was so cold that it quickly formed a heavy condensation around my tulip glass. It was difficult to tell if this beer was clear or not. After wiping away the condensation around the glass I could see that this beer was brewed clear but it had a fair amount of sediment in the brew. The head was modest, not very tall and quickly dissolved into a thin white layer.

The aroma of this beer was hard to pick out at first due to it's cold temperature. It wasn't over the top like an IPA and while cold it was difficult to distinguish the aroma. I could initially pick up on a floral and grassy-like aroma. As it warmed up I detected a bit of lemony citrus in the smell.

The taste was not very bitter initially but rather mellow with a nice caramel malty taste. I was expecting a bit of funkiness in this brew but it was not there. It didn't taste like a typical Belgian but rather a bit more subdued. It has a nice malt / hop blend. As it warmed the flavors came out more and more. It still had a moderate amount of carbonation and the mouthfeel was very decent.

For being a higher alcohol beer I felt that a year in the bottle had mellowed it a bit. I didn't detect any noticeable alcohol bit despite being a high alcohol brew. Age had calmed it a bit, but in this case is probably a good thing. I suggest letting this beer breathe a bit before sampling. Cold is definitely not it's best temperature. Air it out for at least 20 minutes or so after chilling in the fridge.

The beer ranking sites were OK with this brew. Not outstanding but still worthy of consideration. I enjoyed the entire 22oz bottle. It didn't give me a big buzz like many high alchy brews do. While I've certainly had much better, it's still a worthy brew after a year in the bottle. I'll give this a thumbs up and a 3.4 out of 5 rating.

I look forward to sampling this year's anniversary brew later on - the Deschutes Black Butte XX. I'm going to age this beer a few months before opening however. Age, it seems, brings out the best in higher alcohol brews.

Related Articles:
- Gulden Draak Ale review.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale review.
- Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic review.
- Deschutes The Abyss review.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Return to Choice City with Muckney Brewing

Dave JuartAnytime I get the chance to visit with some of my Internet beer friends I jump at the chance. I got a message from Dave Juart of Muckney Brewing the other day. He was on a business trip to Colorado and was headed up to Fort Collins on a beer trek and asked if I was available to meet him for lunch. Heck ya! I didn't need no other reason to break away for a long lunch.

I suggested Choice City Butcher & Deli as a meeting spot. It wasn't more than a month ago or so when another friend Dave of Musings over a Pint came out and we went to the same spot. As usual, Choice City was a busy place at lunch time and there was a small line for sandwiches. Dave and I ordered and looked at the beer menu. There's always an amazing selection of beer on tap as well as in their beer cooler there.

On Tap MenuJust as a tease to what they offer at this little deli can be seen on this daily specials list they had at the check-out counter. Talk about a selection! My first choice, a Chimay Tripel had just run dry on tap, but Dave suggested that the St. Bernardus Abt 12 was an excellent beer so I ordered a glass of that. It was on tap to boot. Choice City poured it into a nice Chimay goblet for me. We grabbed our lunch and sat down.

I wish I would have had a chance to stay longer with Dave as he was an experienced homebrewer that had done 25 batches or more of home brew with his buddy back in Pennsylvania. Seeing how I'm on the verge of starting up homebrewing again, I was eager to hear about some of his creations.

Dave had a few hours before he had to head back down to Denver. I suggested that he visit one or more of the local breweries as New Belgium, Odell and Fort Collins Brewery were just within a mile of Choice City. I believe Dave was heading to New Belgium but I was unable to join him as I had a pressing business meeting of my own to get back to.

As for my beer of the day, I'm glad I chose the St. Bernardus Abt 12. It is a wonderful Belgian quad. It was a bit higher in alcohol (10.5% ABV) than I wanted during lunch but it was damn good just the same. It made my meeting at 2:30pm all the much more tolerable. I noticed that Ratebeer and BeerAdvocate gave this beer a top rating. No wonder why Choice City picked this beer to put on tap. The goblet glass made the experience even the more enjoyable. It's one of the best beers I've had this year. It's right up there with Chimay Blue and the Ommegang Three Philosophers.

Dave Juart chose to try a New Belgium's employee special brew - Jessica's Porter. I've had that ale on tap fresh at New Belgium before and enjoyed it. It's a spiced up porter that gets better as it warms. I didn't get a chance to see Dave's notes on that brew, so I hope he enjoyed it.

Tap HandlesI made the mistake of ordering a full deli sandwich. Their full sandwich is easily enough for two people. I could only finish half of it. The other half made for a tasty lunch today, so it turns out my mistake was a bonus in disguise. So if you go there, bring an appetite or just order the half sandwich.

I'd recommend the Choice City Butcher & Deli to anyone. Not only does it have a full selection of local brews but it stocks some of the best beers available in Colorado. They might just surprise you with what they have in stock. They even had a brand new brew from New Belgium on tap that day: Giddy Up. It supposedly has lemon peel and espresso. Wow, what a combo. I'll have to come back to try that one for sure.

If any of you wonderful readers are ever planning to come out to Colorado, please look me up. I'd love to break away for a bite and a pint sometime and meet you.

Choice City Butcher & Deli - 104 W Olive St, Fort Collins, CO 80524

Related stories:

- Lunch Review - Choice City Butcher & Deli.
- Brew Review - Chimay Grande Reserve.
- Brew Review - Ommegang Three Philosophers.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Odell to tap Woodcut August 18th

It's almost time for something new at Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado. Monday marks the release of Odell's latest wood aging project - Odell Woodcut No. 1. This limited release may be hard to get and most of those cases have already been spoken for. Only 120 cases (12 bottles per case) were produced and each hand corked, signed and individually numbered bottle will sell for $24.99. I've got at least one bottle reserved already. The tapping party will be held at the Odell tasting room at 800 East Lincoln Ave in Fort Collins Colorado at 1pm on August 18th. As part of the release, Odell has put up a special web site commemorating the event. Click on the image above to see the full details of the tapping event.

Odell Brewing is already working hard on the next Woodcut brew. Woodcut No. 2 has been designated as a Golden Ale and should be out in the very near future (June). Odell is also planning a huge expansion soon. Details of that can be found on my Northern Colorado Beer Examiner web page.

Related articles:
- Odell's officially taps their Woodcut No. 01
- Odell to produce limited edition oak beers.
- Odell Brewing Tap Room.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog. Don't miss another article. Subscribe to Fermentedly Challenged by RSS today.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Great American Beer Diet Challenge

Great American Beer Diet ChallengeLast week's post about calories and beer got me to do some serious thinking about my weight. I admit that I'm about 20 pounds overweight and I've love nothing better than to lose some of my gut and drop down to a weight that I haven't been since I was 30. About a 3 weeks ago, I set out on a personal challenge to drop some weight. At my highest weight, I was about 203 pounds and about 27 pounds too heavy according to my doctor.

I'm 6 foot tall and 49 years old and not getting any younger. I've probably put on about 10 pounds since the winter holidays and simply watching what I eat isn't doing it for me. I own an exercise bike, a Wii Fit board and I've started playing tennis again. So far in the last 3 weeks I've managed to drop 7 pounds down to 196. I'm an admitted beer enthusiast and the last thing I'm going to do is give up my craft beer. So, it becomes a bit more of a challenge to get fit, drop pounds while still enjoying 1 craft beer a day (or rather, a max of 7 beers in one week).

I need some additional incentive to lose more weight and so I'm hereby declaring the 1st Great American Beer Diet Challenge. I'm setting a target date of October 11th to lose as much weight as possible by exercising, eating less food but still maintaining the right to enjoy a good craft beer each day. I'm setting my starting weight at 196 for this contest and posting a picture of my belly to show what I'm starting at.

Here's the challenge, I want anyone who wants to join the challenge to post on their own blog a starting weight, plus keep a posted weekly journal of how much you weighed, what exercise (if any) you did that day, a brief summary of what you ate and what beer you drank that day (up to 7 per week). I challenge you to lose a higher percentage of body weight than me by October 11th. Why October 11th? That's the day I head to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver to celebrate.

If you accept the challenge, please post your desire to enter the contest by posting a comment to this blog. Please leave your Name and your blog address and how much weight you think you want to lose from now until October 11th. You have until the end of this week, Saturday August 16th at 11:59pm Mountain Time to enter. If you can't post a comment then please send me an email. I will post all valid entries in a comment to this blog by Sunday, August 17th.

Those who accept the challenge must post a picture of their own belly along with your starting weight on your own blog. Then on each weekend by the end of the day on Sunday, you must post an update as to your progress.

Those who end up beating me in this contest and dropping a higher percentage body weight than me will be entered into a drawing. One person will win a nice prize - a six pack of a Colorado microbrew that will be shipped out paid by me from the good folks at Liquor Max in Loveland, Colorado. Please remember, this contest is only open to those people age 21 and over and who live in a US state where Liquor Max can legally ship beer to. If the beer can't be shipped then I'll send you $10 to spend on any local beer you want.

Of course this contest will have to be based on trust and be strictly for the fun of it. The beer is just incentive to beat me. But I want to see a picture of your belly shown before and after posted on your own blog with some indication of what the date is on the picture and how much you weighed on the start and finish date. Your official weight will begin on Sunday, August 17th. Your final weight must be recorded on Saturday, October 11th.

I'll be at the Great American Beer Festival serving beers as a volunteer on Thursday, October 9th and also as a drinker at the members only session on Saturday afternoon, October 11th. If you happen to be at the GABF this year - look me up. Hopefully I'll be noticeably slimmer by then.

The idea here is to challenge everyone to lose some weight while still being able to enjoy some fine craft beer. You shouldn't have to give up one of your favorite vices just because you want to lose weight.

So come on! I challenge you! Lose some weight along with me and beat me for a chance to win a 6-pack of Colorado microbrew from me. Either way, we'll all be better off for this effort. Just be sure your weight loss program is one that your doctor would agree to. Be safe, exercise and enjoy some beer!

Related links:
- The competition begins!.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale review

Oskar Blues Dales Pale AleI went to the beer store on Sunday (yay I can do that now) and picked up a 12-pack of Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues. Unfortunately for the masses, this beer is only available in 12-packs and not 6-packs, so if you only wanted to sample one before you try it, you'll have to go directly to Oskar Blues itself in Longmont, Colorado. Luckily for me, Oskar Blues is well known around Colorado and it's reputation speaks for itself, so buying a 12-pack is considered a good investment in a local brew. Dale's Pale Ale is considered their flagship beer and is named after the head brewer at Oskar Blues.

This beer also comes in cans and there's nothing wrong with good craft beer in a can. Oskar Blues is known for being a pioneer and one of the first to put craft beer in a can and making it popular. And for those keeping track of beer prices, I was able to obtain the 12-pack for $13.49 with a 10% coupon (normally $14.99). (2008 price)

Appearance: I pulled out my trusty Sam Adams beer glass and poured the can into the container. A big head grew and perfectly filled the glass with just a bit of head rising above the top. The hot outdoor weather quickly put condensation all over the glass with this cold beer. I think a nice snifter glass would work well with this beer as well. This beer is a nice golden / copper color with red highlights. There wasn't a lot of carbonation in this beer, but it really didn't need much.

Aroma: Dale's Pale Ale is a hoppy American Pale Ale that's rated at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs. You can really smell the generous amount of 4 different American hops in this beer. It has a grassy, citrusy aroma with a hint of grapefruit. The label on the can says "A Huge Voluminously Hopped Mutha of a Pale Ale" and I believe it.

Dale's Pale Ale up closeTaste: The taste hits you up front with a nice malty taste with a great hop blend. If you drink this beer too fast you'll get a good nose full of hops when you burp. I love hoppy burps by the way as it will fill your nasal passage with all that hoppy goodness.

Mouthfeel: Dale's has a great full mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated and no off flavors or aftertaste. It's got a nice clean taste to it. Despite the slightly higher alcohol content, I felt that I could drink at least 2 of these and perhaps more. This isn't a big over the top hoppy beer but it still packs enough hops to let you know they didn't skimp on that part of the recipe.

Overall: Craft beer in a can really works well and Oskar Blues embraced the trend early and was one of the pioneers. The beer ranking sites seem to like this beer as well. As always, please judge this beer for yourself as your tastes may vary. As for me, I'm giving this beer a big thumbs up and a buy again recommendation.

Related articles:
- Oskar Blues Gordon review.
- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout review.
- Rocky Mt Brew Fest 2008 - featuring Oskar Blues.
- Oskar Blues Old Chub review.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

The truth about calories and beer

Calories and BeerThere seems to be one topic that beer drinkers are frequently asking over and over again. The question on many people's mind seems to be:

"How many calories are there in my favorite beer?"

It's amazing how often I see people looking for this information and somehow landing on this beer blog of mine. I rarely mention the amount of calories, yet I realize this subject is on a lot of people's minds.

This is a common question. Beer is known for having a fair amount of calories and contributing to the size of our ever growing beer bellies. But just how many calories does a typical beer have?

I took some time to search the internet to see approximately how many calories does the average beer have. It didn't take long to find a few good references out there. While there isn't (yet) a database that lists every beer and how many calories each bottle contains, there is a fair amount of information listed about the average beer.

Here are some little known facts about beer and calories:

* The average "light" beer has just over 103 calories in a 12 oz bottle or can. These beers are typically lighter in color and are lower alcohol beers. The range of calories in light beers vary between 65 and 120 calories. The ABV of these beers range from 3.2% up to 5%.

* The average microbrew or full strength craft beer has about 156 calories per 12 oz bottle. These beers tend to use a bit more grains than macro beers. They vary in color and tend to be higher in alcohol, sometimes up to 12% ABV.

* It takes approximately 3500 calories to account for 1 pound of weight added. So using the above data, it would take roughly 34 light beers worth of calories to put on 1 pound of weight (after you flushed away the waste fluids). But it takes just 22.5 regular beers to account for 1 pound of caloric weight.

* The majority of the calories in a beer come from the level of alcohol content. Carbs account for some of the beer calories but not nearly as many as alcohol. The higher the alcohol content, the more calories you can expect to take in.

* If you drink only light beer will you gain less weight? Put it this way, if one man drinks 1 light beer a day for a whole year and compares his calorie intake to a man who drinks one regular craft beer a day for a year, the man who drank a regular craft beer would have taken in over 28000 more calories in a year on average than the light beer drinker. Given the weight equivalent of calories, that accounts for about 8 extra pounds of weight per year!

Specific Examples of Calories in Beer

Let's compare two popular beers: Bud Light and Sam Adams Boston Lager. The first is a standard light macro brew and the other is a typical craft beer. How do these two beers compare? Let's look at the numbers.

Bud Light - 110 calories per 12 oz bottle.
Sam Adams - 180 calories per 12 oz bottle.

The Sam Adams beer has over 63% more calories per bottle than the Bud Light. If you're a quantity vs quality type drinker, this could add up quite a bit over the course of a year or even a lifetime.

Many drinkers consume beer in pints (16 oz) rather than 12 oz bottles. What's the typical difference here?

A 12 oz light beer may have 110 calories but that jumps to 149 calories in a pint. A 12oz craft beer has 180 calories but leaps to 243 calories in a pint.

And let's not forget that beer also comes in 22oz bombers. I'll let you do the math on that size bottle.

Is drinking smaller size beers better for your waistline?

That depends on your metabolism, but the stats show that you're probably better off with smaller bottles. One of the biggest and highest calorie beers in the world weighs in at over 300 calories. Compare that to one of the lowest calorie beers that comes in at just over 50 calories.

The size, shape and ABV of your beer may decide the size and shape of your body.

How much exercise do you need to do to burn off the typical beer?

Again, this depends on several factors but lets look at an average person. (Your results may vary). On average, it would take 29 minutes of walking or 12 minutes of running to burn off the calories consumed in a regular craft beer.

A light beer, on the other hand, would take on average 15 minutes of walking or 6 minutes of running to burn it's calories off.

The sad truth.

If you're looking to lose weight but still allow yourself the pleasure of drinking a beer or two a day you'll need to have a plan to burn off those extra calories. On average, it'll take roughly 9.2 hours of walking to burn off 3500 calories (or 1 pound of caloric weight) or 4.6 hours of running to burn the same amount. While some of you can lose a pound just sitting outside on a hot day, your not burning fat, you're simply losing water.

So Internet readers, stop looking for specifics on calories for each beer and just know what the averages are telling you. Your favorite beverage comes with a caloric price. It's up to you and your metabolism to help burn those extra beer calories off and maintain your weight. Regular diet and exercise will help. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. Doctors can tell you what's right for your body.

You can switch to light beers and save yourself some exercise later on but consider this - How much taste will you also be giving up?

Lighter beers tend to be lighter in flavor and more watery. It's a trade off. Many craft beer drinkers simply refuse to give up that richer beer taste. That's fine - just know your numbers, realize the effort it will take to burn off those calories and act accordingly.

So don't fret too much over how many calories a particular beer has. As long as you stay active, eat right, get enough sleep, exercise often and don't drink to excess you'll probably be fine. Consult with your doctor first about any exercise and regular alcohol consumption.

Related articles:
- The Great American Beer Diet Challenge
- Beer reviews by style.
- Dark beer season returns.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Supporting my local brewery - Crabtree Brewing

Crabtree Brewing Company circa 2008I'm a self confessed brewery newsletter fanatic. Every brewery that I've sample beers from I'll probably have signed up for their newsletter if they have one. Because of these newsletters, you can learn quite a bit about special events and new beer tappings that come along. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with the owners Jeff and Stephanie Crabtree a while back and enjoyed sampling their beers at the brewery on the east side of town. It's nice having a local brewery close by. I enjoyed their beers and signed up for their newsletter.

The other day I opened up a short newsletter from Crabtree Brewing Company of Greeley Colorado. They wanted to let everyone know about a special limited batch brew they had just released on tap at their brewery. This brew was called Steph's Raz-A - an amber ale infused with raspberry. This sounded good, and with the heat sweltering above 100 degrees here in Greeley for the 2nd straight day, I needed no other excuse but to head down to Crabtree for a sampling.

When I got there I was greeted once again by Jeff and Stephanie. Stephanie told me this was her 1st brew recipe that she brewed herself. I immediately asked for a sample. Wow. Nice! This brew is a dark amber in color but not heavy by any means. It came out of the tap nice and cold. It had a nice raspberry aroma. Not too strong but just right. It's not very bitter and has a semi-sweet fruity taste to it. I really enjoyed it. I'm so glad I subscribed to their newsletter otherwise I'd never have seen this beer as they don't (yet) sell it in stores.

I had the opportunity to once again talk with owner and head brewer Jeff Crabtree. We had a wonderful conversation all about beer and what he's thinking about next. He's been working hard on improving his beers and told me that he's made several changes to his brewing process recently which will result in improving the taste of his beers. Jeff is an avid reader of the beer forums on the internet and loves getting feedback on his beer.

Jeff invited me to try one of his Belgian strong ales. Their Golden 8 brew is a nice 9% ABV Belgian golden ale. It had a wonderful Belgian aroma and had a nice kick to it! It reminded me of one of Avery Brewing's Little Rascal.

It was great to talk with Jeff about his brewing operations and his upcoming plans. Jeff is planning to harvest his own home-grown hops soon to make a special brew for an upcoming block party event in September. It is going to be filled with 5 different types of hops. Jeff has grown just enough hops at his home to make a full 400+ gallon batch of his planned wet-hopped brew. I look forward to sampling that brew in September.

It's nice to visit and support your own local brewer. It's too bad that every town doesn't have it's own brewery. I encourage everyone to head down to your nearest brewer and see if you can talk with one of the brewer's there. You'll end up learning a lot about the business of beer making and might just sample something new every once in a while. As for me, I ended up buying a new growler's worth of that new Steph's Raz-A amber ale. I'm sampling it now as I write and I'm glad I bought some. It's nice to know I'm drinking something rather unique that not many other people have gotten to sample.

Related articles:
- Crabtree Boxcar Brown and Twisted Creek Wheat.
- Crabtree Jeff's Pale Ale review.
- A braggot worth boasting about.

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