Saturday, May 30, 2009

Beer to benefit running scholarship

Star Liquors/Steamworks Brewing Co. raising funds for Marc Witkes Memorial Scholarship

DURANGO, Colo. – In support of the Annual Steamworks-Animas Valley Half-Marathon set for June 20, Star Liquors has teamed up with Steamworks Brewing Co. to raise funds for the Marc Witkes Memorial Scholarship.

Star Liquors is highlighting Steamworks’ brews as “Beer of the Month” for June, with $0.50 of each 6-pack, 12-pack or 22 oz. bomber bottle of Steamworks beer sold contributed to the Witkes Scholarship. Proceeds from the Steamworks-Animas Valley Half-Marathon also benefit the fund.

“Cyclists get a great deal of attention in Durango, but we’ve got a lot of runners here and Marc understood that,” said Kris Oyler, Steamworks CEO, of Witkes, an avid runner and former president of Durango Motorless Transit. “Stan Crapo, owner of Star Liquors is a runner, as am I, so we thought this would be a great way to honor Marc’s memory.”

The Marc Witkes Memorial Scholarship is presented annually to a Four Corners area cross country runner attending Fort Lewis College. Witkes, passed away Dec. 10, 2006, less than 300 yards from the finish line at the Tucson Marathon.

“This is a win-win for everyone,” said Stan Crapo, Star Liquors owner. “We’re delighted to be able to help support this effort, and hope by the end of June we will announce an impressive contribution to the scholarship fund. What that will mean, however, is that the community has come out and participated. That will be terrific.”

In 2008, the Steamworks-Animas Valley Half Marathon and its supporters contributed $2,000 to the Marc Witkes fund. Organizers hope that with the additional support from Star Liquors, the dollars will increase.

Registration for the half-marathon is now underway at, and event participation will be capped at 300 runners. Early registration is $30 per runner ($40 on race day pending space availability). Racers receive a finisher’s medal, Steamworks pint glass and “performance” T-shirt, plus the post race craft beer and burger barbecue (catered by Steamworks) at the Durango Sports Club. Participants also enjoy Sports Club privileges for the day, including use of the swimming pool.

Star Liquors is located in the new commercial complex at the corner of East Animas and Florida Road, Building C, Suite 100 (970.247.2258). For further information, visit
Steamworks brews are available in eight states – Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The original Steamworks Brewing Co. – Durango’s “2005 Business of the Year” – is located at 801 E. Second. Ave., Durango (970.259.9200). Steamworks’ Bayfield Beer Factory is located at 442 Wolverine Drive in Bayfield Center, Bayfield (970.884.7837). For further information, visit

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St. Lupulin and the Twitter bird

Odell BrewingWhat does a mythical patron saint of hops and a Twitter inspired bird have in common? Both of them are new beers being released from Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado today. There will be a lively celebration at the Odell Brewing tasting room today between 12 noon and 6pm. Odell will be releasing St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale - their new Summer seasonal. Also at the same time, Odell will debut it's unique Twitter inspired beer - Blackbird, a dark Schwarzbier.

The official tapping toast for both beers will be held at 3:00pm Mountain time. Doug Odell himself will be on-hand to tap these new beers.

St. Lupulin joins the latest line of seasonal beers including the Odell Red which debuted earlier in the year. St. Lupulin is a hopped up American Pale Ale that is sure to please summer beer drinkers.

Blackbird was crafted based on input from Twitter users who follow Odell Brewing. Earlier in the year, the Twitter nation was allowed to vote on the style, ABV strength and the name of this brew including being allowed to design the label for this brew. Blackbird is a Schwarzbier, a malty dark brew that weighs in at a hefty 7% ABV. Followers on Twitter will be able to finally taste this collaborative brew for the first time today.

Odell Release Party

All afternoon during the tapping celebration there will be live music. The Big South String Band will play from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Then after the toast at 3pm, Dinero will play from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.

Odell will be offering up $3.00 pints of their brew as well as growlers all day long. Unfortunately, no taster trays will be available today.

I'm hoping to make it down for the toast this afternoon. If you happen to be there today look for me. I'll be wearing either my Odell Small Batch Beer Festival shirt from last year or my Fermentedly Challenged t-shirt.

Odell Brewing is currently undergoing an expansion as well. Normally this would have been the day for their annual Small Batch Beer Fest but construction forced the cancellation of that fest for this year. It'll be back next year bigger and better than ever.

Stop back on Monday afternoon also for the tapping of their Woodcut No 2 Golden Ale. Should be another great oak aged beer!

Related articles:
- Full coverage of the Odell Twitterbrew release party.
- Odell Woodcut No 2 release day June 1st.
- Participate in the Odell Twitterbrew project.
- Odell drops, adds beers.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day rained out except for the beer

Rain - it's par for the course this year in Colorado. Work days have been nice and just when you get ready for the weekend the clouds come in and it rains most of the weekend. The entire month of May and also the tail end of April has been this way. But fear not, the weather is only damp and humid one month out of the year and the rest of it is dry, dry, dry.

It wasn't bad enough to ruin my projects around the house, however. I mowed, raked some dead spots and prepped parts of the lawn for re-seeding, dumped some ant bait to try to get back control of the yard from the 6-legged army and finally seeded and watered in the yard. Then it rained. At least once per day this weekend we got a good soaking. Unfortunately, it rained during prime BBQ hours, so we got carry out or fixed our own this weekend.

Thank goodness I had a good stock of beer. I've got several bottles of homebrew brown ale, the last of a 6-pack of Ska True Blonde Ale, a couple of Sam Adams Imperial White and the last of a variety pack from Victory Brewing.

The beer was reserved for watching sports. At least the Rockies finally won a series against Detroit but went back to their abysmal ways at home against the LA Dodgers. The Denver Nuggets had two home games verses the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 3 was much the same as Game 1 - the Nuggets gave the game away late. Game 4 is underway as I write this entry with the Nuggets struggling to hold a double digit lead.

Memorial Weekend means so much to everyone. It's a time to honor our dead, our veterans, our family and a time to get together and fly the American flag. For me, it's a time to take a well deserved break from work and reflect on my life. My family always puts our USA flag up outside our home. We love the flag and our country and it's always good to show your patriotism, especially during times when things are tough.

While the weather was doing it's thing, I took the family on Saturday to see the movie "Night at the Museum - Battle of the Smithsonian". I had seen the 1st movie previously and was just OK with it. I wasn't expecting much from this movie but I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the sequel. Sequels rarely live up to the original but I think they did a better job with this movie. My family got a kick out of the flick and we all left happy.

I'm very grateful for our holiday weekends. Work will always be there. Writing this beer blog has been very therapeutic for me. I'm sipping on a nice golden Belgian ale while I write and watching the closing moments of the Nuggets game. (Nuggets win 120-101!) What could be better? I hope all of my readers had a great holiday weekend. And for my readers overseas, I hope your weekend gave you the opportunity to enjoy a good craft beer. Thanks for reading. I hope to have a lot of updates coming up over the next several months.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ska True Blonde Ale review

Ska True Blonde AleSeeing how the trend in Colorado is to put more and more craft beers into cans, I decided to pick up a canned 6-pack of a small Colorado brew who's brewery is starting to make waves in the local industry. Today's brew comes from Ska Brewing of Durango, Colorado and is called their Ska True Blonde Ale. Ska has been putting some of it's beers into cans for a while now but this is the first time I've seen this brew in a can.

Last weekend I attended a local home poker game and decided that this brew would fit the bill for the evening. True Blonde Ale is an American Blonde Ale and weighs in at 5.3% ABV and is decently hopped at 39 IBUs. I wanted something I could drink a few of without getting too over the top. This light colored blonde ale should do the trick.

Ska's True Blonde poured a lovely golden color with a huge 2 finger plus bright white head. The head stuck around just long enough to be noticeable and left a decent lacing when swirled. The can opened with just a slight hiss and was adequately carbonated. The laser etched glass gave a decent amount of nucleation with a steady stream of bubbles.

The aroma on this beer smelled like a combination of lightly sweet malts and grassy hops. Ska put some local Durango honey in this brew. It was just enough to be detected in the nose. There was also a tad bit of funkiness in the air about this brew, but it adds to the character of this beer.

True Blonde has a nice creamy taste. It's smooth and mildly bitter. I quickly knew this was going to be a good sessionable beer. It tastes a bit heavier than it looks. The honey in this brew was blended well with the pale malts and hops. It's a lighter weight brew with a medium body but that's exactly what I was looking for that night. The malts come through with a hint of the sweetness but the hops mixed well.

This brew has a refreshing yet dry finish. It certainly had more flavor than a pilsner. The aluminum can kept this beer brewery fresh and hidden from the light. I drank 3 of these beers during the evening and still felt fresh afterward. I'm definitely going to buy more of this brew during the warmer months of the year. Ska did a good job on this brew. They made me a fan of Blonde ales for the first time.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Mountain Sun sites feature 4 Cardinal Virtues

Mountain SunThe following news was drawn from the most recent May newsletter from the Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery out of Boulder, Colorado. The three Mountain Sun brewpubs, Mountain Sun (Boulder), Southern Sun (Boulder) and the Vine Street Pub (Denver) are proud to announce a new series of Belgian-inspired ales. Four beers, named for the four cardinal virtues, are currently being released at all three locations. For Belgian beer lovers, this will be a not-to-miss series of brews.

Prudence — Currently available at all three pubs

The second offering in the virtue series, Prudence reflects the spirit of independence and creativity that is embodied by the breweries of Belgium as well as the Mountain Sun. This beer is brewed with a heavy dose of Belgian Pilsner and Vienna malts, as well as 60 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey. The floral sweetness provided by the honey balances with the spicy, dry finish of the Belgian Yeast.

Fortitude - Release Date: Monday, June 1st, 2009

Inspired by the classic Tripels of Belgium, Fortitude is deep golden in color, highly effervescent, and boasts a clean, dry finish. Utilizing only two malts and one hop variety, this beer showcases the complex fruit and spice flavors contributed by the yeast. Don’t let the light color or drinkability deceive you. It’s over 9% ABV.

Temperance — Available on June 22nd at the Southern Sun

Initially brewed in honor of Vine Street Pub’s first anniversary, this beer showcases an intense flavor profile while remaining easily quaffable at 5.6% ABV. Inspired by the great beers of Belgium as well as the crisp hoppy pale ales of America, this beer is a harmonious blend of American hops and Belgian yeast, balanced by a strong, effervescent, dry finish.

Justice - Release Date: Monday, June 22nd, 2009

The final installment in the virtue series, Justice reigns supreme. At approximately 9.5%ABV, this rich dark ale is one to be savored. With hints of dark fruit and raisins, and a deep mahogany color, Justice hits the tongue with a complex malt sweetness and finishes with champagne-like effervescence.

Taste all four side-by-side on Monday, June 22nd at 4:00pm At The Southern Sun.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

2009 Great American Beer Festival ticket sales announced

Is it already getting to be that time of year? You bet it is. The Brewers Association has just recently announced that ticket sales for this year's (2009) Great American Beer Festival will be going on sale soon and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members will get first shot at reserving their tickets.

Last year's festival in October sold out completely with just over 2 weeks left before the event. This year's 2009 event will be held even earlier than before. The festival will run from September 24-26, 2009 covering 3 days and 4 different sessions.

I bought my tickets early last year for the AHA members only session and plan to attend that Saturday afternoon event again this year. I also got FREE tickets to other nights by volunteering to work at the GABF. Volunteering is a great way to see 1st hand what it takes to set up and put together an event like this. It takes hundreds of people and thousands of man-hours to prepare for the 45,000 people who will fill the halls of the Denver Convention Center.

See the flier below for details that the Brewers Association just sent out to all AHA members.

AHA members can buy tickets starting May 19th at 10am Mountain time. Everyone else can buy tickets starting June 1, 2009. AHA members also get discounted ticket prices. You can become an AHA member now and get some great benefits along with a subscription to Zymurgy magazine for a full year. Details at

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News from the Great Divide - May 2009

In the "better late than never" category, the Great Divide Brewing Company recently shared news of some new beer releases as well as an upcoming anniversary party.

Great Divide continues to experiment on their beers and find new ways to tempt us. One of my favorite imperial stouts is getting a new added flavor and another imperial wit will be debuted. Here is a run down on the two upcoming releases from the brewery blog itself...

Chocolate Yeti and Double Wit Release Party

Yep, you read it correctly. Chocolate Yeti. Just when you thought the Yeti couldn't get any better.

And a Double Wit? Bet you haven't had one of those before.

Great Divide is excited to release these two brand new seasonal beers. We would love for you to join us for the release party Friday, May 29. Party runs from 6-8pm. $15 admission includes the two new beers and food. No RSVP necessary, but valid ID is required for entry.

About the beers:

Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti: We toned down the hops a bit to allow cocoa nibs to contribute some pleasing bitterness, while vanilla notes from the oak combine with the cocoa to create an aroma and flavor akin to a gourmet chocolate bar. A dash of cayenne keeps things lively, adding just a bit of heat to the finish. A Yeti for summer? Hell yes.

Double Wit: Our more muscular take on the beloved white ales of Belgium. Unmalted wheat and Belgian malted barley give the beer a light body and straw hue, while coriander and curaƧao provide the traditional notes of spice and light acidity. This cloudy, deceptively drinkable creation should be enjoyed without the addition of fruit.

Sign me up for both of those. I'm already a big fan of their Oak Aged Yeti and regular Yeti and with some added chocolate flavor I'm sure this one is going to be good. And the Double Wit, if it's as good as some of the other witbiers I've had lately should be another great addition.

Also recently announced was their upcoming 15th anniversary party. The celebration will happen in their tap room on June 6th in downtown Denver at 2201 Arapahoe Street from 2-7pm. Click on the party invitation to the right for additional details. There will be plenty of beer, food and live music to go around. Should make for a great time. If any of you are planning to go to this party let me know. Rumor has it there will be a special 15th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA being bottled for this occasion.

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- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti review.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Samuel Adams Imperial White review

Samuel Adams Imperial WhiteEver since I tried a witbeir at dinner last week I've been wanting to try more of them. And what a better way to step up with one of the Boston Beer Company's newest beer from their Imperial Series - Samuel Adams Imperial White. I spied a 4-pack of this brew and felt compelled to try it. I figured if the regular Sam Adams White Ale was good then the Imperial White might be just as good. I had to find out.

Samuel Adams Imperial White was brewed with a generous amount of malts, wheat, Nobel hops and a variety of spices including grains of paradise, coriander and citrus peels. The ABV was beefed up to a hefty 10.3% ABV so you know this wasn't going to be just another summer brew.

Appearance: This Imperial White poured a hazy dark orange color. The fluted glass seemed to make the beer darker on top than on bottom when held to the light. This brew left a head that quickly grew to over 2 fingers tall, yet the head only lasted a minute and settled down to just a small bead. The beer left a slight lacing when swirled but didn't cling to the glass.

Aroma: The added spices in this beer gave this witbier a wonderful aroma. It smelled of sweet malt, a hint of citrus fruit and a bit of funky spice which I can probably attribute to the coriander and grains of paradise. I could also pick up on the alcohol too so I knew that I should sip this one slowly.

Taste: The Imperial White had a most curious taste. It was blasted full of sweet malts that stopped just short of being cloying. This brew had a slippery feel and left a slight numbing effect on the middle of my tongue. The finish of this brew was drying as well. The taste was much more intense than their regular White Ale. It had just the right amount of spiciness to it and a small bite from the high ABV.

By the end of the bottle I was really starting to get into this beer. The Imperial White was highly enjoyable. It gave me a decent buzz for just one beer. I knew that I probably shouldn't have another one at this point as I didn't want to fall asleep soon after the next one. One was plenty yet darn good.

After having this brew there is now only one more beer in their Imperial series left to try - the Double Bock. I think I'll pick that one up later in the summer. So overall this beer was enjoyable. I'd probably prefer to drink their regular White Ale during a very hot summer day and be able to enjoy a couple of them. But for a special occasion this one will do just fine. A respectable Thumbs up on this one.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Imperial Stout review.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Odell Woodcut 02 release day June 1st

Odell Woodcut No 2Odell Brewing releases Woodcut No. 2 and previews the beer at SAVOR: an American Craft Beer & Food Experience

The beer has spoken. With a nice “pop” of the cork, Woodcut No. 2 revealed it is ready to be enjoyed.

On June 1st, 2009, Odell Brewing will officially release Woodcut No. 2. The oak aged golden ale was brewed on the brewery’s pilot brewing system. It aged for several months in virgin oak barrels, and then bottle conditioned in cork finish, 750 ml bottles.

The release of the ale was pushed back to allow the beer time to fully carbonate. Odell Brewing’s head of production, Brendan McGivney, had this to say about the delay, “Each Woodcut beer, being truly one of a kind, will behave differently than the last and the intricacies of each offering will not always cooperate with our projected timeline. However, we take great pride in making sure the beer is perfect before we serve it to our customers.”

On May 30, 2009, the brewery will preview the beer at SAVOR: an American Craft Beer & Food Experience. Presented by the Brewers Association, this sold out Washington, D.C. event will highlight the sensory delights of beer for over 1,700 beer enthusiasts in attendance.

“SAVOR has become the most popular and respected beer and food pairing event in the U.S., thanks in part to the participation of many of America’s most innovative and famous brewers and their owners,” said Julia Herz, a spokesperson for the Brewers Association. “The demand for beer and food pairing events and craft beer in general is growing, a fact underscored by SAVOR selling out an incredible eight weeks prior to the May 30 event.”

Hand signed and numbered bottles of Woodcut No. 2 will be available for a suggested purchase price of $24.99. To learn more, visit and

Odell Brewing is a an award winning brewery, nationally and internationally: 2008 North American Beer Awards – gold medal for 5 Barrel Pale Ale. 2008 World Beer Cup® – gold medal for IPA, silver medal for Double Pilsner, silver medal for Cutthroat Porter. 2007 Great American Beer Festival® – gold medal for IPA, silver medal for Easy Street Wheat, bronze medal for Extra Special Red. 2007 Stockholm International Beer Festival – bronze medal for 5 Barrel Pale Ale. 2007 Australian International Beer Awards – silver medal for 90 Shilling, silver medal for Cutthroat Porter, silver medal for Easy Street Wheat and bronze medal for 5 Barrel Pale Ale.

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(Images courtesy Odell Brewing Company)

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More Colorado craft beer heading to cans

Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Style AleThe word has broken that two more Colorado breweries are in the process of developing a new line of canned craft beers for this summer. According to a story in Westword, two of Denver's local breweries, Breckenridge Brewery and Wynkoop will be offering canned beer in June.

The revolution in Colorado to move it's craft beer to cans is nothing new. Oskar Blues of Lyons, Colorado has been doing it for many years now and has been followed by the likes of Ska Brewing, Arctic Craft Brewery (now closed), Upslope Brewing and New Belgium Brewing along with a couple others. Now, Breckenridge Brewing and the Wynkoop Brewing Company aim to be two of the next to follow suit.

Breckenridge Brewing plans to initially offer their Avalanche Amber Ale in cans (pictured above) as early as June 1st. They are borrowing a hand canning line from Ska Brewing and plan to offer up their first brew in cans initially to a small distribution area within Colorado.

Meanwhile across town, Wynkoop Brewing Company is also making plans to place two of their beers into cans. Sometime in June you will be able to purchase six-packs of Railyard Ale and Silverback Porter in cans.

The move seems logical. As distribution costs continue to climb, one way to help combat those costs are to place product into lighter weight packaging. And as Oskar Blues has already proved, craft beer tastes just as good from a can as it does from a bottle. Look for these beers coming to a store near you in Colorado next month.

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Restaurant Review: Texas Roadhouse - Greeley CO

Texas RoadhouseLiving in Greeley Colorado is a truly unique experience. This quiet little Northern Colorado town has had quite a history over the years. I moved here 25 years ago and have enjoyed it ever since. During this time I've seen many restaurants come and go. One restaurant that has been open for nearly half of those years is the Texas Roadhouse.

Ever since I can remember, this place is always busy. I don't mean semi-busy either. This place is always packed no matter what day you plan on visiting. Due to it's tremendous popularity here in Greeley, I always take my family early in order to avoid waiting in line for dinner.

I visited Greeley's Texas Roadhouse last week and brought my wife and oldest son here in honor of Mother's Day. The place was busy as always. We arrived just after 5pm and were able to get one of the last open tables right away. The Denver Nuggets were playing a playoff game this evening and many people's eyes were glued to the widescreen TV's scattered around the bar area.

I typically order a huge steak here when I come as I always know I'm going to get a great piece of meat here. On this occasion I chose to order a nice tall beer to go with my meal. Here at the Texas Roadhouse, the beers don't just come in pint glasses, they also come in huge tall glasses.

Tall GlassThis restaurant isn't known for a big beer selection. Most of the beers they serve are the garden variety macro beer. My son ordered a Budweiser and I asked our waiter what other brews they had. They had some Fat Tire from New Belgium and they also had a couple of brews from Samuel Adams. They happened to have their seasonal Samuel Adams White Ale available and seeing how I had never tried that brew before I ordered one. I also ordered a nice big 12oz Sirloin and a "loaded" baked potato to go with it. Our waiter left us with a basket of buttered fresh baked rolls and a bucket of peanuts to munch on while we waited.

When our beers arrived, I couldn't help notice how much more color my white ale had over my son's pale Bud. I offered my son a taste of the Sam Adam's White ale and he seemed pretty surprised on how good it tasted. I'm trying to get him to open up to different brews, but seeing how he's just 22 and tends to buy whatever's cheap, he doesn't have the luxury to buy the most expensive craft beers like his dad does.

Samuel Adams White AleSamuel Adams White Ale is a Belgian-style Wit beer. The brew is made from pale barley, malted wheat and Munich malts along with some orange and lemon peel, grains of paradise, coriander, anise, hibiscus, rose hips and a few other spices. The main hop in this brew is a noble Tettnang Tettnanger hop.

The brew looked just a bit cloudy as Wit beers tend to be. It was golden in color and was well carbonated off the tap. This for me is a fine example of a craft session beer. At 5.4% ABV, it's a bit higher than your typical brew but low enough that you could enjoy more than one. My brew came in a very tall 22oz mug. This brew was very enjoyable and seemed to go well with the meal I ordered.

Now as for the steaks here at Texas Roadhouse, I don't know what they do to their steaks but they are always the most tender, juicy and flavorful steaks I've had. I'd put their steaks up against anyone else's. I like my steaks medium well. Cooked just enough to leave only the fainted hint of pink in the center. Every time that I've visited this place the steaks were always top notch. That's probably why this restaurant is always so crowded. That and the fact that Greeley is one of the biggest cattle slaughter towns in the nation. We've got tens of thousands of head of cattle just east of town and the meat is as fresh as you can find anywhere in the world.

It didn't take me long to devour the steak and potato and the beer went down really smooth as well. I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy the Wit beer but after a long winter drinking nothing but dark beers, this brew was a nice change of pace that I think I will enjoy all summer long. It's gotten me interested in trying other Wit beers now.

If you've never been to a Texas Roadhouse then you really should try one in your area. There are several restaurants scattered all over the country. Come hungry and you won't be disappointed. The store here in Greeley is really one of the best restaurants in town. I look forward to coming here again.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Honey Porter review.
- Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock review.
- A taste of Rock Bottom Centerra.
- Restaurant review: The Tavern at St. Michael's Square - Greeley CO.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Colorado brewery happenings for May

Colorado Beer NewsThings have been way too busy lately due to my crazy workload but that doesn't mean there hasn't been any great news coming out of the Colorado craft beer scene. Most of the May brewery newsletters have come out and I thought I'd share some tidbits with you to catch you up on what's been happening around Colorado.

First and foremost, I have some personal news that I need to pass along. After a near one-year run, I have decided to step down as the Northern Colorado Beer Examiner. It's been a wonderful experience getting to work for a great start up news site. During that time I've written over 100 articles about beer in Northern Colorado. My decision to step down came reluctantly after realizing that my regular day job needs to take more priority and also that I need to simplify things a bit. Thanks to all of my readers. I may return there someday in the near future but for now I just need to focus on one blog and my main career in IT.

Alaskan Brewing Company

Ok, so this isn't a Colorado brewery, but they do ship their great beers out here to Colorado. This week Alaskan Brewing is announcing that their new year-round brew Alaskan White is now available in over 9 other western states outside of Alaska. Alaskan White is a fresh tasting wheat ale that's brewed with spices. Look for the brew with a white label and a white polar bear. I've had the pleasure of sampling several Alaskan brews this last year. This should be another good one.

Odell Brewing Company

News out of Fort Collins, Colorado recently announced that Odell's newest summer seasonal beer St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale will start being available June 1st. St. Lupulin will be available from June through the end of September each year. This new extra pale ale will pay homage to the hop plant. It has a mix of Cascade, Perle and Centennial hops. The aroma is being emphasized in this brew. The beer will retail between $9.49 and $9.99 a six-pack.

Fort Collins Brewery

Just down the road from Odell's is news out of the Fort Collins Brewery (FCB). This coming week FCB is helping to celebrate Craft Beer Week here in America with specials running from May 11th to May 15th. Monday it's "Name That Hop Tasting". Name the hop and win a FREE pint or taster tray. Tuesday is FCB Poster Day. Purchase any item over $3.50 and get a FREE FCB poster signed by the head brewer. Wednesday is Craft Beer Trivia day. Answer questions and get $1.50 off a pint or taster tray. Thursday is Keep the Glass Day. Purchase 2 pints and keep any FCB pint glass FREE. And Friday is Name Two Malts Tasting Day. Get 3 FREE samples and guess 2 malts in them and win a FREE pint or taster.

Avery Brewing Company

Down the road in Boulder, the news is still buzzing about Avery's new Sixteen Anniversary Ale. Sixteen is a saison style ale brewed with peaches, jasmine and honey and is already receiving praise as another great anniversary offering from Avery. In honor of Craft Beer Week, Avery is going to offer 4 straight nights of with special tappings of experimental beers. From May 12th to May 15th these special brews will be poured. Avery is also announcing that on Friday June 12 from 5-8pm they will be celebrating Batch #10 of their Maharaja Imperial IPA and hosting a release party. Don't forget the live music every Thursday from 5-8pm and "Drinking Helmet Day" every Saturday. See their web site for details.

Crabtree Brewing Company

Back up north in Greeley, Colorado the beer labels finally arrived after much ado and Crabtree's Braggot in bottles will finally be available starting May 8th. Braggot is available on tap at the brewery and now 22oz bombers are available in stores. This release is limited and will most likely sell out quickly. I had the opportunity to be one of the first to sample the Braggot from a keg a few months ago and it is a wonder blend of a Stout and a honey mead. Worth trying!

Left Hand Brewing

The good folks at the Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont want travelers to know their fine brews are available at the Denver Airport (DIA) at the Timberline Steaks & Grille at the top of the escalators in Concourse C. Left Hand is also releasing their St. Vrain Tripel starting in late May. Their Tripel ale is a hefty 9% ABV brew and is only available for a few short months. Last time they made this beer was 2 years ago so don't miss your chance to try it. For those venturing down to their tasting room, this is the only place you can try their famous 400 Pound Monkey IPA test batch #2. If you love hops, then you'll want to try this special IPA. Left Hand is also sponsoring a beer dinner in Niwot on Wednesday May 13th at the Treppeda's Italian Ristorante. Check the Colorado Beer Fest calendar for details.

Upslope Brewing Company

One of the newest Colorado breweries, Upslope Brewing Company in Boulder is announcing the availability of their new Dunkelweizen seasonal brew. The Dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer brewed with special malts and bittered with Hallertau hops. The brew has a roasted, caramel and chocolaty taste with hints of banana, nutmeg and other spices. Available at their tasting room on the north side of Boulder, CO. See the Colorado Brewery listings for the address.

Oskar Blues

Last but never least, Oskar Blues' new tasting room continues to be a popular hangout. Every Friday they offer something special and new in a Firkin at The Tasty Weasel. Friday May 15th it's Vanilla Bean Old Chub. May 22nd it will be Double Dry Hopped Gordon. Special firkins are tapped at 4pm every Friday. Worth the visit to Longmont to taste them.

That's all the news I have for you for now. Once my day job settles down a bit I'll be back to more regular posting. Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to drop me a comment every so often and let me know about what your drinking these days. Cheers!

Related articles:
- Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 review
- Breweries of Longmont Part 3 - Oskar Blues
- Avery makes plans for sweet Sixteen

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Boulder Beer offers Flashback 30th anniversary ale

Colorado's First Microbrewery Releases 30th Anniversary Commemorative Brew, Flashback Anniversary Ale

Boulder, CO - 4/29/09 - Paying homage to their roots and toasting their milestone 30th Anniversary, Boulder Beer Company will celebrate by releasing their new Flashback Anniversary Ale in May. They will tap the first kegs on Tuesday, May 5th at a roll-out party at the brewery from 4:00 - 7:00pm. The commemorative brew will be available in 6-packs and on draft through September in all markets where Boulder Beer Company brands are sold.

An India Brown Ale, Flashback is single-hopped with five separate additions of Cascade hops. Citrusy with a prominent hop aroma, Flashback finishes clean, crisp and dry, with dark roasted flavors from the biscuit and chocolate malts perfectly complimenting the bountiful Cascades. Highly hopped like an IPA but dark and roasty like a Brown, Flashback is a very sophisticated and unique brew.

Boulder Beer Company plans to serve Flashback Anniversary Ale at events throughout the summer, culminating with their 30th Anniversary Celebration which is planned for mid-September.

Flash back to 1979 and you'll find two professors at the University of Colorado in Boulder longing for the full-flavored tastes of the British ales they had grown to love while traveling overseas. Testing the entrepreneurial waters with a little project called a microbrewery, they began brewing and selling a few of their own. There begins the tale of Boulder Beer Company, Colorado's First Microbrewery. From the original Bitter, Porter and Stout recipes that founded the brewery to their exciting new releases, Boulder Beer continues to uphold their tradition of innovation in brewing.


Related articles:
- Boulder Beer releases seasonal brews
- Boulder Mojo IPA review
- Boulder Beer Cold Hop review

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Tasting room notes from New Belgium

New Belgium BrewingHappy May everybody! I took a short hiatus from writing the last six days as work and family obligations have kept me way too busy lately. A couple weeks ago I had an opportunity to stop over at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado and visit their tasting room. It had been a while since I had dropped by and I was interested in seeing what was new on tap. I was also wanting to talk with some of their web and Twitter team guys.

I went over to NBB after work one day and luckily the place wasn't too busy yet. Sometimes the New Belgium tasting room can be packed so the earlier you head over there the better. I took a seat on a stool at the bar and struck up a conversation with one of their friendly staffers.

What's nice about New Belgium's tasting room is that they offer up to 4 small tasters FREE from a menu of on-tap offerings. Sometimes you can ask for a sample of some of their special beers that don't appear on their menu. They have a few extra unlabeled taps for some of these brews.

I chose these beers to sample that day: 1554 Enlightened Black Ale, Abbey Grand Cru, Biere de Mars and finally a request for their La Folie. I've preveiously reviewed both the 1554 and the La Folie, so I won't bother to add anything more here other than to say they were as good as ever. Always worth a taste, particularly fresh on tap. Here's a few notes on the other two brews.

New Belgium beer menuBiere de Mars - New Belgium recently brought back this brew and is now part of their Lips of Faith series that they sell in 22oz bomber bottles. Biere de Mars is deemed as a Biere de Garde style. It poured a golden orange color and was a bit hazy in appearance. This one weighed in at 6.2% ABV. It's made with a wild Brettanomyces(or Brett) yeast and hence added a big of a funky almost sour taste. Biere de Mars was "earthy" and was very drinkable. I'd love to explore more of this brew.

Abbey Grand Cru - NBB's Abbey Grand Cru is a rich Belgian Strong Ale that weighed in over 9.5% ABV. It poured a mahogany color and had a rich malty flavor with a nice Belgiany yeast aroma. Good thing this was only a 4 ounce taster otherwise this one would have been plenty enough for me strength wise. It has a distinctive New Belgium feel to it that you'll recognize after trying many of their beers. This one is a winner.

During my samplings, my host and I started to discuss some of NBB's other beers. I was interested in Kevin's Ale, one of their employee invented Lips of Faith brews. While they were out of that brew, they did let me look at some of the ingredients for that beer. They brought over a bowl filled with Grains of Paradise, a tiny bead-like pepper spice that reminded me of nutmeg and pumpkin pie when crushed. What a wonderful smell.

I also got a chance to speak for about a 1/2 hour with two of NBB's web/Twitter team: Kurt and Aaron. Both of them work "upstairs" above the tasting room and manage the NBB web site as well and act as Twitter contacts for their business. I had an opportunity to help them out during a recent TV news story that was run about them and their use of Twitter. They've got a great hooks into the various social media sites out there and work hard to spread the good news about New Belgium Brewing.

The tasting got me thirsty so I picked up some 1554 Black Ale to take home (thanks Kurt and Aaron). I'm sure to return back to New Belgium's tasting room again soon as I'd love to explore more of their great brews - especially their La Folie which I can't get enough of. Love that sour sour funk and supporting my local brewery!

Related articles:
- Personal beer tour underway
- New Belgium revisited
- New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale review

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