Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Colorado Brewers' Festival highlights

The weekend couldn't have been more perfect for the 20th annual Colorado Brewers' Festival in old town Fort Collins. Around 20,000 beer enthusiasts turned out on a bright sunny day on Saturday June 27th to sample over 50 different beers from 30 Colorado breweries. There was plenty of beer, food, music and good times abound for this annual event. Every year the Colorado Brewers' Festival seems to get more and more popular.

The event spanned the entire two day weekend. Sunday's crowd was well attended as well but Saturday is normally the busiest day of the festival. Admission to the festival was $10 for a 2-day pass and beer tokens were just $2 for a full glass. Sunday, a one day pass ran for just $6. There was also plenty of food from dozens of local vendors. If you went away hungry from this event then it was your own fault for not trying at least one item.

Below are about 59 pictures from Saturday's session of the CBF that I posted out on Flickr. If you find a picture you like all I ask is that you provide a link back to Fermentedly Challenged and let everyone know where you got it from. Enjoy!

Brewery participants at this year's festival included: Anheuser-Busch, Aspen Brewery, Avery Brewing, Backcountry Brewery, Blue Moon Brewery, Boulder Beer Company, Breckenridge Brewery, Bristol Brewing Company, CB Potts Restaurant & Brewery, Coors, CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing, Crabtree Brewing Company, Del Norte Brewing Company, Dillon DAM Brewery, Durango Brewing Company, Estes Park Brewery, Golden City Brewery, Great Divide Brewing Company, Left Hand Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewery, Pitchers Brewery, Ska Brewing Company, The Fort Collins Brewery, The Grand Lake Brewing Company, Tommy Knocker Brewery, Twisted Pine Brewing Company and Wynkoop Brewing Company.

Later on, I hope to post some video highlights from this festival.

This is definitely an event not to miss. The CBF will be back again next year around the end of June. It's the perfect time of year for a beer festival - sunny, normally dry and not too hot yet. Don't miss it in 2010!

Related articles:
- 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival highlights
- 2008 Great American Beer Festival highlights
- 2008 Rocky Mountain Brewfest highlights

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Lost Abbey Judgment Day review

Lost Abbey Judgment Daysk and ye shall receive. I've been bugging my local liquor store to stock beers from Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey for a while now and during my last beer run I was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of beer from those breweries in stock. No more having to go to the next town for Lost Abbey! I chose to try their Belgian Dark Quad ale called: The Lost Abbey Judgment Day Ale. This brew came in a large 750ml wire corked wine bottle and cost just under $11.00.

Port Brewing just started shipping their beers to Colorado back in late 2008 and they decided to distribute most of their regular year round beers. Judgment Day was brewed with several different malts including: 2-row, wheat, medium and dark English Crystal, Special B and Chocolate malt. Then they hopped this brew sparingly with Challenger and East Kent Golding hops and fermented it with their own strain of Belgian ale yeast. Judgment Day turned out to be a hefty 10.5% ABV, certainly a beer to give some respect to and enjoy when you don't need to go anywhere else that night.

Judgment Day poured a dark dark brown that was almost purple in color. Around the edges of my chalice I saw some nice bright ruby red edges. When I untwisted the wire cage and pulled out the cork, this brew gave just a small quiet "pop". I don't believe it was overly carbonated but I knew from the floating yeast at the bottle of the bottle it had been conditioned in the bottle.

There was very little to no head on this beer. The little head I got was tan and quickly disappeared. Right after I opened the bottle I could tell from the initial smell that this was a big Belgian-style beer. The mix of Belgian yeast, raisins and malts gave this beer a wonderful floral and fruity aroma. It reminded me of a St. Bernardus Abt 12 or an Avery The Reverend quad that I've had before. With a strong ABV, I could also detect a whiff of alcohol in the nose. I knew this would have to be consumed slowly.

This beer had been cooled in the fridge for over a day and I knew it was probably a bit colder than it should be, so I let it sit out in the glass for about 20 minutes before sampling. Beers like this tend to taste better as they warm up a bit.

Seeing how this beer was brewed with raisins, I thought it might be interesting to pair this beer with some food that had raisins in it. I chose to make some warm cinnamon raisin toast and put a couple slices in my toaster and spread some butter over the top. Both the aroma of the warm bread and the quad ale were very inviting.

Upon taking the first sip I noticed that Judgment Day had a very heavy mouth feel. It was almost sticky like cough syrup but very drinkable. There wasn't much carbonation in this brew, something that probably would have improved this beer if there were a bit more bubbles. This beer seemed to coat my throat as it went down. The taste was big on malts and dark fruits. I could also tell immediately that the alcohol was very noticeable. I knew this one was going to be a slow sipper. After just 2 to 3 sips I started getting a warming feeling from this beer.

I must admit that it took about 6 to 8 sips of this beer before this beer became enjoyable and drinkable. Word of warning to my readers: If you have been used to the lighter summer ales for a while like I have, then it may take you about 1/3rd of your 1st glass to get used to this brew. Once I got used to it, the beer became highly enjoyable. Pairing this beer with the cinnamon raisin bread was wonderful by the way. The bread and beer really brought out the full flavor of the raisins in both.

I also caution you to drink this beer in an air conditioned environment because even served cold itself, this beer will make you hot and sweaty with that strong alcohol.

The Lost Abbey's Judgment Day is a fine example of a Belgian-style Quadrupel. While it was very enjoyable I've decided not to try this one again until the colder months of Fall and Winter return. This beer made me quite warm and sweaty, but satisfied just the same. I'm giving this beer a hearty Thumbs Up and invite you to try it yourself. I look forward to trying even more of their other beers in the future.

Related articles:
- The Lost Abbey Lost and Found review.
- St. Bernardus Abt 12 review.
- The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout review.
- Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale review.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche review

Dogfish Head Festina PêcheHere's a beer style you are starting to see more of these days, a Berliner Weisse. Dogfish Head is known for brewing up some rare and exotic brews and this one is no exception. This one is named: Dogfish Head Festina Pêche, a Berliner Weisse with peach juice. It's a wheat-based beer that was styled after a beer that was traditionally brewed in Berlin, Germany during the summer months.

According to Wikipedia, this style is typically a low ABV beer that's cloudy and light colored and relatively sour. The Berliners were known for mixing this beer with syrups or fruits to take a bit of the edge off the sourness. In this case, Dogfish Head mixed in peach juice concentrate in this beer to make it distinguished from all other Berliner Weiss'.

Appearance: Festina Pêche poured looking like a cloudy pilsner. It's light yellow colored and came with a moderate 2-finger bright white head that quickly went away. Swirling this beer created a bit of lacing but it was so thin that is is hardly noticeable.

Aroma: The aroma reminded me of a couple different beers. First, the smell reminded me of a wheat beer only with a bit more funk and a hint of fruit. I don't eat peaches often enough to know what they smell like, but whatever that fruitiness was must have been the peaches for sure.

This brew also had a unique yeastiness in the aroma that was hard to distinguish. This beer is supposedly bottle conditioned with a trace of yeast in the bottle yet I didn't notice any floaties in the beer when I poured it into the glass.

Taste: Festina Pêche was light bodied with an aggressive tartness on the front of the sip. Upon first taste I was immediately reminded of a sour ale. It was a remarkable tartness that was blended with peach and had a slight wheat kick. It tasted quite clean and gave me a very dry finish. Being light and low ABV (4.5%) this was a perfect drink for a warm early summer night.

I found myself drinking this one quite easily. So much so I opened up a second one and enjoyed two of them back to back. Now this is a style I could really take a liking to. It reminded me of a sour yet also like a flavored witbier. This was just the style I was looking for at this time of year.

I must admit, I enjoyed the taste of this beer much more than the funky smell of this beer. Normally, I have to enjoy both the taste and smell in order to thoroughly approve of it. But in this case, Dogfish Head focused on bringing out a highly tasty and sessionable brew.

Festina Pêche is available here in Colorado in a 4-pack and sells for around $11. Normally I hesitate to spend that much for just four beers if it's just a session brew. It's even a bit pricey for a 6-pack but then again this is Dogfish Head and all of their beers are a bit on the expensive side. I've also come to realize it's still worth the price.

Update 08/30/2014: - Dogfish Head has updated the label of this brew. Still the same great taste.

This was one of several beers from Dogfish Head I've tried. I simply loved their 90 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout and was pleasantly surprised by their cocoa infused Theobrama at the GABF in 2009. Festina Pêche was definitely worthy for my tastes and I would seek it out again as a great alternative to a sour ale or a standard session beer. It's that tartness that sold it for me. I really dug that sensation in a beer.

Related articles:
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA review.
- Dogfish Head World Wide Stout review.
- The people you meet at the GABF - Sam Calagione - Dogfish Head.
- 2008 GABF video tasting notes (Theobrama).

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Belgium Brewing is giving away bikes

New Belgium Brewing Has Awarded More Than 25 Free Bikes so Far; More Than 45,000 Have Entered to Win

Fort Collins, CO – This summer, New Belgium Brewing wants Americans to start riding their bikes. If you don’t have one at the ready, the brewery is giving away more than 1,500 cruiser bikes as part of the campaign titled, “The Beer, The Bike and The Tour de Fat.”

The Fort Collins maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale is giving away the exclusive cruiser bikes, previously reserved for employees on their one-year anniversary, every day online at between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In addition, bike drawings will take place throughout New Belgium’s areas of distribution. California is the only exception, as it is prohibited by state law.

“We wanted to spread the joy employees of New Belgium are gifted with their anniversary bikes. Many start commuting by bike as a result,” said New Belgium spokesperson Bryan Simpson. “While we have the Tour de Fat and Team Wonderbike to help people celebrate bikes they already have, this program actually provides the tool to change habits.”

The campaign page ( witnessed triple the average daily traffic of in the first week after launch and has stayed steady at high volume, increasing an additional 25 percent on certain days. As a result, New Belgium’s overall site traffic has also spiked to over double and sometimes triple its normal rate.

As part of its bicycle advocacy, New Belgium’s Tour de Fat is an eleven-city bike festival that has raised more than $1 million for bicycle non-profits since its inception in 2000. The 2009 Tour de Fat season kicks off in Chicago on July 11; visit for more information. Team Wonderbike is a commuter advocacy program in which 16,000 cyclists have pledged to offset more than 15 million driver miles in the coming months. To take the pledge, visit

To enter to win a bike, visit or watch for local promotions.

About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Amber Ale and other Belgian-inspired beers, began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces seven year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey, Mothership Wit and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases. In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship. For more information, visit


Related articles:
- New Belgium Mothership Wit review
- Tasting room notes from New Belgium
- New Belgium Lips of Faith Dark Kriek review

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Mountain Sun Belgian Beer Tasting June 22

Mountain Sun Brewers Tap Long Belgian Beer History

June 22nd Belgian Beer Tasting at the Southern Sun Pub to Include First Four House Belgian Recipes.

The Southern Sun Pub and Brewery will host the first-ever Mountain Sun Belgian Beer Tasting on Monday, June 22, 2009 at 4pm. In addition to tapping our first four house Belgian beer recipes, a unique menu designed to enhance the enjoyment of these specialty beers will be offered.

The menu includes charcuterie and cheese plate with toasted walnuts, green apple & spicy mustard, pork terrine with candied plums, spicy mustard & cornichons, and beer-boiled bratwurst with onion.

Until recently, American aficionados of Belgian style ales had to travel great distances to savor the unique flavor of these hand-crafted ales. Times have changed, however, and beer enthusiasts need only visit their local brewpub or specialty beer bar to enjoy American examples of the flavors inspired by the Trappist monks of Belgium.

As the Belgium trend spreads across America, the brewers at the Mountain Sun are hard at work exploring and experimenting with the beer styles of this region.

After all, beer is to Belgium what wine is to France.

The Mountain Sun's Belgian beers were named for the four Cardinal Virtues:

Temperance: 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. 5.6% ABV.

Prudence: 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 is balanced by the spicy, dry finish of the Belgian Yeast. 8% ABV.

Fortitude: 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 smooth taste deceive you; at over 9% ABV, this one packs a punch!

Justice: At approximately 9.5%ABV, this rich red 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.

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Related articles:
- Mountain Sun Brewpubs to feature 4 Cardinal Virtues
- Mountain Sun celebrates Stout Month
- Colorado brewers plan Tour of Colorado

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Twisted Pine rolls out Vanilla Chocolate Porter

The good brewery of Twisted Pine Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado is hosting a tapping party today for their newest creation - Twisted Pine Vanilla Chocolate Porter. The celebration begins at 12:00 noon and runs all the way until 9pm tonight.

Twisted Pine is known for their enormously flavorful and award winning beers. Here is a chance to try one of their latest ones. Knowing me, as a big fan of dark beers and a porter with not only vanilla but chocolate added as well I'm bound to enjoy this one regardless of the time of year.

Besides all of the beer flowing at Twisted Pine, there will be live music on hand for the rollout party. The band will be "Peter's Brother's Band".

See event poster after the jump.

Related articles:
- Twisted Pine Northstar Imperial Porter at the ACBF
- Twisted Pine Hoppy Boy IPA and Billy's Chilies at a beer fest
- Twisted Pine American Amber Ale review

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Extremely busy weekend for CO beer fests

2009 Colorado Beer FestivalsHoly cow! I didn't realize it until today when I checked the old 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals and Events list. This is probably one of the busiest weekends in Colorado for festivals and events. Summer has officially arrived! Just check out the activities going on this weekend here in Colorado:

Crabtree Summer Concert Series
June 19, 2009
Crabtree Brewing Company
Greeley, CO
Crabtree Summer Concert Series presents...THE BUZZ BROTHERS!!!! They play some jazz, they play some blues, they play some rock! This is an awesome band... not to be missed! They will start about 8:30pm. $2 Pints from 8pm-9pm and for the first time at the Crabtree Brewery... Fusco's Table will have sandwiches available.. to those in need of nourishment! A new band will be featured every Friday through July 10th.

Food & Wine Classic
June 19-21, 2009
Aspen, CO
The festival may be wine focused but Great Divide Brewing insures us that there will also be some great food and BEER pairings to be had at this 3-day summer festival. Beer lovers can run elbows with wine enthusiasts and attend seminars,exhibits and tastings amongst the beautiful Aspen scenery. Web site.

3rd Annual Summer Blast
June 20, 2009 (Sat)
The Promenade Shops at Centerra
Loveland, CO
Colorado's favorite restaurants, a beer garden and wine pavilion, local live music, Kid's Korner, an arts and crafts sidewalk sale, and a spectacular fireworks show. Festival goers will have the chance to taste from several different food vendors and get refreshed in the beer garden or wine pavilion. A Kid's Korner will offer a variety of inflatable amusement rides for kids of all ages to enjoy. A mega slide, obstacle course, and face painters will provide families hours of opportunity to have fun together. Admission to the Kid's Korner is free. A spectacular fireworks show will cap off the day at approximately 9:30 p.m. Festival goers are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for firework watching comfort. Web site.

Breckenridge Alehouse Brewfest
June 20, 2009
Grand Junction, CO
Join Avery Brewing Company in Grand Junction for a western slope brewfest. Kegs from multiple breweries will be tapped at 4:30 PM and pour "til their done". At the Breckenridge Alehouse, 2531 North 12th Street in Grand Junction. Call 970-242-7ALE for more info.

Left Hand Summer Solstice Party
June 20, 2009 (Sat)
Left Hand Brewing Tap Room
Longmont, CO
Saturday, June 20th marks the first day of summer and Left Hand Brewing is celebrating. Join them at the Tasting Room for free brats fresh off the grill, Sawtooth pints $1 off, and live music with The Curbfeelers. Left Hand will spark up the grill around 3pm and grill until they're gone.

2nd Annual Local Beer & Wine Festival
June 20, 2009 (Sat)
Whole Foods Tamarac / Merchant of Vino
Denver, CO
Join us on the patio on June 20th from 4-7pm and taste dozens of local wines and beers! Tickets are $20 and benefit Project PAVE, a local non-profit dedicated to promoting alternatives to violence through education. There will be great food, great locally made beer and wine, and lots of fun! Tickets are available at the customer service desk inside Whole Foods Market-Tamarac.

Fort Collins Irish Festival
June 20-21, 2009 (Sat-Sun)
Civic Center Park
Fort Collins, CO
The 2nd annual Fort Collins Irish Festival is bringing all things Irish to Larimer County. This annual tradition will feature local Irish bands, internationally acclaimed musicians, customary Irish cuisine, a big beer garden, interactive activities for the whole family, Irish and Celtic arts and crafts, Irish whiskey and much more! Slainte! Web site.

There are a lot more summer beer festivals coming up this summer. Check the 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals & Events listings on this blog for more. More events are being added and updated weekly.

Related articles:
- July 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals and Events
- August 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals and Events

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Bruery Orchard White review

I finally got to try a new beer from a brewery I hadn't seen here in Colorado until just recently. I had stopped by Liquor Max in Loveland Colorado to look at their fine selection of Belgians and other beers. I spotted another witbier in the cooler that had a high rating listed below it. My interest in witbiers these day are high and I jumped that the chance to try a beer from The Bruery from Placentia, California in the heart of Orange County. This bottle looked a lot like a wine bottle (perhaps on purpose) and was called Orchard White.

The Bruery's Orchard White weighed in at a moderate 5.7% ABV and was bittered to just 15 IBU so I knew this beer wasn't going to be heavy on the hop side. Witbiers can vary quite a bit for this style. Breweries tend to throw in a wide range of spices and try several different strains of Belgian yeast. This beer had gotten some good press and I wanted to see for myself how it tasted.

The bottle suggested serving this witbier fairly cold at 45 degrees in either a fluted glass or a wine glass. I chose the fluted glass as I admit I don't own any wine glasses. Orchard White poured darker than other witbiers I've seen. This was not a pale yellow but rather nearly orange. In the glass it appeared to look like apple juice with a very fizzy white and short lived head.

The head built up quickly and filled nearly half the glass but just as quick as it built up it faded down to nothing. This beer was highly carbonated. There were a lot of bubbles in this beer and the dissolving foam sounded more like champagne than beer. Swirling the beer in the glass yielded no extra head and there was absolutely no lacing from this beer.

The first pour out of this 750ml bottle was surprisingly clear. The label stated that this beer was unfiltered and bottle conditioned. I thought for sure it would (should) be cloudy but it wasn't. That would soon change, however, as the 2nd and 3rd glass got cloudier the deeper into the bottle I sampled. Just look at the picture close up, does that look cloudy to you?

Aroma: I noticed a more sweet but spicy aroma from this beer. The Bruery must be using a different strain of Belgian yeast than I've seen in most witbiers. The aroma was a bit floral and citrusy. The label suggested there was a hint of lavender in this beer - perhaps that was what I was smelling. It didn't have a wheat-like aroma like some wits but was more dominant on the spice (coriander) or lavender. I could detect a hint of orange peel in this beer as well.

Mouthfeel: I felt a sharpness hit the front of my tongue right from the start. The carbonation was very noticeable as it spread throughout the palate. Not only did the look remind me of champagne but also the feel. The bubbles would eventually subside later in the sampling but the initial pour was quite lively. The beer has a semi-clean finish with a very mild bitterness and a bit of a slippery feel. That may be due to the oats that were added to the brew.

Taste: Here is where the floral aspect of this beer comes through. Orchard White raises the bar a bit on the spices. Missing is the wheaty funk that some wit beers have but rather this one was nearly tart with sweetness but stopping just shy of it. As the smell hit me right before I tasted this beer I was already prepared for a sweet sensation. This beer was light bodied and refreshing. It could be a session brew as I was able to finish the entire 750ml bottle over the course of an hour with no problem yet it felt like a bigger beer.

I found myself wanting to just sip this beer. Due to the amount of carbonation, if I drank it too quickly I'd start to burp easily. After finishing the entire bottle, the beer left me with a very pleasant glow.

What's been interesting about sampling witbiers a lot these days is the variety that comes with this style. Apparently the taste in witbiers can go from grassy / biscuity to floral and sweet to strong and spicy. That's why sampling many different brands can be so much fun. Like Forrest Gump says, it's "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get".

Midway through the sampling, I paired this beer with some sharp yet soft cheddar cheese. The sharpness of the cheese countered the sweetness of this witbier perfectly and I enjoyed the pairing enormously. I had a couple of those Baby Bel cheese rounds in a wax shell. It was just the right contrast for this beer.

I enjoyed this beer a lot and will gladly give this beer a big thumbs up. The spices were balanced well but I found myself wanting something different by the end of the bottle. I can only handle so much spiced beer in one evening. Enjoy this one in moderation. One or two glasses are fine. This one is one of the better wits. Anyone know of an example of a really outstanding wit they could tell me about that may be available in the Rocky Mountain area? I'd be interested to find more good examples to try.

Related articles:
- New Belgium Mothership Wit review
- Samuel Adams Imperial White review
- Oskar Blues ships to California

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Belgium Mothership Wit review

New Belgium Mothership WitI've been on a witbier kick lately. Every since my visit to Texas Road House and I had a witbier there, I've tried 3-4 witbiers since and have been enjoying exploring this style. To be honest, this is a beer that I tasted years ago when I had first visited New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins. At the time, I was new to craft beer and hadn't yet developed a taste for Belgian-style wheat beers. I thought that now that I was touring witbiers that this would be a good time to revisit this old standard from New Belgium.

Mothership Wit is billed as an organic wheat beer. I think they label it this way because not only is it made with all natural organic ingredients, but it is closer to a wheat beer than it is to a witbier. Witbier is translated as "white beer" and the Belgian version of a witbier is spiced with coriander and orange peel. New Belgium lists both of those flavors as ingredients too so it matches the style fairly well.

Appearance: The Mothership poured a very pale yellow with a big frothy white head. It looked well carbonated and was cloudy as most wheat beers tend to be. I chose to pour it into a New Belgium glass instead of a fluted glass. This beer weighed in at 4.8% ABV and is easily considered a session beer.

Aroma: The aroma has a typical Belgian yeast aroma. It's slightly funky, citrusy and spicy and reminded me a bit of wild cut grass. This had more of a traditional wheat beer aroma than some of the witbier aroma I have had recently. If you've never had a wheat beer before it may take you a bit getting used to the smell of this beer.

Mouthfeel: Mothership Wit was initially bubbly on the tongue and coated it slightly with the grains and yeast. It had what I'd call a slippery feel to it, almost chewy. The bitterness of the brew could be felt throughout the entire tasting but was not overwhelming in the least.

Taste: Mothership Wit was rather biscuity, yeasty and a tad grass-like. I didn't notice the spices in this as much as other wits but rather the wheat and yeast dominate this drink. There was also a slight bitter aftertaste to this brew. I served this fresh out of the fridge and was quite refreshing when cold. Despite the funky wheat taste, it was smooth and thirst quenching. This beer would go quite well outdoors in the shade on a hot summer day.

This beer had a classic wheat taste with a Belgian twist. I got the feeling that New Belgium could have put a touch more coriander and orange peel in this beer. The yeast and wheat dominate here. It even tastes organic, if there is such a taste. I could imagine that I was drinking a glass of nature with this brew.

I noticed that the bottle had a "Best By Date" on it, however the label was slightly worn and I could not read the date on it except for a 2009 on the side. The beer tasted slightly unfresh as I had expected a bit more ZING to it. Hopefully it was from a fresh batch.

Overall: To be honest, this beer was not one of my favorites from New Belgium. I am a big fan of their 1554 Black Ale, La Folie, Dark Kriek, Biere de Mars and Mighty Arrow (and others). This beer had a bit too much wheat funk in it for my liking. Still, I was able to easily finish the entire 22oz bomber of this brew. Mothership Wit was well made but not in my top half compared to other witbiers I've tried recently.

I'll give this beer a tentative thumbs up with a note to others to be sure you enjoy wheat beers before picking up this beer. Its OK but a bit middle of the road for me. I have another witbier waiting for me in the wings that I'll be reviewing soon - Orchard White from The Bruery. Look for that review soon.

What do the rest of you think of NBB's Mothership Wit? Does this beer stand out for you? Let me know what you think of this.

Update: December 2011 - Rumor has it that Mothership Wit will go on indefinite hiatus in 2012. No word yet on if/when this beer will return to the line-up. In 2012 look for Dig and Shift to be added to the New Belgium mix.

Related articles:
- Tasting room notes at New Belgium
- New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale review
- New Belgium La Folie Sour Brown Ale review
- Samuel Adams White Ale at Texas Roadhouse

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Odell Twitterbrew video highlights

Odell BrewingI've finally gotten around to compiling the video highlights from last week's Odell Twitterbrew tapping party in Fort Collins. Apparently YouTube doesn't like it when you add music backgrounds to your videos, so I had to redo it all again. Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you highlights of my visit to Odell Brewing Company from May 30, 2009.

I hope to post some more video from my visits to New Belgium Brewing and the Fort Collins Brewery in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and thanks for visiting.

Related articles:
- St. Lupulin and the Twitterbird
- More Odell Blackbird tapping party highlights
- Odell breaks ground on expansion

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Odell Brewing officially breaks ground on expansion

Odell Brewing expansion 2009
Odell Brewing Company embarks on new expansion

[PRESS RELEASE] Fort Collins, CO - It was golden ales not golden shovels on June 9, 2009, as Odell Brewing Company officially broke ground on its new expansion. The project, which includes an expansion of the existing manufacturing, office, and tap room facilities, will help the brewery accommodate increased and enhanced brewing operations.

“While we are expanding capacity, we are really viewing this as an investment in innovation in both style and process,” said brewery owner Wynne Odell. Not only will the brewery gain much needed space, but it will also improve its creative brewing processes with investments such as a single-serve packaging line and a new barrel aging cellar.

Odell Brewing has partnered with local businesses RB+B Architects, BHA Designs, Northern Engineering, and Delta Construction for the project. The brewery has also incorporated multiple environmentally friendly installations and “green” considerations in its plans.

“The design team made a concerted effort to create a facility that is both healthy and efficient,” said project manager Brendan McGivney.

The brewery will work with Abound Solar on a roof mounted photovoltaic system. Abound’s solar panels, installed by Wirsol, will generate 50 KW of energy, which is approximately 1/3 of the brewery’s summer daily peak demand.

Solar tubes in the brewery’s new warehouse will provide natural lighting, and a day-lighting system will actually turn off light fixtures when this natural light is sufficient. The brewery will also include a water recovery system in its bottling line that will capture clean rinse water and use it for landscape irrigation.

In addition to the building, the brewery will include improvements to its parking, shipping, and overall landscaping. Drought-resistant plants will be used throughout the landscaping, and porous pavers will be used in the parking lot to minimize rain runoff. These porous pavers will be showcased by the city of Fort Collins as one of their Low Impact Development Pilot Projects.

Odell Brewing expects to complete the expansion in early 2010.

Odell Brewing is 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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Related articles:
- Odell Blackbird Twitter beer tapping party
- Odell Woodcut No 2 release day

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Avery Brewing updates new web site

Times are a changing and so has Avery Brewing. This week, Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colorado recently upgraded their web site and online merchandise store and is now boasting a brand new look. The old site is no more and the new site has been totally revamped to reflect the changing times at Avery Brewing. (

According to their latest newsletter:

"To celebrate and to show off our new Online Merchandise Store , we're having a MERCHANDISE SALE from 6/4 to 6/11 with 25 to 30% off select Avery merchandise. Check it out at the AVERY CLEARANCE SALE. More pages and features will be added soon!"

Avery Brewing also announced recently that they will be expanding their tasting room in Boulder once again. You'll soon have even more room for their local tasting sessions and events. Their new tap room hours are: Tues-Thur 2-8pm, Fri 2-10pm, Sat Noon-10pm and Sun 1-7pm. Thursdays there is live music there from 5-8pm. Every Friday Night there will be limited release tappings. Saturdays are "Drinking Helmet Day". Bring the helmet from your favorite hobby and you'll get $3 pints from their left tower. Sundays are hosted open mic day with a house band Hotfoot from 3-6pm.

Related articles:
- Avery unleashes Brabant
- Avery Ellie's Brown Ale review.
- Avery White Rascal review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Hog Heaven review.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale review.
- Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale review.
- Avery The Reverend review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery Ale to the Chief review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.
- Avery Redpoint Ale review.

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Colorado brewers plan Tour of Colorado

Avery/Ska brewers set to embark on a five day, 426 mile ride for charity and craft-brewing brotherhood

5 Days ~ 13 brewers ~ 426 Miles ~ 42,000 Vertical Feet

Avery BrewingBoulder, CO- It's not every day that your boss tells you to take a free, paid week off of work to labor across the mighty Rocky Mountains on a grueling 426 mile bicycle ride, climbing 42,000 vertical feet and questioning your sanity the entire way. Then again, Avery Brewing Company isn't your everyday brewery.

On Monday, July 20th 2009, 13 brewer-cyclists will depart on their bicycles from Avery Brewing Company in Boulder to kick off the inaugural brewers Tour of Colorado; a five day, 426 mile odyssey over 9 mountain passes from Boulder to Durango. En route, these thirteen hearty souls will be stopping at microbreweries and brewpubs in an effort to bring together Colorado craft brewers and encourage the fledgling spirit of collaboration and camaraderie that has taken hold in the craft beer industry.

The Tour of Colorado is a cycling incarnation of the attitude that Avery Brewing Company has always taken towards brewing. According to President/Brewmaster Adam Avery, "The passion we put into our beer is the passion we have for life. We've always brewed big, challenging beers and so we're choosing to challenge ourselves in the same manner. Most people think we're nuts, but all the brewers are okay with that!"

Each evening, after the day's riding is finished, the Avery brewers are teaming up with other craft breweries along the course to hold fundraising parties, with profits from pint sales, raffles and auctions going to local charities. Participating breweries include: Breckenridge Brewery (Breckenridge, CO), Eddyline Brewpub (Buena Vista, CO), Eldo Brewpub (Crested Butte, CO), Ourayle House (Ouray, CO) and the Ska Brewing Company (Durango, CO).

The ride will be marked with a kickoff party raising money for Community Cycles (a local bike charity) at the Avery Tap Room in Boulder on Sunday, July 19th and will conclude with the tapping of Wheelsucker Wheat Ale at the Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado on Sunday, July 25th. Wheelsucker Wheat Ale is a collaborative beer between Avery Brewing Company and Ska Brewing Company, brewed to commemorate the inaugural Tour of Colorado and celebrate the fraternity of Colorado craft brewers.

Established in 1993, Avery Brewing Company has developed a reputation as one of the most daring and forward-looking breweries in the nation. They are the brewers of Avery IPA, The Maharaja Imperial IPA, White Rascal Belgian Wheat Ale, Mephistopheles' Stout and eighteen other year-round and seasonal beers.

Contact: C.V. Howe, Marketing Specialist, 303-440-4324 or


Related articles:
- Avery makes plans for sweet Sixteen
- Ska Decadent Imperial IPA review
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Odell Blackbird tapping party highlights

Whew. Last weekend was certainly busy for my family and me but I managed to break away for a few hours and attend an event over at the Odell Brewing Company tap room Saturday. May 30th was the official tapping event for Odell's new Twitter inspired beer - Blackbird.

The entire beer was imagined, designed and labeled by Twitter followers of @OdellBrewing. For the last month and a half, Odell Brewing has polled their followers as to the style, the strength, the color and ultimately the name of the beer as well as the label. It was finally completed in a short period of time and released last Saturday.

Normally, last weekend would have been the annual Odell Small Batch Beer Festival, but expansion plans had canceled that event this year. However, due to the ever changing business climate, Odell Brewing had not yet broken ground on their expansion. Just as well, there was now plenty of room for hundreds of the Odell Brewing faithful to come out and celebrate.

Not only did the Twitter nation get to sample the new Blackbird schwarzbier but also their newest summer seasonal - St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale. Call it a double tapping party. St. Lupulin was due to be in stores on June 1st but the locals got to try it first. St. Lupulin was a nice orange hop packed brew that hit the spot on a partly cloudy but warm day in Fort Collins, Colorado.

There was quite a crowd that had gathered, although much less than what would have turned out for the Small Batch Beer Festival. Still, it was a perfect day to be outside and enjoying some fresh new ales from Odell. Doug Odell was not on hand that day as he was still busy returning from the Savor event in Washington DC.

All of the beer was available in $3 pints that day. They shut down the tasting sets for one afternoon and limited the crowd to their new brews and several of their standards on tap. I chose to sample just the Blackbird schwarzbier and the St. Lupulin that day as I was very eager to try something new. (And that's half the fun).

Odell Brewing even set up a live display of Twitter messages from followers who were either there at the event and tweeting or from others who simply wanted to get a reaction to the new brews. A laptop was set up along with a projector so that those passing through the tap room could glance at the comments being passed around.

I had quite a good time at Odell Brewing, as usual. I only stuck around for about and hour or so as I also wanted to get over to New Belgium Brewing and the Fort Collins Brewery the same day. I'll save those reports for one or two follow-up posts. Still, I took a ton of video and clipped out several stills from my visit that I'll share here. Enjoy!

I really enjoyed the Blackbird schwarzbier and the St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale. Odell really nailed those styles well. I savored every sip of those delicious beers. I'm hoping that they decide to make a Twitter brew an annual event with a different brew style each time. It was fun to participate in designing a brew via the internet (even though my suggestions didn't end up being selected).

See also: Odell Twitterbrew VIDEO highlights

Related articles:
- St. Lupulin and the Twitter bird
- Buckbean Black Noddy Lager review
- Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale review
- Great things come in small batches

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