Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bell's Two Hearted Ale review

Bells Two Hearted AleI recently had the golden opportunity to visit Southwestern Michigan for a week and sought out several local brews. One of the beers that I sampled was from a well known brewery that's located around the Kalamazoo area, Bell's Brewery. Bell's is known for their wide variety of craft beers. I had previously sampled their Amber Ale and their Porter a year ago and this time I chose to taste their Bell's Two Hearted Ale, an India Pale Ale that's available year round.

Bell's Two Hearted Ale might be a strange name for an IPA but the experience was not strange at all. Two Hearted Ale poured a dark copper orange color and yielded a small white head. The light lacing clung nicely to the side of the glass. The beer was very cold and appeared slightly hazy. There was a bit of noticeable carbonation in the glass.

The aroma was very citrusy with a slight pine after thought. I could also pick out a hint of the floral bouquet as well. It was a very pleasant, clean and inviting smell. I could tell that this IPA was going to be a wonderful experience even before I tasted it.

Upon the first couple of sips, Two Hearted Ale felt creamy yet crisp. It coated my tongue slightly and left a pleasant bitter finish in the mid-palette. The beer was nice and hoppy. There was just enough sweet caramel malt to blend well with the hops. Neither the hops or the malt were overly dominant.

Bells Two Hearted AleTwo Hearted Ale became more tasty as it warmed up. Be sure to let this beer warm up to about 50 degrees before sampling. It becomes much more flavorful. The taste reminded me of a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. It was nicely bitter but one I could have another one of easily. It had just enough alcohol in it that I had to give it some respect: 7% ABV.

Bell's Brewery has made a remarkable IPA. It begged to be paired with food but still tasted good all by itself. I certainly wish this beer was available out here in Colorado. I'll have to seek out more of this at the upcoming Great American Beer Festival in Denver (luckily Bell's will be at the GABF this year).

Related articles:
- Travels with Barley (featuring Bell's beers).
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA review.
- Green Flash West Coast IPA review.
- New Holland Dragon's Milk Ale (Michigan beers).
- A taste of The Livery (Benton Harbor, MI).

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pateros Creek Brewing Company coming to Fort Collins

Pateros Creek Brewing CompanyYou can find out a lot of things from Google News Alerts when you least expect it. This week, an article came out in the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper about a brand new brewery that is in the works and it looks like Fort Collins Colorado is about to get yet another brewery by next year. Say hello to Pateros Creek Brewing Company. (formerly called Horsetooth Brewing Co.)

Pateros Creek Brewing Company (PCBC) has been in the planning now for some time. Back in February 2009, PCBC made itself publicly known. They recently incorporated an LLC in the state of Colorado and intend to build a new brewing facility and open up to thirsty patrons sometime in 2010. While no location has been officially selected yet, brewer and founder Steve Jones is hoping to nail down a home for his brewery soon.

Pateros Creek will have a lot of local competition with the likes of Odell Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins Brewery, Coopersmiths and C.B. & Potts, not to mention living in the shadow of the big Anheuser Busch plant on the north side of the town.

Pateros Creek plans to put many of it's beers in cans. Upon launch, they plan to have 3 standard brews including: Cache la Porter (porter), Old Town Kolsch Style Ale (Kolsch) and Stimulator Pale Ale, based on a rye pale ale recipe. Other seasonal and rotating brews are being planned as well including an India Brown Ale, a Double American Blonde and beers brewed with spruce tips.

Their web site is already online at: as well as a Twitter account at @paterosbrew. According to Twitter, PCBC has already offered up sample of their brews at select local events and are gathering feedback on their beers.

The Pateros Creek's logo depicts the local mountains near Fort Collins with a beer glass and in particular, the image of Horsetooth rock inside the glass.

If all goes according to plan, beer lovers can expect to start seeing cans of Pateros Creek Brewing Company beer in local restaurants and liquor stores by mid-2010.

Update 10/30/2009: Due to trademark issues with Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing, Horsetooth Brewing is being forced to pick another name. Apparently, Coopersmith's has a trademark for Horsetooth Stout and is enforcing their rights to the name. Stay tuned for word on the new name. (See Coloradoan article)

Update: 11/16/2009: The new name will be Pateros Creek Brewing Company. See details.

Related articles:
- Colorado Brewery and Brewpubs list.
- Tasting room notes from New Belgium Brewing.
- Odell Brewing officially breaks ground on new expansion.
- Fort Collins Brewery debuts 1900 Amber Lager.
- Lunch at Coopersmith's Pub and Brewing.
- C.B. & Potts releases the hound.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast review

Mikkeller Beer Geek BreakfastI've heard a lot about this brewer recently and it encouraged me to pick up a bottle of one of their beers. Normally I don't review stouts in the summer time but I felt compelled to open one up the other night and thought - "What the heck! I'll drink a stout in the summer!". Mikkeller is essentially a gypsy brewery from Denmark. What makes this a gypsy brewery is that they go around to various other breweries and make batches of their beer remotely. So while the brewers are based in Denmark, their beers can be literally made from anywhere. Today's beer review is one of their many stouts and is called: Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast.

Now let me tell you right up front, despite the fact that I call myself a Beer Geek I draw the line when it comes to drinking alcohol early in the morning. Breakfast beverage or not, this oatmeal stout blended with coffee weighs in at 7.5% ABV and comes in a 16.9oz (500ml) bottle and would get you a tad tipsy in the morning. I chose instead to imbibe in the early evening during my normal tasting time.

This particular beer was brewed not in Denmark but in Norway at Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norge. I already know how good Nøgne Ø beer is but how would a guest beer from that brewery taste? I was eager to find out for myself.

Appearance: The bottle opened up with a loud hiss when de-capped. As I poured this beer into my English pint glass a towering head quickly built up, and I mean BUILT WAY UP! Despite trying to pour this beer very carefully, there built up a head that was 4 to 5 fingers tall. Wow. That's a big dark tan head that just wouldn't quit. The foam stuck around for a very long time. I had to let the beer settle for about 10 minutes before I could drink it. I took a 2nd picture below to show you how it looked when I could finally fill up the glass.

Beer Geek BreakfastBeer Geek Breakfast pours extremely dark. One of the darkest beers I've seen. It's thick and viscous looking and reminds you of molasses (or motor oil). Kinda like Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy.

Aroma: The aroma is very powerful. My nose was filled with the smell of black licorice, roasted dark malts, dark fruit, coffee (of course) and a slight whiff of alcohol. This isn't an imperial stout but it's darn close. I could also pick out the scent of their Centennial and Cascade hops in this brew. I don't normally smell hops in a stout but I could in this beer.

Taste: As I took the first sip I was slightly surprised at the bitterness and dryness of this beer. It was thick and chewy yet smooth. I knew this would be a big beer and could possibly be a bit over the top for a "breakfast beer".

Coffee initially dominates the first part of the tasting. There is such a strong sense of coffee I almost felt like adding some cream and sugar to it. Yes, it does remind me of coffee. It's rich and malty and has the added taste of bitter chocolate and black licorice. It's creamy though.

After a few sips the bitterness mellows out and it becomes a much smoother drinker. I've had sweeter stouts than this but it's a very distinguishable beer. The gourmet coffee really changes this brew.

I'd be very tempted to pair this stout with either cinnamon toast or perhaps a thick cinnamon sweet roll that's covered with white frosting. Only then would I consider this to be a good breakfast beer. It shouts to be paired with something sweet. Ice cream also comes to mind. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of those food items handy for this evening's sampling.

The beer gave me a nice warm glow. In a 71 degree room the beer nearly broke me out in a sweat. I'd prefer to drink this beer in cooler conditions. The beer itself was only slightly cooled and was about 15 degrees lower than room temperature. Perhaps it would taste a bit better colder, say around 50 degrees.

Overall: Mikkeller makes one impressive stout. It was a very good drink. The only downside for me was the fact that I'm not a coffee drinker and the amount of coffee flavor in this beer was a bit too much for my liking. Still, I had no problem drinking it down and would recommend it to anyone who loves stouts and especially coffee. I'll give this beer a decent Thumbs Up and would drink this again sometime this fall or winter.

Related articles:
- Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout review.
- Youngs Double Chocolate Stout review.
- Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale review.
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review.
- Goose Island Bourbon County Stout review.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Upslope Brewing offers up 1st in single batch beers

Upslope Brewing CompanyOne of Boulder's newest breweries, Upslope Brewing Company, today announced that they will be releasing a new line of beers in their Single Batch Series starting this month. Their 1st such offering will be called: Belgian Dubbel Ale. Below is an excerpt from their latest newsletter dated August 19th. Get to their Boulder tap room to try this one.


[PRESS RELEASE] The Belgians have invaded North Boulder! Come join us for the very special release of our "Belgian Dubbel Ale" this Saturday from 2:00-6:00 PM. To celebrate, Belgian Dubbel pints will be offered for $3. We will also have food offered by a local caterer. Buffalo 5 Piece, a local bluegrass band, will be providing live tunes (beer and live music is a wonderful pairing). Our neighbors, BookCliff Winery, will also be having a shin-dig for the wine lover in you.

Upslope's Belgian Dubbel is available only at the Upslope Brewing Company tap room.

Belgian Dubbel Profile:
Our Belgian Dubbel style ale is a dark, amber beer brewed in traditional Belgian style. This beer features intense flavor from Belgian specialty malts and authentic Belgian candi syrup.
IBU: 30
ABV: 7.5%
Body: Light to Medium

Upslope Single Batch Series:
This Belgian Dubbel is the first release in our "Single Batch Series". These ales resulted from our brewers' spreading their wings and revealing their versions of styles brewed around the world. You will hear about these new releases as they become available in the Upslope Tap Room.

# # #

Footnote: Upslope is already making their next batch in their Single Batch Series today (8/19/2009) and should be ready in 3 weeks (Re: Twitter update).

Related articles:
- Upslope Brewing opens in Boulder (Nov 2008).
- Upslope's new Dunkelweizen (Colorado Brewery Happenings May 2009).
- The Lost Abbey Lost & Found review (Belgian Dubbel).

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coffee and Beer collide in new Fort Collins Brewery release

Fort Collins Brewery Common GroundWatch out Starbucks, there's a new coffee beverage coming that has a bit of an alcohol kick to it. The Fort Collins Brewery of Fort Collins, Colorado has announced that they will be releasing a brand new brew this month that will mix three different kinds of locally roasted coffee beans in with an amber ale. When you mix two highly different beverages together you have to find some common ground between them to make it work. FCB thinks they've done just that with the announcement of Common Ground.

FCB describes this brew as follows on their new label:
"A celebration of craft beans, craft brews, collaboration and innovation resulted in this rare and enticing brew. Together FCB and Jackie’s Java carefully cupped, sniffed, roasted and brewed three distinct varieties of coffee that resulted in an amber ale playfully infused with bold coffee notes."

FCB got together with local coffee roaster Jackie's Java and came up with a combination that seemed to work well. Common Ground will be available at the Fort Collins Brewery tap room as well as being sold in 22oz bombers. Look for this brew to be available very soon (by the end of August). Rumor has it that this may be another in their year-round beer offerings.

I know what some of you are thinking, with so much coffee mixed into this brew, would this make a good breakfast beverage? Hmmm. Who knows. Probably not on a work day, but weekends are fair game for sure.

Read a review of this beer!

Update: Fort Collins Brewery announced that they have brewed up an Oatmeal Raisin Stout(8/19/09) and will be available September 17th, 2009. All profits from this beer will go to the CSU Brewing Science Program.

Related articles:
- Fort Collins Brewery Incredible Hop Imperial Black IPA review.
- Fort Collins Brewery Barrel Licked Bock review.
- A fresh look at the new Fort Collins Brewery.

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Odell plans more barrel beers and tappings

Odell Brewing Bourbon Barrel StoutEverywhere you look these days, more and more craft brewers are turning to wood barrels to age and condition their beer in. While it may not be unique any longer, the barrel trend is still most popular and here in Colorado the drinking populous can't seem to get enough of it. Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado is no stranger to putting beer into wooden containers either. Their recent Woodcut series of beers have been a hit so far.

Now Odell is continuing that trend by applying the wooden barrel to more of their beers. Coming up in September, Odell will host a tapping party for their latest brew - namely their Bourbon Barrel Stout. The tapping event will take place at the brewery on Labor Day, Monday September 7th at 1pm. No doubt this beer basked in bourbon barrels will be in limited supply, so if you happen to fancy a dark brew with a hint of bourbon in the aroma and taste then head on over to Odell. Below is their official news release on this beer:

[PRESS RELEASE] Odell Brewing Releases Bourbon Barrel Stout

Bourbon Barrel StoutFort Collins, CO – In September, 2009, Odell Brewing Company will release its Bourbon Barrel Stout, an Imperial Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels. Bourbon Barrel Stout was first debuted in the brewery’s tap room where it was only available in draft.

“We created this beer on our pilot brewing system for the tap room,” said tap room manager Jason Bowser, “We couldn’t keep it in stock, so we made it again. And after several repeats, the beer had developed quite a local following. It’s my personal favorite; vanilla, chocolate, with a subtle bourbon flavor...what’s not to like?”

Aged for four months in bourbon barrels from the Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky, the Bourbon Barrel Stout is a robust yet balanced beer. Roasted malts give it a chocolate and coffee overtone, and the oak creates hints of vanilla and caramel. At 10.5% ABV, this stout pairs well with smokey BBQ sauce or even rich desserts.

The Bourbon Barrel Stout will be bottled in 750 ml bottles with a cork and cage finish. It is the first offering in a new series of single serve bottled beers that will include an India Barley Wine, and an all Colorado hopped beer out later this fall.

Odell Brewing will celebrate the release of the Bourbon Barrel Stout during Bourbon Heritage Month with a tapping party on September 7th at the brewery’s tap room. Festivities begin at 1:00 pm with the brewer’s toast. Bourbon Barrel Stout will be available in the brewery’s eight state distribution region at a suggested retail price of $14.99 - $15.99 per bottle.

# # #

Fermentedly Challenged comment: This won't be the only barrel beer coming out, Odell also let it be known in their latest August newsletter that they are also planning to release a Brett Barrel Brown Kriek. A sour brown fermented with a wild yeast and cherries. I have a feeling that beer will be a popular one and also in short supply.

Odell Brewing is one of the kings of small batch pilot brewing. At any given time in their tap room you can find at least a few test batches on tap that were made from ideas born from any one of their employees. Just take a look at what's on their pilot taps right now at Odell:

- Orange Blossom Honey Ale
- St. Lupulin (hops!)
- Ze Bolschivik Beet Ale (beets?)
- Nitro IPA
- Nitro Porter
- Rye'd on Rye Pale Ale
- Crismon Shenanigans

Live music will also be on hand at Odell's tap room on Wednesdays.

Related articles:
- Celebrating with Odell Woodcut No 1.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Odell officially breaks ground on expansion.
- Odell Blackbird tapping party video highlights.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Colorado breweries for 2009 GABF announced

2009 GABFAs the date for the 2009 Great American Beer Festival draws nearer, the Brewers Association has recently announced the complete list of 450+ breweries and brewpubs that will be in attendance for this year's fest.

Colorado will represent one of the largest (if not the largest) group of breweries (67 in all) to be in attendance. That's nearly 15% of all of the total number of breweries.

Below is the complete list of Colorado breweries and brewpubs that are planning to attend as of today (8/17/2009).

2009 GABF Breweries/Brewpubs from Colorado

AC Golden Brewing Company Golden CO
Amicas Salida CO
Asher Brewing Company Boulder CO
Aspen Brewing Company Aspen CO
Avery Brewing Company Boulder CO
Backcountry Brewery Frisco CO
Big River Grille & Brewing Southeast Broomfield CO
Blue Moon Brewing Company Golden CO
Boulder Beer Company Boulder CO
Breckenridge Brewery Denver CO
Bristol Brewing Company Colorado Springs CO
Bull & Bush Brewery Denver CO
Carver Brewing Co. Durango CO
CB & Potts Fort Collins CO
Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery Ridgway CO
Colorado Brewing Company/ Drafthouse Boulder CO
CooperSmith's Pub and Brewing Fort Collins CO
Coors Brewing Company Golden CO
Del Norte Brewing Co. Denver CO
Dillon DAM Brewery Dillon CO
Dostal Alley Brewpub & Casino Central City CO
Dry Dock Brewing Co. Aurora CO
Durango Brewing Company Durango CO
Estes Park Brewery Estes Park CO
Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company Glenwood Springs CO
Golden City Brewery Golden CO
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group Broomfield CO
Grand Lake Brewing Company, The Grand Lake CO
Great Divide Brewing Co. Denver CO
Gunnison Brewery Gunnison CO
Hops Grill and Brewery Golden CO
Kannah Creek Brewing Company Grand Junction CO
Left Hand Brewing Company Longmont CO
Main Street Brewery & Restaurant Cortez CO
McClellan's Grill & Brewing Company Canyon City CO
Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery Boulder CO
New Belgium Brewing Company, Inc. Fort Collins CO
Odell Brewing Co. Fort Collins CO
Old Mill Brewery, LLC Littleton CO
Oskar Blues Brewery Longmont CO
Pagosa Brewing Co Pagosa Springs CO
Palisade Brewery Palisade CO
Phantom Canyon Brewing Company Colorado Springs CO
Pug Ryans Brewery Dillon CO
Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant Longmont CO
Redstone Meadery Boulder CO
Rock Bottom - Colorado Springs Colorado Springs CO
Rock Bottom Brewery - Denver Denver CO
Rock Bottom Brewery - Orchards Westminster CO
Rock Bottom Brewery - Westminster Westminster CO
Rock Bottom South Denver Englewood CO
Rocky Mountain Brewery Colorado Springs CO
Rockyard Brewing Company Castle Rock CO
Sandlot, The Denver CO
Silverton Brewery Silverton CO
Ska Brewing Co. Durango CO
Smuggler's Brewpub & Grille Telluride CO
Steamworks Brewing Co Durango CO
Tommyknocker Brewery Idaho Springs CO
Trinity Brewing Co Colorado Springs CO
Twisted Pine Brewing Company Boulder CO
Upslope Brewing Co. Boulder CO
Walnut Brewery Boulder CO
Wild Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery Nederland CO
Wolf Rock Brewing Co. Keystone CO
Wynkoop Brewing Company Denver CO
Yak and Yeti Brewpub Arvada CO

Add them all up and that's roughly 60% of all Colorado beer producers to be present.

For a complete list of all 450+ breweries, check out the official GABF site. Get your tickets soon, the Saturday afternoon session is over 95% sold out already.

Related articles:
- Details start arriving on Denver Beer Fest
- 2008 GABF video tasting notes
- Celebrating blog anniversary at the GABF
- What did you drink at the GABF?

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA review

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPAThe following is the 2nd in a 2-part series of beer reviews from Bear Republic Brewing Company. Today's review covers one of their most popular ales: Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale (IPA). I had the opportunity to sample this beer previously at last year's Great American Beer Festival but only up until recently, their beers weren't available in Colorado. So now I get to do a full review with the benefit of sampling an entire bottle.

Bear Republic has already gained quite a following from their Racer 5 IPA and I was eager to try this again. There was quite a loud hiss when I popped the cap from this 22oz bomber bottle. Racer 5 pours a deep golden color with hints of red along the edges. The brew gave me a nice thick foamy off-white head that built up to 3 fingers tall and stayed there for quite a while. This is a bottle conditioned ale so I expected to see some sediment in this beer. However, the first pour was quite clear in my pint glass.

Just as soon as I opened up the bottle, the aroma seemed to leap out of the bottle. It had a wonderful hop bouquet. It was piney, floral and citrusy. The smell alone told me that this beer was going to be a good one. I simply couldn't get enough of that aroma.

As expected, the first sip or two was bitter with a drying effect on the end. However, the mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with a full bodied texture. The blend of malts, hops and yeast gave this beer a nice crisp taste. Bear Republic put in a generous amount of Columbus and Cascade hops into this beer but held back from going too far with the IBUs.

The taste was quite refreshing on a warm summer evening but again, this beer begged to be paired with some cheese and crackers which I had ready and waiting for me this time. Alternating taking a sip of Racer 5 and a small bite of cheddar and cracker was a delight. It didn't take long to fully enjoy this tasting session. I loved it from the start.

I could pick up an underlying sweetness of the malts when not inhaling as I sipped. But just as soon as I breathe in, the hop sensation nearly masks the sweetness of the grains. Bear Republic must have spent a good amount of time getting the balance right on this IPA and it shows. This is the kind of IPA that I could make my everyday kind of beer.

Racer 5 IPAIt's rare for me to give an IPA a big compliment. Generally, IPA's are way too dominant on the hops, but this one struck a chord with me. I'd rank this one up with the likes of a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA or a Stone IPA. It's not a lightweight beer by any means, it measures 7.0% ABV and will give you the full experience. The 22oz bomber bottle was all that I wanted and was just right.

The last pour out of the bottle yielded a fair amount of sediment but it drank down just fine with no noticeable off flavors. So go right ahead and give this beer an aggressive pour all the way to the bottom. The rich aroma, awesome head and great taste will not disappoint.

I'm giving this beer a big Two Thumbs Up and a definite HELL YES on my repeat buy list. If you get a chance to try this brew you really should go for it. Now that I've tried their Red Rocket Ale and their IPA I know that I'd love to try their stout. I'm hoping my local stores will stock that one as well.

Related articles:
- Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale review.
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA review.
- Russian River Blind Pig IPA review.
- Victory HopDevil IPA review.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale review

Bear Republic Red Rocket AleEvery once in a while you spot an out of state brewery's beers being sold here in Colorado that just makes you stop and have to pick up a couple samples. When I spotted some beers from California's Bear Republic brewery I knew I had to grab them. Today I'll be reviewing the 1st of two different Bear Republic beers, this one is their Red Rocket Ale. Red Rocket Ale is billed as a "bastardized" Scottish style red ale that is aggressively hopped. It's unfiltered and bottled conditioned and supposedly "breaks all the style molds". Don't you just love it when a brewery says that? You don't know what to expect.

Appearance: I looked inside the bottle and couldn't spot any sediment floating around at the bottom of the 22oz bottle, so if it was bottle conditioned I couldn't tell up front. Red Rocket pours a dark mahogany red (nearly brown). The 1st pour out of the bottle looks clear and was clear. No evidence of being unfiltered. There was a very nice 2 to 3 finger tall tan head that was thick and creamy looking. The head stuck around for quite a long time and left a noticeable clingy lacing on my Sam Adams beer glass. Gotta love a nice thick head.

Aroma: The initial aroma out of the bottle was dominated by hops. It was piney and citrusy like a grapefruit and reminded me instantly of a hoppy Pale Ale or a IPA. I knew there was an abundance of malts here but the hops took center stage at first.

Mouthfeel: Just as soon as I took my first sip I felt a sharp tingling on the front of my tongue. The hops were making a frontal assault on my mouth. I haven't had a big hoppy beer in a while and it felt like I was being punished for enjoying too many light summer beers. Red Rocket has a medium body that felt resiny, bitter and immediately drying to the mouth.

Taste: My initial reaction was, whoa - hops! I swore this reminded me of an IPA up front. It took me several sips before I got past the abundant hop hit and I could taste the caramel malts in this beer. The beer may have been a bit too cold initially and as it warmed up a bit the malts then fought their way back into the mix. It's kinda of like one of those Shock Tarts, where the sour hits you immediately up front before you can taste the sweet beneath. Same theory here, only hop bitterness up front then revealing the nice complex malts underneath.

This is one of those beers that gets much better as you go along. Serve this beer around 45 to 50 degrees and you'll be all set. Sipping this by itself wasn't enough, I just had to pair this with some cheese so I quickly opened up a small round of sharp cheddar cheese and alternated between the beer and the cheddar. Mmm, nice. Quite the combo it was. An excellent cheese pairing goes a long way to enhancing your drinking experience with this beer.

Overall: This red ale is quite delicious once your taste buds adjust. It really didn't remind me of a Scottish ale like Oskar Blues Old Chub (for example) but rather reminded me of an Odell's Red Ale instead. At 6.8% ABV, the Red Rocket Ale isn't exactly a session beer either. It's hoppy, malty and has a respectable kick to it. This would be a nice beer to compliment a full meal. I'd pair it also with beef, fish or poultry. I was easily able to finish the entire 22oz bottle. Quite good!

The only other time I've had a beer from Bear Republic was at last year's Great American Beer Festival where I sampled their Racer 5 and Racer X beers. In fact, the 2nd of my two Bear Republic reviews will be on the Racer 5 IPA which is coming up shortly. Look for that review here.

Related articles:
- Oskar Blues Old Chub Scottish Style Ale review
- Odell Red Ale review
- Stone Levitation Ale review

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CB & Potts to release the hound

Thanks to my fellow BeerAdvocate's for sharing this bit of news from the Fort Collins CB & Potts restaurant and brewery. The following is a statement announcing some new brews to be released at an upcoming tapping party.

You're all invited to "The Releasing of the Hound."

CB & Potts is having a V.I.P. tasting featuring our two newest Beers, Saturday the 22nd of August from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the CB & Potts Ram Room (upstairs in the restaurant). There will be no food at the event though we will have a wait-person available if hunger sets in.

A little about the beers

Barking Dog Scottish Ale (80 Shilling, also known as a Scottish Export) (brewed by Jeff N. and the brew crew at Ft. Collins CB & Potts)

This beer brewed in the classic style of the British Isle is the winner of the best of show at the Liquid Poets (local home brew club) most recent "Slam" competition and the Gold medal winner of the 2008 GABF Pro-Am competition. We here at Big Horn were lucky enough the select this brew as our very own Pro-Am entry for the 2009 GABF.

Scottish Exports exhibit a rich malty aroma and flavor with notes of caramel and smoke, they are medium-light bodied and have minimal hop presence. They should have little to no ester (fruit) profile and alcohol is in the middle 4s. This is a very easy drinking ale perfect for the late summer months.

For those of you that don't know about the Pro-Am competition at the GABF (Great American Beer Festival) I will fill you in. The Pro-Am works like this, A professional (commercial) Brewer teams up with an award winning Home Brewer to scale up the Home Brewers award winning recipe to a commercial sized batch. The beer is then entered in to the GABF in a category with 90 + other beers and awards go to the top three Brews. Not only is the brew entered into the GABF but it is Featured at the pub as well. Way Cool eh!

The second brew we will be featuring is our old favorite "6X Golden Lager". This brew is brewed in the Münchner Helles Style. It was the winner of the GABF 2006 silver medal in the Munich-style Helles category. This style features a delicate toasty-bready malt profile, herbal notes from noble hops and low bitterness with alcohol is in the mid 4s. Another summer favorite. We will be selling this brew as our light beer for the next month or two, so if you like it just ask for a "LIGHT".

Drop in for a taste from 6:00 to 7:00 Saturday the 22nd. CB & Potts - 1427 W Elizabeth St, Fort Collins - (970) 221-1139

# # #

Related articles:
- 2009 GABF details
- Fort Collins Brewery debuts 1900 Amber Lager
- Odell Twitterbrew tapping party video highlights

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Avery Sui Generis set to debut in September 2009

Avery Sui GenerisFollowing upon their success of the first barrel-aged brew, Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado has today announced that their 2nd such beer, Sui Generis, will be released at the Avery Tap Room on Wednesday, September 23rd at 3pm until 8pm.

Sui Generis will be another limited batch brew. Only 128 cases of it were bottled. This beer will be offered up in individual 12oz bottles and be priced at a premium over other craft beers. None of this beer will be available from a tap at the tapping party but everyone who attends will have the chance to purchase up to 6 bottles of this new brew.

Sui Generis is a blend of ales that were aged in either Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, Chardonnay barrels, Port barrels and/or Bourbon barrels. It has a mix of three types of yeast: Brettanomyces, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus. The beer weighs in at 10.65% ABV and is bound to be another winner from Avery.

The brew is described as: "... a complex ale, aged and artfully blended from several types of oak barrels, and displays a delightful lactic sourness complimented by hints of brett, oad and acetic. Intricate yet bold, deeply complet yet surpirsingly refreshing, Sui Generis was crafted in the tradition of perennial Tap Room favorites De Vogelbekdiern and Voltron."

This this beer is as popular as their Brabant was it should sell out quickly. And while you're at it, pick up some of their latest seasonal releases: The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest Lager and The Beast Grand Cru Ale. Both are now in stock this week.

So what's coming next in their barrel-aged series? How about these:
- #3 Gosling's Rum Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout - Late 2009
- #4 Cerasus - Late 2009

This news came from Avery's newsletter dated: August 13, 2009.

Related articles:
- Avery unleashes Brabant - barrel-aged beer.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Celebrating with Odell Woodcut No. 1.
- New Belgium Dark Kriek review.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oskar Blues Old Chub review

Oskar Blues Old ChubHoly cow! How could I have missed this one? I've been drinking Oskar Blues' craft beers in a can for a few years now and I've yet to post a review of one of their best ales - namely: Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale. I've had a 12-pack in my basement for months and forgot to post about it. I guess when there are lots of the same beer available I tend to put off reviewing it. Well no longer! Here's what I think of one of the original Oskar Blues craft beers from a can.

I had this beer chilling down in the fridge waiting for me to finish mowing the yard tonight. It was early evening, the sun was still up and it was in the upper 80's. After 45 minutes of mowing I had worked up a big sweat. I quickly showered and grabbed a cold can of Old Chub as a refresher. Now normally this is not what I'd call a "lawnmower" beer, but I was thirsty and this was ready and waiting, so I poured it into a nice clean beer glass.

Appearance: Old Chub is considered a Strong Scottish Ale weighing in at 8.0% ABV. It poured dark, but light enough to barely see through with some ruby red edges. The light tan head rose about 2 fingers tall in my Sam Adams beer glass but quickly dissipated. I swirled the beer in the glass and a thin light lacing clung to the glass. Being in a can, the beer was not conditioned in it's container but instead held whatever carbonation could be put into it at canning time. Being a dark and thick beer, I wasn't expecting much carbonation anyway.

Aroma: The aroma on this Scottish ale was rich with malts. Oskar Blues put in over 7 different malts into this recipe including a lot of caramel and chocolate malts. The aroma is simply filled with a sweet smell of dark malts with just a hint of some smoked malt. The smell of this beer has a way of saying "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!" - Mike Myers - SNL. And I guarantee you, this beer is not crap, it's damn good.

Old Chub (2013)Taste: At first sip, the rich thickness of this full bodied beer coats your tongue. It felt creamy smooth. This is no lightweight beer laddie. It has a way of sliding down your throat and spanking you at the same time. You gotta respect this brew in moderation or it will sneak up on you.

Old Chub has a rich sweet malty taste with just a hint of bitterness and smokiness. This beer is a slow sipper and tastes good both cold and as it warms up. If I close my eyes I am slightly reminded of caramel corn but with a distinct alcohol wiff to it. I fell in love with the aroma of this beer.

Overall: I swear, even after taking a quick cool shower after mowing the lawn and then opening up this beer cold, it gave me a bit of sweat from it's heat. But it's the type of heat that I enjoy. This is one of my favorite beers from Oskar Blues. It's certainly not a session brew but it goes down well for a strong ale. Kudos to Dale and Oskar Blues for putting out a great canned craft beer. I wish all beer from a can tasted this good. I'll definitely keep buying this beer in the future and will stock it regularly. It keeps well in the can and you can store it for several months (that is if you can keep from drinking it all too soon).

Related articles:
- Oskar Blues Old Chub inspires a new bread.
- Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale review.
- Oskar Blues Gordon review.
- Cellaring notes on Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Natalie Cilurzo of Russian River to attend Falling Rock tapping

Falling Rock Tap HouseOne of Denver's best beer bars has announced several upcoming tappings and events for early August. Below is an excerpt from Chris at Falling Rock and their most recent newsletter. Russian River's own Natalie Cilurzo will be on hand for a tapping celebration. Read on!

Thursday August 13th 5-7pm Russian River Temptation Release

Temptation: "Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak" sounds more like a description of wine than beer. However, Temptation is indeed beer. Temptation is a Blonde Ale aged in French oak chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout its aging. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation--a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle. 7.25%ABV / 1.062 O.G.

Silver Medal, 2007 GABF (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer)
Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup (Other Belgian Style Ale Category)
Silver Medal, 2004 World Beer Cup (Other Belgian Style Ale Category)
Silver Medal, 2003 GABF (Belgian Ale Category)
Gold Medal, 2002 GABF (Belgian Ale Category)

Natalie Cilurzo will be attending the release party so come on out & join us.

Have a great day.
Chris (Falling Rock Tap House)

Related articles:
- Video tour of Falling Rock Tap House (Denver).
- Russian River Blind Pig IPA review.
- Russian River Pliny the Elder Review.

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Great Divide August brewery releases

Great Divide recently released it's August newsletter. Great Divide has been extremely busy this year rolling out new release after new release and the pace is not slowing down so far. Below is a clipping from their newsletter highlighting some of their upcoming beer releases.

"We’ve brought you a lot of new beers this year—from Claymore and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti to Belgica, Dunkel Weiss and beyond—and this month we’ll release the final two offerings in our new seasonal schedule: Hoss and Tripel.

Hoss is our first commercially released lager, based on the Märzen/Oktoberfest beers of Germany, but with the unique addition of rye, which adds just a hint of spiciness to the beer’s richly malty yet crisp and quaffable character. We think Hoss makes a great late-summer beer, and it’ll be available in six-packs through October 1 for your enjoyment.

Tripel is our nod to the classic strong abbey ales of Belgium, bursting with fruity yeast character and boasting a dangerous level of drinkability. Tripel will be available in 22-ounce bottles through October 1.

Thanks to all of you loyal fans, this year has been so successful for us that we’re expanding yet again; this month we’ll take delivery of two new 100-barrel fermenters, which will increase our production capacity by 15 percent. You all are keeping us super busy, and we love it.

Stay tuned over the next few months for Hibernation, Fresh Hop and the newest batch of our Stranahan’s Whiskey-barrel-aged beers…"

Related articles:
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review
- Great Divide Hades Ale review
- Great Divide St. Bridget's Porter review

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Breckenridge Brewery to bottle Lucky U IPA

Breckenridge Brewery Lucky IPAIf you've been fortunate enough to attend some of Colorado's beer festivals during June and July you may have had the chance to sample one of Breckenridge Brewery's latest year round offerings. Up to now, this beer has only been available in kegs at select establishments and beer festivals. But starting in October, you'll be able to buy this beer in 6-packs at local stores. In October, Breckenridge Brewery will release their Lucky U IPA in bottles.

Lucky U IPA originally debuted on June 19th at a tapping party in Scottsdale, AZ (of all places) and since then has been making appearances at such beer festivals as the Colorado Brewers' Festival in Fort Collins in June and at the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous in July. It has been on tap at the brewery for well over the last month.

This brew is medium golden in color and weighs in at 6.2% ABV and has around 68 IBU's. Breckenridge Brewery put in 7 different hops into this India Pale Ale and has been getting good reviews from customers.

This beer is also a fund raising product. Breckenridge Brewery will donate 5% of all the proceeds from the sale of this beer to help restore and preserve the old Tivoli Brewery building in Denver. So drink up with a grin knowing you'll be helping to preserve a part of Denver's history with this brew.

If you'd like to follow Breckenridge Brewery on Twitter, follow @BreckBrew.

Thanks to Breckenridge Brewery for providing the image from TwitPic.

Related articles:
- More Colorado craft beer heading to cans
- Denver Tweetup @ Breckenridge Brewery highlights
- Breckenridge Pandora's Bock review

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Celebrating my 50th with Odell Woodcut No 1

It was time once again to dip into my beer cellar and pull out something special for a special occasion. It's been almost a year since Odell Brewing Company released their Odell Woodcut No. 1 oak-aged beer and I wanted to see how this beer had changed over the last year.

I had the chance to sample this beer back in August 2008 when it was first released. Giving this beer an extra year to condition seemed like the perfect thing to do with this 10% ABV Old Ale style beer. And with the advent of my 50th birthday last month (yes I'm that old) I felt it was a good time to break it open with my poker buddies at a recent poker night.

I split this bottle into 6 separate pours. One for me and 5 for my poker buddies. This bottle came with a cork and a wire cage holder and opened with a loud POP. A wispy bit of cloudy CO2 rose from the bottle but luckily the bottle didn't come gushing out of the bottle.

The only thing I had available to pour this beer into that night were some old mason jars. As I poured the brew into the jars the foam seemed to grow and grow and grow. A couple of the jars overflowed with foam, even with just 3 to 4 ounces of beer in them. It was obviously still well carbonated and was just dieing to be tasted.

Originally in 2008, the Woodcut No #1 had a strong oaky, vanilla scent that reminded me of a strong brandy. It still had the look of a good ol' whiskey shot (dark amber to light brown) with the addition of a head that wouldn't quit. But how would it taste and smell now?

The smell was still very rich with malts and an oaky goodness. The strength of the beer in the aroma seemed to be toned down and wasn't as brandy-like as before. The head was still dominant and left an excellent lacing on the mason jar.

The taste? Simply wonderful. 12 months of additional aging had done this beer good. The harshness of the alcohol had eased a bit but you could still tell it was a strong drink. 10%+ ABV is still nothing to mess around with. I ended up having about 5 ounces of this brew and I simply loved it.

As for my wine-drinking poker buddies, they were quite surprised by this. I'm sure they've never tasted anything like this before. They could certainly pick out the oak in the aroma however. I think I converted at least one of them to want more of this brew.

My host for the evening, Garry, had cooked up some Cajun-spiced ribs for the evening. They tasted wonderful and seemed to work well with the Woodcut. Once the Woodcut No #1 was gone, I finished out the evening with my old standby - New Belgium 1554 Black Ale. A good time was had by all and I managed to break even for the evening.

Sadly, the Odell Woodcut No #1 is all gone and I probably can't find another bottle of this anywhere. It was a limited run and most of the $24.99 bottles sold out within a few months after it debuted in 2008. Luckily for me, there is another Woodcut #2 now in circulation, a Golden Ale which I've heard is even better than the first Woodcut. I may have to pick up a bottle of that and save it for another year. Rumor has it that Woodcut No #3 will be out before the end of this year. So Odell is busy making more oak-aged goodness that I'll look forward to sampling soon.

Update: Odell Woodcut releases Woodcut No. 3.

Related articles:
- Odell Brewing officially taps it's Woodcut series.
- Odell Red Ale review.
- Odell St. Lupulin and the Twitter brew.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

GABF Saturday afternoon session near sold out

2009 Great American Beer FestivalIf you are planning to attend the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado this year but have yet to get your tickets, know this - one of the four sessions is nearly sold out already. The Saturday afternoon members only tasting session is over 80% sold-out as of August 3, 2009. The other sessions are around half way sold out. The Friday night session is over 61% sold-out.

The GABF has a history of selling out nearly a month in advance of the event date and because the festival is being held early this year (September 24-26, 2009) tickets will sell out even faster.

Approximately 49,000 tickets will be sold to this 28th annual largest beer fest in the Rocky Mountain region. That's estimated to be up 3,000 from last year. But don't worry, the GABF is expanding the event to include 30% more floorspace! That's more room for you and me to roam around in.

The Simpsons TV show is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and in honor of that they have become a sponsor of the Great American Beer Festival. You can expect to see Homer Simpson officially help cut the opening ribbon to the festival this year along with Charlie Papazian.

I was one of the 2,600+ volunteers who helped put on the festival last year in 2008 and I plan on volunteering again this year. I plan on taking more video at the GABF both behind the scenes and on the floor along with the rest of the beer faithful in 2009.

Expect to see over 18,000 gallons of beer poured during the festival from over 450 breweries and around 2000 different beers. That's one of the biggest beer selections found anywhere!

Not only that, but your ticket will also get you a souvenier tasting cup (or glass if you attend the Saturday afternoon session), all of the 1oz samplings you desire, the ability to talk directly to some of the biggest brewers in the country and get access to the Brewers Studio Pavilion, the Craft Beer & Food Pavilion, The Beer Enthusiast Book Store, the Farm To Table Pavilion, a special Members Only Entrance for members of the American Homebrewers Association (woohoo shorter line), and an expanded "You Be the Judge Booth".

There will also be the huge Pro-Am beer competition going on. Sample some of the best homebrews made in the U.S.A. The Silent Disco will also return for another run this year. Dance away some of those beer calories!

Your ticket stub will also get you a free beer at the Wynkoop Brewery downtown Denver and either a discount on a 2-for-1 ski pass or a discount lift ticket at Winter Park or Copper Mountain.

This year's festival hall will once again be split into 8 US Regions: Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Mountain West, New England, Pacific, Pacific Northwest, Southeast and Southwest.

The GABF is one of the anchors to Denver's new Denver Beer Fest which spans 10 days from September 18th through the 27th. The Denver Oktoberfest will also be running both the weekend before and during the GABF this year. Over 60 different beer events are being planned for the Denver metro area that week. The Great American Beer Festival is only getting bigger and better each year. Get your tickets now before they sell-out (and they will sell out fast trust me). See you at the GABF!!

Related articles:
- Behind the scenes at the 2008 GABF
- Chipper Dave tours the 2008 GABF
- What did you drink at the GABF?

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Avery Brewing to celebrate 16th anniversary Sunday

Avery Brewing of Boulder, CO is finally old enough to drive (so to speak) and will be throwing a big party this Sunday, August 2nd from 12-6pm at their brewery tap room. For $20 (General Admission) you'll be given access to beer, barbeque and live bands all afternoon long. If you'd like access to some of their more rare beers you can get one of the few remaining VIP Admission tickets for $30 and participate in their Vertical Tastings. Even designated drivers can get in for $10 and receive BBQ and soft drinks too.

Avery's annual party seems to be a popular draw. No advance ticket sales available - everything will be at the door at Noon on Sunday. Proceeds from the party will help benefit Nina Phillips, wife of Avery Warehouse manager Billy Phillips, and their fight against breast cancer.

If anyone happens to be going to this party and is taking some pictures or recapping the event, please drop a comment here and let us know what you thought of this event. Judging from the wide selection of beers they have, it should be a fun time.

Related articles:
- Avery makes plans for sweet 16
- Avery unleashes Brabant - part of barrel-aged series
- Avery Ale to the Chief review

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