Friday, October 30, 2009

November marks return of Alaskan Smoked Porter

Slaskan Smoked PorterAs the number of daylight hours continue to shrink heading towards Winter Solstice it becomes the time to announce the return of a classic smoked porter from our neighbor to the far northwest. November 1st marks the official release date of this year's vintage of Alaskan Smoked Porter. This wonderful dark, smokey and roasty brew has a reputation for winning medals and if it is even half as good as last year's batch it will still certainly be one of the most popular porters around.

The aroma alone will remind you of camping out in the wilderness and perhaps will become the perfect compliment to your next seafood meal or perhaps with some fine cheeses. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited "vintages" each year and unlike most beers, may be aged in the bottle for several years. The smokiness and rich flavor become even better over time.

"While the official release date is November 1st, Alaskan Smoked Porter may mysteriously start appearing in select locations along the West Coast in time for Halloween" says their October 30th newsletter.

As of last week, there were still some bottles of the 2008 Smoked Porter to be found on shelves in Colorado. I've already picked up another bottle of 2008 to further age in my cellar. I made a point to seek this out at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and the taste never disappoints.

If you've never tried a smoked porter before, aka a Rauchbier, you owe it to yourself to seek this beer out. Alaskan Smoked Porter is becoming more and more available in western states and may be available at select internet retailers. Visit them on the web at:

Read tasting notes on the 2008 Alaskan Smoked Porter.

Related articles:
- Alaskan Pale review.
- Alaskan Summer Ale review.
- Alaskan Amber review.
- The Moon, Venus and Smoked Porter.
- Other hot picks from the 2009 GABF.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Belgium Frambozen back in season

Once of my favorite holiday season beers is returning to beer shelves just in time for the colder weather. I've learned that you've got to stock up on this as it tends to disappear off the shelves rather quickly. New Belgium's Frambozen is a tasty winter treat.


The Raspberry Brown Ale is a Tasty Treat to Complement any Holiday Dinner

Fort Collins, CO – October 26, 2009 – The return of the holiday season marks the arrival of a New Belgium tradition – Frambozen. The raspberry infused brown ale is a perfect complement for holiday dinners and can be found in most of the 26 states where New Belgium beer is sold. Frambozen is available now through January.

Frambozen is produced from freshly picked Pacific Northwest berries, where a New Belgium delegation oversees the process of turning the berries into a pure juice to use in the fermentation process. The juice is loaded into oxygen-free CO2 tanker trucks that make the journey back to Colorado. Every year, during the brewing process, New Belgium cellar operators become covered in a festive crimson berry wash as the winter seasonal comes to fruition.

“Frambozen is one of our favorite and most delicate beers to produce,” said Grady Hull, New Belgium Brewing Assistant Brewmaster. “We take extra care with the raspberries to make sure they are pure and perfect for this beloved beer.”

Frambozen is derived from the Flemish word for raspberries and inspired by the Framboise beers of Belgium, where the use of raspberries in beer out dates the use of traditional hops.

Wondering about food pairing suggestions? New Belgium offers some ideas at (, including duck and white chocolate cheesecake.

A six pack of Frambozen sells for about $7.99. For more information on New Belgium Brewing, its other beer offerings and company practices visit

About New Belgium Brewing Company

New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of 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 Frambozen review.
- Touring New Belgium's Liquid Center.
- Celebrate Autumn with New Belgium Fall Wild Ale.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

February 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

February 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

February 2010 EventsHere is a list of the upcoming Colorado beer festivals, beer dinners, tapping parties, seminars and related events that are known or planned for the month of February 2010. These listings are updated every week, so stop back often to see the latest happenings with beer in Colorado. Dates and events are subject to change. If you know of a Colorado event that you don't see here, please leave a comment and let us know. I'll be happy to add it.

13th Annual Barleywine Dinner
February 2, 2010
(Tues) 7:30pm
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
Cheryl will be cooking up a storm & Chris will be digging deep into his stash for a few aged special treats (Like some Alaskan Barleywine & Dogfish Head Old School from '09). Tickets are $50 if purchased by Sunday January 31st, $60 after (if available).

Dain Bramage Begins Again - Barleywine Season
February 3, 2010
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
It's Barleywine Season Here at the Falling Rock & Many will be on tap with past vintages also. Also a special Bottle list of Barleywines from the Stash will be made available (VERY limited quantities).

Taste of the Alley Beer Garden
24th Annual Alley Loop Nordic Marathon
February 4, 2010 (Thu)
Crested Butte, CO
Chill out with a beer and watch costumed adventurers race and participate in some unusual Nordic events.

Collaboration Not Litigation Release Party
February 5, 2010
Avery Brewing Tap Room
Boulder, CO
A Tapping Party and four-year vertical tasting is scheduled for Friday, February 5th from 5-8PM to mark the release of Batch #4 and to celebrate the fruitful relationship between Avery Brewing and Russian River Brewing. Rob Rosser will be on hand serving his famous fish tacos ($4 each) and we'll be unveiling another Friday Special Tapping, so plan to spend a whole night at the Avery Tap Room!

Firkin Friday
February 5, 2010 (Fri)
The Tasty Weasel @ Oskar Blues
Longmont, CO
Today's featured brew is a double dry hopped Gordon. The firkin opens at 5pm.

1st Firkin Celebration
February 6, 2010 (Sat) 6pm
Trinity Brewing Co.
Colorado Springs, CO
Come celebrate at Trinity Brewing and sample their first ever beer on firkin.

Super Bowl Sunday
February 7, 2010
Multiple locations
Look to your favorite Colorado brewery and brewpub for specials on beer all day long for the big game. Stay tuned for details on specific brewers' specials.

Mountain Sun Winter Brewer's Dinner
February 8, 2010
Vine Street Pub
Denver, CO
Join Mountain Sun for their 3rd installment of their brewer's dinner during their big Stout Month. This meal will pay homage to the great dark stout beer. Head Brewer Brian Hutchinson is pairing all stouts with the food creations of Executive Kitchen Manager Rob Green. Tickets are $50 and are available at Mountain Sun, Southern Sun and Vine Street Pub.

Slap Your Mammy Release Party
February 9, 2010 (Tues)
Trinity Brewing Co.
Colorado Springs, CO
A celebration of their hoppy double IPA. The celebration starts at 5pm.

Annual Mardi Gras Celebrations
February 11-16, 2010
Check back for more upcoming events during the peak of Mardi Gras season.

Mardi Gras Warm-up
February 11, 2010
(Thu) 6:30pm
Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Denver, CO
Fat Tuesday won't roulez around until mid-February but our annual Mardi Gras warm up dinner is worth getting an early reservation for. This year we'll be sampling a variety of light & dark rums to put you in a Crescent City groove. Reservations now being accepted at 303-297-9999. Plenty of Wynkoop beer on tap as well.

Firkin Friday
February 12, 2010 (Fri)
The Tasty Weasel @ Oskar Blues
Longmont, CO
Today's featured firkin beer is Pond Scum, an American Red Ale. It taps at 5pm in the tasting room.

Hoppy Man Imperial IPA Release Party
February 12, 2010
(Fri) 6pm-9pm
Twisted Pine Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO
Join Twisted Pine for the release of their biggest, baddest, boldest IPA. This beer pours a hazy pale, with strong grapefruit notes, 107 IBU's and an abv of 10.5%. One of the most serious beers to ever be released by Twisted Pine. Hoppy Man will be available in 22oz bottles at your local liquor store and kegs at the brewery.

Mardi Gras in Breckenridge
February 13-16, 2010
Breckenridge, CO
Events include: Bacchus Ball – February 13. Join in for a New Orleans Style masquerade ball at 9,600 Feet. The evening will bring live music, dancing, “N’awlins”-style food and drink prepared by an authentic New Orleans chef, the crowning of the Mardi Gras Rex and Queen and so much more. Fat Tuesday Celebration – February 16 (4:30 pm) Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Celebration brings a festive parade procession down Main Street with New Orleans food and drink specials throughout town, colorful masks and tons of beads.

5th Annual Peterson AFB Homebrew Competition & Fest
February 13, 2010
Location: TBA
Colorado Springs, CO
Homebrewers from around the area will gather to judge some of the best local homebrew. Sponsored by the Brew Brothers Homebrew Club of Colorado Springs. Deadline for submitting entries is February 9th. Last year they had 161 entries in 16 categories. Over 300 festival goers were in attendance. Help make this year's event even better. Contact: (719) 554-3701 - Email: - Event website

February 14-16, 2010
Vail Resorts
Vail, CO
Come celebrate the Mardi Gras Season in Vail. Plenty of parties going on this week. Find your favorite Colorado craft beer at one of the celebrations.

Left Hand Mardi Gras
February 16, 2010
Left Hand Tasting Room
Boulder, CO
Oohh yeah. It’s that time of year. Mardi Gras is always a blast in the Tasting Room and this time it’s going to be even better. We’ve got Lucile’s real-deal, authentic Creole food, live music, costumes, and great beer. Join us for a rockin' good time at 5pm on Tuesday, February 16th.

5th Annual Peterson AFB Homebrew Competition
February 19, 2010
Peterson Club
Peterson Air Force Base
Colorado Springs, CO
This is an AHA/BJCP sanctioned event held at the Peterson Club at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, CO. Entries will be accepted Feb. 2-9, 2010. The purpose of the event is to showcase local home brewers by providing a competitive environment as well as the ability to share their brews with other brewers and festival attendees. Judging will take place on Feb. 13th. Entry fees are $5.00 for one, $10.00 for unlimited. Awards & festival will take place on Feb. 19th, 2010. Call (719) 574-4100 for info on tickets. More info.

Great Divide Release Party
February 19, 2010
(Fri) 6pm - 9pm
Great Divide Brewing Company
Denver, CO
Release Party for Hoss, Claymore, Colette Saison and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti. $20 admission covers snacks and all the beer you want, within reason of course. With such a diverse beer line up, there is something for bring your friends, family and neighbors... No RSVP required, so just show up ready to have a good time!

6th Annual Firkin Rendezvous
February 20, 2010 (Sat)
Bristol Brewing Company
Colorado Springs, CO
This annual event is located at the Bristol Brewing Company and will be open from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. This year's event will once again offer several beers direct from the cask. Beer and food are included in the admission price. Estimated cost: $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Tickets went on sale in January. Web site. Map.

Craft Beer Tasting Series
February 23, 2010
(Tue) 7pm
Pumphouse Brewery
Longmont, CO
This month's topic: Strong Ales with guest speaker: Matt Thrall of Avery Brewing Company. Limited seating for each session, Tickets are $25 and available at the Pumphouse Brewery or by reservation at Each ticket includes all beer and special appetizers. We are also offering a 4-Pack of tasting tickets, one for each tasting, for $80.

Avery Beer Dinner with The Bruery
February 25, 2010
(Thu) @ 5:30pm
Pizzeria Basta
Boulder, CO
Bring an appetite and your wallet for this 5 course meal featuring Master's of Ceremony Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Jonas Nemura from The Bruery in California at Boulder's newest brick-oven pizza joint. Each brewery will break out some of their best and rarest brews. 2 different beers with each course. Tickets are $105 per person (tax & tip included). Restaurant at 33rd and Arapahoe in Boulder. More info: - Call 303-997-8775 for reservations.

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew Beer Dinner
February 26, 2010
Oskar Blues
Lyons, CO
A fabulous 4-course meal is being prepared along with some special Oskar Blues brews to pair with it on February 26th. Course 1: Weasel Bunker Trainwreck Red Chili with Michelle's Marzan, Course 2: Twice baked "Tato" skins loaded with Dales Pale Ale, Course 3: Chub dipped Shortribs, fried waffles, BBQ and Maytag Blu paired with Old Chub, and Course 4: Pint glass of pie paired with American Hoppy Belgian. Details at their web site.

Michael Bolton Birthday Party
February 26, 2010
Fort Collins Brewery tap room (FCB)
Fort Collins, CO
Party Time! FCB thought they were going to have a party to celebrate Johnny Cash's birthday but then they found out that Michael Bolton was also born on February 26th and Michael Bolton outranks the Man in Black. In his honor, FCB is pouring all you can drink pints for $6. On tap will be Wassail, Big Shot, Rye, Harvestival, Stein Lager and Barrel Aged Brown Bevvie. Designated drivers will be treated to all the free root beer they can handle and 10% off retail purchases. Party runs from 4-8pm.

2010 Beerdrinker of the Year National Finals
February 27, 2010 (Sat)
Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Denver, CO
Be on hand for the final round of competition in the 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year National Finals at the Wynkoop Brewing Co. The best beer drinkers from all over the USA will be trying to convince a lively panel of judges that they know it all when it comes to beer. The winner gets free beer for life at the Wynkoop and $250 in beer from their local brewpub or bar. Can anyone top the performance of last year's winner Cody Christman? Open to the public. Fun starts at 2pm. See web site for details.

Inaugural Boulder SourFest
February 27, 2010
(Sat) 12:30pm – 5pm
Barrel-Aging Room at The Avery Brewing Tap Room
Boulder, CO
Avery Brewing has searched high and low for the best, rarest and tastiest sour ales from across the country, and all will be on display for your enjoyment on the last Saturday in February at the Inaugural Boulder SourFest. Their still-growing list of brews features 35 different sour, wild and brett beers from breweries coast-to-coast. A preliminary listing of participating breweries will be posted on the brewery website in early 2010. All attendees will receive 20, 2oz. sample pours, a complimentary .4 liter full-size tasting snifter to commemorate the occasion and the opportunity to mingle with the brewers and creators of many of the beers on display. This festival promises to be one of the best opportunities to taste sour ales anywhere in the Rockies! Cheers and funky, sour beers! The Avery Brewing Crew Max 250 tickets available at $35 each! A few remaining tickets are on sale at the Avery Tap Room ($35.00 each).

Additional events will be added as they become known. Please report additions or corrections to Chipper Dave (see email on the side column).

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Odell Brewing gets a new web site

Odell BrewingOut with the old and in with the new. Odell Brewing has just recently updated it's old web site and has replaced it with a new more modern site complete with a blog, store and flashier graphics. Odell is also becoming more integrated into the various social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube so you can get all the latest news from your favorite sites.

The blog is also featuring some delicious cooking recipies that you can make that contain Odell beer. Try fixing one of those and pairing it with an Odell beer while your at it. Visit their updated web site and see what's up with their latest Reserve series ales and their expansion plans.

Odell Brewing website

Related articles:
- Odell Brewing controls Mountain Standard time.
- Odell Brewing to release India Barleywine.
- Odell Brewing plans barrel releases (Bourbon Barrel Stout).
- Odell readies for Isolation.
- Odell Blackbird tapping party highlights.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Northstar goes vertical at Twisted Pine

Twisted Pine Brewing CompanyThe good folks down at Twisted Pine Brewing Company in Boulder Colorado passed along some news about an upcoming special tasting event at their brewery on November 5th, 2009. Fans of their Northstar Imperial Porter won't want to miss this one. The following is a quote from an email dated October 22, 2009.

"Join us on Thursday November 5th for an exclusive vertical tasting of 5 different vintages of Northstar Imperial Porter ranging in age from 2004 to 2009. Don't miss this opportunity to attend this special event with discussions led by owner Bob Baile, brewer Eric Mosiman and brewer Jeff Brumley.

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, includes 5 - 6oz samples, a 1 1/2 hour educational session and a commemorative Northstar Imperial glass.

This event is not to be missed. Sign up early as space is limited. Please call, email or stop by the brewery for reservations."

Northstar bottlesTheir website describes this beer as: "Northstar Imperial Porter is a deep robust ale brewed with only the finest ingredients. The full bodied malty flavor comes from chocolate, black and crystal malts balanced by a combination of American and British hops."

The event runs from 6:00pm until 7:30pm at the Twisted Pine tap room. Drop by at: 3201 Walnut Street, Suite #A, Boulder, CO. Visit them on the web at: or call 303.786.9270.

Twisted Pine will also be pouring beers at the upcoming All Colorado Beer Fest in Colorado Springs on November 7th. Stop by their booth and taste some of their Billy's Chilis, Hoppy Boy IPA and Pumpkin Brown.

Related articles:
- Twisted Pine rolls out Chocolate Vanilla Porter.
- Twisted Pine American Amber Ale review.
- Video tour of the 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival.

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Colorado brewer tweets for 102409

Here are the beer tweets from Colorado breweries on Twitter from Saturday, October 24, 2009. This list was made possible by the new Lists feature now in Beta on Twitter. (Click image to enlarge)

Related articles:
- Twitter pub followers share their favorites.
- Breckenridge Brewery Tweetup highlights.
- Odell's Twitter brew (Blackbird) tapping party highlights.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Do you want to learn to make your own beer?

If you've ever had the inclination to make your own home brewed beer but always wanted someone with expertise to show you how - here's your big chance. Homebrewers, here's your chance to show off your stuff and teach a buddy to make their own beer.

The American Homebrewers Association’s annual Learn to Homebrew Day is an international event to introduce people to the homebrewing hobby and establish relationships with local homebrew supply shops.

Each year on the first Saturday in November, homebrewers around the world are encouraged to invite non-brewing and brewing friends and family to celebrate Learn to Homebrew Day and brew a batch of beer together.

How does this event work?

Before the event, participants that are sponsoring Learn to Homebrew Day events can register their site on the AHA web page. These registered sites help the American Homebrewers Association track how many participants celebrated the event. People interested in learning to homebrew can simply show up to one of these events and participate.

Here's how the AHA suggests getting ready for Learn to Homebrew Day. (Copied in part from the AHA web site)

Before the event
- Register your Learn to Homebrew Day Site/Event.
- Or, view registered Learn to Homebrew Day sites to find a site in your area.

Yes, you can learn how to homebrew your own beer; it's easy, especially with the tools provided by the AHA to guide you through the process!

- Get Schooled - A great place to start for introductory information for beginners, as well as information for those homebrewers wanting to move to the intermediate, and advanced procedures.
- Zymurgy: An Introduction to Homebrewing. This special edition of Zymurgy (the Journal of the American Homebrewers Association) contains instructions, recipes, and the step-by-step process for brewing, fermenting, and bottling your first homebrew.
- Learn to Homebrew Video - Watching the 9-part Homebrewing Lessons videos, a series of short (~3 minute) videos, will take you through the whole brewing process.
- Find a Supply Shop - Your local supply shop will have ingredients, brewing equipment, books, and magazines to help you brew your first or sixteenth batch of beer.
- Join the American Homebrewers Association - see all the benefits of AHA membership and learn to make beer like the pros!
- Take your new homebrew recruits to your local homebrew supply shop to buy ingredients.
- Hold a special beer dinner for friends or family who you will teach to homebrew.

Where to find a Learn to Homebrew Event

Head to the American Homebrewers Association web site to find an event near you. Be sure to grab your homebrew supplies from your local homebrew shop.

No homebrew shop near you? Buy your homebrew supplies online from High Gravity Homebrewing Supplies. One of the best suppliers in middle America.

Be sure to participate (teach or learn) at one of the AHA events every year!

Related articles:
- Making a batch of extract homebrew.
- Creating a yeast starter for homebrewing.
- Tasting your first batch of homebrew.
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Odell Brewing controls Mountain Standard time

Odell Mountain StandardThe clocks are changing soon as the US heads back into Standard Time the first week of November and one Colorado brewery is releasing a special brew to celebrate the occasion. Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado is announcing the upcoming release of their latest small batch beer - Mountain Standard, Reserve '09 - a deep mahogany ale. Below is the press release issued today, October 23, 2009.

It’s Mountain Standard Time

Beer lovers “fall back” to new Odell brew

[PRESS RELEASE] Fort Collins, Colo. – On November 2, 2009, Odell Brewing will release Mountain Standard, Reserve ‘09. The deep mahogany ale features local organic hops and pays tribute to the region’s oft forgotten time zone.

Mountain Standard pours like a dark malty ale but delivers a distinct hoppy character with the first sip. The brew features generous amounts of organic Cascade and Chinook hops grown on Colorado’s own Western Slope, creating a beer that is pleasing to both the eye and palate.

“We've experimented with locally grown hops for smaller batches brewed on our pilot system, but haven’t been able to find enough hops to extend the beer beyond our tap room,” said Brendan McGivney, head of production who helped with this year’s harvest. “This year we sourced 400 lbs of hops from the Rising Sun Farms in Paonia, CO. We plan to brew one batch every year with each harvest.”

Bottled in 750 ml cork and cage finish bottles, Mountain Standard joins Bourbon Barrel Stout and India Barleywine as part of Odell Brewing’s new line of single serve offerings. The beer retails for approximately $14.99-$15.99 per bottle, and is available in the brewery’s eight state distributor region (90% of which lies in the Mountain Standard Time zone).

On November 2, 2009, when daylight savings time officially ends, Odell Brewing will celebrate the return of Mountain Standard Time and the beer named in its honor with an un-corking celebration at the brewery’s tap room. Festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. and include samples of the new brew paired with local cheeses and live music. For more information, visit

Tapping Party Announcement (click to enlarge)

Odell Brewing was recently named a “Best Company to Work For” in Colorado and 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.

# # #

Related articles:
- Odell Brewing to release India Barleywine.
- Odell Brewing readies for Isolation.
- Odell planning for Bourbon Barrel Stout and more.
- Odell Brewing breaks ground on new expansion.
- Odell Blackbird tapping party highlights.

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Fall 2009 events at Fort Collins Brewery

Fort Collins Brewery circa 2009The Fort Collins Brewery just released their November 2009 newsletter and in it their upcoming plans for Halloween and the November season. Below is a summary of FCB's announcements and some details on what they'll have on tap for the coming month. Visit them at 1900 E. Lincoln Avenue in Fort Collins, CO.

Fort Collins Brewery Events

October 30th: FCB’s Annual and Infamous Halloween Party! We’ll have it all: Costume contest, malt sack races, keg tossing contest (will anyone ever beat Andy?! ) , pumpkin bowling, chocolate stout chili, pint specials, live bluegrass and the terrifyingly delicious FIRKINSTEIN!

November 7th: All Colorado Beer Festival, Colorado Springs. We’ll have five of our favorites on tap. Check it out at

November 11th: Firkin Fun Day in the FCB Tasting Room. We are gussying up a fine wheat beer for this edition of our real beer series. Swing by from 3 till closing to check it out for yourself.

November 20th: How much fun was that steinbeer party? We had a lot of fun but we also accomplished something which was to brew a traditional Steinbier. Here is a re-cap for those of you who missed it: We lit a big ‘ole fire, tossed some rocks into it, drank delicious beers and roasted marshmallows while tapping our toes to some live bluegrass. Then when the time was right we tossed the glowing hot rocks into the kettle turning the existing wort into a smoky, caramelized treat. Yum! On November 20th we’ll be rolling this brew out in the tasting room so don’t be shy, come on down, enjoy some live music and raise one of the first glasses of this unusual brew with us.

November 26th: CLOSED for Thanksgiving

November 27th: OPEN for revelry and recovery

• Buford’s Dog Days Cream Ale
• Harvestival Lager
• Wrecking Ball Rye
• Common Ground
• Double Chocolate Stout

• Awl’right Brown Bevvie English Brown
• Steinbier
• Big Shot Hazelnut Brown
• Double Chocolate Stout on nitro

• Harvestival Lager
• Doppel Bock (Last Call only a few left!)
• Common Ground
• Double Chocolate Stout
• Big Shot (coming soon!)

Fall Growler Special
Buy one get one free growler fills of Buford’s Dog Days Cream Ale. Growler glassware not included.

Related articles:
- Fort Collins Brewery Barrel Licked Bock review.
- Fort Collins Brewery Big Shot review.
- Fort Collins Brewery Tasting Room visit.
- Fort Collins Brewery debuts 1900 Amber Lager.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crabtree Brewing Chunkin Pumpkin Ale review

Crabtree Chunkin Pumpkin AleWhat do you do with several hundred pounds of pumpkin meat? You make pumpkin ale of course. There's news coming from up north here in Greeley, Colorado about a new beer release. Crabtree Brewing has announced that their new Chunkin Pumpkin Ale will be pouring this Friday, October 23rd at the brewery tap room in Greeley. Check out their latest newsletter release below.



Don't miss out on this delicious Fall Brew. Chunkin Pumpkin Ale was made using 66 pie pumpkins... which some wonderful friends of the brewery helped us bake and chunk... The baked pumpkin chunks were placed in the mash along with the grain. Spices and other secrets were added to the boil. Now, sitting in the conditioning tank is 400 gallons of goodness. (I've tasted it... even without carbonation and not being as cold as it will be, it tastes awesome!)

Crabtree Brewing signThis past week, we finally received custom, screen-printed growlers... what better way to start the weekend than with a Crabtree growler filled with Chunkin Pumpkin Ale... for only $10! (Refill price is $8)

And don't forget that Friday is TEACHER FRIDAY!!! $2.50 pints for all you wonderful teachers out there.... (please remember to show your teacher ID to be qualified for the discount)

Have a great rest of your week and we will see you on Friday!
Cheers, Stephanie & Jeff Crabtree

Follow Crabtree Brewing on Facebook (Crabtree Brewing Company) and on Twitter (@CrabtreeBrewing).


Crabtree Brewing Company tapsUpdate: I stopped by Crabtree Brewing on Friday, October 23rd and picked up a growler of their Chunkin' Pumpkin Ale and tried it for myself. Below is a quick video of my opinion of the brew.

Crabtree Brewing now bottles this brew annually in the late summer and puts them in a handy 4-pack. The beer is so popular that they are now brewing up much larger batches. Look for this brew where ever Crabtree beers are sold.

Video review of Crabtree Brewing's Chunkin Pumpkin Ale:
If you can't view the video below, watch it on YouTube.

Related articles:
- Crabtree Brewing taps their braggot.
- Crabtree Boxcar Brown and Twisted Creek Wheat review.
- Supporting my local brewery - Crabtree Brewing.
- Crabtree Brewing expands their taproom hours.
- Crabtree Jeff's Pale Ale review.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breckenridge Imperial Porter review

Breckenridge Imperial PorterBrewers say: "Good things come in small batches" and Breckenridge Brewery of Denver, Colorado has been busy making several beers in small batches these days. One fairly recent addition to Breckenridge's Small Batch series is their Breckenridge Imperial Porter. This 7.5% ABV porter comes in a big 22oz bomber bottle with a painted on graphic that reminds you of the front of a steam engine train. This isn't Breck's first venture into porters as they also produce a year round Vanilla Porter.

The Breckenridge Imperial Porter poured a dark brown with mahogany edges. I could just barely see through this beer when held up to the light. An aggressive pour yielded a generous 2+ finger tan head that showed off a nice cascading bubble effect. The head subsided in a short time and left a small ring of bubbles with a loose lacing around the glass.

Aroma: My first impression of the aroma was a curious one. Not only did I pick up a whiff of a nutty caramel malt and a slight roastiness but the smell also got my mouth watering right from the start. I could also imagine a bit of brown sugar in this beer.

I wonder if it was the combination of the 2-row Pale, Carament, Chocolate, Roasted Barley and Black malts or the mix of Chinook, Palisade, Perle and Goldings hops that got my mouth working ahead of time. Still, something about the aroma was different than a regular porter but I couldn't quite put my finger on it just yet.

Mouthfeel: This brew initially had a light to medium mouthfeel with just a mild amount of carbonation. It coated my tongue with a mildly bitter (21 IBU) drying effect yet it also had a bit of slipperiness to it. I was anticipating a thicker mouthfeel for an imperial porter but got something lighter instead.

Taste: My first impression of the Imperial Porter was that it was moderately roasty with almost a smoke like flavor. There were hints of chocolate and vanilla in it but it came along with some burnt malts as well. It was a tad watery but that could be the fact that my salivary glands were in overdrive after smelling this beer. Some of the sweetness left in this beer reminded me of one of my homebrew beers that had some left over sugars that didn't quite fully ferment out.

Initially the alcohol wasn't very noticeable for an imperial beer as it didn't give off much "heat". The alcohol became more apparent after the first glass was done. Remember that slight slippery mouthfeel? It came back in subsequent sips. It stopped short of being buttery but was nearly so. Still, it didn't affect the overall enjoyment of this beer.

I was easily able to finish off the entire bottle during an evening of watching Monday Night Football. The beer became more enjoyable as the night progressed. The brew seemed to have a few flaws but they were overlook-able and was a nice drinker. I'd almost call this beer a regular porter as it didn't seem to have all of the qualities to be called an imperial porter. I was expecting more from this beer, but it's a bit higher strength than a session beer.

Still a good effort. Not my favorite. I enjoyed their Mighty Brown more than this one. I'll give this a tentative thumbs up with a slightly average grade.

Related articles:
- Breckenridge Mighty Brown review.
- Breckenridge Brewery Tweetup highlights.
- Breckenridge Small Batch 471 IPA review.
- Breckenridge Vanilla Porter review.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Touring New Belgium's Liquid Center

New Belgium BrewingFor those of you who've never been to the Liquid Center at the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado and wondered how popular one of the top 5 craft breweries in the USA is becoming you're in luck. Chipper Dave from Fermentedly Challenged recently stopped by the packed tasting room on a warm Saturday afternoon to see just what was going on that day.

Being one of the locals, I've come to realize that if you want to spend a quiet afternoon leisurely sipping on a sampling of New Belgium's (NBB) fine craft beers you need to plan ahead. You can't just show up during prime weekend hours (late Friday afternoon or Saturday afternoon), that is unless you enjoy mingling with a big enthusiastic crowd.

I've found that if you wait until the summer tourist season is over and head to New Belgium just after they open (before noon) on a work day, you can pretty much have the fun of the place and get some individualized service from their tap room staff.

Tours are given regularly but you have to get there early and sign-up for one. Tours tend to fill up quickly. See the New Belgium website for details on upcoming brewery tours.

Below is a YouTube video showcasing New Belgium's popularity on a typical weekend afternoon in the late summer / early fall. If you can't view the video from this page please visit the YouTube link below. After the jump, you can also find some still shots from the video. Enjoy!

New Belgium Brewing Liquid Center

New Belgium Liquid Center Photo Gallery
Click to enlarge any picture below.

Related articles:
- Tasting room notes from New Belgium Brewing.
- New Belgium revisited.
- New Belgium expands with new tanks. (2008)
- New Belgium Mighty Arrow Pale Ale review.
- New Belgium Frambozen review.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Top 12 Imperial Stouts you must try

Are you a fan of the dark side of craft beer? Ever get the urge for a beer with something extra? Do you want something thick and creamy and loaded with flavor? Then you are probably a fan of Imperial Stouts. Imperial Stouts come in an assortment of style variations, are in general black as night, have at least an 8.0% ABV and are loaded with calories and flavor.

During the Fall, Winter and early Spring months when there is a cold wind blowing, there's nothing better than getting together with friends and sharing a big bottle of a dark, roasted Imperial Stout. The list below shares some of the best available imperial stouts in the Rocky Mountain region.

The following list, in alphabetical order, is a sampling of 12 of the best Imperial Stouts I've found in stores around Colorado. Not all of these Imperial Stouts come from from the region (to be fair) and at least 1 of them are from overseas.

Click on the links below to read a review of each of these outstanding representations of the Imperial Stout style. You too might just fall in love with one of these. Embrace the dark side.

The Top 12 Imperial Stouts List

1. Avery The Czar Imperial Stout - Avery Brewing Co. (CO)

2. Deschutes The Abyss - Deschutes Brewery (OR)

3. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE)

4. Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout - Great Divide Brewing Co. (CO)

5. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - Goose Island Beer Co. (IL)

6. Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout - Left Hand Brewing Co. (CO)

7. Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout - Nøgne Ø (Norway)

8. North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co. (CA)

9. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout - Oskar Blues (CO)

10. Samuel Adams Imperial Stout - Boston Beer Co. (MA)

11. Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co. (CA)

12. Victory Storm King Imperial Stout - Victory Brewing Co. (PA)

According to the BJCP Style Guidelines, they describe an Imperial Stout as follows:

"An intensely flavored, big, dark ale. Roasty, fruity, and bittersweet, with a noticeable alcohol presence. Dark fruit flavors meld with roasty, burnt, or almost tar-like sensations. Like a black barleywine with every dimension of flavor coming into play. Variations exist, with English and American interpretations (predictably, the American versions have more bitterness, roasted character, and finishing hops, while the English varieties reflect a more complex specialty malt character and a more forward ester profile)."

Don't see your favorite Imperial Stout listed here? There are a lot of good ones available across the USA. Chances are your favorite local brewery makes one or is thinking of making one. Encourage them to make more!

Follow-Up Notes: In the months and years following the original posting of this article, I've reviewed even more remarkable Imperial Stouts. Here are several more beer reviews of beers in this style.

- New Belgium Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout - New Belgium Brewing Co. (CO)

- Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout - Goose Island Beer Co (IL)

- River North Avarice Belgian-style Imperial Stout - River North Brewery (CO)

- Loveland Aleworks Imperial Stout - Loveland Aleworks (CO)

- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout - Great Divide Brewing Co. (CO)

- Avery Mephistopheles' Stout. (CO)

- Grimm Brothers Brewhouse The Count. (CO)

- Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout - The Lost Abbey (CA)

- Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout - Full Sail Brewing (OR)

- Great Divide Belgian-style Yeti Imperial Stout - Great Divide Brewing (CO)

- Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout - Odell Brewing Company (CO)

- Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon Russian Imperial Stout - Mercury Brewing Co (MA)

- Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout - Santa Fe Brewing Company (NM)

- Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout - Great Divide Brewing Co. (CO)

If you love stouts then you'll love The Darker World of Porters.

Related articles:
- Sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.
- 12 Beers at 12% ABV for 12-12-12.
- Colorado Breweries and Brewpubs list.
- More beer reviews sorted by style.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Falling Rock celebrates hop harvest

Falling Rock Tap House Fresh Hop CelebrationThe following information came from an email from Chris, the owner of Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, Colorado. A big celebration of the hop harvest will be held this weekend. Head on down to LoDo and check it out.

The 3rd Annual Fresh Hop Celebration!

Returning Saturday, October 17th at Falling Rock Tap House with a wide selection of fresh hop ales to choose from. The celebration will take place on the patio and in the parking lot of Falling Rock Tap House and will include live music, tastings, information on home brewing, people’s choice awards, activities and more.

A Fresh Hop Ale is seasonal ale brewed the same day the hop is picked from the vine. Hops are the small green flower cones from the hop plant that give beer its flavor; it acts as a balancing agent to preserve, add aroma and balance. Fresh hop ales tend to add a citrus or orange-like aroma to the beer. Beer connoisseurs and weekend warriors alike will love these unique, available once a year brews!

Event Details

Fresh Hop Celebration

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 (Noon – 5:00pm)

All Ages Welcome, Must be 21 to Drink

Location: Falling Rock Tap House 1800 Blake Street, Denver, CO

Admission: $20, includes commemorative glass and 4 tokens (each token is good for 1 beer)

Fresh Hop Harvest beers from:

Deschutes (Hop Trip)
Great Divide (Fresh Hop)
Great Divide (Fresh Hop Cask Conditioned)
Sierra Nevada (Harvest Ale)
Sierra Nevada (Estate Harvest)
Full Sail (Lupulin Ale)
Oskar Blues (Wet Hopped Dales Pale Ale)
Port Brewing (High Tide)
Left Hand (Warrior IPA)

Related articles:
- GABF week at the Falling Rock Tap House.
- Video tour of the Falling Rock Tap House.
- Falling Rock's 2009 GABF Week plans.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Fermentedly Challenged celebrates 2nd anniversary

Dave Butler at the GABFIt was but a dream just a couple years ago but has since grown into a passion. This week marks the second anniversary of Fermentedly Challenged the blog. In that short two year span, I've written over 475 posts, tasted over 350 different beers, created 30 beer videos and taken a thousand or so pictures of beer festivals, Tweet-ups, friends and fine ales while exploring my love for good craft beer.

During these last two years, I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of new people who are just as passionate about craft beer as I am. It's been a wonderful time getting to know many of the beer bloggers who've I've been reading as well as many of the readers who come to my blog.

Creating a blog certainly takes time and if I had my way I'd probably be spending all of my time doing it. A blog wouldn't really be a blog without readers. I want to take the time to thank everyone who has stopped by this little blog since 2007. I hope that I've inspired some of you to try some new and tasty beers, come out to Colorado and tour a brewery or two and perhaps brew your own beer along the way.

I've updated the right sidebar to include connections to my latest beer videos as well as a more advanced blog search bar. Hopefully that will help you find more of what I've written about in the past 475+ articles.

My hope is to continue to write for at least another year or two on this fun subject and to bring you even more coverage of the Northern Colorado craft beer scene.

Thanks again to all of my readers. I hope to get to know even more of you during the coming year and to continue to bring you the good news of great craft beer.

Cheers! Chipper Dave.

Related articles:
- 1st blog anniversary at the 2008 GABF.
- Celebrating my 50th with Odell Woodcut No 01.
- The first beer blog post (Oct 9, 2007).

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goose Island 2008 Bourbon County Stout review

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008The other day I was looking through the singles section at a local beer store when I spied a few bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (2008) sitting there. I was surprised that this store even carried this beer let alone seeing a year old bottle of an acclaimed stout on hand. I quickly scooped up a bottle and took it home with me to enjoy during the cold snowy weekend here in Colorado.

I had previously tried a sample of this beer at Nick's 10-hour Birthday Bash and knew that I wanted to get more of this beer. Surprisingly, Colorado does get shipments from Goose Island Beer Company, a brewery from the Chicago, Illinois area. I jumped at the chance to try a full bottle of this potent 13% ABV bourbon barrel aged imperial stout.

Goose Island put a lot of dark malts into this brew including: 2-row, Munich, chocolate, caramel, roast barley and de-bittered black malts. Bourbon County Stout has a fair amount of bittering units too as it weighs in at a respectable 60 IBUs from all the Willamette hops that were put in.

This beer was from the 2008 batch and has a white label. I noticed from Goose Island's web site that as of 2009 the bottle now sports a black label (see image below). I was more intrigued by the 2008 batch however as it had already been aged an additional year and would supposedly have mellowed in bitterness a bit more. The beer itself had been aged slightly in bourbon barrels and would supposedly pick up a lot of character from the wood and lingering traces of bourbon.

BCBS 2013 bottleAppearance: I poured the Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) into a large snifter type glass to help bring out all of the aromas and wow did it ever! The brew poured a thick jet black with just a slight 1 finger head, even with an aggressive pour. There was just a trace of lacing on the glass that didn't stick around long. That's fairly typical of an aged impy stout in my experience.

Aroma: I immediately smelled a huge aroma of bourbon and vanilla and alcohol in this brew. Woah! The aroma was insanely intense as I had hoped. I could pick up on the sweet chocolate malts as well. Without looking I could tell this was unmistakably an imperial stout. It was just as it should be. The brew had a nose that reminded me of a Sam Adams Utopias. The vanilla from the bourbon barrel came out quite noticeably.

Mouthfeel: The brew was thick and chewy and coated my tongue slightly. BCS had a roasty sweet big body that was bitter on the side. It was creamy and smooth right from the start. Instantly I started getting a nice warming effect from this beer.

Taste: BCS had the elements of chocolate, vanilla, sweet malts with a nice alcohol kick. I could pick up on some slight coffee tones as well but not as much as the vanilla. The wood aging had done this beer a lot of good, not to mention the extra year of cellaring that the store had already done for me.

While the alcohol bite was there it wasn't overpowering. Still, it was a nice slow sipper that lasted me the better part of the first half of a football game.

Goose Island BCBS Beer FloatMid-way through the tasting, I got the strong urge to make a beer float out of this beer. I got a small cup of premium vanilla ice cream and poured about an ounce of BCS over the top and swirled it around a bit. And the taste was absolutely heavenly! This was by far the best beer ice cream float I had made with any dark beer. The beer with it's vanilla overtones from the barrel aging blended perfectly with the vanilla in the ice cream. Oh yes! You've got to try this.

Overall: I was extremely impressed with Goose Island's imperial stout. The bourbon barrel added a lot to the entire experience. The inviting aroma won me over immediately. Goose Island claims that you can age this beer up to 5 years. I might just head back to that store and buy up the rest of their stock and do just that. Bourbon County Stout is one of my top all-time beers. You won't be disappointed.

Related articles:
- Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale review.
- Goose Island 2012 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout review.
- Goose Island India Pale Ale review. (2013)
- Goose Island Christmas Ale 2009 review.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Breckenridge Mighty Brown review

Breckenridge Mighty BrownAn imperial brown ale? Breckenridge Brewery of Denver came out with a couple more beers in their Small Batch series earlier this year and I couldn't help but want to try their Mighty Brown, an imperial brown ale. I wonder why I didn't see this brew before? Probably because I've been working through my big summer stock and haven't been to the beer store lately. This Breck brew has been out since June. Breckenridge Brewery is one of many breweries who love to experiment with new beers in small batches. This beer is being brewed in limited batches but will be available year round.

Mighty Brown poured a nice dark brown color. Held to a light I could just barely see through it. Mahogany red edges could be seen as well. It poured with a nice huge light tan head that built up quickly and had a beautiful cascading sheeting effect with the bubbles. After it settled, Mighty Brown still has a nice 1/2 finger tall head with a light lacing.

When I first opened the tall painted 22oz bottle I could smell a rich aroma of dark malts. I thought this is going to be a nice change from an ordinary brown. Once I got the brew in the glass, suddenly the hops started coming through in the nose.

The Perle and Hallertau hops pop through the aroma despite it being a low 21 IBU beer. Breckenridge put in a generous amount of Pale, Munich, Roasted Barley, Chocolate, and toasted Wheat malt into this brew in order to boost the ABV up to a respectable 7.5% ABV. I could actually pick out the wheat in this brew.

Which such a mix of malts and hops in a brown ale I didn't know what to expect in this beer.

First taste: I got a very slight chocolate malt flavor with a fair amount of roast yet a lighter mouthfeel than a porter or stout. It was quite creamy feeling and very smooth on the swallow. Nice! First tastes can be deceiving but this one struck me positively from the very first sip. There was a lot of toasty malt flavor that hit the front half of my tongue. There isn't a lot of heat on this beer early on but you know the ABV is there. It wasn't until near the end of the bottle that the slow warmth hit me.

The smoothness of this beer is something I really enjoyed. The bigger malt taste, just enough bitterness from the hops to notice and an extra kick from being an imperial is a vast improvement from an ordinary brown ale. Nice job @BreckBrew! On a snowy early October day in Colorado, this imperial brown ale was Mighty good.

Mighty Brown was just slightly sweet but balanced well with the nice bitter hoppy Hallertau and Perle hops. It's too bad all brown ales aren't this rich.

Sorry non-Coloradoans but BreckBrew doesn't ship much of their Small Batch beers out of state so you'll have to come here to Colorado to try this flavorful brew. I'm giving Breckenridge Brewery a big thumbs up for this small batch brew.

Related articles:
- Breckenridge Pandora's Bock review.
- Breckenridge Small Batch 471 IPA review.
- Breckenridge Vanilla Porter review.
- Breckenridge Avalanche Ale review.

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