Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red review

Samuel Adams Stony Brook RedJust when I thought the Boston Beer Company couldn't do much more they came out with three new Barrel Room Collection beers in specially made bottles. One of these three brews is called Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, a big 750ml corked wire-cage bottle with an attached information tag. Stony Brook Red is classified as an American Wild Ale (on BeerAdvocate) but brewed in the Belgian style and weighs in at a respectable 9% ABV.

Appearance: Stony Brook Red poured mostly red with a touch of orange. It opened up with a loud POP and appeared to be well carbonated. The brew left a decent 2-finger light tan head in the glass. The brew appeared to be very see through and was almost wine-like in appearance if it were not for the head. The head retention was excellent as it stuck around for several minutes after pouring.

Aroma: Here is where it got interesting. Stony Brook Red's aroma was instantly full of tartness and fruits. The Belgian yeast strain smell was very apparent. It had a light malty nose with a hint of spice. Initially when cold, I had a hard time picking up on the toasted oak but that may have accounted for some of the sourness in the air.

After the 2nd or 3rd pouring from this bottle, there was a tiny amount of sediment that crept into the glass from this bottle conditioned beer. The design of the bottle most likely kept out much of the sediment from getting into the glass.

Mouthfeel: Stony Brook Red was very crisp, full bodied and a bit mouth puckering. My tongue tingled a bit from the carbonation. The beer seemed to attack the back of the tongue with bubbles and the front of the tongue with sourness. There was also a bit of a drying effect on the finish.

Taste: Here is where I was won over. Stony Brook Red, while a bit sour, gave off flavors of raspberry, cherry, dark fruits and complex amber malts. The toasted oak characteristics were hard to pick up on initially. The brew becomes a bit more bitter as it warms up but in a nice way.

The beer had a bit of light funkiness but pleasant. It wasn't a Brettanomyces type of funk rather a bit more Belgian. I can assume the sourness was a partial result of being aged in the barrels.

Overall: Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red was mildly strong yet easy drinking for me as this kind of tart was right up my alley. It reminded me slightly of an oak aged apple cider I had once. Not because it tasted like apples but rather the dryness and taste from the oak that finally came through later on.

This was the type of beer that I really "dug" right from the start. It wasn't as sour as many sour beers I've tried but just sour enough to notice. The alcohol was there but was not overpowering.

I had no trouble polishing off this entire bottle. I was sorry to see this bottle end. Some of my Twitter friends said they didn't care for this beer as it was too sour for them. I politely disagree. Sour it may have been but this was a subdued sour. I hope they consider trying this beer again.

I'd rank this beer fairly well - between a B+ and an A- if I had to rank it. But please, judge this beer for yourself. If you're already a fan of wild ales then this one should be very pleasing. If you're just starting out on sour beers then I think you could easily begin training your palate on this beer.

Nice job Samuel Adams, Stony Brook Red gets a thumbs up from me.

Related articles:
- Samuel Adams Imperial White review.
- Samuel Adams Imperial Stout review.
- Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock review.
- Samuel Adams Winter Classics review.
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Old and new brews from Ska, New Belgium, Avery

Ska Hyper Fierce Gnar Gnar HefeThis may be a holiday week but Colorado breweries are still hard at work judging from the news that is being released this last week from Ska Brewing of Durango, New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins and Avery Brewing of Boulder.

Hyper Fierce Gnar Gnar Hefe

A special event-only brew has been created from Ska Brewing. Just Released: Ska Brewing's Hyper Fierce Gnar Gnar Hefe - Limited Edition Special Ale, the official brew of the 2010 Snowdown festival. According to Ska, "This year's theme for the Snowdown festival is Surf's Up Snowdown and we're incredibly excited about this unique beer. This unfiltered Hefe is brewed with pineapples and toasted coconut, is sure to bring the beach to mind even though it's FREEZING! This limited edition brew is only available in SW CO, and of course on tap at Ska HQ! We thought it sounded crazy, but kudos to Thomas (their brewer) for going through with it! It's just over 5% ABV and reeks of Summer, but Snowdown itself is a dichotomy. It's honestly crazy good."

It's too bad this brew won't be distributed like their other beers, but if we all push for it you never know!

New look for La Folie in 2010

New Belgium La FolieNew Belgium has made plans to continue to expand upon their popular Lips of Faith series of beers. One of these beers is an old favorite but will be getting a new look. Many of the labels will be changing at New Belgium next year and La Folie is one of them.

The guys over at tipped me off to this story. In addition to the new-look La Folie, another local New Belgium favorite is going to be bottled for the first time. Eric's Ale, a spicy sour peach ale weighing in at 7% ABV, will soon be available in 22oz bomber bottles.

In addition, NBB will release the new Belgian Style Blond Ale. This Belgian blond is a hefty 7.5% ABV and was bittered with Saaz and Syrian Golding hops. Look for this one also in the 22oz bomber bottle.

Avery to release it's 3rd barrel-aged brew

As previously announced, Avery Brewing will soon release Black Tot, a 10.08% ABV imperial oatmeal stout aged in Gosling's Old Rum Barrels. This beer will be released at a special celebration at Avery Brewing in Boulder on January 15, 2010. Look for specific information on this release party in the January Beer Festival Calendar.

Related articles:
- Ska Modus Hoperandi review.
- New Belgium Frambozen Raspberry Brown Ale review.
- Avery Brabant Barrel-aged Beer review.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout review

The Lost Abbey Serpent's StoutI've had a bottle of The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout for a while now and felt the holidays were the perfect time to break it out. Serpent's Stout is a big 11.0% ABV imperial stout that comes in a 750ml corked bottle. This particular batch was the 2009 version and despite the fact that I like to age some of my imperial stouts for a while I wanted to sample this one now.

Imperial stouts like The Lost Abbey's Serpent Stout are best enjoyed during the winter months in my opinion. The extra bit of ABV seems to warm me up a bit more than my old furnace can.

Appearance: The Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout poured an extremely dark brown. In most imperial stouts I can typically see ruby edges but in this beer I found no such color around the sides. This was one beer that seemed to suck the light out of the room.

The modest head rose in the glass and was brown in color. I like how these stouts have some of the darkest head around. Swirling the beer revealed a slippery lacing that didn't stick long on the glass.

Aroma: Serpent's Stout had a huge complex aroma. I picked up a lot of chocolate, licorice, coffer and molasses. There was a noticeable whiff of alcohol also present in this beer. It's just what I would expect from this beer style. It was a very inviting scent. This beer was served around 50 degrees and was already warmed up nice enough to bring out a rich aroma.

Mouthfeel: The first couple of sips of Serpent's Stout felt creamy and smooth. There was hardly any carbonation save for the nucleation that my laser-etched snifter glass gave off. This beer had quite a thick body to it and left a drying effect in the mouth as it went down.

Taste: Mmmm. Here is where this beer really delivered. I got a rich, roasted malt taste. Serpent's Stout is quite coffee-like in flavor. The alcohol was definitely present but was not too dominating. The chocolate flavor was more like an unsweetened Baker's chocolate. No doubt about it, there is a lot of malt taste in this beer with just enough bitterness to balance it out.

Later on, I detected a hint of dark fruit taste in this brew. Serpent's Stout delivered a full taste experience that was quite pleasant. I shared this bottle with my family and could have gone for a bit more once it was done.

Overall: The Lost Abbey has made a very satisfying imperial stout, one that I could go for anytime. Serpent's Stout was very enjoyable. It ranks right up there with some of the best. The taste definitely gets better as you go along. Just expect a slight shock to your taste buds up front and don't judge it until you've had quite a number of sips into it.

While it wasn't my all time favorite imperial stout, it still deserves an honorable mention among the top beers in the style. One bottle is plenty for you and a friend. It paired well with a Christmas cookie that I had with it.

Do any of you feel this beer deserves to be a top ranked imperial stout? Let me hear your opinion on this.

Related articles:
- The Lost Abbey Judgment Day review.
- The Lost Abbey Lost & Found review.
- Goose Island Bourbon County Stout review.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Molson Coors offers free rides during New Years

As part of a public service, I'm happy to reprint this news release about a great way to avoid drunk driving during the upcoming New Year's celebration. Read below on how many major cities are getting free taxi rides from Molson Coors for people who need to get home but shouldn't be driving. Let's keep New Years safe this year!

Cheers to Having Holiday Fun and Making the Right Decisions

DENVER and MONTREAL, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As the holiday season rapidly approaches, many look forward to festive parties, travel and the gathering together of family and friends. Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP) honors the vast majority of consumers who make safe and responsible choices as they enjoy all of the festivities and increased travel the holiday season brings. Molson Coors supports programs that reinforce making good decisions about drinking throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom during the holiday season.

"In this season of celebration, we thank and congratulate all those who make good decisions about having a good time," said Bart Alexander, vice president, global alcohol policy and corporate responsibility for Molson Coors. "Let's all plan a sober ride home before going out, offer foods and non-alcohol choices alongside alcohol beverage, and look forward to ringing in the New Year together."

In the United States, MillerCoors will continue its long tradition of supporting programs and partnerships that support drunk driving prevention and emphasize a shared responsibility with consumers to keep our roads safe. In its 22nd year of operation, the MillerCoors Free Rides program will provide free rides on public transportation during key holidays in cities across the country such as Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and Madison, among others. The community service program reminds consumers to plan ahead for a safe ride home and to keep the holidays memorable for all the right reasons. Further information for consumers is available at In addition, under the MillerCoors platform, "You Hold The Key, Never Drive Drunk(TM)", cab vouchers are being offered in more than 85 markets to help encourage consumers to choose alternative transportation rather than drive under the influence.

In Denver, MillerCoors is partnering with multiple organizations to ensure people get home safely. In a partnership with retail establishments, MillerCoors will provide cab vouchers for distribution to consumers on New Year's Eve. To help educate on voucher availability and provide an outlet to purchase additional vouchers, a web site,, developed through a partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation, will map out establishments providing cab vouchers, along with overnight parking and partnering hotels.

Molson Coors Canada is spending over $120,000 this year to help raise awareness and support communities across the country in their efforts to encourage responsible drinking this holiday season. Its 2009 "Taking You Home for the Holidays" campaign includes the sponsorship of free transit service across a number of cities on New Year's Eve. In addition, the Molson Coors Angels - a team of two Molson Coors representatives - will visit bars in Montreal and Quebec City distributing over $5,000 in TAXIGUY Dollars This year, Molson Coors celebrates their 11 year partnership anniversary with TAXIGUY, a nationwide network of over 20,000 taxis linked together through one toll-free phone number, to help reduce drinking and driving. The "one country ... one number" campaign has resulted in more than 2.7 million rides home safely in the past decade. The New Year's Eve transit programs offer free public transportation on the transit system on New Year's Eve to help ensure people get home safe after ringing in the New Year. It encourages everyone to plan to get home safe by letting public transit be their designated driver.

Building off of Molson Coors Canada's responsible drinking theme of "Here's to Responsible Choices," Molson Coors Canada will also connect with consumers through an e-card, found at, which allows users to customize a message to a friend, family member or colleague reminding them of the importance of responsible drinking.

In the United Kingdom, Molson Coors (UK) also helps fund The Drinkaware Trust, an independent non-profit organization focused on bettering drinking habits in the U.K. and supports the Campaign for Smarter Drinking which has appeared on 25 million packs of Carling. Molson Coors (UK) also provides tips for responsible drinking on their website at Through the Drinkaware program, in an effort to reach younger legal age drinkers, a unit calculator helps consumers decipher the alcoholic content of beverages.

About Molson Coors Brewing Company:

Molson Coors Brewing Company is a leading global brewer delivering extraordinary brands that delight the world's beer drinkers. It brews, markets and sells a portfolio of leading premium brands such as Coors Light, Molson Canadian, Carling, Blue Moon, and Keystone Light across North America, Europe and Asia. It operates in Canada through Molson Coors Canada; in the US through MillerCoors; and in the U.K. and Ireland through Molson Coors UK. For more information on Molson Coors Brewing Company and our portfolio of brands, visit the company's Web site, For more information about the company's commitments to corporate responsibility, visit

SOURCE Molson Coors Brewing Company

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Twisted Pine to host beer potluck

Twisted Pine Brewing CoHere's a unique special event coming up in early January that sounds interesting. Twisted Pine Brewing Company is going to host it's first ever Potluck featuring food created using their own beer. Below is a press release from the brewery that came out December 22nd. For more beer related events - refer to the 2010 Colorado Beer Festival & Events Calendar listings.

Twisted Pine to Host Extraordinary Food and Beer Event

1st Annual Potluck featuring 20 dishes cooked using various styles of beer

What: Twisted Pine Brewing Company is opening up its doors to cooks in Boulder, asking them to create memorable dishes incorporating Twisted Pine Beer as an ingredient. The event will feature 20 unique beer dishes, a contest judged by 3 local famed chefs and of course, plenty of delicious handcrafted beer. Attendees will have the opportunity to bump shoulders with brewers, chefs, foodies and beer geeks from across the Front Range.

When: Tuesday, January 12, 2010
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Where: Twisted Pine Brewery
3201 Walnut St Suite A
Boulder CO, 80301

Why: As the American palate becomes more sophisticated, more and more chefs across the country have begun incorporating beer into their dishes as a way of making them more complex and interesting. Beer has long been used as an ingredient in Belgian, English, Irish and German cooking but is coming to the forefront in American Dining as well. The Kitchen, in Boulder, even has a “beer sommelier” on staff to help you select the right beer to go with your meal.

This event gives the general public the opportunity to experience firsthand the marriage of craft beer and food in ways that we never could have imagined. Proceeds will be donated to the Emergency Family Assistance Association.

For interviews, photos and more information contact Mike Burns, 215.630.4231

# # #

Based in Boulder, Colorado Twisted Pine Brewing Company has been handcrafting beer since 1995. They are the brewers of such favorites as “Hoppy Boy IPA,” “Raspberry Wheat Ale” and “Billy’s Chili’s.” The Ale House is a very popular local hangout and boasts 16 taps, 5 rotating. Twisted Pine is active with local charitable organizations and a strong believer in sustainable business practices. You can find more information at

Related articles:
- Twisted Pine American Amber Ale review.
- The NorthStar goes vertical at Twisted Pine.
- Twisted Pine puckers up in December.

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June 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

June 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

Here 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 June 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.

Note: Most dates for June 2010 events have not yet been finalized. The following list is intended to give an indication of the recurring events that are typically held each year.

Great Divide 16th Anniversary Party
Early June, 2010
Great Divide Tap Room
Denver, CO
If there is only one Great Divide event you attend this year, this should be the one! They'll open up the brewhouse, taproom and the parking lot and throw a big bash to celebrate 16 wonderful years of beer-making. Here's the scoop: $20 (estimate) cover...a portion of this goes to charity. Food and BEER included! Special Release beers available (ones you'll never get anywhere else!) and live music. Event runs from 2pm to 8pm. Web site.

7th Annual Chili Pepper and Brew Fest
June 4-5, 2010
Snowmass Village, CO
The International Chili Society holds its two chili competitions and tastings in Snowmass, while microbrewers face off in a prestigious summer ale competition with two brew sampling sessions for festival-goers, featuring 50 plus breweries. New this year, there will be a European and exotic beer tasting tent, making the weekend one of the premier music and beer festivals in the nation. Fanny Hill rocks with hot music all weekend. No Pets Allowed, please. Local chili and brew enthusiasts, join our Local Chili Cook-off and Home-brew competition. For more information, call 970.925.1663. Web site.

Denver Blind Taste for the Rockies
June 8, 2010
Haggan Aviation
12420 East Control Tower Road
Englewood, CO
Join in for a live wine and beer tasting to benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at Haggan Aviation at the Centennial Airport south of Denver. There will be appetizers and a silent and live auction. Web site.

Rockin' Brews
June 12, 2010
(Sat) 12pm-5pm
Baseball Field
Silverton, CO
The 2010 Rockin' Brews festival will be held June 12th, in the small mountain town of Silverton, CO. The one day festival will feature craft breweries from the western slope of Colorado. Also working with distilleries to provide spirit samples, as well as beer. While you enjoy the festival, bands from throught the region will entertain. Tickets are $30. Info:

Rocky Mountain Brewfest
June 12, 2010
Estes Park Brewery
Estes Park, CO
Join in on one of the best kept brew fest secrets nestled right next to the main entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. Over 500 people are expected to attend to taste nearly 50 beers from 15 local breweries. Live bands rotate every hour. Grab a brat and sample some of the best local brews around. Event runs from 12pm until 5pm. Tickets at the door: $30 cash (estimate) or $35 credit card which includes souvenir glass, food ticket and beer samples. Live Bands. No pets please. Web site.

Greeley Blues Jam
June 11-12, 2010
Downtown area
Greeley, CO
Indulge in the delicious food and beverage offerings, take off your shoes and dance on the 45,000 sq. feet of fresh green sod on the arena floor! This years Jam offers an absolutely stunning line-up, bringing to you several of the worlds most highly regarded blues artists. Come out and enjoy this talent laden roster of national and local blues performers, on two big stages with 11 hours of non-stop blues. Web site.

Food & Wine Classic
June 18-20, 2010
Aspen, CO
The festival may be wine focused but rest assured that there will also be some great food and BEER pairings to be had at this 3-day summer festival. Beer lovers can run elbows with wine enthusiasts and attend seminars,exhibits and tastings amongst the beautiful Aspen scenery. Web site.

21st Annual Colorado Brewers' Festival
Late June 26-27, 2010
(Sat-Sun) 11am - 6pm daily
Old Town area
Fort Collins, CO
Great beer, food, music and fun. This year marks the 21st annual Colorado Brewers' Festival in downtown Fort Collins. Over 50 Colorado beers and 400 kegs will be enjoyed along with great live music Saturday and Sunday in Historic Downtown. Festival hours run 11:00am to 6:00pm each day. All beer drinkers must be 21 years of age and purchase an entry and tokens at the entry station located on Mountain Ave, the day of the festival. Admission is $10 (estimate) for a 2-day Saturday/Sunday Pass & $6 Sunday Only Pass. All beer tokens are $2; you need beer tokens to get beer samples. Web site.

Rails and Ales Brewfest
June 26, 2010
Alamosa, CO
Join in for the return of this popular event. Ride the rails to a remote mountain location to sample beers from over 20 regional breweries. Enjoy live music and food vendors in our remote mountain location for a unique summer event. Cost is $59 (estimate) for the roundtrip coach train ride, access to the event and a commemorative sample glass. Food will be available for a separate price. This event sold out last year--make your reservation early. Tickets are non-refundable. The 3rd annual beer train leaves Alamosa, CO at 9:00am and will take everyone to a beautiful mountain meadow spot along the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad route. The beer festival will run from Noon to 3:00pm. The train will then take you back to Alamosa arriving about 5:30pm. Web site.

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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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Retrospective on Colorado breweries 2009

2009 Colorado Brewery RetrospectiveHere it is, the end of 2009 already. Where did the year go to? It's time to look back on all that happened around the Colorado brewery scene during this last year. It's been an extremely busy 12 months. Here's just a sampling of what went on in Colorado in respect to beer.

Colorado Brewery Closings

Hard economic times forced the closure of several Colorado breweries in 2009. Some disappeared while others morphed into something new. Here is the list of 2009 Colorado casualties.

- Arctic Craft Brewery (Colorado Springs)
- Rosie's Brewpub (Leadville)
- Trinidad Brewing Company (Trinidad)
- Redfish Brewing (Boulder)
- Steamworks (Bayfield) - started gradual shutdown

Colorado Brewery Openings and Announcements

At the same time that others were closing, these breweries either successfully opened or announced an opening.

- Asher Brewing Company (Boulder) - opened Dec. 2009
- Hide-Away Restaurant & Brew Pub (Salida) - opened May 2009
- Horsefly Brewing Company (Montrose) - opened Sept. 2009
- Colorado Brewing Co @ the Draft House (Boulder) - opened in May 2009
- Eddyline Brewpub (Buena Vista) - opened May 2009
- New Planet Beer Company (Boulder) - contract brewery with Twisted Pine
- Crested Butte Brewery (Gunnison) - opening January 2010
- Grimm Brothers Brewhouse (Loveland) - opening 2010
- Equinox Brewing (Fort Collins) - opening 2010
- Pateros Creek Brewing Co (Fort Collins) - opening 2010
- Vine Street Pub & Brewery (Denver) - brewery in 2010
- Colorado Mountain Brewery (Colorado Springs) - opening 2010
- Woodland Park Brewing Co (Woodland Park) - opening Jan. 2010
- Little Big Brewing (Berthoud) - rumored opening 2010?
- Rifle Brewpub (Rifle) - rumored opening 2010?

Colorado Brewery Expansions

Several Colorado breweries took the opportunity to expand their capacities or break ground on new buildings to keep up with demand. Here are some of the highlights.

- Odell Brewing (Fort Collins) - started massive expansion, completion Feb. 2010.
- Fort Collins Brewery - started new facility - due in June 2010.
- Oskar Blues opened the Tasty Weasel (tasting room) in Longmont.
- Oskar Blues opened a new restaurant "Liquids & Solids" in Longmont.
- Dry Dock Brewing relocated into a bigger facility in Aurora.
- Many others added tank capacity (too many to list).
- More and more Colorado breweries started using social media (Twitter / Facebook)

What next for Colorado?

2010 is already shaping up to be another big year in Colorado beer. Several new openings are already being planned. New Colorado beer laws will be decided upon in 2010 including whether or not to allow full strength beer sales in grocery stores and convenience stores.

I predict that 3.2 beer will finally die out here in Colorado and grocery stores will start selling big beers. A few more smaller Colorado breweries will cease operations in 2010 as economic hard times will drag on a bit longer. More Colorado brewers will start canning their craft beers as the trend is becoming more popular. Beer tourism will continue to grow in this state. Look for more beer tour companies to pop up and compete for your beer travel dollars.

Do you have any predictions for Colorado breweries in 2010? Post them here.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Inaugural 2010 Boulder SourFest tix going on sale

Boulder SourFestHot off the presses. Avery Brewing has announced that tickets for their 1st annual Boulder SourFest to be held February 27, 2010 from 12pm to 5pm and will go on sale at 8:00am Mountain Standard Time (10:00am EST) on December 22, 2009.

There will only be 400 tickets available to this event and will likely sell out fast. All tickets will be sold in advance only. No sales at the door. The event will be held in the Barrel-Aging Room at the Avery Tap Room, 5757 Arapahoe Avenue, Unit B1, Boulder, CO 80303.

This festival will Featuring 35+ of the best sour, wild and brett beers from across the nation! Presented and hosted by Avery Brewing Company. All attendees will receive a complimentary, full size tasting snifter commemorating this inaugural event. Please call 303-440-4324 with event related questions or go to for an up-to-date listing of confirmed breweries who will be in attendance.

Tickets will be sold for $35 (plus tax) a piece and can be purchased online at or from the Avery website or at the Avery Tap Room itself. Remember, they go on sale at 8am December 22, 2009 at 8am MST.

This will be a very popular event. Sour beers were very popular across many beer festivals this last year. Avery Brewing has decided to focus on the Boulder SourFest in February instead of it's annual Boulder Strong Ale Fest which may be rescheduled for May (stay tuned).

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!

Read a review of this festival: Inaugural 2010 Boulder SourFest impresses.

Related articles:
- Avery Brabant Barrel-aged Wild Ale review.
- Third in Avery barrel-aged series coming.
- Avery Salvation review.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Interviewed by the Beer Wench

Dave Butler - Fermentedly ChallengedA week ago, I was asked to answer a series of interview questions for Ashley Routson (The Beer Wench). Today, my interview was posted on her beer blog: "Drink with the Wench". Check it out. You might be surprised about what you read about me!

Ashley is doing a continuing series on beer bloggers from all over the country. She is quickly becoming a beer celebrity and is well known to brewers and bloggers alike.

Related Articles:
- Re-kickstarting my homebrewing career
- Fermentedly Challenged turns 4 years old.
- Celebrating my 50th with Odell Woodcut No. 1. (2009)

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here we go again with Colorado beer laws

Colorado Beer LawsColoradoans obviously want choice. Choices like: what day they buy their liquor, where they buy their beer, and how much alcohol content is in their beer. For some Colorado legislators, keeping up with these choices seem to be a non-stop issue.

Law makers in Colorado have been busy for years looking at bills to alter the liquor laws of this state. Last year in 2008, the issue was Sunday liquor sales. This year, the issue seems to be whether or not to allow full strength beer and wine to be sold in Colorado grocery and convenience stores.

Didn't we just kill this bill?

A recent bill, House Bill 1192, was defeated in Colorado back in March 2009 that would have allowed grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer. Apparently a large opposition of Colorado craft brewers and liquor store owners helped stomp this bill.

Now, a new measure has popped up with a similar theme, Initiative 29, that largely copies a 2008 legislative proposal that was killed in committee. Under this initiative, grocery stores and convenience stores could set aside 5 percent of shelf space for sales of full-strength beer and wine.

But what about liquor store owners and craft brewers?

In an effort to calm the concerns of liquor store owners, they would be able to sell non-perishable food items on 5 percent of their shelf space under the initiative.

The initiative also requires at least 20 percent of space reserved for alcohol in grocery and convenience stores be set aside for craft beers and boutique wines. This was added to address some of the issues that Colorado craft brewers had.

According to a recent Denver Business Journal poll, nearly 8 out of 10 people out of 1100+ responders stated that they would favor allowing full strength beer to be sold in grocery stores.

If legislators can't come up with a decision on this issue then it may go directly to the Colorado voters next year.

So is this really a big deal?

Many other states already allow full strength beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores. So why should it be an issue here? For one, Colorado is one of the biggest beer making states in the nation with over 100 independent businesses making craft beer and protecting this billion+ dollar industry and maintaining consumer's choice in beer is of utmost importance.

This issue is likely to drag on well into 2010. Fermentedly Challenged will be sure to follow all the latest news regarding this issue.

What do you readers think?

Is it about time that Colorado allow full strength beer sales in these stores? Do you think it will make it any easier for minors to illegally obtain alcohol? Do you believe this would hurt local craft breweries and liquor stores?

My take on the issue:

I feel the lines between the small mom-and-pop liquor stores and grocery stores have already been drawn a long time ago. Certainly sales will be affected at local liquor stores but I believe craft beer buyers will still choose to head to a liquor store to get a much better selection in craft beer. I just don't believe chain stores will stock a good selection of craft beer. At least liquor stores would be able to start selling a small amount of cheese, chips and other food.

If anything, grocery store sales could help boost beer sales, not limit them. Sure, the big chain stores might not have the same taste in beer selection that liquor stores have, but if they do happen to have a 6-pack of the craft beer I'm looking for then ya, I might buy it there.

But chances are, the small space that would be reserved for local craft beer will be generally limited. The big macro beer companies are probably chomping at the bit to get this bill passed. It'll definitely mean more sales for BudMillerCoors type beers.

3.2 beer will finally go away for good in Colorado. Not that I ever cared about 3.2 beer before. It's just that when people buy a macro beer, it will be full strength swill instead of near-water swill that it used to be. I'm sure that will make Mothers Against Drunk Drivers more unhappy.

December 2012 Update: While similar bills have failed four previous times, Colorado is once again attempting to change the law in early 2013. Read about the latest attempt here.

Source articles:
- Liquor stores, grocers set to clash again over liquor.
- Grocery sales of most wine, beer are inevitable.
- Grocers' sale of wine, beer still unresolved.
- Ballot measure would let Colorado groceries sell wine, full-strength beer.
- DBJ Business Pulse: 8 in 10 readers favor booze sales in groceries.
- Proposal to sell stronger beer likely to have rivals.
- Colorado’s craft brewers wield clout in Legislature.
- Ballot initiative submitted to allow beer, wine sales in grocery stores.
- Sunday liquor sales legalized in Colorado. (April 2008)

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May 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

May 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

Here 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 May 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.

Note: Most dates for May 2010 events have not yet been finalized. The following list is intended to give an indication of the recurring events that are typically held each year.

Boulder Strong Ale Festival
April 30 - May 1, 2010
Avery Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO
Featuring over 60 of the best strong ales (beers >8% abv) in the nation. We'll host two sessions again this year, one on Friday evening and another on Saturday afternoon. New location this year with bigger floor space. Saturday afternoon session 12pm to 4pm. Mark your calendars now!! Web site.

Boulder Brew & Music Festival
May 1, 2010
Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO
Experience the Boulder Brew and Music Festival at the famous FOX Theatre in Boulder, CO! Over 50+ craft, specialty and limited release brews from around the country and abroad coupled with LIVE music and a special music series night! This by far will set new grounds for brew and music festivals around the U.S.! Headliner bands TBA!

Big Brew on National Homebrew Day
May 1, 2010
Nationwide Events
In 1988, The first Saturday in May was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) created Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day not only in the United States, but around the world. Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May. Each year the AHA finds two or three recipes to highlight for Big Brew. Then hundreds of homebrewers register their Big Brew locations (see Site Registration) for a communal brew-in to celebrate National Homebrew Day. They invite family and friends, or hang posters and flyers around town to advertise their brewing site. Then on the first Saturday in May (May 1, 2010) everyone congregates at the brewing site early enough to join in a collective toast at noon Central time and get on with the brewing. If you would like to find a Big Brew site in your area, you can view the registered Sites. If there isn't a site in your area, and you are a brewer, please consider signing up to host a site.

SpringFest 2010
May 1, 2010
(Sat) 4pm-midnight
Crabtree Brewing Co.
Greeley, CO
Crabtree Brewing is once again hosting it's annual SpringFest at the brewery in east Greeley. Beers, food and bands will be highlighted. Special VIP tickets available that include shuttle & hotel room in Greeley. Mark your calendars now!

Spring Beer Festival
May 22, 2010
Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant
Longmont, CO
Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant announces the Spring Beer Festival, a beer tasting event held to raise money for local charities in need, and raise awareness of Colorado and U.S. Craft Beer Brewers. This year's fest will benefit Doctors Without Borders. This fest will focus on lighter brews of spring and summer while continuing a commitment to local charities. $30 General Admission. Price Includes Logo Glass, Meal and 10-4oz Taster Tickets. The Festival will be held in the Red Zone and on the Pumphouse Patio (Weather Permitting). Tickets will be available at the door, on a first come, first served basis. Participating breweries have included all Boulder County brewers as well as other breweries as far as the Pacific Coast.

6th Annual Brew-Ha-Ha
May 15, 2010
Veterans Park
Cañon City, CO
One of the top 4 beer festivals in Colorado. This is the 6th annual Brew-Ha-Ha, a benefit for the Fremont Center for the Arts. There will be beers from more than 20 Colorado and regional microbreweries served plus a bug line-up of top-notch comedians. Live music after the tasting. Open 3:00pm - 6:00pm. Web site.

American Craft Beer Week
May 17-23, 2010
Multiple breweries
All across Colorado + the USA
Billed as "The Mother of All Beer Weeks". Last year's American Craft Beer Week celebration boasted a record number of breweries celebrating the week that highlights the positive impact of small and independent breweries. Over 200 breweries posted more than 500 events in recognition of the 2009 American Craft Beer Week. Also, Breweries along with beer enthusiasts signed the Declaration of Beer Independence, a document that celebrates America's small and independent craft brewers. Stay tuned as the 2010 celebration will be held May 17-23, 2010. Web site. Brewery Events List.

9th Annual Festival of the Brewpubs
May 30, 2010
(Sun) 12pm-4pm
Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort
A-Basin, CO
Join spring skiers for A-Basin's largest party of the year! Spend the day sampling mugs of beer from a variety of Summit County brewpubs for one low price per 14 oz mug (must be 21). Breweries include Pub Ryan's, Breckenridge, Dillon Dam, Backcountry and Wolf Rock. Expect great live music, springtime skiing and much more. Live music will be playing from 1:00 - 4:00pm in the base area. Web site.

Small Batch Beer Festival
Late May, 2010
(Sat) Unconfirmed
Odell Brewing Co.
Fort Collins, CO
Pending completion of their brewery expansion this annual festival may or may not take place. In years past, this festival pays homage to innovative brews, fine malts and whole flower hops. A variety of ales handcrafted on Odell's five-barrel brewing system, also known as the pilot system, will be featured. Over 20 different Odell beers will be on tap. Live music and food.

Grand Opening of the new FCB
Late May, 2010
Fort Collins Brewery
Fort Collins, CO
Construction of the new brewery / restaurant facility will be completed this month and expected to have it's grand opening sometime this month. The new building is being built just a stone's throw from Odell Brewing at the corner of Lincoln & Lemay in Fort Collins, CO. Come by and watch them grow (literally). Web site.

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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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Boulder Beer Obovoid review

Boulder Beer Obovoid Oak-aged Oatmeal StoutSeasonal beers can be hard to find at times. I've been looking for a bottle of Boulder Beer Company's Boulder Beer Obovoid Stout for a while now and finally found one. Obovoid is an oak-aged oatmeal stout and is one of Boulder Beer's seasonal offerings that is only around between October and December. It seems that this dark stout doesn't stick around on the shelves much so when I spotted one I had to pick it up.

Despite the fact that BeerAdvocate classifies Boulder Beer's Obovoid Stout as an 8% Russian Imperial Stout, it's not. In fact, this year's batch of Obovoid (2009) only weighed in at 6.8% ABV and 40 IBU. Still, even at 6.8%, this beer was a bit more powerful than your average ale. So I proceeded with respect.

Boulder Beer put in a wide mix of grains into this aged stout including: Pale malt, 80L caramel, roasted barley, black malt, chocolate malt and rolled oats. Hop inclusions are UK Progress, US Cascade and UK Fuggle hops. This beer is oak-aged, not in barrels, but over oak chips - just enough to give it a bit of wood character.

Update: Since the time of this review, Boulder Beer has changed this beer to be a DRAFT ONLY beer that's released in November each year. Although if you look hard enough, you might be able to find some of this still in 22oz bottles on store shelves. Just be aware that this beer in a bottle is not as fresh.

Appearance: Obovoid poured a very dark brown (not black) with hardly any ruby edges. The pour yielded a decent 2-finger tall light brown head that dissolved within a minute. Swirling the beer left a decent lacing. The beer seemed to be appropriately carbonated.

Aroma: The dominant aromas I got from Boulder's Obovoid was a rich roast with a hint of chocolate, licorice, vanilla, dark fruit and a slight alcohol whiff. I couldn't make out the oak per se, but I figured the vanilla component accounted for the wood in this stout. It almost smelled like a Russian Imperial Stout. Later I could pick up on some citrus aroma from the Cascade hops. All in all, Obovoid was very aromatic.

Mouthfeel: One things I've noticed about beer made with oats is that it tends to make my mouth salivate excessively once it hits the back of my tongue. Obovoid is medium bodied, lighter than I expected from a dark stout, but that's not a bad thing. It was slightly drying and it tingled my tongue during the initial sampling. As expected, this stout had a slight tongue coating effect. Carbonation was present and appropriate for the style.

Taste: Obovoid Stout filled my mouth with the taste of unsweetened chocolate, dark roasted malt and a mild bitterness that stuck to my mid palate. Later on in the sampling this stout became much creamier and smoother. It was still medium bodied with a noticeable watering effect.

Obovoid Stout became a bit sweeter as I went along. The oak imparted a pleasant vanilla overtone and slight earthy flavor that wasn't overdone. I got a very slow warming affect from this beer, short of the quick warming that imperial stouts normally give.

I liked this beer for what it was. Obovoid was a bit different than most stouts in that it wasn't thick and chewy. I believe Boulder Beer didn't want Obovoid to be too heavy. It was a lighter and refreshing stout. The bitterness was subdued a bit and that sat well with me that night. Sometimes a regular stout can be a bit "chalky", but not this one.

Overall: I wasn't sure about this stout at first, but I have a personal rule not to judge a beer until I had sampled at least a half a glass of it. After I got past the mouth watering effect of the rolled oats, this beer satisfied my dark beer craving. For a regular stout, this was a decent brew. Obovoid wasn't spectacular, but was surprisingly good. I would definitely buy this beer again for times when I want a dark brew, but something not quite as thick.

Have you had this beer? What did you think of it? Please add your comments below.

Related articles:
- Boulder Beer Mojo IPA review.
- Boulder Beer Planet Porter review.
- Boulder Beer Cold Hop review.
- Boulder Beer offers Flashback 30th Anniversary Ale.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Goose Island Christmas Ale 2009 review

Goose Island Christmas Ale 2009What could be better for the holiday season than a holiday ale? Here's another seasonal ale from Goose Island Beer Company in Chicago, Illinois. It's their 2009 Goose Island Christmas Ale. The label features a Christmas goose with a Santa hat and the beer comes in a big 22oz bomber bottle. Surprisingly absent from the label is the ABV rating. I had to go to Goose Island's web site to find out that this is a Brown Ale weighing in at 5.7% ABV. The IBU rating is not listed, but if it's anything like their regular Nut Brown Ale I imagine it's low around 25 IBU.

Appearance: Goose Island Christmas Ale poured a brownish red (like a typical brown ale) with a decent 2-finger light tan head. The bubbles in the head seemed to be a bit bigger than most other beer bubbles I've seen. The head lasted only a minute but leaves a nice bit of lacing around the edges of the glass. This beer was see-thru and had very little haze.

Aroma: Smelling this beer leaves no doubt that this is more than just a typical brown ale. I could smell not only sweet malts, but also some citrus from the hops, a slight fruitiness and some mild spices. It is a very pleasant smell. Surprisingly, Goose Island didn't list any spices on the label or the web site. I'm wondering if the spiciness is due to the hops or actual holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or clove? The spices seemed familiar but somewhat different.

Mouthfeel: Brown ales can vary from somewhat watery to medium bodied. Goose Island's Christmas Ale seemed to fit in the middle of that range. It felt medium bodied but a bit less than that. It felt creamy in the mouth and had a slight drying bitterness going down.

Taste: If you take a typical brown ale and add a hint of spices to it, that's exactly the description I'd use to describe the taste. Served cold out of the fridge, it was crisp, semi-sweet from the darker malts. Goose Island stated that they added Pale, Extra Special Briess, and Dark malts to this beer, but I think part of the dark malt is caramel.

I picked up some citrus flavor from the hops in this beer as well (Cascade?). It's an easy drinking holiday brew. Being at a modest 5.7% ABV, you could get away with finishing the entire 22oz bottle yourself. However, I found that I was feeling rather full after the first glass and had little desire to finish the rest. Not because of the alcohol but because I felt that's all I wanted of this beer.

Truth be told, most brown ales to me are a bit unremarkable but the addition of spices to this beer helped it out quite a bit. Goose Island recommends serving this beer at a fairly cold 40 degrees. Now I know why.

As it warms, the beer took on additional tastes. Late in my sampling, the creaminess of the beer almost seemed to acquire a bit of buttery sensation in my mouth. Not exactly diacetyl, just a slickness that wasn't there earlier. It was much better tasting when it was colder.

I paired this beer with sharp cheddar cheese and multi-grain crackers. They seemed to go well enough together, but I was rather full from previous holiday food so it was difficult to tell.

Overall: As a holiday ale, Goose Island Christmas Ale seems to fit the style rather well. It's decently spiced, but not overly so. It's lighter fare than most and it was nice and crisp when cold. Still, I had mixed feelings about this beer. It was good, just not my favorite style of brew. It's more like a Newcastle brown ale than anything else. The spices felt like an after thought but made the beer more enjoyable. I don't think I'd want more than 12oz in an evening. I felt like seeking out something with a bit more flavor and potency for later (like their Bourbon County Stout).

Goose Island's web site says that this beer should last up to 5 years in the bottle. Really? A 5.7% ABV beer can last 5 years in the bottle? Their Nut Brown Ale says it is best up to 180 days. That I'd believe, but this being a low ABV beer probably won't taste as good a year or two later. I could be wrong but normally a beer needs to be around 8% ABV or higher to stand up to time. Perhaps the spice acts like a preservative.

If you like a mild holiday spiced beers then the 2009 Goose Island Christmas Ale should be just the thing for your holiday gatherings. But if you like a beer with a bit more kick, look elsewhere.

Related articles:
- Goose Island 2008 Bourbon County Brand Stout review.
- Goose Island 2012 Bourbon County Brand Stout review.
- Left Hand Snowbound Winter Ale review.
- Jolly Pumpkin Nøgne Ø Stone Special Holiday Ale review.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jolly Pumpkin Nøgne Ø Stone Special Holiday Ale review

Special Holiday AleIt's the winter holiday ale season and I found a seasonal brew that was originally bottled back in late 2008 to sample. Today, I'm reviewing a special collaboration beer from Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan), Nøgne Ø of Norway, and Stone Brewing of California. It's simply called Special Holiday Ale. This is not an ordinary ale as it's spiced with a lot of different ingredients including: White Sage, Juniper berries, Chestnuts (roasting on an open fire...), Caraway seeds and a fair amount of Rye malt and oats.

Little did I realize it when I spotted this single 12oz bottle on the shelf that it had already been cellared for a year. All the better! This is a big beer, around 9.0% ABV, and should hold up well for at least a year or two. At least that was my hope. So how would it taste after a year?

Appearance: The Jolly Pumpkin Nøgne Ø Stone Special Holiday Ale (that's a mouthful) poured dark brown, mostly see through, with some lighter ruby edges. The head was light tan and thick and left a good lacing on the glass.

Aroma: Here is where the spices took over. The white sage and juniper really dominate the nose here. I half expected to get a big alcohol whiff but was pleasantly surprised that I got more spice and malt than alcohol. It's like I had rubbed sage between my hands and breathed deeply. The blend of spice and malts were very inviting.

Mouthfeel: The Special Holiday Ale was immediately creamy, slippery smooth and slightly drying. There was a low amount of carbonation, mostly from the nucleated glass. My mouth started watering slightly after the first few sips (result from the added oats perhaps?).

Taste: The first sip was - oh ya sage! You can definitely pick up on the spices, yet they were not as over the top as I might have expected. Stone Brewing is known for going over the top on some of their beers, but this one was blended well with the malts. The extra 12 months in the bottle may have mellowed the spices a bit, but that's a good thing. The Special Holiday Ale held up well for the last year.

I still have no idea what Chestnuts taste like, but I can imagine it would add some nuttiness to the brew.

The beer itself was semi-sweet, creamy and the spices added an extra bounce to this beer. Normally, I'm not a big fan of spiced holiday ales but I'll give an exception to this beer. I actually enjoyed it.

Overall: Jolly Pumpkin, Nøgne Ø and Stone seemed to have done their homework on this recipe. The blend of different malts and spices seemed to work well together in this Special Holiday Ale. Still, being 9% ABV, one of these beers was about all I felt I wanted. You can only go so far with a spiced beer. I imagined pairing this beer with a nice sweet holiday Christmas cookie.

I recorded my thoughts on this beer on video as well (see below). It's spontaneous, unrehearsed and a bit rough but you'll get the idea on how I felt about this brew. Overall, I was very pleased with this beer. I wouldn't drink a lot of it but for a special event this beer will definitely impress, even after a year in the bottle.

If you are unable to view the video below, you can go to YouTube and watch the video there:

Disclosure: This review was not paid for by any brewer or marketing firm. The beer used in this review was bought and paid for by myself. My opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I am not being compensated for writing this beer review.

Related articles:
- Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout review.
- Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale review.
- Jolly Pumpkin Bier de Mars Grand Reserve at DRBT.

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Beer bloggers, disclosure and the FTC

Blogger FreebiesBy now, many of you have heard that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently came out with a "short" 81-page document outlining their latest Web guidelines for those who endorse products. What bloggers woke up to was the fact that now, as of December 1, 2009, they are expected to fully disclose their relationship with the companies that provide them either with paid endorsements or freebie gifts.

The FTC is afraid that we bloggers aren't very upfront about our honesty about the products that we write about and endorse. They fear that we bloggers are misleading and are taking bribes from companies, PR reps and affiliate programs and pimping stuff that we really don't believe in. (Rant switch turned on)

We beer bloggers now have to react and fully disclose every little detail about the beers, beer books, beer gadgets and beer related products and events that we review or endorse.

Just the facts ma'am

Sure, I've gotten free stuff. I've received free samples of beer from various breweries, free beer gloves, free hangover remedies, complimentary tickets to events, free brewery maps and other assorted items. I also receive the occasional commission from various affiliate programs I participate in (Amazon, BYO Magazine, various homebrew shops, etc). I have yet to be paid for a product review or endorsement however.

I don't make much from affiliate programs or Google ads, and I have to rely on my regular full time day job to support myself and my family. Blogging barely pays for the beer I drink.

Do they think we're all stupid?

The FTC wants us (the blogging community) to let you (the blog readers) know each and every time we get something given to us and write about it. They want us to let you know what our true relationships are with the people who give us stuff. They don't trust us bloggers. They fear the general public can't make up their own minds about products.

I'll say right up front that the reviews I write here on Fermentedly Challenged are my own opinion and not a coerced script that I am expected to follow. I give out a lot of FREE publicity for brewers, book writers and beer gadgets without getting a cent in return. It's not because I'm getting paid for it, I'm not, it's because I have an opinion about it and I want to share it. I also firmly believe in supporting my local breweries because without them we wouldn't have good beer to write about.

Not all freebies are good

I've received some products in the past that I wasn't thrilled about. I don't always write about them. But when I do, I wrote about my honest opinion about their product. Some products I've flat out refused to write about because I didn't believe in it. Some products I didn't enjoy and wasn't very enthusiastic about. In many cases I really did enjoy the product and wrote a glowing review. But do I really need to convince my readers by disclosing every little detail of my dealings with businesses? Well, if the Feds insist.

So for all you "suits" at the FTC, I'll comply with your wishes and let people know up front when I write about some free stuff I get, but please don't insult the consumer nation out there by assuming they are all idiots. They aren't. They have a brain to think for themselves. Readers are smarter than you think.

I've always said, "Don't take my word for it - try it for yourselves". I firmly believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion and what they believe is the right thing for them. Just because I like a particular beer doesn't mean the next person will. Just look at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer. There are a billion opinions out there!

Got a Blog Disclosure Policy?

There's a good article that came out from Kelly Diels, a guest poster on the blog that talks about the new regulations and what every good blogger should consider. He advocates that every blogger should have a Blog Disclosure Policy for their blog. I tend to agree with Darren. The people need to know, but they don't always want to know. Disclosure helps build trust with your readers. I'm all for that.

Bloggers/Readers - what do you think?

For all you other bloggers out there, what have you done about the new FTC policies? Do you have a Blog Disclosure Policy? Are you being more up front about the free stuff or paid endorsements you do?

Readers - do you often doubt the bloggers intentions or honesty when they write about products? Think these new rules are a good idea?

I'm wondering if this whole thing is all a bunch of worry for nothing. What do you think?

And oh by the way, I didn't get paid to write this post either. But if you want to, drop me a line and send a few bucks my way and I'll be sure to let everyone know. Honest! (Rant switch OFF)

Related articles:
- You know when it's time to buy more beer when....
- Attitudes towards beer start early.
- Can we really choose a favorite beer?
- Love beer? Fight to protect it!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

After 15 years Tommyknocker offers a Legend

Big anniversaries call for putting out big beers. Tommyknocker Brewery of Idaho Springs, CO is doing just that. In celebration of their 15th anniversary, they have put together a big 10% ABV beer named LEGEND - Olde Oaked Nut Brown Ale. Supposedly, only 1500 of these 12oz bottles have been produced and will be available on Colorado shelves this month.

Here is the press release issued earlier last week that announces this new beer:

Tommyknocker Brewery Releases LEGEND

Idaho Springs, CO (December 4, 2009) - Since they fired up the kettles in 1994, Tommyknocker Brewery has been making award~winning handcrafted brews with very unique style characteristics. On December 12, 2009 Tommyknocker Brewery will celebrate 15 years of rewarding the consumer with it's original brews.

To show their dedication to the art of brewing and the patronage from dedicated customers, Tommyknocker Brewery proudly presents LEGEND. This Olde Oaked Nut Brown Ale commemorates 15 years of award-winning craftsmanship. LEGEND is brewed and aged with toasted Hungarian Oak- a legend of it's own, once the most sought after wood used to build spectacular sailing ships. A generous addition of Crystal, Munich and Chocolate malts, accentuated by a touch of pure maple syrup, create a full-bodied beverage of epic stature. A carefully selected blend of American hops rounds out the finishing malt sweetness of this brew.

LEGEND is a beer that has been in the works for well over a year now at Tommyknocker Brewery. Brewmaster, Steve Indrehus, has spent countless hours developing a unique technique in the oaking process to give this beer an exquisite balance of sweet caramel and smoky notes.

"I used oak in this brew as an ingredient rather than just an aging vessel," says Indrehus. "Utilizing this technique has really brought out notes of spiced vanilla as well as hints of smoky biscuit, harmonized with black pepper and coffee overtones. This beer has really been a fun project for myself and the Tommyknocker brew crew!"

With LEGEND we raise a toast to all of you...our loyal customers!! Without your support over the past 15 years this beer and our business would not be where it is today. We thank each and every one of you for continuing the Tommyknocker tradition of our LEGEND...CHEERS!!

Whether you are on your way to or from your favorite mountain destination, stop in at Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub, Colorado's favorite mountain stop, located at exit 240 in historic downtown Idaho Springs, Colorado. Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub has been producing award winning ales and lagers since 1994, and offers and eclectic variety of pub style food. Experience the Tommyknocker mining legend and enjoy a meal with one of our award winning brews!


Just 5 years ago in 2004, Tommyknocker issued their Imperial Nut Brown Ale (9% ABV) and has been one of their most popular beers. That beer won a Bronze medal at the 2007 GABF. Now LEGEND aims to go one better. Not only is it a bigger, more powerful beer, but also is in much smaller quantities. Grab one of these while they last!

Related articles:
- Tommyknocker Oaked Butt Head Bock review.
- Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale review.
- Tommyknocker Ornery Amber Lager review.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

R-U-Buzzed? Free iPhone app lets you know

R-U-Buzzed appThink you know your alcohol limits? For many of us, the holiday season is full of reasons to share a drink or two with friends and family. You might not realize that for some people, just 1 or 2 drinks is enough to get you buzzed enough to get busted if you drive. Luckily for us, there is a new free iPhone app that will help you find out whether or not you're too buzzed to drive home.

The app is called R-U-Buzzed, a free iPhone app developed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The app allows you to enter in your weight, sex, length of time you've been drinking, as well as how many of each type of drink you've had (beer, wine, liquor).

The app will calculate your estimated blood alcohol content and give you advice as to whether or not you are over the limit or simply too buzzed to drive.

The app even has a built in one-touch ability to call a Taxi should you choose to put down your car keys.

What the app doesn't have is the ability to enter in the specific ABV (alcohol by volume) value that each drink has. So if you're enjoying an imperial stout or perhaps a Double IPA, then you might want to double the number of drinks you input. Craft beers often have higher alcohol content than regular macro beers such as Miller, Coors, Bud, etc).

Here's the link to the free iPhone app: R-U-Buzzed

Holidays see increased DUIs

Here are some sobering numbers that were sent to me by the Ad Council and the National Highway Safety and Traffic Association (NHSTA). There are also some web sites listed below to help you find out more about it:

Did you know that in 2008, nearly 12,000 drivers or motorcycle riders died in alcohol-related crashes? That’s one person every 40 minutes. Many people are under the misconception that you would have to be “falling down drunk” to be too impaired to drive safely. That couldn't be further from the truth. Last year alone, during the winter holiday season, 420 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. You can’t help but wonder if those lives could have been saved if people thought twice before getting behind the wheel. With the holidays approaching, it’s important that drivers be reminded about the dangers of buzzed driving. Who knows, it could save a life.

The National Highway Safety and Traffic Association (NHTSA) and the Ad Council are continuing their efforts with their PSA campaign called “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” The buzzed driver is one who drinks and drives, but does not consider himself a hazard on the roadway because “only a few” drinks are consumed. The campaign hopes to educate people that consuming even a few drinks can impair driving and that “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.”

We need your help to spread this message during the holiday season to help keep “buzzed” drivers off the road. Post a message on your blog about the dangers of buzzed driving, share a story or experience you might have had with buzzed driving and encourage readers to follow us on twitter (@buzzeddriving) and Facebook to get the latest updates and news from NHTSA. You can also visit our website ( where readers can sign a pledge not to drive buzzed, play an interactive game to help them understand how drinking can impair driving, and hear personal stories from people who have driven buzzed.

- CBS 4 Denver
- Colorado CDOT
- Huliq News
- Emily Freedner - Home Front Communications

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Sierra Nevada - Dogfish Head Life and Limb review

Sierra Nevada Dogfish Head Life and LimbOn a recent beer run, I had the fortune of spotting a bottle of the newly released collaboration beer from Sierra Nevada of California and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Delaware called Life and Limb. This beer's hype had preceded itself before I found the bottle and I couldn't pass up the chance to sample one.

I'm a big fan of most things from Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada and when I heard from my fellow beer friends like Ashley the Beer Wench and Taylor (@TheArtofBeer) that they had sampled some of this American Strong Ale and enjoyed it. Apparently it was a hit at the San Diego Beer Week. I simply had to try some.

Life and Limb was made with two different kinds of tree syrup. One was maple syrup from Massachusetts and the other was birch syrup from Alaska. Sam Calagione's family owns the farm where the maple syrup was made so it makes this a more personal brew for him.

With all of this thick syrup in the batch, I wondered just how sweet this beer would end up. In addition, Sierra Nevada put in 2-row pale malt along with some Chocolate and Carafa malts (both dark and roasty). The brew was bittered with Bravo hops for bitterness and Sterling and Perle hops for flavor and aroma and gave the brew a 50 IBU bitterness rating.

Appearance: Contrary to other reports, this beer doesn't pour black. It's certainly dark but I could see half-way through this beer. It had plenty of mahogany edges around the sides of the glass. The foam built up rather quickly and actually overflowed my glass when I was pouring. I had to let the foam settle down a bit before it could fill the glass.

The head itself was a light tan color and when swirled left a very nice lacing that seemed to coat most of the glass.

There was a load hiss when opened. Life and Limb was bottle conditioned with the birch syrup so that the yeast inside had plenty to eat.

Aroma: I could definitely pick up on the maple syrup in the nose right away. It also had a noticeable scent of alcohol as it should since it weighs in at 10.2% ABV. It reminded me a bit of a Barleywine. Along with the sweetness in the aroma I could pick out a slight roastiness from the dark malts and a touch of spice from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Almost instantly, Life and Limb covered my mouth with a creamy sensation. The brew was rather smooth going down as well. I got a nice coating across my tongue that lingered. There was a bit of dryness that came in mid-palate.

Life and Limb wasn't as carbonated as I thought it was, but it was far from being flat. I got a slight bitter finish at the end as well.

Taste: My first reaction was that Life and Limb was a high octane version of a brown ale. It wasn't as roasty as the beer might indicate. The sweet syrup was noticeable throughout along with a slight alcohol bite. I could also pick up on the spiciness that the hops added to this beer as well.

Still, I felt it was a bit on the sweet side at first. But as I always recommend, I had to keep sampling this beer in order to bring out the true character of the beer. All too often, a beer is judged completely with only an ounce or two of sampling. With this beer, you need to have at least 6oz or more in order to truly appreciate it's complexity.

The sampling quickly evolved from a sweet and mildly spicy beer to a smooth and creamy Yum! The dark malts are mixed well with the syrup as to hide some of the dark roastiness. The syrup levels were done just about right. They stopped just shy of having a bit too much sweetness in the brew.

Overall: At first, I thought Life and Limb was going to be like an un-aged Barleywine. It was strong and potent up front but soon mellowed out into a very smooth and slow drinker. It was very warming - perfect for a snowy winter night.

Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head put out a wonderful one of a kind beer that I'd definitely want to have again. They even put up a special web site that describes everything they did to create this beer.

Supposedly, this beer was designed to age for many years. I might just pick up another bottle or two and put it away for a few years. I hope they decide to make this beer again as it would be interesting to do a vertical tasting of this down the road. One of these in a night is plenty. It comes in a large 24oz bottle.

Related articles:
- Dogfish Head World Wide Stout review.
- Dogfish Head Festina Peche review.
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA review.

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