Monday, November 30, 2009

Oskar Blues celebrates 7 years of canning

There's a new canned beer coming from Oskar Blues and everyone has a chance to can some of their own. Read the latest on another milestone happening at Colorado's own Oskar Blues Brewery.

Oskar Blues' 7th CANiversary Party
Wednesday, Dec. 9th, 2009 5pm - 10pm
310 Main Street - "The Barn", Lyons, CO

Celebrate the 7th Anniversary of the “Canned Beer Apocalypse” in the barn where it all began. Enjoy Oskar Blues beer, live music by Romano Paoletti & food in the eclectic atmosphere of Oskar Blues' Barn. They'll have specialty brews on tap, plenty of OB canned beer as well as the announcement of their latest seasonal slated to hit shelves in March, 2010. You'll have a chance to hand can your very own take home can of this soon to be released brew.

Join founder Dale Katechis and brewer Eric Huber for “Good ‘Ole Days of Canning”. 1 & 2 at a time hand canning of our eagerly anticipated yet-to-be announced seasonal. www.oskarblues.com


Related articles:
- Oskar Blues does Velvet Elvis.
- Oskar Blues Old Chub review.
- Oskar Blues debuts the Tasty Weasel.
- Oskar Blues new Liquids & Solids restaurant opens.

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Avery Mephistopheles' Stout review

Avery Mephistopheles' StoutLooking for one powerhouse imperial stout to try? I think I've found one that is bound to knock your socks off, and perhaps the rest of your clothes as well. Here is an imperial stout from Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado that you may have seen but could have hesitated to try due to it's price tag and high ABV - it's Avery Mephistopheles' Stout - part of their Demon of Ales series.

Even the label looks foreboding with the top of a devil head peering at you from hell. The November 2008 Batch 4 version of Mephistopheles' Stout (Meph for short) weighs in at a huge 15.92% ABV and with a whopping 107 IBUs. Whoa - that's some big numbers. Not too many beers get this big. It's not even legal to sell in some states due to it's big ABV rating.

Avery put in a bucket load of 2-row barley, black malt, roasted barley, Belgian Special B and aromatic malts into this brew and bittered it with a ton of Magnum and Styrian Goldings hops.

This brew only comes in single 12oz bottles. Expect to pay between $8 to $10 for this bottle due to it's big numbers. This is not going to be a quick drinker. Plan on taking this beer slow. One bottle will do ya.

Appearance: Meph poured a thick black liquid with a golden brown 2-finger head and a slight slippery lacing. Not much light gets through this beer. The head didn't last long but I figured a big beer like this wouldn't keep a head especially since this beer had already been aged a full year prior to opening.

Aroma: Oh man - you can really smell this beer in the next room - it's big! I picked up a lot of rich dark roast, some coffee tones, sweet fruit, a bit of hop smell, a hint of black licorice (anise) and noticeable alcohol whiff. There is a lot to this aroma and you know it's a big beer without having to read the label.

Mouthfeel: Yahtzee! Mephistopheles' Stout was attacking my tongue from the first sip. It's very sharp with some syrup-like consistency. It's creamy with some big heat from the alcohol. My tongue felt like it was slightly burnt from the alcohol. I could even notice it the next day! Nothing light about this beer. It is thick and chewy.

Taste: I know from experience that you can't really judge a beer from the first few sips. Initially, the rum-like alcohol dominates the taste here. You have to let your mouth adjust quite a bit with this beer as it's mighty strong. It's very malty, some semi-sweetness from caramel malts, very roasty and bitter. It was almost medicinal at first. A slow sipper for sure.

I wasn't quite sure I was going to like this beer after the first 1/3rd of the glass, but then the big glow hit me (rather fast I might add) and as it warmed this beer become quite enjoyable.

Later on, the chocolate and licorice flavors come out along with some dark fruits. You simply have to give this beer time. Your mouth has to get over the initial shock of this beer before you can start tasting the rest of this beer.

Overall Impression: A year in the bottle may have toned down the 107 IBUs a bit but it didn't mellow the alcohol at all. I think another year might even make this beer even better. Potent is a good word to describe Avery Mephistopheles' Stout.

This imperial stout has a much bigger roast flavor than other imperials. I got a good glow from this beer early on. What started out to be strong and powerful ended up being a brandy-like semi-sweet wonder.

I even poured some over some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and it was wonderful. The ice cream cooled my mouth a bit from the burn. No wonder they put a devil on the label of this beer. One 12oz bottle will give you a decent buzz and that's all you'll need for one night. I ended up liking this beer a lot. I just wish it didn't attack so much right up front.

Related articles:
- Top 12 Imperial Stouts you must try!
- Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Sui Generis to debut in September.
- Avery Redpoint Ale review.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew

Choosing a fermenterOne of the first set of questions beginning homebrewers have is: "What should I ferment my beer in?", "What are the different types of fermenters available?", "Is one fermenter better than the other?" and "What does a fermenter cost?".

Selecting a primary fermentation vessel that will convert your wort into beer and act as a place for your yeast to go to work in is not always a trivial task. There are many options ranging from the very inexpensive plastic bucket all the way up to the primo stainless steel conical tanks.

Choosing the best fermentation tank that's right for you and your budget involves examining the options. This two-part article will help you get an idea of the variety of fermentation equipment that's available out on the market today. In this article, part one, you'll read about the more common and less expensive fermenters.

What size fermenter do I need?

Homebrew beer batches come in all sizes ranging from he sub-2 gallon test batches all the way up to 100 gallon super batches for those ready to turn pro. The size of fermenter you need will be based on how much beer you want to produce and how active of a fermentation you expect.

The typical beginning homebrew batch is 5 gallons. Your fermenter will need to hold a bit more than that in order to handle the build-up of yeast, foam and other by-products of the fermentation process. Typically you'll want to minimize the air-space between the beer and the top of the fermenter, especially in a secondary fermenters, where excess air can spoil the taste of your beer.

Typical starter fermenter sizes are: 3 gallon, 5 gallon, 6 gallon, and 6.5 gallon. More advanced models range from 7.5 gallon and up.

Normally, you'll want a fermenter that is slightly larger than your batch size. Example: a 3 gallon bucket for a 2 gallon batch, a 6 or 6.5 gallon bucket for a 5 gallon batch, etc. The closer your batch size is to your fermenter size the less air will stay on top of your beer. However, you'll want a bit of extra room in the primary for all that foam and other blow-off materials as active fermentation can become quite lively.

What types of fermenters are there?

There are nearly a dozen or so types of common fermenters or fermentation vessels available on the market today. They range from food grade plastic buckets, P.E.T. plastic carboys, glass carboys, high density polyethylene containers (HDPE)and all the way up to converted Sanke kegs and stainless steel containers in both conical and non-conical shapes.

That's a lot of choices!

Each type of fermenter has it's own set of advantages and disadvantages. Your choice may depend on your budget, your comfort level with the equipment or the volume of beer you expect to produce. Let's take a look at these different types of fermenters individually. Let's start with the most basic containers in this article and work up to the more advanced models in part two.

Food-Grade Plastic Fermentation Buckets

Plastic Fermentation BucketsOne of the most economical fermentation devices you can get is the food-grade quality fermentation buckets. These buckets come ready to sanitize, are typically white in color, have a re-sealable lid and have a hole for some kind of air-lock or blow-off tube. Optionally, these buckets may have a hole near the bottom with an attached spigot for siphon-less draining.

Fermentation buckets, sometimes known as Ale Pails, typically come in the following sizes (all in gallons): 2, 6, 6.5, 7.5, 10, 12, 20, and 32. These buckets are made of food-grade heavy duty plastic and will generally last a long time provided that they are gently cleaned and kept in good condition.

Most beginning homebrew kits use these types of buckets. I have personally used these buckets in primary fermentations for extract batches and they have worked well. You can safely use these for a dozen batches or so before considering replacing them.

Cost: Typically a bucket with a lid costs anywhere from $6 for a 2 gallon size, $7-$15 for a 6 gallon size, $12-$19 for a 6.5 gallon size, $16-$22 for a 7.5 gallon size, and all the way up to $79 for a 32 gallon (trash barrel) container.

Advantages: They're light weight, safer to handle, relatively inexpensive and can be found in many places including kitchen supply stores and most homebrew shops. If dropped, a lesser risk for breakage and injury.

Disadvantages: Harder to keep clean, may scratch easily, the scratches could harbor bacteria that can ruin your beer. Some people claim beer fermented in plastic doesn't taste as good as beer made in glass or stainless steel fermenters. Risk of chemical leaching over time.

Extras: Spigot holes and kits cost extra ~$3.25 and airlocks cost around $1.25. Blow off tubes vary by size and length.

Price a plastic fermentation bucket online:
High Gravity Homebrew, Northern Brewer.


Better Bottles (P.E.T.) Carboys

Better BottlesConsidered a lower cost alternative to glass is the plastic (P.E.T.) carboy. One of the leading brands is the Better Bottle. Better Bottle carboys come in three sizes: 3 gallon, 5 gallon and 6 gallon. These bottles come with one opening at the top or as a ported bottle ready for added accessories like spigots near the bottom.

Better Bottles are mostly clear (see through), colorless and are extremely tough and light weight (about 1.5 lbs). They have wide necks for easier filling. A variety of adapters can be added such as racking adapters and quick-disconnect SimpleFlo valves, which eliminate the need for siphons and make oxygen-free racking simple.

These bottles yield a negligible amount of oxygen permeability and add no taste or odor to the beer. These bottles can soak clean without brushing and are resistant to cleaning and sanitizing agents.

I own both a 5 gallon and 6 gallon Better Bottle and use them for both primary (6 gallon) and secondary fermenters (5 gallon). So far I have been very pleased with the results from these containers.

Cost: All prices without spigot ports. 3 gallon $20-24, 5 gallon $24-26, 6 gallon $25-27. Spigot kits range between $20 to $37 extra.

Advantages: Lower cost than glass carboys. Better Bottles are mostly unbreakable and are extremely light. They are easy to handle and are inexpensive to ship. In many cases, online stores will ship these for free.

Disadvantages: Similar to plastic buckets, these can scratch if brushes are used and can harbor bacteria. The sides can deform when filled with liquid and carried and can draw in water from the airlock. Like a carboy, they can be difficult to clean. with the ridged inner surface areas. They don't come in sizes larger than 6 gallon.

Price a Better Bottle online:
High Gravity Homebrew, Midwest Supplies.


Glass Carboys

Glass CarboysFor years, glass carboys were the standard for fermenting home brewed beer. In the early days of homebrewing, these were the only things available. But even today, it's still considered a preferred container by many for fermenting small batches of beer.

Typical sizes of glass carboys are: 3 gallon, 5 gallon, 6 gallon and 6.5 gallon. Make no mistake, these bottles are much heavier than the previous plastic carboys. A 3 gallon glass bottle weighs 9 pounds, a 5 gallon (13 lbs), a 6 gallon (16 lbs) and the 6.5 gallon bottle (17.5 lbs). When you add 5 gallons of beer to this (roughly 48.1 pounds) a full 6.5 gallon glass carboy can weigh over 65 pounds!

Glass carboys can be found not only in homebrew stores but many drinking water supply companies also supply these. In many cases, used carboys are just as good as new ones as glass typically won't scratch on the inside and can last a very long time.

Cost: 3 gallon: $24+shipping, 5 gallon: $32+shipping, 6 gallon: $38+shipping, 6.5 gallon: $40+shipping. Shipping can cost up to $20 due to the weight and fragility of these items. You can find used carboys much cheaper in your local classifieds, just be sure used bottles don't have chips, cracks or leftover sludge.

Advantages: Many homebrewers swear beer from glass carboys tastes better than from plastic fermenters. There is less likelihood of oxygen getting into your beer. Glass is easier to clean than plastic and won't scratch. Glass has no chemicals to leach out into your beer. Glass carboys won't wear out as fast as plastic.

Disadvantages: The weight. Glass is highly breakable and can be dangerous if dropped. More light gets into glass than a plastic bucket and can change the taste of your beer. It costs a lot to ship these and can be more expensive than Better Bottles.

Price a glass carboy online:
High Gravity Homebrew, Northern Brewer.


Your Turn

What kind of experiences have you had in using these types of fermenters? Do you believe glass is better than plastic fermenters? What kind of issues have you had with buckets, better bottles and glass carboys?

Let our readers know if you've had any issues with using used fermentation equipment versus buying new. Please post a comment and add to this discussion.

End of Part One

In Part Two, we examine the higher end models including: Tuff Tank vessels, MiniBrew conical HDPE fermenters, Converted Sanke kegs as fermenters, and the Blichmann stainless steel fermenters. If you're ready to step up to a more advanced model - read on!

Continue reading Part Two.

Related articles:
- Choosing a brew kettle.
- Putting together the home brewery.
- Creating a yeast starter for homebrewing.
- The trials and tribulations of bottling beer.

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Choosing a fermenter - Part Two

Conical fermentersThis is part two in a 2-part series on choosing a fermenter for your homebrewing. In this article we will examine some of the more advanced models of fermenters that are available to homebrewers.

In Part One, we examined some of the basic forms of fermenters including plastic buckets, Better Bottle carboys and glass carboys.

For those of you who have been homebrewing for a while and are ready to step up to something a bit more advanced, we'll examine some of the more expensive and larger capacity fermentation vessels that are available on the market. These models range from 7.5 gallon models all the way up to sizes that exceed a barrel in size.

We've seen from the previous article that fermenters can be quite affordable and can be made from a wide variety of materials like food grade plastics, P.E.T. plastics as well as glass. If you are looking to make home brew in batches larger than 5 gallons at a time and want to keep your entire batch in one receptacle, then the following types of fermenters may be just what you're looking for.

This article will examine some of the bigger, more expensive models including: high impact polymer containers, high density polyethylene (HDPE) fermenters, some converted kegs as well as some larger capacity stainless steel models.

Here is where the sky becomes the limit. How much homebrew you plan on making and the size of your budget will help determine which larger scale fermenter is right for you. For those who expect the best in their homebrew, these models may be of some interest.

Please note: prices can change at any time. Please check with suppliers for the latest and most current prices on fermenters. Prices listed here were based on 2009 values and may be higher or lower than listed here.


Tuff Tank Vessels

Tuff TankTuff Tank vessels have been around for several years and are available in a few larger scale sizes for fermentation. These tanks are sold through www.eckraus.com and offer a larger capacity along with a more affordable model. Tuff Tanks are made of food-grade high impact polymers.

The Tuff Tank Vessel provides an easy, convenient way to handle any type of fermentation. It comes with an air-lock and can be sealed up air-tight. This makes it effective as both a primary or secondary fermenter. Tuff-Tank vessels also have a handy faucet that can be used for both racking or bottling your beer. The faucet has been strategically elevated away from the very bottom so that you can easily transfer your beer without transferring the sediment.

Tuff Tank Vessels come in 3 different sizes: 9 gallon, 14 gallon and 22 gallon. There are also discounts available for ordering more than one at a time.

Cost: 9 gallon - $48, 14 gallon - $62, and $92 for the 22 gallon size. Shipping is free in some cases.

Advantages: Larger capacity than typical carboys. Air-tight. No light will get to your fermenting beer. Lighter weight than metal or glass fermenters. Comes with an air-lock and a spigot as standard.

Disadvantages: Polymers, like any other plastic, can scratch and could harbor bacteria. Not intended for small batches. May not have the same trust for taste as glass and stainless steel fermenters do.

Price a Tuff Tank Vessel:
E. C. Krause


MiniBrew Conical Fermenters

Minibrew fermentersAnother step up the ladder in fermenters comes with the MiniBrew Conical Fermenters from Hobby Beverage Equipment Co. These fermentation vessels slope down to a point to help collect sediment at the bottom that can easily be removed by the use of well placed valves. MiniBrew fermenters are made with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and come with nickel plated valves for racking and yeast removal.

All popular cleaning and/or sterilizing agents can be used on these plastic (HDPE) fermenters. They will not harm the inert plastic material. Water at 180 degrees can be an excellent sterilizing agent; pour it down the sides of the fermenter. The heat will sink into the plastic and all the parts, killing bacteria. This procedure works with stainless also. The large top makes it easy to get inside and scrub dried trub with a Teflon scouring pad.

MiniBrew Conical Fermenters come in a wide variety of sizes to fit most any brewing needs: 6 gallon, 8 gallon, 15 gallon, 25 gallon, 40 gallon and 100 gallon sizes. These fermenters range in weight from 13 lbs all the way up to 150 lbs.

Cost: Here is where you start noticing a bit of an increase in price: 6 gal = $198, 8 gal = $289, 15 gal = $347, 25 gal = $510, 40 gal = $755 and the 100 gal = $1625. This does not include shipping. The larger models must be delivered by truck due to their size.

Advantages: Available in a wide variety of sizes. Lighter weight than glass or stainless steel models. Conical shape offers ease of sediment removal and transfer. Large opening makes loading and cleaning easier. Tanks are elevated as a standard. Can eliminate the need for transferring to a secondary.

Disadvantages: Again, plastic but that is a choice. These models start to get expensive for the larger containers. Larger containers require more space to store.

Price a MiniBrew Conical Fermenter:
High Gravity Homebrew, Hobby Beverage.


Stainless Steel Variable Capacity Tanks

Stainless Variable Capacity FermentersVariable capacity tanks have the ability to adjust themselves down to the exact size of the batch you wish to make. A 13 gallon model, for example, can accommodate batch sizes from 1 to 12 gallons. The lid fits inside the stainless steel tank and seals itself with the aid of an inflatable gasket.

Think of it as a food-grade, bicycle inner-tube places around the outer edge of the lid. Just position the lid to the appropriate height for your batch and then inflate the tube with the provided hand pump. You can place the lid as close or as far away from the liquid's surface as you like.

The Variable Capacity Tank can be used for both primary and secondary fermentations. Its lid is fitted with a dry air-lock that allows gases to escape while keeping the tank sealed air-tight. It comes equipped with a heavy-duty, ball-valve faucet for easily transferring your beer to a second container or for bottling. The faucet can be fitted with a 3/8" Vinyl Siphon Hose.

Models come in 13 gallon, 26 gallon, 39 gallon, 52 gallon, 66 gallon and also can be special ordered all the way up to 265 gallon!

Cost: Comparable to the HDPE conical models. 13 gal = $410, 26 gal = $530, 39 gal = $575, 52 gal = $665, 66 gal = $745. Price may include shipping on smaller models.

Advantages: Can brew any size batch you wish with just one model while minimizing head space. Stainless steel durability and ease of cleaning. Can be used for bulk, long term storage.

Disadvantages: Availability is limited. Shipping larger models may get cost prohibitive.

Price a Stainless Steel Variable Capacity Tank:
E.C. Kraus, Fermentation Solutions.


Blichmann Conical Stainless Steel Fermenters

Blichmann Conical FermentersConsidered to be one of the top of the line home fermenter models, the Blichmann Conical Stainless Steel "Fermenator" is known for quality, craftsmanship and durability.

Blichmann Fermenator offers commercial brewery functionality at a consumer good price. Unlike their plastic cousins, these models are made with quality stainless steel from top to bottom and offer a weld free interior. No stress about bacteria hiding in weld cracks or porosity found in all welds.

The bottom slopes down to angle to help collect sediment in a way that can be easily removed. These models are guaranteed not to leak. The Fermenator will even hold up to pressure to allow CO2 pumping from vessel to vessel.

The Blichmann Fermenator comes in 4 different sizes and can match almost all homebrew batch size needs: 7.0 gallon, 14.5 gallon, 27 gallon and 42 gallon. They are widely available from most quality homebrew stores and are drop shipped directly to you from the manufacturer.

Cost: Here is where you need a budget. 7 gal = $569 to $786, 14.5 gal = $599 to $829, 27 gal = $799 to $1045, 42 gal = $1239 to $1530. Cost differences are due to extras like tri-clamp valve, extender legs, caster wheels and blow-off fittings. Check stores for all options.

Advantages: No weld construction, easy to clean, long lasting, superior quality stainless steel. Closest thing to a brewery fermenter only for the home. Parts are readily available from many stores. Keeps light out of your fermenting beer. Scratch resistant.

Disadvantages: Cost. Extras can add up.

Price a Blichmann Fermenator:
High Gravity Homebrew, Williams Brewing, Northern Brewer.


Converted Kegs as Fermenters

Converted Keg FermenterThe last type of fermenter I'll discuss are for those who wish to improvise and save a bit of money and who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. One viable option is to make your own fermentation tank out of a converted keg.

In order to pull this off, you'll either need some welding skills or need to know someone who is. You can easily get the regular caps off an old keg but you might need a bit of ingenuity to create a sealable hole to place an air-lock and/or a drain spigot.

Homebrewers have been using old kegs for a variety of purposes, including brew kettles and mash tuns. With a bit of elbow grease you can probably create one for less than $100 including all of the parts. Just be sure the keg you obtain doesn't belong to a brewery and it is free from damage and is relatively spotless on the inside.

Cost: Depends on where you can find parts and who does the labor.

Advantages: Can be much less expensive than other stainless steel fermenters. Durable. Cleans well. Keeps light out of fermenting beer.

Disadvantages: Time to build, welds can harbor bacteria. May introduce leaks if not built well. Harder to insure an air-tight seal.


For ideas about more common and inexpensive fermenters, read Part One - Basic Fermenters.

Related articles:
- Choosing a brew kettle.
- Putting together the home brewery.
- Creating a yeast starter for homebrewing.
- The trials and tribulations of bottling beer.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rogue Shakespeare Stout review

Rogue Shapkespeare StoutAfter a long hiatus, this blog finally turns it's head back towards an old favorite Oregon brewery - Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon. Rogue is well known for making a wide variety of beer including some pretty potent distilled spirits. Seeing how I'm a big stout fan I wanted to try out one of Rogue's darker brews and when I spotted their Rogue Shakespeare Stout on the shelf I picked one up.

Rogue 22oz bottles are well known for that familiar Rogue guy image and on this bottle we see him sporting a Three Musketeers-like hat holding a mug of stout beer. This beer's claim to fame is that it previously won as a World Champion Stout so already this beer has some added appeal.

Ingredients: Rogue was kind enough to list their ingredients right on the bottle. Shakespeare Stout is made with NW Harrington and Klages malts, Crystal 13-165 and Beeston Chocolate malts, some rolled oats and roasted barley. Add to that a bunch of Cascade hops and fermented with their famous Pacman yeast.

Normally, I wouldn't expect to find Cascade hops in a stout but thought that might add a nice twist to this brand of dark beer. Shakespeare Stout weighs in at 6.0% ABV and has an IBU bitterness rating of 69 which is fairly decent for a stout.

Appearance: Rogue Shakespeare Stout pours extremely dark with hardly any lighter color around the edges. Normally, I'd expect to see a lot of ruby or mahogany on the edges of the glass but this beer gave very little of that. Served cold, this beer poured with a modest 2 finger brown head that quickly melted.

When swirled, there was a bit of lacing that quickly slid down the glass and didn't stick. Within a minute there was little to no head left.

There was a modest amount of carbonation in this beer. The cap came off with a very noticeable hiss so I knew there was some nice carbonation action going on. Again, you don't normally see much nucleation in a stout but there was a bit more than usual here.

Aroma: I immediately picked up on a couple things with this beer: Roast malt and a hint of chocolate. I couldn't pick up on any alcohol heat here but later as the beer warmed I could start picking up some of the citrus nose from the Cascade hops. Almost like an unsweetened chocolate covered orange but a bit more roasty. As with most dark beers, you need to let the beer warm up a bit for the full spectrum of aromas to come out.

Mouthfeel: I got a bit of a surprise in my mouth on the first several sips. My mouth watered a lot when the beer hit my tongue. This may be due to the rolled oats in this beer. I've had other beers do this and it changes the complexity of the beer completely. Stouts tend to be full bodied and somewhat "chewy" but due to the massive amount of salivation going on, it turned this stout into a medium bodied brew.

The roasted malts quickly coated my tongue. It was creamy, yet slippery due to my mouth watering. It was both a dry effect but wetting at the same time. Shakespeare stout was still creamy smooth but in a different way.

Taste: Here is where I noticed a big difference. I'm used to drinking imperial stouts with a big over the top maltiness and alcohol bite. You don't get that with a normal stout. Rogue Shakespeare Stout filled my mouth with a lot of roast malt and bitterness. There was not much sweetness in this beer at all. In fact the chocolate taste I picked up was more like unsweetened chocolate.

There was also a bit of coffee roast present and on the back end I picked up on the mild citrus hop, especially later as the beer warmed up. The massive salivation going on left a slight watery end yet bitter.

Roast malts definitely dominate this drink. I could detect a slight smokiness to this beer on the back end as well.

Overall: Regular stouts are more quickly drinkable than their imperial cousins and Rogue's brew was a good drinker. It's not a session beer by any means but you don't have to slowly sip this one either.

This beer screams to be paired with food due to it's dryness. I could see having one of these with BBQ'ed meat or even with a nice chocolaty dessert. You need to add a bit of sweetness in the food when you pair this as the stout itself is nearly void of any sweetness. I happened to have a small piece of chocolate cake that I finished the end of the bottle with and it matched perfectly.

By itself, Rogue Shakespeare Stout is a fine example of a regular stout. It's made even better with food. If I had to name this beer myself, I'd call it: "Dry Roast Goodness". Dry, roasty and darn good. Nice job Rogue.

Related articles:
- Rogue Dead Guy Ale review.
- Samuel Adams Cream Stout review.
- Mountain Sun celebrates Stout Month (2009).
- Young's Double Chocolate Stout review.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Falling Rock Tap House holiday events announced

Falling Rock Tap HouseFresh off the news wire comes word from the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, Colorado of their upcoming Holiday plans and specials. There's going to be a big annual dinner plus some special holiday and limited release beers on tap. Read on to see what's in store at Denver's most famous beer gathering place.


Falling Rock Tap House News - Nov. 25, 2009

The Christmas beers are coming in with 12 on tap so far & more to come.

12th Annual Christmas Beer Dinner
Tuesday December 1st 7:30pm -$55.
This year's Christmas Dinner Will include More Belgian Beers Both because you requested it & because I was able to get more this year. Belgian Beers included are:

St Feuillein Noel 2008
Scaldis Noel 2008 & 2009
St. Bernardus Christmas 2009
Dupont Avec les Bon Voeux
Affligem Noel 2008

Tickets are available & we Accept Cash & Credit Cards for the Dinner
The Back Vintages of Christmas Beers will be available on Wednesday December 2nd if you aren't attending the dinner

Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life & Limb (plus Limb & Life) Draught Release Party
Friday December 4th 5pm

Life & Limb is a collaborative effort, the brainchild of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Life & Limb is a 10% ABV strong, dark beer that defies style characteristics- brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman "farm" at the brewery in Chico, CA. The beer is alive with yeast-a blend of both breweries' house strains-bottle conditioned for added complexity and shelf life, and naturally carbonated with birch syrup fresh from Alaska.

Life & Limb is dedicated to the family of beer drinkers and enthusiasts worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the vibrant craft-brewing community.

The other beer of this collaboration is Limb & Life (draft only). Which is made from the second runnings of the life & Limb.

We will Be Closed for Thanksgiving, Have a great Holiday.

See you Later,
Chris (Falling Rock Tap House)

Related articles:
- Falling Rock hosts Elysian Pumpkinfest.
- GABF week at the Falling Rock Tap House - plus video!
- Video tour of the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver.

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Fermentedly Challenged gets a new look

Chipper Dave at New Belgium"Oh the times, they are a changin'" - Bob Dylan

It's been nearly a year since I last modified the look and feel of this ol' beer blog. I felt the time was right to try some new things and get rid of the old tired brown and gold blog and update it with a look that's a bit cleaner.

While some things have stayed the same, other things are a bit different. The blog is definitely wider. It now is 1024 pixels wide and offers a wider and brighter area for displaying my posts (670 pixels vs 468 pixels).

The right sidebar column is also wider (308 pixels vs 258 pixels) and will let me experiment a bit with new navigation, widgets and advertising.

Up on top is a much bigger graphic. I may change things around here yet as I'm still searching for a new logo. There is also an expanded navigation bar that will help point you to some of the regular features of this blog.

Like everything else, this blog is always a work in progress. If you are reading this article from your RSS reader or email, please stop by and take a look at the new layout and let me know what you think. Comments and criticism are always welcome.

I plan to expand my video offerings in the coming year and get back into homebrewing even more in 2010. I'll also be attending as many Colorado beer festivals as I can manage and bring you some extended coverage of those along with all the great craft beers that are available in this region.

Related articles:
- The 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals and Events Calendar.
- Book review: Drinking and Driving in Colorado - A Guide to Colorado Brewpubs.
- The sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.
- Top 12 Imperial Stouts you must try.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Spruce Goose to fly at Steamworks



Here's news of another returning seasonal beer coming from the Steamworks Brewing Company of Durango, Colorado. Look for this beer wherever Steamworks beers are sold.


Spruce Goose returns as holiday seasonal at Steamworks

Unique beer brewed with “spruce tips” from San Juan Mountains

DURANGO, Colo. – Spruce Goose has once again returned as a holiday seasonal beer at Steamworks Brewing Co. Literally brewed with fresh spruce tips harvested in the San Juan Mountains, the beer has become a winter favorite for craft beer aficionados.

A modern-day version of the spruce beer purportedly first brewed by the Vikings, Steamworks’ Spruce Goose is a darker brew that offers complex earthy flavors. Sporting an ABV of 8.13 percent, the Spruce Goose received a bronze medal in the 2009 Australian International Beer Competition.

“Legend has it that the Vikings would prime themselves with spruce beer prior to combat to ‘induce animalistic fury,’” said Brian McEachron, Steamworks director of marketing and sales. “What better a beer to share with your in-laws this holiday season?”

According to The Beer Enthusiast at “Draft” magazine, who rated the beer a 93, the Spruce Goose Ale “…is a wonderful introduction to the spice… when you try Spruce Goose, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t seem much like beer. Your nose will be greeted by wafts of malt, followed closely by the unmistakable aroma of new growth spruce tips… an enjoyable toffeelike malt flavor lingers on the tongue, finishing this beer off nicely.”

McEachron credits Steamworks brewdog Ken Martin with perfecting the time-honored recipe for contemporary palettes. Over the years the Steam Team has harvested (after a botany lesson from the Forest Service) young spruce tips in the San Juan Mountains. This year, the team brought home 80 lbs. from Molas Pass for the 2009 brew.

“So, to some extent, this is a ‘home grown’ beer,” said McEachron. “It’s a beer that’s certainly not ‘mainstream’ but definitely worth discovering.”

The limited release Spruce Goose Ale is available in 22 oz. bomber bottles, as well as on-tap at Steamworks Brewing Co.

The original Steamworks Brewing Co., opened in 1996, is located at 801 E. Second. Ave., Durango (970.259.9200). Steamworks’ Bayfield Beer Factory is located at 442 Wolverine Drive in Bayfield Center, Bayfield (970.884.7837). For further information, visit www.steamworksbrewing.com.

# # #



Related articles:
- Steamworks Brewing wins 5 beer medals in Australia.
- Steamworks Colorado Kolsch Ale review.
- Steamworks beer to benefit running scholarship.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

April 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

April 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

April 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 April 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.


Spring Massive/Massive Beer Festival
April 3, 2010
(Sat) 12pm - 5pm
Main Street Station
Breckenridge, CO
KSMT's 4th annual Breckenridge Massive Beer festival is a multi-faceted, interactive event including entertainment, family fun and competitions. Over 20 breweries will be represented this year. Event runs from 12pm - 5pm. VIP program with catered lunch, private tasting and exclusive early entrance for $55 in advance, $75 at the door. General Admission is $30 at the door, $25 in advance for unlimited beer tasting from 1-5pm. Expected attendance-4000. Food vendors, other things to buy, lots and lots of fun!! www.breckenridgebeerfestival.com.

Repeal of Prohibition Anniversary
April 7, 2010
(Wed)
Various locations
Stay tuned for Colorado events celebrating this important anniversary.

Taste of Vail
April 7-10, 2010
(Wed-Sat)
Vail Resort
Vail, CO
In its 20th year, the Taste of Vail is the nation's premier spring food and wine festival, held at several venues throughout North America's #1 ski resort. During the annual four-day event, upwards of 5,000 people are able to "taste the Vail Valley lifestyle" which showcases Vail's world-famous resort village set against dramatic mountain vistas. Participants at the Taste of Vail experience the Vail Valley's world-class restaurants, fine wine poured by winemakers and winery owners from top wineries around the globe, along with interactive seminars, auction and dance, the Colorado Lamb Cook Off, apres ski tasting and the popular mountaintop picnic sensory extravaganza at the top of Vail Mountain. Expect some beer to be pouring here as well. Proceeds go to various charities in the Vail Valley. http://www.tasteofvail.com/

Colorado Rockies Opening Day
April 9, 2010
(Fri)
Coors Field + LoDo bars/breweries/pubs
Denver, CO
It's Major League Baseball season again and the Wild Card Rockies open up their 2010 home season against the San Diego Padres in Lower Downtown. You can be sure that all of the Denver breweries and watering holes will be celebrating along with the fans. Look for specials at Wynkoop, Great Divide, Breckenridge Brewing, Chophouse and your favorite watering holes like the Falling Rock Tap House and the Cheeky Monk. Baseball and beer - what could be better?

2nd Annual Saison & Farmhouse Ale Festival
April 17, 2010
(Sat) 1pm - 4pm
Trinity Brewing Company
Colorado Springs, CO
Price of admission is $35 ($30 if you purchase your ticket early) and includes unlimited but "responsible" tasting, a commemorative glass, and a special menu from their kitchen built from 100% Colorado ingredients. They're only selling a 125 tickets, so you better get them while they last (only at the brewpub). www.trinitybrew.com

Craft Beer Tasting Series
April 20, 2010
(Tue) 7pm
Pumphouse Brewery
Longmont, CO
This month's topic: India Pale Ales with guest speaker: Doug Odell of Odell Brewing Company. Limited seating for each session, Tickets are $25 and available at the Pumphouse Brewery or by reservation at Pumphousetastings@hotmail.com. Each ticket includes all beer and special appetizers. We are also offering a 4-Pack of tasting tickets, one for each tasting, for $80. http://www.pumphousebrewery.com/

Microbreweries for the Environment Benefit
April 23, 2010 (Fri)
Boulder Theater
2032 14th St.
Boulder, CO
Since 1993, the Microbreweries for the Environment benefit have raised nearly $100,000 for local environmental causes. This is a carbon-neutral event. You are encouraged to walk, bike or bus to the event. Over 20 Colorado microbreweries will serve their best beers. Cheap pints! The benefit will feature musical performances by top local bands. Expect a sell out. Doors open at 8pm and event starts at 8:30pm and runs until 12:30am. Tickets ~$25. Boulder Theater web site.

April's Foolish Beer Dinner
April 28, 2010
(Wed) 6:30pm
Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Denver, CO
Whacky Wednesday Fun! Via crazy eats and delectable beers! Make plans to join us for "grilled cheese" desserts to lamb "lollipop" entrees as we celebrate April Fools! Tickets are $40 exclusive. Call Christine or Victoria today at (303) 297-9999 for your reservation. www.wynkoop.com

The Taste (Benefit)
April 29, 2010
(Thu)
Hilton Hotel
Fort Collins, CO
This premiere Fort Collins event featuring the best food and drink from the best Fort Collins restaurants and breweries is a benefit for the Larimer County Food Bank and Neighbor to Neighbor. Five breweries from Fort Collins will be on hand offering samples during this food, drink and music celebration at the Hilton on Prospect. The cost is $60 in advance or $70 at the door. The Taste opens for VIP passes at 5pm and at 6pm for regular admission. The event will run through 8:30pm. (970) 488-2368 - Web site.

Boulder Strong Ale Festival
April 30 - May 1, 2010
(Fri-Sat)
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 with bigger floor space. Mark your calendars now!! Friday night session 6pm-10pm. 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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March 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

March 2010 Colorado Beer Festivals

March 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 March 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.


GUBNA Full Release Party
March 4, 2010
(Thu) 3pm
Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom
Longmont, CO
Living up to it's slogan of DISESTABLISHMENTARIAN, the GUBNA draft line has run dry at Home Made Liquids & Solids and at the Tasty Weasel Taproom. The good news is that you won't have to wait long to enjoy our newest seasonal - a 10% ABV, 100 IBU hop grenade being canned next week. To celebrate the canning of the 1st batch of GUBNA, please join OB at the GUBNA Full Release Party on March 4th at 3pm at the Tasty Weasel Taproom. Prizes available. www.oskarblues.com

Frozen Dead Guy Days
March 5-7, 2010
(Fri-Sun)
Nederland, CO
For a town like Nederland that thrives on the colorful, the offbeat, and the weird, Frozen Dead Guy Days is a fitting way to end the short days of winter and head into the melting snows of spring. The story stretches from Norway to California to Colorado, involving cryonics, deportation, psychics, celebrations, and a dedicated Ice Man (Grandpa Bredo). There will be plenty of beer flowing in the Beer Tent to help stave off the cold. Left Hand Brewing is a huge sponsor this year. Take part in Frozen Dead Guy Days by putting together a Coffin Race team, doing the Polar Plunge, or have a float in the Parade. Official web site.

Winter Culinary Festival
March 5-7, 2010
(Fri-Sun)
Keystone Village
Keystone, CO
Experience Keystone’s award-winning cuisine at this resort-wide culinary festival. Savor the flavors at the Grand Tasting event, sip red wines from around the world or indulge your palate with a chocolate class lead by our award winning executive pastry chef. In support of Keystone and Vail Resorts’ Appetite for Life Program, chefs will be serving sustainable and organic ingredients all weekend. (Beer too). Web site.

The Maharaja Imperial IPA 2010 Release Party
March 5, 2010
(Fri) 5pm-8pm
Avery Brewing Tap Room
Boulder, CO
Come to the 2010 batch of the Maharaja Imperial IPA at a release party at the Avery Tap Room. They'll have lots of fresh Maharaja along with plenty of your favorite Avery brews flowing from the taps. $15 will get you three 12oz. pours of The Maharaja (or any other Avery brew on tap) and delectable Indian cuisine.

Sawtooth Cask Night
March 12, 2010
(Fri) 6:30pm-8:30pm
The Attic
Boulder, CO
Left Hand Brewing will be tapping a cask pin of Sawtooth (about 40 pints altogether) on the bar at the Attic, the mallet drops sometime just after 6:30. So bring about 39 of your closest friends and join in. During the promo you’ll get a Left Hand Pint glass to keep with your first Left Hand Pint as well. Address: 949 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO. 303.415.1300.

Lucky Joe's St. Patricks Day Parade
March 13, 2010
(Sat)
Downtown, Fort Collins, CO
This parade will bring out all of the Irish Folk and lots more on Saturday, March 13th, 2010! Come celebrate the luck of the Irish at 10:00am when the parade begins on Walnut Ave (North side of Old Town Sq.) The parade is FREE to the public and open to all! Finish off the parade by visiting one of the many local Ft. Collins breweries and watering holes: Odell Brewing, New Belgium, Fort Collins Brewery, Coopersmiths, CB & Potts, Choice City Butcher & Deli and of course, Lucky Joe's Sidewalk Saloon. Check out the parade map at the web site.

Denver's St. Patricks Day Parada / Shamrockin' 2010
March 13, 2010
(Sat)
Breckenridge Ballpark Pub
Denver, CO
Shamrockin’ 2010 spotlights the significant contributions the Irish have made to music over the years. Many of the current genres we enjoy today, such as folk, country, cowboy, rock and bluegrass, have been influenced by celtic music. They'll be drinking Irish Red Ale and Oatmeal Stout from Breckenridge Brewery. Parade starts at 10:00 AM...Pub opens at 8:00 AM.

BBQ on the Deck
March 13, 2010
(Sat) 11am-2pm
Eldora Ski Resort (Deck)
Nederland, CO
The grill will be going and Left Hand beer will be flowing on the deck at Eldora’s Lodge. Left Hand will be the featured brewery for the afternoon on the deck and if the weather is challenging come find us in the lodge.

Saint Patrick's Day
March 17, 2010
(Wed)
Colorado wide
Today's the day to visit your favorite brewery, brewpub or watering hole and share a beer with friends in celebration of one of America's biggest beer holidays. Stop back for details on specific events in Colorado.

Left Hand St. Patrick's Day Party
March 17, 2010
(Wed)
Left Hand Brewing Tasting Room
Longmont, CO
March 17th is going to be a good time at the Tasting Room. Every year, on St. Paddy's Day, the Left Hand clan of brewers, reps, and founders get together and make a raucous for a few hours. They'll sing, they'll yell, but everyone has a blast. They'll have some free food and pull out a special keg, and hopefully, before the band drinks too much, we'll have some good music. The "band" starts at 6pm-ish. Web site.

The Better Half - Half Marathon and 5-Mile
March 20, 2010
(Sat) 9:30am – 11:30am
Gateway, CO
The race will follow Hwy 141 along the Dolores River through beautiful red rock canyons Entrants Receive: T-shirt, prizes, drawings, after-race meal and Avery beer! $40 until March 7th, $50 thereafter. Registration at www.active.com

Blitzenbanger
March 20, 2010
(Sat) 2-6pm
Northwoods Lodge
Aspen Highlands, CO
Please join the Aspen Brewery and KSPN along with a dozen or so microbreweries for the annual Blitzenbanger Beer Festival at Aspen Highlands. From 2-6PM in front of the Northwoods Lodge (think closing party) breweries will be pouring delicious craft suds to all festival goers. It only costs you $15 to participate in one of only two Aspen beer festivals throughout the year. KSPN will be giving away Aspen Brewery prizes throughout the event so come win some free merch or wear your Aspen brew gear if you already have it!

Craft Beer Tasting Series
March 23, 2010
(Tue) 7pm
Pumphouse Brewery
Longmont, CO
This month's topic: Belgian Ales with guest speaker: Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing Company. Limited seating for each session, Tickets are $25 and available at the Pumphouse Brewery or by reservation at Pumphousetastings@hotmail.com. Each ticket includes all beer and special appetizers. We are also offering a 4-Pack of tasting tickets, one for each tasting, for $80. www.pumphousebrewery.com

Mazer Cup International Mead Competition
March 26-27, 2010 (Fri-Sat)
Outlook Hotel
Boulder, CO
Like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Mazer Cup has been re-born to claim it's rightful place among the great mead-only competitions. The new incarnation, The Mazer Cup International, will engage both Professional Meaderies and Home Mead Enthusiasts from around the world in a competition that is focused on the best of Professional and Enthusiast meadmakers. Details at the web site.

Kegs & Curds - A Toast to Beer & Cheese
March 27, 2010
(Sat) 1pm - 4pm
Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Denver, CO
Enjoy tastings of 25 different Colorado, US, and Belgium beers paired with 20 gourmet cheeses courtesy of Centennial's Fromage to Yours cheese shop. Tickets $25 in advance, $30 at the door. www.wynkoop.com - (303) 297-2700


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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Friday, November 20, 2009

Book review: Drinking and Driving in Colorado

Drinking and Driving in ColoradoI found a new Colorado beer related book this week while surfing around on the Internet. I've been looking for some kind of Colorado brewpub reference guide and now there's finally one that's available. This book is called, strangely enough, "Drinking and Driving in Colorado: A Guide to Colorado's Brewpubs" by a husband/wife team Kathy & Lee Hayward. This book is billed as a guide to the 75+ brewpubs and also lists 19 breweries. They claim to review over 500 craft beers in this guide. I was intrigued so I went to their web site and ordered one.

What caught my eye about this book was the title: "Drinking and Driving in Colorado". It made me initially think this book was about DUI laws or something related to the legal issues of alcohol consumption in Colorado, but no, it's simply a compact guide to all of the known Colorado brewpubs in the state and the driving trip they took in their motor home to visit them all.

Update: The 2011 edition of this book was renamed: Tapping Colorado Craft Beer and is billed as a sequel. Apparently there was enough concern about the original title to change it.

Back coverThe book does not review the 19+ bigger breweries in the state, like New Belgium, Odell Brewing or Great Divide, but rather focuses on the establishments that not only brew their own beer but also serves food on their premises. The book does list the addresses of 19 main breweries but does review them.

The book breaks out the various brewpubs by 6 different regions of the state: Denver Metro, Front Range, Northwest, South Central, Southwest and Central Mountains.

Each brewpub that is reviewed is given two full pages in the book and includes a short history and overview, locational information, beers sampled, a synopsis of the city where it's located and an interesting random beer quote. See an example to the left.

Example pagesThe six sections also include a handy map showing a beer glass icon over the city where the brewpubs are located. The maps will help the prospective beer traveler to plan out a route to visit all of the brewpubs in the particular region of the state.

While not all of the beers that were available from a particular brewpub are listed, the Haywards give several examples of the beers that they sampled during their visit. Each page has one or two pictures of the particular brewpub.

The book finishes up with several indexes in the back of the book summarizing individual beer names, a regular index, plus a listing of all the brewpubs. The book has a web site where updates to the book will be published. The list of Colorado brewpubs is constantly changing so readers are invited to check back with their web site before venturing out on a planned beer outing.

This guide was new for 2009. It doesn't sell on Amazon.com but can purchased from links from their website: drinkingdrivingcolorado.com. The book retails for $19.95 for the 187-page guide. The 2011 sequel, Tapping Colorado Craft Beer, is the same price but is now only 104 pages.

I found the book to be very compact and well referenced. It would be a nice guide to keep in the car as you drive around visiting different places around Colorado.

The only downside to this book is that the maps don't include the locations of the bigger well known craft breweries in the state and there are a few errors in the names and address listings. I'm sure the second edition, whenever it comes out, will update everything with even more listings and more beer reviews. (It does).

2nd edition coverThe only other thing was I wish was included in the book were more extensive beer reviews. Typically they will describe each beer sampled in 1 or 2 sentences. I suppose that was an attempt to keep the number of pages down to a minimum, but still I wanted to know more about those beers they sampled. Having over 500 beers reviewed in a fourth the number of pages doesn't leave much room for details.

Overall, I was satisfied with this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a small handy but basic guide to all of the Colorado brewpubs. I'll leave it up to you whether the near $20 cost is worth it but you can always get much more detailed information on the web yourself with your app phone.

The authors, Lee and Kathy Hayward, were also once the Colorado Brew Pubs Examiner on Examiner.com. Their bio states: "After teaching for a total of 58 years, Lee and Kathy retired and said "Let's go get a beer". So they have visited all 78 brewpubs in Colorado and written a guide book to Colorado's brewpubs called "Drinking and Driving in Colorado: A Guide to Colorado's Brewpubs." They are constantly on the lookout for good craft beer."

Related articles:
- The Beer Journal - take note of your beer.
- Colorado Brewery and Brewpubs list.
- Colorado Homebrew Supply Stores list.

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Dogfish Head World Wide Stout review

Dogfish Head World Wide StoutHere is a beer I wish I had tried years ago but had always hesitated to until now. I am a self confessed imperial stout lover and I normally jump at the chance to try an imperial stout that I've never had before. During my last visit to my local beer store, I spied the familiar bottle of Dogfish Head World Wide Stout.

I've seen this beer off and on over the last couple of years but had never bothered to buy it. Why? Dogfish Head World Wide Stout comes in a single 12oz bottle and the price tag is $8.99 for a single bottle. Wow. I thought I'd never buy a single 12oz bottle of beer for that price. It's always been a stopping point for me. But my love of imperial stouts finally called me out and I broke down and bought a bottle.

Dogfish Head is known for creating beers that are a bit unusual. I've tried several of their beers over the last few years. Some were quite good (90 Minute Imperial IPA) and some were rather different (Theobrama). But in every case, I've been quite impressed at the unique characteristics of Dogfish Head's beers. So buying their World Wide Stout should have been an easy choice knowing my love for dark beer. Well now was my chance to try it.

I had to read up on this beer a little before opening. The bottle itself doesn't list the alcohol content but I found it to be a whopping 18% ABV. This value seems to change every couple of years or so. While there was no date or vintage on this bottle, I figured it had to be a bottle from 2008. I knew up front this was going to be a powerful beer. One bottle was going to be plenty.

Appearance: I poured the World Wide Stout into a globe snifter glass as I'd seen a recommendation to drink from such a glass. World Wide Stout was as dark as most imperial stouts I've seen. Held up to the light I could see some dark mahogany color around the very edges but the rest was as dark as a void. The pour gave me a nice 2-finger tall dark tan head that melted away fairly quickly. Swirling this imperial stout left a thick semi-sticky lacing on the side of the glass. The brew did have some carbonation and the globe glass sent a small stream of foamy bubbles up through the middle of the beer.

Aroma: Here is where the senses began to get bombarded. As I opened the bottle I could smell this beer a good 3 feet away. I could detect a fair amount of heat from the alcohol along with the scent of molasses and dark malts. Many of the imperial stouts I've tried smell of coffee but this one did not. I could also pick up on a hint of vanilla and dark fruit in the glass. Swirling the beer in my glass really helped to bring out the full aroma in this beer. Loved that smell - it was extremely complex but wonderful.

Mouthfeel: World Wide Stout was thick and chewy like an imperial stout should be. It coated my tongue well with a smooth creamy liquid. It wasn't as drying as other imperial stouts I've had.

Taste: This brew had a wide range of flavors. It was roasty from all the abundance of dark malts. It was also quite bitter having a 70 IBU rating yet the hop bitterness had died down a bit from being in the bottle for more than a year. The bitterness was balanced well with the malts.

Dogfish Head beers are normally a bit over-the-top with flavor and I like that. The heat is present but it didn't kill the taste. I could taste the molasses and some chocolate in this beer. I got a sweetness on the back end and bitterness up front.

As this beer warms further, it got a little bit sweeter which I enjoyed. While some stouts are heavy on the coffee side, this one reminded me more of foamy and creamy syrup yet not overly sweet. This beer tasted good both cold and as it warmed.

Dogfish Head didn't disappoint with this beer. World Wide Stout is definitely up their on my satisfaction meter. I now wish I had tried this beer before writing my Top 12 Imperial Stouts list that I had published just a few weeks ago. It definitely ranks up there and worth of being in the best list of Imperial Stouts.

So was this worth the $8.99 I paid for it? Definitely. But granted, it's not something I'd be willing to shell out on a regular basis, but for the occasional treat, yes, it's worth the money. Don't let the price keep you from trying this one. Grab one and age it further (if you can). A beer like this should cellar well for several years.

Related articles:
- Dogfish Head Festina Pêche review.
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA review.
- The people you meet at the GABF (Sam Calagione - DFH).

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Asher Brewing set to open in Boulder

Asher Brewing CompanyDo you think there's room enough for another brewery in Colorado? According to the owners of Colorado's latest brewery they believe the answer is YES. The official opening ceremony for the new Asher Brewing Company is being set for December 5th at 12 noon at their facility in Boulder, Colorado.

Asher Brewing Company plans to fill a niche for 100% organic ales in this area. Owners Chris Asher and Steven Turner plan to use all organic malts and hops in their beers. Chris Asher is a former brewer at the now closed Redfish Brewery.

The state of Colorado gave Asher Brewing their final license to distribute their beer on Tuesday, November 17th. Now the brewing of beer and final setup of their facility at 4699 Nautilus Court, Suite 104 in Boulder, Colorado can be done.

Asher Brewing plans to initially release at least 2 beers with others in the works. There beer will be available on tap (kegs) and in 22-oz bomber bottles. Future plans include canning some of their beers as well.

Some of their initial beers will include Tree Hugger Organic Wheat, an American-style wheat brew as well as a Green Bullet India Pale Ale (IPA). According to their slogan, Asher Brewing's beers will be "Solving the world's problems, one beer at a time."

Right now, Asher Brewing is planning to build a web site at: www.asherbrewing.com as well as hosting a presence on Facebook.

Asher Brewing Co.
4699 Nautilus Court #104
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 530-1381

Everyone is invited to attend their Grand Opening celebration on December 5th at noon. There will be plenty of fresh brewed beer to go around.

Asher Brewing will join the ranks of Avery Brewing, Boulder Beer Co, Twisted Pine Brewing, BJ's Restaurant and Brewery, Upslope Brewing, Mountain Sun & Southern Sun, Walnut Brewery, and the Redstone Meadery in Boulder's ever growing brewery market.

Related articles:
- Boulder Beer offers Flashback 30th Anniversary Ale.
- Third in Avery's barrel aged series coming.
- Twisted Pine continues seasonal beer releases.
- Upslope Brewing to celebrate 1st anniversary.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Twisted Pine continues seasonal beer releases

Fresh off the heals of releasing their Northstar Imperial Porter, Twisted Pine Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado is announcing the tapping of their latest brew: Meteor Shower Porter. Could it be coincidence that the Leonid meteor shower just peaked this week? I think not. The timing seems just right to celebrate the phenomenon but just as quickly as it arrives it will be soon gone as this is a one time only release.

Meteor Shower Porter has a slight twist on regular porters. This one is brewed with honey and blackstrap molasses for a bigger flavor profile and it's also fermented with a Belgian yeast strain for a different aroma and taste characteristics. It also weighs in at a hefty 10% ABV.

Twisted Pine is making this Belgian-style porter available to the public for a limited time at their tap room in Boulder starting this Friday, November 20th. For more info and directions visit: www.twistedpinebrewing.com

Also be on the lookout for their next upcoming releases:
The Truffle - A creamy stout with a hint of raspberry
Orange Blossom Braggot - A beer/mead hybrid
Belgian Style Porter - A roasty beer with notes of molasses and fruit
Sour Brown - A brown ale inoculated with funky yeasts
Chipotle - A dark chili beer

Related articles:
- The Northstar goes vertical at Twisted Pine.
- Twisted Pine rolls out Chocolate Vanilla Porter.
- Twisted Pine Amber Ale review.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crabtree Brewing is turning up the heat

Who says there aren't any decent beer events in November? If you're looking for an inexpensive event that's got food, 4 live bands, a summer party atmosphere and plenty of cold fresh brewed beer on tap then you might want to check out Crabtree Brewing Company in Greeley, Colorado this weekend.

Jeff and Stephanie Crabtree are hosting the "70 degrees in November" party at the brewery on 3rd Street this Friday, November 20th starting at 4pm and lasting until midnight. I'll let Stephanie explain all the event details below.

70 Degrees In November...

It might be cold outside, but it's always 70 degrees in the brewery. Four live bands: The Buzz Brothers, The Wannabe Poets, Tri-Chome, and Ben-Pu & Crew. The doors will open at 4 and the music starts at 5. $5 cover unless you're wearing summer gear such as shorts, skirts, flip-flops, etc. Then it's only $3 to get in and enjoy all this entertainment.

VIP Info:

Crabtree Brewing Company has teamed up with The Hampton Inn...for $85.00 (per couple) you get a room for Friday night, a shuttle to the brewery from the hotel and back, and admission into 70 Degrees in November. Please contact Stephanie at beerswithsteph@gmail.com for even more details, information and/or how to book a room.



Special Note:

Due to the nature of the event, there will be no Teacher Friday specials as well as no Crabtree pint glass refills on Friday, 11/20.

Related articles:
- Crabtree Brewing releases their Chunkin' Pumpkin Ale.
- Crabtree Brewing taps their Braggot.
- Supporting my local brewery - Crabtree Brewing.
- Crabtree Boxcar Brown and Twisted Creek Wheat reviews.

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