Thursday, February 25, 2010

More fun than a barrel of monkeys

A long-time tap room only brew, Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colorado announces it is finally releasing their 400 Pound Monkey IPA as a new bottled year-round brew. I had the opportunity over a year ago to try some of this on tap at their tasting room and was impressed with the flavor of this brew. Read below for their official press release and pic courtesy of their official blog...


Left Hand Monkeys Around

[PRESS RELEASE] LONGMONT, CO (Feb 2010) - It's the year 2010. A plague of unbalanced, exaggeratedly hoppy beers have wiped out millions of palates in the United States since 1996. Only a small percentage of the population's discriminating palates have survived to this point. Many beer drinkers are now forced to live without the ability to taste malt. Left Hand Brewing Head Brewer Ro Guenzel volunteered to brew an antidote, going back in time when IPA's were more sessionable and balanced, and to help others discover that not all hops are of a big, citrusy character. The result? 400 Pound Monkey IPA.

Welcome to the jungle. Joe Schiraldi, VP of Brewing Operations, waxed poetic. "Just when you thought that the world needs another IPA like it needs another virus, we've started to brew a year-round IPA. But this one ain't like them others. It's an English-style IPA that separates itself from the ubiquitous bunch. Any monkey can throw 400 pounds of hops in a kettle."

Brassy in color, with an off-white head, the Monkey exhibits an earthiness quite different from American-style IPAs. Soft aromas of freshly cut hay, bitter orange and white cheese rind (courtesy of Boadicea and Sovereign hop varieties) are the first impression. But once the cage has been opened and a sip savored, a multi-pronged 12-monkey assault on the palate begins. The initial bready maltiness is attacked immediately by a variety of flavors ranging from green tea to glacier melt water to wild flower honey, coating your palate and refusing to leave.

"But just as one monkey arouses a great deal of amusement, two or more double the interest and amusement, which is why you should have more than one," says Ro. "If you allow this beer to warm up, that's where the Monkey really begins to shine. The malt starts to open, balancing the hop attack, but still allowing a very long herbal hoppiness to linger on your tongue. There's just a lot going on."

So, alas, comes the inevitable questions - what are the ABV and IBU? Well, the Monkey weighs in at 6.8% ABV, but the bitterness? Well, it depends on perception versus reality, but a polite monkey never tells.

About Left Hand Brewing Company
Celebrating sixteen years of brewing a well-balanced portfolio of craft beers, Left Hand Brewing Company is located at 1265 Boston Avenue in Longmont, Colorado. The brewery has received 16 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and its beers are now available in 29 states and 11 countries. "Sometimes you're not in the mood for what everyone else is having."

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Related articles:
- An inside look at Left Hand Brewing.
- Left Hand 2010 beer release schedule.
- Left Hand 2009 Oak Aged Imperial Stout review.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Colorado Beer News 021610

Colorado Beer NewsA lot of local craft beer news happened during the last two weeks. Here's a list of news tidbits from around the state of Colorado. Enjoy a Colorado craft brew while you catch up.

The Fort Collins Brewery

FCB's new building is coming along well. Planned opening of their new brewery and eatery (Alimente) is on track for June 2010. The Alimente gastropub's menu will focus on fresh local foods with seasonal changes. The restaurant will offer views of the brewery's operations and will have a 31 seat bar, a private community room for events and a large patio facing the nearby golf course. Upcoming events include their Maibock release on February 23rd and the special Michael Bolton birthday bash on Friday Feburary 26th.

Oskar Blues

The folks at Oskar Blues recently revamped their web site and now has more info being share with their music section, blog and Twitter and Facebook pages. Their Ten Fidy final shipments to stores have now gone out - grab some of that imperial stout while it's still on shelves. GUBNA - a new imperial IPA will be in cans on in stores on March 1st. Gubna becomes the 6th beer to be canned by Oskar Blues and will be a seasonal rotation when Ten Fidy isn't on the shelves. Also, folks who visit any of the 3 O.B. location can take the Oskar Blues bus between their locations on Saturdays and Sundays. Stops include the Tasty Weasel, Liquids & Solids, and the restaurant in Lyons.

Twisted Pine Brewing

Twisted Pine Brewing Company of Boulder has been busy with releases. This month's featured brews include Razzy Xpress, a raspberry Espresso stout, came out for Valentines day and is available at their tap room. Also, Hoppy Man Imperial IPA roll-out happened last week. Hoppy Man is a big hoppy brew packed with 4 different kinds of hops and should be on shelves now. Over 20 different Twisted Pine beers are now on tap at their Ale House in Boulder with 5 more different brews coming later this month.

Great Divide Brewing Company

Great Divide Brewing of Denver announced that Hoss Rye Lager and Claymore Scotch Ale were added in mid-February as part of their year-round line up of beers and are no longer just a seasonal. Also, Saison was renamed and relabeled as Colette Farmhouse Ale which is now available. Great Divide is now also touting their Espresso Oak Aged Yeti and claim it can even be had as a breakfast brew. What a way to start your day. Careful, it weighs in at 9.5% ABV. Better go easy with that and the corn flakes. There will be a big Release Party for all the above GD beers on February 19th from 6-9pm at their tap room in Denver.

Avery Brewing

Avery recently celebrated a 4-year celebration of their Collaboration Not Litigation beer with Russian River. A 4-year vertical tasting was done earlier this month to commemorate the occasion. Later this month, Avery and the Society for the Pursuit of Hoppiness will host a talk on "Sour Ales Deconstructed: Deciphering Flavor Components of Complex Beers" on February 22nd as a lead in to their Inaugural Boulder SourFest on Saturday, February 27th in Boulder at their Barrel Aging room. Also coming up March 5th will be their Maharaja Imperial IPA Batch #11 Release Party at their tap room. Details for the 8th Annual Boulder strong Ale Fest are now coming out. Date has been set for April 30th and May 1st for this weekend event.

Wynkoop Brewing

Denver's well known downtown brewery, Wynkoop, is set to host it's annual Beer Drinker of the Year event on Saturday, February 27th, 2010 in downtown Denver. Last year's winner Cody Chrisman will be on hand as a judge this year to test the metal of 3 new contestants. Also, Rail Yard Ale is now in cans! Look for it at local stores around the Denver area and in local bars. The Wynkoop is also hosting a bit Fat Tuesday celebration on February 16th starting at 6pm.

Bristol Brewing Company

The folks down in Colorado Springs are hosting a big Firkin Rendezvous and a Dock Sale on Saturday, February 20th at the brewery. A record 28 breweries will be participating in this celebration of beer in firkins. Most of these beers will be big beers so don't plan on driving after this event. Stay at a local hotel. Get tickets while they last.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Company

Phantom Canyon has launched their new Two Headed Dog Double IPA on February 12th and is now available on tap. It's a big 8.4% ABV with 114 IBUs! This beer is best served in a snifter glass. Go check it out at their Colorado Springs brewhouse.


That's all the latest news during the last two weeks. More news from Colorado coming soon.

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Falling Rock is tapping Pliny the Younger and other events

Falling Rock Tap HouseWord on the street says that the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver is tapping open several kegs of Russian River's Pliny the Younger starting Tuesday, February 16th at 5pm. Falling Rock knows that this is a highly sought after beer and they are going to be rationing it out from now through Friday, February 26th.

Read below for all the details from Chris at the Falling Rock from his latest newsletter.



Falling Rock Taphouse Announcements

Howdy Folks,

Well it's been a busy winter around here with all kinds of interesting beers available, but one topic has DEFINITELY been at the head of the list: When will Pliny the Younger be available? Well I have the definitive answer for you: Tuesday February 16th @ 5pm. If you've been keeping up w/ Russian River's website you already know that the beer is no longer available at the pub. There are only a few kegs coming to Colorado & Falling Rock is, of course, getting some. If you cannot make it here on Tuesday the 16th, the last chance will be on Friday February 26th @ 5pm when I will tap the last keg that I have. This is the night before Avery's Sour Beer Fest & Wynkoop's Beer Drinker of the Year competition so I figure it's a good time, there will quite a few people from elsewhere in town to attend one of these events. Other events:

Sunday February 21st 1-5pm 2nd Annual Hawaiian Shirt Party Come celebrate the middle of Winter by breaking out your Hawaiian Shirts & spending a few hours eating & drinking @ the Falling Rock. Cost: $10 if you're wearing your Falling Rock Hawaiian Shirt, $15 if you're wearing another Hawaiian Shirt (or Hawaiian Dress), $20 if you aren't wearing Island Attire. What do you get? Food & Beer will be put out Downstairs for you to enjoy, We will also be 'Bobbing for Beer' for $3 a 'bob'. If you are not familiar w/ 'Bobbing for Beer' it involves retrieving numbered washers from the bottom of a container filled with Ice water. The number corresponds to a numbered bottle of beer, Some bottles are really special (like things from Russian River, Lost Abbey, or back vintages of Avery) some definitely not (like Light American Industrolagers) .

Saturday March 13th 9am- ? St. Patrick's Parade Come on out & Enjoy the Parade (it runs right in front of the Falling Rock) from a place with good Beer & Food. We will be serving Breakfast Burrito's From opening till we run out & then we'll be serving Corned Buffalo & Cabbage for the rest of the day (or until it runs out also). If you are coming down, it is recommended that you park to the west of us and get to us by walking east (really southeast) on 20th. The Parade starts @ 27th & Blake and runs down Blake to 15th where it turns right onto 15th to Wynkoop then right on Wynkoop to 19th then left in front of the Chophouse & Finishes ( check out the parade website for the map)

Friday April 9th 10am-? Rockies Home Opener vs the Padres Always a great day here @ the Falling Rock. We'll have a booth out on the patio Serving Odell Beer (5 flavors) and Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey.

See you when you get here,

Chris (Falling Rock Tap House)

Related articles:
- Video tour of the Falling Rock Tap House.
- GABF week at the Falling Rock Tap House.
- January-February events at the Falling Rock Tap House.

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Odell Mountain Standard Reserve review

Odell Mountain Standard ReserveHere's a beer that I've had on the back burner for quite some time and the time was right to bring this one out. Back in October 2009, Odell Brewing Company came out with another in it's first Reserve Series of beers. This beer was named Mountain Standard Reserve '09 - a deep mahogany ale with a distinct hoppy character.

Now while BeerAdvocate qualifies this as an American Brown Ale, I believe this beer to be in a slightly different category due to it's big hoppy profile.

Mountain Standard Reserve came in a big 750ml bottle with a cork and wire cage seal. The label states that this beer weighs in at a respectable 8.5% ABV. I must admit that I had a terrible time trying to open this bottle. The cork was so tight that it literally took me 5 to 10 minutes just to get it out of the bottle. Even before I took my first sip it put up quite a fight.

Appearance: Once the bottle was open I was in for another big surprise. As I poured this into my globe glass the head started building immediately. The head became so big that is quickly expanded and overflowed the glass.

The picture below says it all, this bad boy of a brown ale built up a 5 to 6 finger head with almost no effort at all. It took me a good 10 minutes of waiting for the head to subside to get a full serving poured into my glass.

Once I had a glass full the beer appeared as a definite dark red (mahogany) colored brew with a light tan head. I wasn't able to see through this beer too well due to the darkness. I didn't see much sediment, if any, even though the beer was bottle conditioned. The beer looked adequately carbonated and was evident from the loud pop when the cord finally came out.

Aroma: Here is the highlight of the beer. Mountain Standard Reserve had a big citrusy hop aroma from the generous amount of Cascade and Chinook hops that were brewed into it. It was a very pleasant smell, one that reminded me of an IPA but this one had more dark malt to it than a typical IPA would. I could definitely pick up on some sweet malt in the aroma, somewhat biscuity as well. It smelled "dry".

Odell Mountain Standard ReserveMouthfeel: This beer came with a full bodied taste. It was richer than most brown ales (or IPA's too for that matter). It left a creamy sensation in the mouth and finished dry as I expected. The carbonation felt lighter than it looked but that was OK.

Taste: Mountain Standard ended up being a moderately hoppy amber tasting brew that made my mouth water a little bit upon the first several sips. The beer started out very cold and got better as it warmed up a bit. I'd stop short saying that this tasted like an India Pale Ale. It had plenty of tasty hops but the malts also come out well in the brew as well.

I've been drinking nothing but stouts as of late and this beer was a nice way to begin transitioning into more hoppy beers for the coming Spring. It was still a dark tasting brew but with extra hops thrown in to give it a bit more character.

Overall: This beer was enjoyable right from the start and get better as I went along. Perhaps since I left this beer age for 4-5 months the hop characteristic tapered off a bit but that didn't change the fact that this was a truly good beer. I was able to finish off the entire bottle fairly easily in an entire sitting.

If you like IPAs but are looking for a beer with a darker and a bit more malty taste then you should seek out a bottle of Mountain Standard Reserve while they still exist at the stores. I'm giving this beer a big Thumbs Up.


Related articles:
- Odell controls Mountain Standard time.
- Odell releases an India Barleywine.
- St. Lupulin and the Twitter bird.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

An inside look at Left Hand Brewing

Left Hand Brewing CompanyInside Left Hand Brewing's last email newsletter they posted some links to two exclusive videos that give an inside look at what they do inside their brewery in Longmont Colorado. The first video deals with the brewing processes and the people who brew at Left Hand. The second video shows a little of the packaging line and then talks with the founders of Left Hand Brewing Company.

Check out these videos and you'll get a good appreciation of life behind the scenes at a typical Colorado brewery. Enjoy!

Part 1 - Brewhouse & Cellar - YouTube Link



Part 2 - Packaging & History - YouTube Link



For more updates about Left Hand Brewing Company's beers, visit their social media sites:

Twitter - Facebook - Blog

Related articles:
- Chipper Dave's tour of the Left Hand tasting room.
- Left Hand Imperial Stout review.
- Left Hand 2010 release schedule.

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