Friday, July 29, 2011

Great Divide Titan IPA review

Great Divide Titan IPAFour years ago when I started this blog I had never tried an India Pale Ale (IPA). The very first IPA I ever had I nearly poured it out because my palate for hoppy beers hadn't developed. It took a good 6 months for me to develop a taste for the IPA. Now that I enjoy them I look forward to trying more of them.

Today's review was picked up as part of a "make your own" six-pack at my local beer store (Bittersweet Liquors in Greeley). I chose to get 6 different local Colorado IPA's as a warm up for the 1st ever International #IPADay on August 4th, 2011.

I figured what better way to get my mouth ready for hop madness than to have a different IPA per day for the week leading up to #IPADay.

The first IPA I chose was Great Divide Titan IPA from Denver, Colorado. This is one of Great Divide's year-round standards and it weighs in at 7.1% ABV.

Read on for the full review of this IPA.

Appearance: Great Divide Titan IPA poured a beautiful copper-orange color with a hefty off-white head. For a single 12oz bottle that's probably been on the shelf for a while, this brew was still amply carbonated. The brew was clear with no visible residue from yeast or hop.

Aroma:Immediately I smelled a rich aroma of pine and citrus as I would expect of an IPA. I could tell Great Divide put a generous amount of hops in this beer. Titan has around 65 IBU. Behind the hop I could detect a semi-sweet hint of malt.

Mouthfeel:TItan IPA was full bodied and creamy. The bitterness swept over my tongue immediately and dried my mouth slightly. There was just a slight bit of heat initially but that faded after a couple more sips.

Taste:While the hops dominated the initial tasting, the maltiness came across at the end. There was just the right amount of sweet malt to offset the bitterness of the hops. A very well made IPA.

Pairing: I chose to pair this IPA with a mild cheddar and pretzel crackers. Just the right amount of cheese and cracker to take the bite off of the IPA. I always insist on eating some cheese with an IPA as by itself, an IPA will leave you wanting something to counter the hop.

Overall:I was surprised that my first IPA in many months was so good. I've been wanting to try all of Great Divide's line of year-round brews and I'm finally getting around to it. I highly suggest that if you are going to drink an IPA that you stick with that style for the night.

Great Divide has a solid IPA that I think is probably underrated. I never expected the company who puts out one of my favorite Imperial Stouts (Yeti) to score so well with an IPA. Thumbs way up to Great Divide for making a solid IPA that I would be more than happy to buy again.

Have you had a similar experience with Titan IPA? How would you compare it to other Colorado IPAs?

Related articles you may enjoy:
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Hades Ale review.
- More articles on IPAs.
- Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager review.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crabtree beers getting new look

Crabtree Serenity
Crabtree Brewing of Greeley, Colorado is preparing to unveil all new packaging for many of it's beers. Not only six-packs but also on bombers and 750ml bottles.

Unveiled today on Twitter (@CrabtreeBrewing) is the new packaging for their Serenity Amber Ale coming soon to store shelves near you.

Serenity Amber Ale is describes as a Colorado Amber Ale - unfiltered, slightly hoppy, with a touch of sweet tones finished by a touch of malt.

Crabtree CezanneAnother peak at their upcoming artwork came from a new label unveiled on for Crabtree's Cezanne Saison coming soon. The saison will be packaged in 750ml bottles and are all bottle conditioned.

The saison is a farmhouse style beer made with orange blossom honey and rye malt.

I managed to get an early 750ml bottle of this and was told to let it finish bottle conditioning until October. That could be the target date for it's debut as well.

Crabtree Berliner Weisse AleJeff Crabtree also stated on Twitter today that over the course of the next year, all of their beers will debut new label designs. Look for it in the coming months.

Update: Here's the latest label for their digital age series Berliner Weisse.

It's good to see a revamp of artwork every so often. It helps breathe new life into a product. Even though Crabtree has only been in business for a little over 5 years, change can happen in just a short period of time.

I look forward to seeing more of their new label and packaging artwork. What do you think of these new designs?

Related articles you might like:
- Crabtree releases their Chunkin Pumpkin. (2009)
- Crabtree taps a Braggot. (2009)
- Crabtree Boxcar Brown and Twisted Creek Wheat reviews.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

New Belgium pulls off a Clutch Kick

In a continuing stream of constant news flowing out of Fort Collins lately, New Belgium Brewing Company has announced two new additions to their ever-widening Lips of Faith series of beer.

The first beer called Clutch, a sour stout, is being released in cooperation with the Maryland-based hard rock band with the same name.

A second beer called Kick, a tart pumpkin ale, is a collaboration between New Belgium (NBB) and Elysian Brewing Company of Seattle.

Both of these beers will be available from August through October in 22oz bottles and in kegs as well.

NBB described Clutch saying: "The sour stout has a pronounced bass line of dark chocolate, coffee and black malts that bridge the sourness of the dark wood ale for a fluid riff. Clutch’s ABV is 9%."

Kick is described: "The rich and tart pumpkin cranberry ale is blended with wood-aged beer to deliver a uniquely complex harvest season sour. Kick’s ABV is 8.5%."

Both of these beers have enough ABV to knock your socks off both with taste and strength. These beers were meant to be shared.

I personally am looking forward to trying Clutch as I am a big fan of sour ales.

You should be able to find these beers on the shelves around Colorado and other states starting early next month. Which one of these are you looking forward to most?

Other articles you may enjoy::
- NBB Snow Day to replace 2 Below.
- New Belgium Mothership Wit review.
- New Belgium Frambozen review.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Snow Day to replace 2 Below at New Belgium

New Belgium Snow DayIt may be in the midst of sweltering summer heat but New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins is already preparing for winter with news of a new seasonal creation.

According to, New Belgium's Bryan Simpson has confirmed that their new winter seasonal beer this year will be Snow Day Winter Ale, a dark caramelized wheat brew. The new beer will weigh in around 6.2% ABV.

Their last winter seasonal, 2 Below, is being retired as part of an on-going effort to keep season beers on a new short term rotation. New Belgium wants to be able to experiment and come out with new season beers every 2 years.

This isn't the first time New Belgium has retired a seasonal brew. Recently they discontinued Skinny Dip in favor of a new summer seasonal - Somersault Ale.

While some applaud the newness and innovation, others are going to mourn the retirement of some of their favorites.

I certainly hope they don't get rid of Frambozen as that is one of my all-time favorite seasonal brews from New Belgium. Time will tell.

What's your favorite seasonal brew from New Belgium? Are you sorry to see 2 Below retired? Post a comment and let us know.

Related articles:

- New Belgium 2 Below review.
- New Belgium Frambozen review.
- New Belgium Mighty Arrow review.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Belgium to explore Belgo year round

New Belgium fans asked for it and they got it - a year round edition of a limited brew.

Today, New Belgium announced that their Lips of Faith brew: Belgo IPA is being reshaped into one of their regular Explore series (year-round) beers.

Previously only available in a 22oz bomber, Belgo IPA will soon be available in 12oz six-packs and be available full time.

Belgo Belgian-style IPA is described as:

"...a Belgian twist on India Pale Ale made with five varieties of hops. Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo hops are pitched in the kettle. Cascade, Amarillo, and Willamette hops are added during dry-hopping. Medium-bodied, Belgo opens with citrus and floral tones from generous hopping, then gives way to soft fruit tones implied by the authentic Trappist yeast strain and finishes clean."

Even in a smaller bottle, at 8% ABV, this IPA will pack quite a punch. The 70 IBU rating should give hop heads something to look forward to as well.

New Belgium stated that this brew will soon be on the shelves in six-packs in the coming weeks. Look for it.

Have you tried this beer? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.

Related articles:
- New Belgium's canning line to expand.
- New Belgium Ranger IPA and Dark Heather Saison.
- Touring New Belgium's Liquid Center.

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Colorado readies for Firestone Walker

Get ready Colorado - Firestone Walker beers will soon be pouring all over the state.

In a state already overflowing with craft beer choices, Firestone Walker Brewing Company of California is expanding their distribution to the Centennial state this month and with it are announcing several debut events here in Colorado.

Colorado craft beer drinkers have been awaiting the availability of several fine brews from this award winning brewery for some time now. Finally this month they are getting their chance.

Take a peak at these upcoming events this week for a chance to get the first sips of Firestone Walker brews:

July 22 (Friday) in Denver, CO

Falling Rock Tap House, 1919 Blake Street - 6pm-10pm
Double Barrel Ale (DBA) will be the featured pour.

Uptown Brothers, 320 E Colfax Ave - 6pm-10pm
Union Jack IPA will be the featured pour.

Cheeky Monk Belgian Café, 534 E Colfax Ave - 6pm-10pm
Double Jack (Imperial IPA) will be the featured pour.

Euclid Hall, 1317 14th Street - 6pm-10pm
Solace (a summer brew) will be the featured pour.

Freshcraft, 1530 Blake Street - 6pm-10pm
A full portfolio: Double Barrel Ale, Union Jack, Double Jack, Solace and their 14th Anniversary Ale will all be on tap.

July 23 (Saturday) Boulder, CO

West End Tavern, 926 Pearl Street - 7pm-9pm
DBA, Union Jack, Double Jack and Summer Solace will be flowing.

July 27 (Wednesday) Fort Collins, CO

Choice City Butcher, 104 West Olive Street - 6pm-8pm
Firestone Walker DBA, Pale 31, Union Jack, Double Jack, Summer Solace, and 14th Anniversary will all be there.

July 28 (Thursday) Longmont, CO

Oskar Blues Liquids and Solids, 1555 S. Hover Street - 6pm-8pm
Firestone Walker DBA, Pale 31, Union Jack, Double Jack, Summer Solace, and 14th Anniversary will be on draft.

Plenty of variety coming from Firestone Walker. Who's looking forward to trying these beers on tap locally? I know I am. Which event are you going to this month? Post a comment below and let us know.

Related articles:
- Firestone Walker DBA Double Barrel Ale review.
- Firestone Walker at Nick's tasting party. (2009)
- Russian River brews come to Colorado. (2008)

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Best Beer Bars in Northern Colorado

Best Beer Bars in Northern Colorado
Looking for a great beer bar in Northern Colorado? If you want variety and selection - NoCo not only has some of the best craft breweries in the state but also has some of the best beer bars around.

Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and Estes Park have a multitude of fine eating and drinking establishments with large craft beer selections to choose from. Whether it be fresh on tap or from a great collection of local, domestic or import beer in bottles - these places won't steer you wrong.

Note: Local breweries have purposely been kept off this list. In addition, chain restaurants such as Old Chicago, Buffalo Wild Wings, and The Tilted Kilt have also been kept off the list as you can find those all across America. This list focuses on the area's unique beer bars, pubs & restaurants only.

Fort Collins Locations
Last updated: July 29, 2016

Café VinoCafé Vino
1200 S. College Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 212-3399
Over 20 local/world beers on draft, dozens of local and specialty bottled beers. Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Choice City Butcher & DeliChoice City Butcher & Deli
104 West Olive Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 490-2489
Ratebeer's #9 spot in the world - best beer restaurants in 2011
37 beers on tap. Ask also to see their beer list.

Dungeons & Drafts
1624 S Lemay Ave #6
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 682-1527
Billed as a medieval tavern for geeks and gamers. Cosplay encouraged here with 30 beers, ciders, & meads on tap plus several bottled selections. Full bar with food.

The Forge Publick House
232 Walnut St.
Fort Collins, CO
(970) 682-2578
Well mixed variety of local, national and international beers on draft. Plus a selection of bottled and canned craft beers.
@TheForgePublickHouse on Facebook.

The MainlineThe Mainline - An Ale House
125 South College Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 449-5601
Joint venture by Breckenridge Brewery & Wynkoop Brewing. Two floors of fine dining and 30+ craft beers on tap. Rooftop patio. (Opened 2013)

The Mayor of Old TownThe Mayor of Old Town
632 S. Mason Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 682-2410
100 craft beers on tap, and huge bottle selection and great food as well. Named one of the Top 100 Beer Bars in the USA by Draft Magazine (Jan.'12)

Tap and HandleTap and Handle
307 S. College Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 484-1116
74 beers on tap, food menu, music and game room. Opened January 2012.
Facebook page

Taps Sports Bar & GrillTaps Sports Bar
165 Boardwalk Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 449-4462
40 rotating beers on tap - 36 craft, 4 Nitro taps, full bar, beer infused American Eats.

William Oliver's Publick House
Colorado Pub & Eatery
2608 S Timberline Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 680-3726
Not only do they pour a great variety of craft beers, but their specialty is their variety of whisk(e)y from around the world.

Loveland / Greeley / Estes Park Locations

The Barrel
116 E Elkhorn Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517
(970) 616-2090
The Barrel, an outdoor craft beer garden, with sixty-four rotating taps will focus on craft beer, mead, cider, high-end distilled spirits and wines. Open May - October.

Henry's Pub
234 E 4th St.
Loveland, CO 80537
(970) 613-1896
A craft beer selection that focuses on the local brewery scene and great food to go along with it.

Pourhouse Bar & GrillPourhouse Bar & Grill
124 East 4th Street
Loveland, CO 80537
(970) 669-1699
Known for their large menu, delicious food, a full bar with a wide variety of craft beer (draft & bottles) and wine, and live music four nights a week without a cover charge.

Patrick's Irish PubPatrick's Irish Pub
907 8th Avenue
Greeley, CO 80631
(970) 301-4412 or (720) 771-7365
31 rotating craft beers on tap - local and imports, plus an extensive craft beer cellar with up to 150 different beers. Plus a wide variety of 60 whiskeys too.

Right Coast Pizza
811 8th Street
Greeley, CO 80631
(970) 352-9129
A fusion of Jersey style pizza with a great selection of local craft beer. Around 15 beers on tap, plus a variety of beers in cans and bottles too. Regular brewery themed pint nights weekly.

The Tavern at St. Michael's SquareThe Tavern at St. Michael's Square
2918 67th Avenue - Suite 102
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 330-BEER (2337)
12 craft beer taps, 35 bottled beers and a great pub food menu and a nice covered patio.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Belgium says Yes We Can More Cans

New Belgium cansNew Belgium is about to get even bigger as it announced on July 7th that it plans to break ground on a new 16,000 square foot can line addition at their Fort Collins brewery.

Once in place, New Belgium's canning volume capacity will expand nearly six fold.

According to a press release, "Cans have been a great addition to the packaging portfolio for us," says Bryan Simpson of NBB. "We first introduced Fat Tire cans in 2008 and we've since added Sunshine Wheat and Ranger IPA. Sales have been ahead of projection and we're fortunate to be able to accommodate demand."

The new can line expansion means instead of filling 60 cans per minute, New Belgium will be able to do 360 cans per minute in either 12oz or 16oz size.

New Belgium expansion in progress October 2011The new addition will be located just east of New Belgium's current bottling facility on their 50-acre campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. New Belgium expects to start using the new canning line as early as February 2012.

I see this as a positive move for New Belgium. It may open up the possibility to seeing even more of their brands in cans. I'd love to see 1554 or even La Folie in a can. Perhaps even a Lips of Faith beer in a can. How sweet would that be?

Which New Belgium beer would you like to see canned? Post your favorite in a comment below.

Construction image courtesy New Belgium Brewing.

Related articles:
- How it all began: Fat Tire Coming to Cans. (2008)
- New Belgium expands cans to Sunshine Wheat. (2009)
- Craft beer in cans more expensive than bottles? (2009)

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