AboutBritt Antley, Author at PorchDrinking.com
It’s continued to be a wild week in the Colorado craft beer scene with yesterday’s sale of Ursula Brewing followed by Living the Dream Brewing’s announcement of a new taproom in Sterling Ranch. Today Westbound & Down Brewing has announced they are acquiring Aspen Brewing and Basalt, CO’s Capitol Creek Brewing from High Country Brewing LLC.
After operating out of Longmont for the past six plus years, Primitive Beer is moving operations to an annex at New Image Brewing Wheat Ridge. While leaving Longmont is bittersweet, operating out of New Image will allow Lisa and Brandon Boldt, co-owners of Primitive, to focus entirely on brewing, blending and packaging their spontaneous fermentations. “Given that our entire family-run operation is just two people strong, we’ve reached the conclusion that our current professional juggling act which includes running a retail space, outside sales, marketing, brewing, blending and packaging isn’t sustainable,” says Lisa.
We went. We drank. We got very wet. Snallygaster 2023 is in the soggy books and lived up to its hype as a massive beer festival serving some of the best breweries and their rarest beers. While the picturesque view in front of the US Capitol building was marred by persistent rain throughout the day, spirits were not overly dampened. Great beer and great conversations with the people making the beer define what Snallygaster is all about.
A mythical creature stalks the nation’s capital, flashing its fearsome teeth and terrifying those who dare catch a glimpse of the beast. One would be wise not to – hold on, that’s not the snallygaster we’re speaking of. Snallygaster, the Washington, D.C. beer festival, is decidedly more inviting and less likely to swoop down from the sky and carry you away to your quick demise. The 11th installment of this epic festival will feature 170 beverage producers bringing 400+ beers and ciders to Downtown D.C. on October 14, 2023.
Beginning today, Firestone Walker has opened up membership to its 2024 Brewmaster’s Collective, an exclusive beer club that allows members to dive deep into the minds of the brewers and experience the barrel-aging mastery that Firestone Walker has obtained. “If you’re into barrel-aged beers, you’re going to love what we have in store for you,” says Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster at Firestone Walker.
There are certain spirits in the world of barrel aged beer that elicit perked up ears, and then there are those brands that generate whiplash causing sore necks and desperate trips to the chiropractor. Pappy Van Winkle (PVW) falls squarely in the latter category, a mythical wheated bourbon whose popularity and even legend has skyrocketed in the past decade causing bottles to sell on secondary markets for 20-30x their retail prices of $120-$300. Even the used barrels from these 15-23 year aged whiskeys sell for exorbitant prices as breweries clamor to get their hands on them. Cerebral Brewing was lucky enough to land two Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year barrels, and they chose to rest a triple mash version of their Here Be Monsters Imperial Stout in those barrels. This particular single barrel expression aged for 39 months, an incredibly long time yielding an incredible creation.
Do you find yourself craving some exciting and rare beer? Do you struggle to find those specialties on your local dusty liquor store shelves? Have no fear because the Denver Rare Beer Tasting is (almost) here! The festival has announced its pour list, and there are many treats to entice you to attend.
Not content to rest on its niche beer style laurels, Firestone Walker has taken its classic Helldorado, a barrel aged Blonde Barleywine, and applied a tropical treatment, aging the beer in a combination of rum and rhum agricole barrels before conditioning it on coconut. The result is Rum Barrel CocoRado, a delightfully unique subset of a subset within beer styles. If you’re being different, you might as well dial the eccentricity up to 11.
The events of GABF week in Denver are starting to come into focus, and the Denver Rare Beer Tasting is set to celebrate its 14th anniversary on Friday, September 22 with an always impressive lineup of breweries. This year features 64 different breweries, 22 of which are pouring for the first time ever at DRBT.
Another wildly successful Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival is in the books, and PorchDrinking has lived to write about it. Over 65 breweries from across the U.S. and various international locations descended on Paso Robles, California, with their best beers to delight thousands of beer fans. While it’s primarily a beer festival, it would be a disservice to not mention the incredible lineup of local food vendors who slang their wares as well, providing some much-needed sustenance to soak up the suds being poured.
Time is upon us yet again for one of the most anticipated beer fests of the year, the 2023 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival. Saturday, June 3 in Paso Robles, California, over 65 of the best breweries from across America and some international locations will be pouring some of their best beers to the delight of beer fans traveling from all over. As with any beer fest, it’s inadvisable if not impossible to visit every brewery’s booth and try all of their beer, so we at PorchDrinking have combed through the list and picked out some especially noteworthy beers you should make a point to try at the Paso Robles Event Center. Special thanks to Robert French for his help in curating the list.
Author’s Note: This interview occurred before Alex announced his diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer. A GoFundMe has been set up to help Alex’s family through this tremendously difficult time, and PorchDrinking has partnered with Tom Maugeri of “It’s Always Stout Season” and Mélodie Simond, an admin of Barleywine is Life, to host a razzle fundraiser with all proceeds going to support Alex’s family. Please visit this link to learn how you can help out Alex and his family as a brewery or an individual.
The number 13 has appeared repeatedly throughout the history of Crystal Springs Brewing. Co-owner Tom Horst was born on the 13th. His son was born on the 13th. Multiple other family members were born on the 13th. The opening day for the brewery was May 13, 2010. When they were poised to open their first taproom, they closed on the property on the 13th, a date randomly set by the title company. That taproom — guess how far it was from their original brewery / home? 13 miles. With their approaching 13th anniversary, Crystal Springs has proved that 13 does not have to be an unlucky number and can in fact turn a garage homebrew operation into a successful commercial brewery.
Colorado craft beer fans will have one less major beer festival on the calendar for 2023. WeldWerks recently announced they are hitting pause on hosting the WeldWerks Invitational as they focus time and energy on their largest brewhouse expansion to date. “This is a good year to pause and reevaluate what the experience of the Invitational is and what we want it to be and how we want to keep progressing it,” says Kristin Popcheff, director of events & experience at WeldWerks.
Throughout the years, the Colorado Brewers Guild’s Collaboration Fest has not only represented the incredible spirit of camaraderie and togetherness that has driven the craft beer industry for the last three decades, but it has also served as a platform for experimentation and innovation.
By participating in a festival focused on the creation of one-off, one-of-a-kind releases, breweries have often seized the opportunity to broaden their scope to test out innovative new techniques and also play with bizarre ingredients.
While this year’s fest won’t feature as many non-traditional ingredients like years past, there are still plenty of head-turning beers, innovative approaches, and dream collaborating pairings to get excited about, so we’ve rounded up some of our can’t miss beers ahead of Saturday’s festival.
Some breweries become known for a certain style of beer and then struggle to expand beyond that, trapped in the successes of their past. While it is never a bad thing to have notoriety for a particular style, it can leave a brewery in a difficult spot as they seek to diversify their lineup and adapt to the everchanging beer landscape. Casey Brewing is known for their incredible sour beer program, churning out highly sought-after Saisons and Wild Ales since 2013. Finding themselves with some extra tanks and a desire to open a new taproom, Casey made the decision to venture into non-sour beer, doing something brewery founder Troy Casey said would never happen. A prophetic cliché that morphed into an incredible barrel aged Barleywine, Casey BA Never Say Never Barleywine exemplifies the non-sour quality of the brewery’s side dabbles.
If you operated a regional brewery and suddenly found yourself with extra tank capacity, what would you do? Would you pump out more of the beer you’ve been making seeking to increase your market presence? Would you offer contract brewing to smaller or gypsy brewers? Or would you completely revamp your barrel aging philosophy, taking a fresh perspective on how you create barrel aged Stouts? When presented with this exact scenario in 2020, Breakside Brewery out of Portland, Oregon chose this last option and created a blended Stout program.
River North Brewery has gained a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to ABV, and for their 11th anniversary they have turned the dial all the way to 11. Or perhaps that is all the way to 23, matching the monstrous alcohol percentage of Anniversary 11, a quadruple barrel aged Stout that pushes ABV boundaries. River North is ringing in Year 11 with an emphatic statement of a beer that deserves to be talked about.
In a hypercompetitive craft beer market that is ever trending towards (but not quite reaching) that mythical saturation point, breweries can find it difficult to differentiate themselves. Whether it be a new style (that’s probably a rebranded old style), new hop varieties, clever marketing or some combination of these and other “innovative” elements, breweries have to try to rise above the pack and distinguish their product from what the upstart down the street is doing. New Image Brewing is no stranger to innovation with their lineup of various Barrel Aged Beers, their heavy use of Phantasm powder and the impending opening of their own meadery brand Post Future. Estufa is perhaps their most ambitious project yet. Estufa is the first release and the genesis of New Image’s forthcoming macro-oxidized solera Barleywine program. That is a lot of beer related words not often (if ever) stringed together, so follow along as we explore what New Image is currently doing and where they are looking to take this program.
2022 is almost in the books, meaning it’s time to celebrate the year that was and look forward to what 2023 will bring us. While some may be content to spend New Year’s Eve huddled amongst freezing masses for hours on end or in a crowded club struggling to reach the bar, the discerning Coloradan will wisely seek out a local brewery for a more relaxed and enjoyable vibe. Many breweries throughout the state have events planned in the hours leading up to New Year’s, so we have assembled a list of those here. Whether you want to catch some live music, eat a multiple course beer dinner or try some special beers, there is something here for every beer lover. As always, be safe and responsible in your New Year’s Eve drinking activities – let’s end this year and start the next in a great way!
If we missed any Colorado NYE Brewery events be sure to shoot us a message and we would love to add your event to our round-up.