Posts ByBryan Oldham – PorchDrinking.com
The Colorado brewery scene is one with its ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Some breweries see their star shine brightly, then quickly fizzle out and shut their doors nearly as soon as they opened. Others, like Crow Hop Brewing in Loveland, CO, find increased success year after year and eventually need to move locations to accommodate the greater fanfare.
Downtown Loveland is currently home to three breweries (soon to be four) which are well-established in the community and gaining notoriety among the always crowded Colorado craft scene. Loveland Aleworks has been in their current residence, for a long while, and Verboten had a recent change when they moved to their current location on 5th Street. Crow Hop Brewing, the third of the trifecta, called 3rd Street their home since their opening in 2015. That all changed last week, when the team closed shop on 3rd and moved one block north to the east side of 4th Street in Downtown Loveland. Prior to their grand reopening in early June, Crow Hop has put on a few soft open events for their loyal patrons, and Thursday was the first soft open for folks outside of Crow Hops staff and immediate family, and the event did not disappoint.
Colorado is synonymous with countless things: skiing, white water rafting, legalized marijuana, green chili, and, of course, craft beer. With the genesis of the movement often attributed to New Belgium and Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, alongside the well-known names coming out of Denver and Boulder, it’s easy to see how the other locales can be lost in the fold. Loveland, Colorado sits roughly 20 minutes south of Fort Collins, and about an hour North from both Denver and Boulder. While smaller in terms of brewery offerings (roughly six), these establishments sure know how to pack a punch. If you’re in town, here are the six beers you should ensure you get a taste of before you leave.
Beer pairing dinners are forcing their way into the spotlight, fighting for the same notoriety as the traditional wine pairing dinners many of us are accustomed to seeing. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or another special occasion, a multi-course menu with a specific wine for each course is a welcome treat from any restaurant. Fort Collins’ Mainline Ale House takes this concept and turns it into something those of us in Colorado will be more receptive to—beer pairing dinners.
Mainline Ale House is not content with beers from some of the biggest names in the craft beer game. While Odell and Prost have made their presence felt with the previous beer dinners, this time Mainline turned to Snowbank Brewing for their February beer pairing dinner. Big, bold flavors were on display, and Snowbank brought some of its flagship beers to the table, while showcasing new heavy hitters and imperial showstoppers. The meal truly highlighted these beers and the magic that Snowbank is working with in their taproom while showcasing the talented kitchen at Mainline.
Mainline Ale House is Fort Collins’ answer to many of the gastropubs and taphouses across the country. Good food, a wide selection of beers and artisan cocktails and a casual environment make Mainline a popular spot for the craft connoisseurs and foodies in Northern Colorado. That is why Mainline has become notorious for their beer-pairing dinners, incorporating local breweries from Fort Collins and creating a menu that highlights the restaurant’s food as well as the beers created by the local brewmasters. This Thursday, February 22 at 7 pm, Mainline will host one of these special beer dinner pairings with the team over at Snowbank Brewing Company.
Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project is a Loveland darling, known for taking risks and creating innovative, exciting beers that differentiate their taproom from the rest of the pack. From their Killer Boots Caramel Porter to the “Rollin’ In Ze” series that is compiled of goses that employ flavors ranging from mango to Palisade peach, the mantra that there’s a beer for all is the apparent theme with the tap list. One of the powerhouses that have become a staple in the taproom is the Blood Guardian Imperial IPA, and it’s easy to see why it is so popular.
Fort Collins is what some would consider the genesis of craft beer. Names like Odell, New Belgium, 90 Schilling and Fat Tire are synonymous with the craft beer movement and the renaissance of delicious drinks that have flooded the United States in recent years. The volume of newcomers to the brewing scene increases while the available real estate decreases, meaning it can be hard to set your new entry into the game apart from the rest. Rookies and veterans alike are trying to poke their heads out of a large crowd, which leads to the question: what separates a brewery from all the rest? That is a question McClellan’s Brewing Company has begun to answer.
We’ve mentioned Renegade Brewing Company several times here at PorchDrinking. Since 2011, Renegade has been gifting the Denver Arts District with exciting and unique brews. From their Peanut Butter Cup Milk Stout to the Pancakes Maple Porter, you’d be hard-pressed to find something you aren’t intrigued by on the taproom menu.
On my most recent visit to Renegade, which also happened to be my first, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As a sucker for dark beers with malty, roasty flavors, I don’t often find taprooms that have a large variety of these drinks on the beer list. However, when I walked into Renegade, I was pleasantly surprised by the vast array of stout and porters on the list. I knew I wanted to highlight one of their beers, but I simply couldn’t pick. So, you lucky readers get a five-for-one in this beer showcase, as I was a lucky drinker of what I’ve taken to calling the Night Flight courtesy of Renegade Brewing.
When you think of a porter, the first thing to come to mind is often the dark color and rich texture it has while sitting in its glass. You may wonder what exactly the difference is between a porter and a stout and why the heck they have to look so similar. Maybe the sheer excitement of a beer in front of you means you don’t think about any of these things, and that is probably the most reasonable reaction. If you’re looking for a traditional porter, turn back now. If you’re looking for one that will surprise your taste buds, Crow Hop Brewing‘s Knee Knocker is where you should turn.
When it comes to Oktoberfest, there are plenty of things that come to mind. Lederhosen, Bavarian pretzels and rambunctious parties are included in that list. When the leaves begin to change and fall is in the air, one thing is almost certain; craft breweries will release their take on an Oktoberfest brew.
Big Thompson Brewery, a hidden gem in Loveland, Colorado, that just celebrated its two-year anniversary, is notorious for releasing Otto’s Oktoberfest quickly following the start of September. Coinciding with their employee brew-off and anniversary party, the release of Otto’s is an annual treat for patrons.
Whether you are a fan of beer, wine, spirits or a combination thereof, we can all agree on one thing: Pairing your drink of choice with a delicious plate of food is a wonderful experience. The culinary team at Mainline Ale House have taken it upon themselves to develop wonderful tasting menus that highlight the local beers of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Pairing wine with food has been a long-standing tradition in the food and beverage world. Fortunately for craft beer lovers, beer pairing dinners are becoming more commonplace in restaurants. Here in Colorado, some of the household names in craft beer are starting to branch out and begin the trend of beer pairing meals.
In two short years, Rally King Brewing has become one of Fort Collins’ go-to watering holes. What started as a passion project for owners Matt and Michelle Kriewall has evolved into a standout brewery in what many consider the craft beer capital of the United States. Rally King is tucked away in a strip center on the east side of town, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot between a gamer’s paradise and a delicious Asian restaurant. This past Saturday, however, you’d be hard pressed to overlook Rally King’s taproom.