Posts ByBryan Oldham, Author at PorchDrinking.com
Much has changed since March of 2020. Summer plans were quickly put on hold, our jobs had to adapt to Zoom calls instead of conference room meetings, and breweries were, for a long time, open for to go-only. With these changes came limited tap lists, a fear of can shortages, and ambiguous timelines for reopenings. Suffice to say, there’s no such thing as normal these days.
When the calendar turns to April, Colorado inevitably experiences lovely 70-plus degree days followed by the occasional two-day blizzard. This year followed that pattern, only to be accompanied with myriad COVID-19 issues. Thankfully, many breweries throughout the state of Colorado kept brewing beer, offering take-out and delivery options, all while continuing to release new beers. Loveland Aleworks is one such brewery.
Most beer events don’t have the chutzpah to revolve around a single style of beer, but Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project has other ideas. Turning the traditional beer festival on its head, Verboten decided that a day dedicated to Stouts was the best way to ruin any beer lover’s sad attempt at a Dry January.
We’re in the dog days of summer, and while the season of stouts and brown ales is quickly approaching, the Colorado beer community is going to latch onto the warm weather and refreshing beers that accompany it for as long as possible. Intersect Brewing, the rock-’n-roll inspired, vinyl-fueled brewery on Fort Collins’ west side, is home to a variety of beers with names inspired by classic American songs. “Tramps Like Us” East Coast IPA and the “In Thru the Out Door” Berliner Weiss are just a few brews that take their names from classic rock records, but one stands out above the rest as the ideal summer porch slammer.
Summer is in full swing. That means weekends and evenings go from on the couch with Netflix to the porch or patio, trading in the chocolate for the more fruit-inspired desserts, and throwing back a few brews as the days get longer.
Sours tend to see an upswing in production and popularity in the warmer months, as they supply a balance of refreshing zest and irresistible pucker. Sours have become the antithesis of IPAs, and it seems that drinkers from either of these two camps stand their ground when it comes to their beverage of choice for the summer.
Supposedly, we are entering the warmer months of the year. Colorado seems to have forgotten that, as we have been getting cold weather, overcast skies and some last minute snowstorms, which calls for a dark beer to help you batten down the hatches.
As I perused a local liquor store for something malty and roasted, I noticed a striking can design. Black, with a five-word beer title and a regal-looking insignia. Horny Goat Brewing Company’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Imperial Porter clocks in at a no-nonsense 8.5% ABV, a perfect level when trying to fight the latest installment in 2019’s Bomb Cyclones.
The stretch of Highway 34 from Namaqua Road out to Estes Park is known for, well, not much. That was until a few months ago, when the owners of Berthoud Brewing Company and Peel Handcrafted Pizza decided to make this stretch of road one of Northern Colorado’s premier food and drink destinations.
5030 Local is a joint venture between Berthoud’s namesake brewery and a mainstay in the Frederick food game. The owners have been friends for years, and general manager Vanessa told us that they had discussed a joint venture going back a long while. They finally pulled the trigger and brought their offerings North.
The holidays have come and gone, and we now enter the season of the Dry January truthers. If you are not one of those people, you’ve come to the right place. Denver breweries are not going to shut their doors this month, and instead will carry the holiday spirit into 2019.
Both Seedstock Brewery and Call to Arms Brewing created offerings for the winter season that are reminiscent of holiday beer pairings. While the ham and cookies might be long gone, these beers are still on tap and available to be consumed as long as these breweries will provide kegs.
Ah, the holiday season. A time for cheesy movies, eating too many tree-shaped cookies, and imbibing in specialty beers that just fit perfectly with the time of year. Seasonal brews are a staple in nearly any taproom; since the colder months give brewers the inspiration to create warming and holiday dinner inspired drinks.
Maxline Brewing is now one of Fort Collins’ must-drink breweries. They have several awesome seasonal beers on tap, including their fiery Mean Heat Wheat and the childhood-cereal reminiscent Arrez Con Leche. This year, however, Maxline and head brewer Shaun Woodbury added Maxline’s Spiced Plum Ale to the rotation.
Many craft beer fans are apt to consider Fort Collins, Colorado as integral to the genesis of America’s craft beer boom. It’s not uncommon to hear this northern Colorado town described as the “Napa Valley of Craft Beer.” With this in mind, it is understandable that the introduction of any new brewery could prove challenging. It is an even more daunting task then to bring an established brewery from a foreign country and set up the first state-side shop in the former lot where long-time beer veterans Fort Collins Brewery stood (FCB was acquired by the Vancouver brewery last year). While a hefty endeavor indeed, the crew at Red Truck Beer Company relished the idea of such a challenge.
The Vancouver brewery opened the doors to the Truck Stop, their Fort Collins location, on August 17; they did not disappoint. We had the chance to discuss the opening with general manager, Laird Mulderink, who shared the process behind the opening. We also spoke with head brewer Shaun Salyards, previously of Fort Collins Brewery and Snowbank Brewing, who provided insight on the 18 (yes, 18) beers on tap.
Rockyard Brewing Company embarked on a complete overhaul and rebrand earlier this year, an endeavor that has seen these Castle Rock beerslingers bring about not only a new image, but an entirely new slate of beers to accompany it. As I was searching one of the local liquor stores in Fort Collins, I came across the can for Hopalypto. The can was unique, different and striking, which was all it took to convince me to pick it up.
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.