About- Kara Loo & Kelissa Hieber
Every seat was full on Friday morning’s Denver-bound Frontier flight out of Nashville—most passengers consisting of glassy-eyed or dozing beer industry professionals (likely on the 3rd or 4th day of wearing their embroidered brewery work shirts). This year’s Craft Brewers Conference, spanned the better part of last week from Monday through Thursday evening’s World Beer Cup awards ceremony. For many, this meant five full nights of beer-soaked, deep fried, Nashville-themed debauchery reuniting industry friends from all over the world.
Black Shirt Brewing Co. debuted Electric Ladyland Raspberry Saison, its third foeder-aged beer, in their taproom on February 3, 2018. Electric Ladyland spent 12 months in a foeder and was then conditioned on 500 pounds of raspberries. It weighs in at 7.5% ABV and 37 IBU. We drank it approximately a month thereafter out of a crowler.
Take Great American Beer Festival, skim the layer of cream off the top, and you get the Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines festival, held annually the first weekend in January in Breckenridge, Colorado. The “cream” metaphor is literal; by far, only the deepest, richest, dankest or most prolific beers make the cut as offerings from the breweries involved. This festival is truly not for the faint of heart. Sling back a few too many mini-pours consisting predominantly of 7% ABV and above beers, factor in the elevation (over 9000 feet at the venue location), account for a probable lack of sleep from event-hopping all weekend, and you’re likely in for one wickedly miserable end-of-weekend hangover. But this past weekend was the 18th consecutive Big Beers fest, proving that a wide range of beer lovers, both industry members and consumers alike, love coming back to challenge their palettes (and drinking prowess) time and time again.
If you have yet to try a craft beer from Boise, you may be in good company. However, Boise, population 205,000, is a small city only 5.5 hours from the lush hop fields of Yakima Valley and less than an hour from the Oregon border. Also, let’s not forget that Idaho is also officially part of what we consider the “Pacific Northwest” region of the United States. Hence, when you’re a brewery that’s in direct competition with the tasty beers of Washington and Oregon, you have no choice but to bring your A-game and that’s what Woodland Empire Ale Craft does with its “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheeple?”
After partnering with Colorado’s Native Roots dispensary chain to create an award-winning marijuana strain, it’s no surprise Colorado musician GRiZ recently collaborated with Great Divide Brewing Company on another popular libation – craft beer. On Wednesday Aug 30, GRiZ and Great Divide bring you Chasing the Golden Hour, a Colette Farmhouse Ale base that’s been layered with copious amounts of fresh Colorado peaches. Chasing The Golden Hour is also the title of GRiZ’s latest mixtape album release. Both the music and beer are meant to capture the carefree good vibes during a sunset on a perfect summer evening.
When it comes to beer from highly-regarded sour breweries, the tasting process starts with the effort of getting the dang bottle in the first place. Casey Brewing and Blending is a convenient stop in Glenwood Springs if you’re journeying from Denver to anywhere at least two hours west on I-70 (or like us, on a trip to Aspen/Snowmass for the weekend with our parents). We registered a few days in advance for a tour slot ($20 per ticket, including a tasting event) and arrived bright and early on the day of.
It’s finally time for the Craft Brewers Conference! This year’s summit convenes in Washington, D.C. where it was last seen in 2013. We’ve all seen the landscape change a lot in four years, so if your last jaunt through D.C. was in 2013 or even earlier you’re gonna have some new ground to cover! For the latest lay of the land, check out the Brewers Association’s guide to Exploring the D.C. Beer Scene.
On a trip to Oregon back in June 2016 we were able to visit so many breweries with really amazingly consistent quality! Most of our time was spent in Portland, but we capped off our trip with a day in Hood River on a coffee barista’s recommendation. The one hour drive thru the Cascade Mountains is absolutely worth it for the views and beer. We spent the day watching kite sailing under a blue sky and visited pFriem Family Brewers for lunch. pFriem has specialized in lots of Belgians and sour varietals since opening in 2012 but offers a very eclectic and well-executed menu as a whole, including tasty pub-style food! Oh, and it’s pronounced “FREE-um,” as a waitress helpfully clarified for us.
Image (c)Desiree Duzich, Spoiled Beer Brat Productions
Valentine’s Day marks the release of one of Ratio Beerworks newest beer creations: Loveless Raspberry Dark Sour Saison created to celebrate the Denver brewery’s 2nd Anniversary. We got a sneak peak of this beer at a special early tasting on February 9.
Back in January we chatted for a bit with Neil Fisher and Colin Jones of WeldWerks Brewing Company at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival in Breckenridge, Colorado. The guys were nice enough to step away from their crowded booth and give us a thorough walkthrough of their upcoming 2017 plans, dropping so much exciting news and knowledge on us that we decided to pluck this interview out and do a feature.
Oskar Blues Brewery, founded in 1997 in Lyons, CO, has long served as a pioneer in Colorado craft beer. Since canning Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002, the brand has seen a meteoric rise, and now distributes its beer in all 50 states, with additional production brewery locations in Austin, TX, Brevard, NC and Longmont, CO. Oskar Blues made headlines in recent years for major brewery buyouts including Perrin Brewing out of Grand Rapids, MI in 2015 and most recently, Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, FL just last year.
Above: Brewers and supporters gather on January 2nd, 2017, to brew the 3rd installment of “Makin Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer”. From the left: Shel, project supporter, Bess Dougherty of The Grateful Gnome Brewery, Jax, project supporter, Kim of The Guardian Brewing Company, Kate, Betsy and Jen, all from Lady Justice Brewing Company.
Major Colorado mountain resorts have been ramping up since serious snow showers started around the week of Thanksgiving, and now Metereologists at OpenSnow.com are predicting snow nearly every day for the first half of December. Ah, yes, the Colorado Rockies are finally getting a good base going after quite a warm fall, and our boards have been tuned, waxed and ready to go for months now. For snowboarders and skiers that are ready to hit the slopes: No matter how early in the morning you’re running out the door to beat I-70 traffic, don’t forget a reliable, refreshing 6er to round out your day!
Beers Made By Walking’s sixth go-around did not disappoint attendees at the Denver Nature and Science museum this past Tuesday, Oct. 4. Attendees rolled in at 5:30 p.m. sharp to fill their tasting glasses alongside earthly relics like a sparkling gemstone exhibit and a huge whale skeleton suspended from the rafters. The setting was certainly fitting for the nature theme of the festival, and breweries displayed whimsical adjuncts like pine cones and berries on their respective tables. I felt a buzz just thinking about how the event’s proceeds would be directly benefitting this museum we were standing in.
Despite her recent announcement that she’ll be leaving Wynkoop, rest assured, “Bess’s Barrel-Aged Beer Babies” will live on! Back in June, PorchDrinking spoke with brewer Bess Dougherty, recording a PorchCast episode in her “happy place,” Wynkoop Brewing Company’s barrel room. Little did we know a mere 12 hours later Bess and the rest of the Wynkoop family would learn that the brewery would begin scaling back operations to eliminate external distribution AND Bess would soon decide to leave her brewing position at Wynkoop for another opportunity. In light of the latest happenings, we sat down to talk women and beer with her and hear about the latest landmarks in her career path.
Add a dose of environmental philanthropy to your beer sesh at the 6th annual Save the Ales beerfest! The event is coming up on Friday, August 12th and provides attendees access to beer, cider and kombucha samples from nearly 40 local Colorado breweries, plus food and live music.
As we approach Julia Herz at the CraftBeer.com booth at the Vail Big Beers fest, she’s standing with Executive Chef Adam Dulye, purveying toffee and craft beer samples. Enthusiastically, she encourages us to give the pairing a try and we do so willingly. The confection is a 70% dark chocolate with almonds, toffee and a sweetness level calculated to complement the malt bill of the beer, Baere Brewing Company’s Big Hoppy Brown. It’s a pairing tastier than we even imagined — the delicious hop character of the brown ale comes forward as the rich, malty, nutty sweetness takes a backseat. As we wash down the last of the toffee, we chat with Julia on her long history in the brewing community.
Beer and food pairing is becoming an ever more-relevant skill, and we’ve seen an increasing number of culinary programs now require finely-tuned beer pairing skills just as they do with wine. Outside professional realms, beer pairing skills will help you put a damn tasty and impressive meal on the table, and it’s hard to surpass that satisfaction. So why shouldn’t we possess the same care and consideration when we pair a beer with experience? We’re not here to tell you that beer and outdoor activities go great together. That’s already ridiculously obvious. But carefully selecting your beer by factoring in the day’s physical activities can also be a refined skill, similar to choosing your dish’s boozy soulmate.
Nugget, Delta hops
We must preface this beer with a short story: In October 2014 we flew to Austin for vacation. Upon arrival, we Ubered straight to a lunch spot that was also, coincidentally, a brewery (The ABGB, for those wondering, where the food, beer and hospitality were all awesome). Sitting at the bar, we talked with another patron, John, who works at Independence Brewing Company. John had just recently returned from GABF in Denver, and we all became enthusiastic about our shared love of the Denver beer scene. Out of nowhere, he graciously offered to give us a tour of Independence’s facilities later on. We told him we’d see him there and parted ways, already feeling great about our first impression of Austin.