coloradobeer – 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.
Much to the dismay of Colorado’s powder hounds, its taken a little longer than expected for the Centennial State to feel full effects of winter this season. However, as we’ve inched toward February (Colorado’s official Stout Month thanks to the Mountain Sun Breweries), temperatures have dropped, and it’s finally time to embrace the bounty of prolific dark and roasty stouts this state has to offer. As we look back on all of the tremendous beers consumed in 2017, our staff took some time to share their picks for Colorado’s best stouts from the past year.
Colorado craft beer has come a long way. While the old guard of New Belgium, Odell, Wynkoop, Great Divide, Left Hand, Avery, and Ska initially thrust the state onto the national scene the early 90’s, it’s been Colorado’s current brewing renaissance that has propelled its meteoric rise to even greater heights of recognition and acclaim. Just in the past 5 years since PorchDrinking’s existence, we’ve seen alleyway breweries grow to become national powers, startups in rural towns grow to become coveted brands, and a countless number of homebrewers who have their desk jobs to become household names among beer circles.
Personally, one of my favorite beer styles is sours, but not everyone feels the same way I do. I could go on for days about all the different reasons that I like sours, but that still wouldn’t change the opinion of someone that doesn’t like the style. I believe that sours are like IPAs for people that haven’t tried very much of the style. When someone first tries IPAs they tend to be overwhelmed by the hoppiness and intense bitterness, and the same concept applies with sours. Not all beer drinkers are used to the mouth-puckering sourness you get from some sours and that can turn people off. By creating the Sour Beer Project Series, Kannah Creek Brewing Company set out on a mission to help introduce people to sour beers.
Sometimes tap rooms can act as testing grounds that can bring unassuming beers to the forefront, allowing for crowd pleasing favorites that otherwise wouldn’t be canned and distributed to share in some of the spotlight. Upslope Brewing’s Tap Room series is just that, offering a rotating series in which larger batches of popular tap room beer is brewed — split between kegs and cans, and then once it’s gone; that’s it for the year. Previous releases in 2017 have included Strawberry Mint IPA, Peanut Butter Porter and Hefeweizen. I was able to get my hands on its Champagne Saison with Nelson Sauvin, a beer that I like to call “fancy beer for outdoorsy folk.”
What consists of the mountain region of the United States, if you didn’t know, is a highly contested debate. What we at PorchDrinking.com consider the mountain states are Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Most of the natives from any of these states use the Rocky Mountains as a directional point of either east or west and will happily bring a 6-pack of our favorite IPAs on camping trips or hikes.
Here’s a small dent in the IPAs the mountain region–and us at PorchDrinking–like to call “local favorites.”
ABV: 6.1% | IBU: 8
Last year, Dry Dock Brewing Company announced the launch of their Funk & Sour series, which features crowd-pleasing favorites from South Dock’s barrel-aging program. The series includes more than 80 barrels, which consist of mostly wine and some whiskey, and are dedicated to sour, Brett and mixed fermentations. I was able to get my hands on Batch No. 2, called Cassidae, a sour Brett saison that was bottled August 19, 2016.
Featured image courtesy of Someplace Else Brewery’s Facebook page.
This is a great beer, and not just because I’m a Star Wars fan.
The creation of this beer was one of those happy accidents. When brewer Ryan Parker was home brewing, before Someplace Else Brewery even started, he made a wee mistake and diverged from the recipe.
Ursula Brewery in Aurora, Colorado released “PB&J Porter” last year in March, then it won a gold medal at the Colorado State Fair, so they re-brewed it and called it “Crustless”. Skip to October, Imperial Crustless was brewed, they sold some shirts, glasses, lunch boxes, and a little PB&J sandwich as a garnish.
The fried chicken at Post Brewing is hands down the best in the state of Colorado. Actually, it could damn well be the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. I’d do unspeakable things to get my hands on those crispy pieces of perfectly spiced chicken flesh.
Oh, also, turns out the beer at Post Brewing is really freaking good, too.
Photo Courtesy of Odyssey Beerwerks
Most breweries I’ve visited keep some sort of “Idea List” hanging around for different beer ideas and flavor combinations. Sometimes these lists are left exclusively to the employees of the brewery and sometimes they welcome ideas from their customers. In this particular instance, Chris Hill, the founder of Odyssey Beerwerks spent some vacation time in the British Virgin Islands drinking almost exclusively passion fruit – which leads us to our profile of a particular selection on their idea list.
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Each August/September, beer drinkers around the world begin making the sensory migration from Kolschs, Pilsners, Light Lagers, Kettle Sours and in more recent years, fruited IPAs, to a different kind of seasonal offering. No we’re not talking …
Odd13 Brewing has had themselves a year, from the meteoric rise in success of their New England-style IPAs to their Robot Librarian hazy IPA collaboration with Fiction, WeldWerks and Cerebral, to the expanded distribution and new can releases featuring their iconic comic book themed illustrations. We sat down with founder Ryan Scott, as well as head brewer, Eric Larkin, to talk about their big year.
Eighteen hours into a 30-hour day at Bierstadt Lagerhaus, brewer Ashleigh Carter looks down on her co-head brewer Bill Eye through the gilded sliding door of an 85-year-old German-engineered brewing vessel. The couple talk and joke while he rattles around inside, troubleshooting the decades old brew equipment.
As “funky” sours have become more of a mainstay in the Colorado beer ecosystem, they’ve started to collide with a brewery’s ability and desire to cross breed classics with more contemporary beer styles.
At this point, it’s beginning to feel like a tease, but for midwesterners their wet beer dream returns to reality next week. This morning Kalamazoo based, Bell’s Brewery announced the return of Bell’s Brewery beers to the state of Colorado via Crooked Stave Artisans throughout the state, beginning next week, through the July 4th holiday. They also teased a second return, which will take place once again during the week of the Great American Beer Festival
ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 70
Baseball and beer — two of America’s favorite pastimes, amirite?
Rick and Christine, head brewer and owner of Kokopelli Beer Company, respectively, started brewing Hop Slugger way back in their home brewing days — when the idea of opening a brewery was just that: an idea. However, they’ve continued to brew this same recipe over the years because it’s always been such a hit with their friends, family, and now customers. The Hop Slugger IPA has won two gold medals at state-wide competitions… it’s easy to see why this beer is such a home run.
Denver is a city of world class breweries. You can literally close your eyes, spin around, start walking in any particular direction, and you’ll find amazing beer. I’m talking world class, triple-A examples of every style imaginable. But what if we were to narrow down everything that we have to offer into a format that we all understand? A six pack perhaps? The rules are simple: the beers can’t be distributed out of state, have to be available at least once per year, and packaging isn’t a requirement. Yes, I have taken on the unreasonably lofty task of narrowing down the top in the state to six total beers. Clearly you can’t go wrong with Denver beers, but these in my opinion, are some of the beers that are most representative of Denver’s top tier craft beer scene. Be gentle.