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Local Flavor at BruFrou

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On Saturday I attended the first annual BruFrou, a craft beer + culinary pairing event, at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver. This event featured beer and food from 70 Colorado craft breweries and eateries, and it was unbelievably good.

Yak & Yeti pairing: Saag Paneer with gluten-free Apple Ale

Yak & Yeti pairing: Saag Paneer with gluten-free Apple Ale

Being vegetarian, it’s often a struggle to find enough to eat at such events. That was not the case here. Of the 40 pairings, at least ten of them were meatless, as well as a handful of others for pescatarians. They even had some gluten-free and gluten-removed food (and drinks!). And of course omnivores could indulge in all 40!

Crimini Mushroom and Carmelized Onion Canape from City, O' City and Redstone Meadery's Black Raspberry Nectar Session Mead

Crimini Mushroom and Carmelized Onion Canape from City, O’ City and Redstone Meadery’s Black Raspberry Nectar Session Mead

The location worked out well, as it was spacious and thoughtfully set up for the occasion. There was plenty of room to walk around and to just hang out and enjoy all the delicious local flavor. If you did not attend this fantastic event, these photos will give you an idea of what to look forward to next year!

Tuscan White Bean Dip topped with extra virgin olive oil, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes with grilled flatbread, paired with Bristol Brewing's American-style Wheat Ale

Tuscan White Bean Dip topped with extra virgin olive oil, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes with grilled flatbread from Tom’s Urban paired with Bristol Brewing’s American-style Wheat Ale

Crazy Mountain Amber Ale and Red Camper's Spiced Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Anise Orange Cream

Crazy Mountain Amber Ale and Red Camper’s Spiced Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Anise Orange Cream

Vegan barley sausage wrapped in a buttermilk biscuit, served with spicy mustard by WaterCourse Foods, with Fruhling, Zwickel Maibock from Renegade Brewing

Vegan barley sausage wrapped in a buttermilk biscuit, served with spicy mustard by WaterCourse Foods, with Fruhling, Zwickel Maibock from Renegade Brewing

Wild Woods Brewery's Molasses Brown Ale paired with Campfire Ice Cream from Basta

Wild Woods Brewery’s Molasses Brown Ale paired with Campfire Ice Cream from BASTA

Glazed and Confused's "Da Killa' Carrot Cake" donut, spiced and dressed with ginger infused cream topped toffee walnuts and Hazed and Infused dry hopped ale from Boulder Beer

Glazed and Confused’s “Da Killa’ Carrot Cake” donut, spiced and dressed with ginger infused cream topped toffee walnuts and Hazed and Infused dry hopped ale from Boulder Beer

Chocolate Chip with Pretzel Cookies by The Cookie Brewer (made with Old Elke Brown by Brewery Rickoli)

Chocolate Chip with Pretzel Cookies by The Cookie Brewer (made with Old Elke Brown by Brewery Rickoli)

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1st Annual BruFrou: April 19th

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Have you heard about BruFrou? It’s happening this Saturday at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. BruFrou is a craft beer + culinary pairing event, featuring 70 local breweries and eateries. There are two sessions: the first from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and the second from 4-9 p.m. If you don’t already have your tickets check out their site, where they are offering some amazing deals this week. I am excited for this event, as I (obviously) love beer and tasty fare, and am especially fond of breweries and restaurants working together to create carefully selected pairings of food and drink.

While all of the participating restaurants and breweries sound wonderful, a number of my favorites will be in attendance that I am really looking forward to.  For example, some of the breweries are: Mountain Toad Brewing, Fate Brewing Company, Sanitas Brewing Co., Ska Brewing, and many more. A few of the restaurants I’m happy to see: WaterCourse Foods, Wynkoop, City, O’ City, plus dozens of others I haven’t tried but want to.

All the information on this inaugural event can be found on their website. Get your tickets before it’s too late! Enjoy an afternoon or evening filled with unique pairings from some of Colorado’s finest breweries and restaurants.

Barley’s Angels at Epic Brewing

Over the past few years, women’s beer groups have become increasingly popular and widespread. I have heard of at least five in the Front Range area alone (and I imagine there are several more). And in January, the Colorado chapter of Barley’s Angels was established. Barley’s Angels has monthly events in both Denver and Boulder. This week I attended my first one, a beer and salsa pairing at Epic Brewing.

Kim Collins, brewer at Epic Brewing

Kim Collins, Epic’s only female brewer

The event consisted of four pairings, with beers from Epic and salsas from Hacienda Colorado. We started off with a tomatillo salsa and Sour Apple Saison. The two complemented each other very well, both having a bit of tartness to them.

Tomatillo Salsa and Sour Apple Saison

Tomatillo Salsa and Sour Apple Saison

The next pairing was Hacienda’s house salsa with an Imperial Red Ale. The salsa was a little smoky and loaded with garlic. The beer really brought out these flavors in the salsa.

House Salsa and Imperial Red Ale

House Salsa and Imperial Red Ale

Next was an extremely hot jalapeno salsa. I loved it, but I needed a little something to help tame the heat a bit, and Epic’s Smoked Porter did just that.

Jalapeno Salsa and Smoked Porter

Jalapeno Salsa and Smoked Porter

Finally was a habanero salsa accompanied by Brainless on Peaches, a Belgian-style ale. Habanero salsas are always my favorite; I love how they can be firey yet sweet at the same time. So this pairing was especially delicious because the sweetness of the peaches was the perfect thing to highlight the sweetness of the habaneros.

Habanero Salsa and Brainless on Peaches

Habanero Salsa and Brainless on Peaches

All of the pairings were delicious! And very well thought out. All four were just right and could not have been done better. This Barley’s Angels event was a great night of tasting and learning about beers, enjoying fantastic pairings, and being in the company of a bunch of lively, fun ladies.  Check out the upcoming Barley’s Angels events here.

Collaboration Festival

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Last Saturday I attended a beer festival in Denver. A beer festival? In Denver?! Yes–another festival. They happen so frequently these days that one might wonder how it’s possible to put together a beer event that is different, special. Well, the folks behind Collaboration Festival made it happen.

Collaboration Fest took place on March 22nd at the Curtis Hotel. This truly unique festival featured many breweries that had worked together to create beers specifically for this event. In some cases there were two breweries that collaborated, and in other cases there were as many as ten. And the results were nothing short of amazing.
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Many of the beers were brewed by Colorado breweries, while some partnered with breweries from other states and even as far away as Sweden. There was something for everyone: saisons, stouts, IPAs, lagers, porters, and much more. I tried as many as possible, of course. And there were definitely quite a few that truly stood out to me.
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My overall favorite was the Great Divide/Crooked Stave collaboration. This beer was a 50/50 mix of Crooked Stave’s Batch 60 (Wild Wild Brett Barrel Fermented Dry Hopped American Wild Ale) and Great Divide’s 20th Anniversary Ale (Belgian-style Ale fermented with Viognier grape juice). It was slightly sour and extremely flavorful.

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Another memorable beer was Death by Coconut, a coconut porter from Oskar Blues and Shamrock Brewing. I’ve had several coconut porters and stouts before in which I could barely (if at all) taste the fruit. This one, however, lived up to its name. If it’s coconut you want, this is your beer.

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Another interesting beer was the Coffee Red IPA by Station 26, who teamed up with Corvus Coffee to create this delicious brew. Corvus also had their cold hopped coffee available on nitro. If you like coffee and hops, give this creative drink a try.

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Other favorites of mine were the Blackberry Saison from Epic and Elevation, and Cherry Royale by Front Range and Denver Pearl–it was like cherry pie in a glass! And a beer that was brewed by 10 Mountain Sun and former Mountain Sun brewers: Our Gang Buckwheat Sunflower Stout.

I had been looking forward to Collaboration Festival from the moment I heard about it. I had high hopes, and it did not let me down. And since Saturday I’ve been to a couple of breweries that had these collaborations on tap…so check with your favorite tap rooms to see if you can still get some today!

Colorado Craft Beer Week 2014

It’s almost that time again! Colorado Craft Beer Week is just around the corner (March 21-29). It’s one of the best weeks of the year with plenty of great events from which to choose. There are beer dinners, special tappings, festivals, and more.

So far I know I am definitely attending Collaboration Festival on Saturday, March 22nd and couldn’t be more excited about it. I also plan on spending an evening at Epic Brewing on March 24th for a beer and salsa pairing with Barley’s Angels Colorado, a female-only beer club.

I look forward to adding several other events to my schedule that week. Check out the calendar on the Colorado Brewers Guild page for all the happenings. And please feel free to share other fun beer-related activities that are going on that week. It’s time to start looking ahead and planning so as not to miss out on any of the special events!

Collaboration Festival!

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If you have plans for March 22, cancel them. And buy a ticket to Collaboration Festival.

Collaboration Fest is the first in a series of events from the Colorado Brewers Guild and Imbibe Denver. It takes place at the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver on March 22nd from 3-7 p.m. and is sure to be one of the best beer festivals ever. Why? The beers are extremely unique in that they are all collaborations from amazing breweries that have teamed up with each other to create something truly special. Check out the list (so far, as more may be added):

  • Renegade Brewing Co., Wit’s End Brewing Company, Strange Brewing Company, TRVE Brewing Co., Black Sky Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery
  • Telluride Brewing and Marble Brewing
  • Dry Dock Brewing and Steamworks Brewing
  • Oskar Blues Brewing Company  and Saint Archer Brewing Co.
  • Oskar Blues Brewing Company and La Crumbre Brewing Co.
  • Twisted Pine Brewing Company and Swamp Head Brewery
  • Echo Brewing Company and Right Brain Brewery  (MI)
  • Ska Brewing and Nynashamns Angbryggeri
  • Denver Beer Co. and Upslope Brewing Company
  • Summit County Collaboration – Pug Ryan’s Brewing Company, Dillon Dam Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery  and Backcountry Brewery
  • Barrels & Bottles Brewery and Golden City Brewery
  • Fate Brewing and Mission Brewery
  • Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew and Wild Woods Brewery
  • Mountain Sun Former Brewer Collaboration – Breckenridge Brewery, Cannonball Creek Brewing Company, Durango Brewing, Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery, Eddyline Brewing, Mountain Sun, Telluride Brewing Company, Iron Springs Brewery (CA), Moo Brew (Tasmania)
  • Pagosa Springs Brewing  and RockYard Brewing Company
  • Odell Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing
  • River North Brewery  and TRVE
  • Caution Brewing and Copper Kettle Brewing Company

It sounds like a dream come true for any beer lover! This is one festival you do not want to miss. If you’re not excited enough already, watch this:

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

Grand Opening: Former Future Brewing Company

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I had my first beer from Former Future Brewing Company at an event roughly one year ago, and I’ve been following their progress ever since. So I was thrilled to finally to attend a soft opening at their new brewery last weekend.

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Farmhouse IPA and Salted Caramel Porter

Former Future (1290 S. Broadway in Denver) had five beers on tap when I visited. I tried them all, and I am in love! It was a great lineup and nice variety to give customers a taste of what Former Future is all about: an English IPA and a Farmhouse IPA, Belgian Wit, Robust Porter, and Salted Caramel Porter.

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I’m pleased to report that everything was delicious! The Farmhouse IPA was especially impressive. And the Salted Caramel Porter is one of the most interesting beers I’ve ever had; I recommend that everyone try it. The salt is definitely there, though not overwhelming. It’s the perfect balance of caramel and salt.

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Tap room

The tap room is spacious and beautiful and has the most comfortable bar stools ever! Former Future is open today, February 8th, from noon-10 p.m. Go check them out!

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