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Beer travels: Why is Colorado so strict on carding?

It’s not often I am able to travel outside of Colorado. It seems that vacation time and money are always in short supply. But I definitely enjoy it when I get the chance to visit another city and fully immerse myself in their craft beer scene.

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I recently returned from a short (2.5 day) trip to Austin. I love Texas beer, so when I travel to Austin (one of my favorite cities!) I make a point to get to as many craft beer establishments as possible. While I was there, I drank at several different types of places: restaurants, breweries, beer bars, a dive bar, as well as purchasing beer from a bottle shop. I count 14 businesses in all, and out of these 14, how many carded me? One. And it was the dive bar with a doorman out front, carding everyone.

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This got me thinking about a couple of other cities I’ve visited in the last year: San Francisco and Boston, where I had the same experience as I did in Austin. It was fantastic! I didn’t have to dig into my purse, get out my wallet and pull out my id. It was noticeably different than here in Colorado, where I get carded every single time I order a drink , unless the bartender recognizes me. Now, I’d like to add that I am 39 years old and, while I’m often told I don’t look my age, it’s extremely obvious I am not under 21. So why is Colorado so strict on carding? I wish I knew.

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I understand that folks in the service industry have to make sure they are not breaking any laws when serving alcohol. And I know there are plenty of times when it’s hard to tell a person’s approximate age. But is it really that difficult to tell the difference between someone in their mid-late 30′s and a 20 year old? Shouldn’t these folks simply use their best judgement when serving? Why is it that 99% of servers in other states/cities have no problem handing me a beer without checking my id? For all the archaic beer laws in Texas, they still win over Colorado when it comes to convenience of ordering a beer without any hassle.

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What’s my point in writing this? I guess it’s mainly to vent, as it gets annoying having to show id approximately 5-10 times a week, or more. But I’d also like to get some feedback if anyone has any inside knowledge on why this is. Or even just your opinions. I know I’m not the only one this happens to; it happens to all my friends, every time, and we’re all well into our 30′s.

A couple of true, prime examples of just how irritating getting carded at my age is:

  • I’m in a bar and have already ordered and drank a beer (after being carded) as well as started a tab. I go up to the bar to get another, and this time it’s a different bartender. I am asked yet again for my id!
  • I sit down in a restaurant and am not waited on right away. I get up to use the restroom and have my friend order my beer, and I leave my id at the table for the server to see. The server tells my friend she won’t pour/bring the beer until she sees me to compare my face with my id! As if she couldn’t do that when delivering my beverage.

Readers: please share your thoughts. Do you live in Colorado and get carded every time you drink? Have you visited Colorado and experienced this? I would love to hear from you. Thanks!

Beer and Bacon Festival & Dinner

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Like bacon and beer? Then mark your calendars (and get your tickets) for a couple of fantastic events in Denver the weekend of November 15-16.

Saturday, November 15th at The Lobby (6-9 p.m.) is the Bacon and Beer Chef and Brewer Dinner. The dinner will feature a five course meal prepared by five different local chefs paired with beer from five different Denver area breweries. Tickets are $65 each. Curious? Check out the mouthwatering menu:

Welcome Beer from Breckenridge Brewery
72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout

First Course Prepared by John Little from Harman’s Eat & Drink
Squash and Baking Spiced Surette
Beer: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Autumn Surette

Second Course Prepared By Drew Watson from Hops & Pie
Celery Root Purée with Pork Belly, Fig and Frisee
Beer: Copper Kettle Brewing Company French Saison

Third Course Prepared by Vincent Vigil from Panzano
Coriander and Coffee Dusted Pork Loin with Renegade Coffee Beer Sauce and Sautéed Pumpkin Gnocchi and Wild Mushrooms
Beer: Renegade Brewing Company Hiatus Coffee-Infused Oatmeal Ale

Fourth Course Prepared by Brandon Muncy from The Lobby
Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly Meatloaf served over Parsnip Puree with Caramelized Wort Catsup and Crispy Sprout Leaves
Beer: TRVE Brewing Company Dunwich Robust Porter

Fifth Course Prepared by Samm Sherman from Root Down and Linger
Coffee Cremeux with Bacon Oreo, Malt and Cider Caramel with Great Divide Hibernation Whipped Cream
Beer: Great Divide Brewing Company Hibernation Ale

Then, let those bellies rest overnight and head out again for Sunday’s Denver Bacon and Beer Festival at The Curtis Hotel (2:30-5). Tickets ($46.50) include unlimited bacon small bites and beer samples from numerous local restaurants and breweries:

AC Golden Brewing Company
bistro c.v.
Blackbelly Catering
Breckenridge Brewery
Cap City Tavern
Copper Kettle Brewing Company
Crazy Mountain Brewery
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
EDGE Restaurant
Elevation Beer Company
Epic Brewing Company
Former Future Brewing Company
Glaze by Sasa
Great Divide Brewing Company
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Hops and Pie
Ignite!
Jax Fish House – Glendale
Jonesy’s Eat Bar
Kachina Grill
Kevin Taylor Restaurant Group
Linger
Little Man Ice Cream
Lucky Pie
Odyssey Beerwerks
Oskar Blues Brewery
Our Mutual Friend Tenth Acre & Brewery
Panzano
range
Renegade Brewing Co.
River North Brewery
Root Down
Rosenberg’s Bagels
Russell’s Smokehouse
Second Home Kitchen + Bar
Ste. Ellie
Strange Craft Beer Company
Sunnyside Burger Bar
The Corner Office Denver
The Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat and Unit X
Wit’s End Brewing Company
Wynkoop Brewing Company

Hopdoddy Burger Bar Arrives in Denver

Greek Burger

Greek Burger and a Mojo IPA from Boulder Beer

Brugers, fries, milkshakes, BEER! Hopdoddy is here! Hopdoddy Burger Bar is an Austin-based restaurant specializing in burgers and craft beer. Their newest location opened yesterday, October 27th, next to Union Station in Denver.

Truffle Fries

Truffle Fries

I am personally very excited about Hopdoddy; not only is their food delicious, but they have 12 local craft beers on tap. And I love having good beer options when I dine out. I was impressed with the selection, as they had beers from Odell, Breckenridge Brewery, Oskar Blues, Boulder Beer, Dry Dock, Avery, and New Belgium.

La Bandita (veggie)

La Bandita (veggie) and a 471 IPA from Breckenridge Brewery

Hopdoddy has a burger on the menu for everyone: Angus beef, Texas Akaushi beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey, tuna, and veggie. I stopped by for dinner last night (I had to go on opening day–I couldn’t wait any longer!) I ordered the La Bandita; as a vegetarian I appreciate a veggie burger that is made in-house rather than a portobello “burger” or a frozen patty of some sort. The La Bandita is a black bean-corn patty topped with avocado, goat cheese, arugula, cilantro pesto, and chipotle mayo on a whole wheat bun. My friend got the Greek Burger, which is lamb with Feta cheese, arugula, pickled red onions, tomato, cucumber, tzatziki sauce. And the fries…oh my. We opted for the truffle fries, which were to die for!

Caramel & Sea Salt Shake

Caramel & Sea Salt Shake

And of course I couldn’t resist trying one of their shakes. I was too full, but I just had to sample the Caramel & Sea Salt one. Amazing dessert! Everything was absolutely fantastic on my first visit to Hopdoddy. I will most definitely be back very, very soon! I need to try the chile con queso! And I highly recommend giving them a try: great food, nice craft beer selection, and friendly staff. Welcome to Denver, Hopdoddy!

GABF 2014: Best In Show

I was impressed by Short's Brewing from Bellaire, Michigan.

I was impressed by Short’s Brewing from Bellaire, Michigan.

I’ve been to the Great American Beer Festival for the past several years. Normally I don’t run into too much of a problem paring down my list of favorites…but this year is proving to be the most challenging yet. Perhaps it’s that, with all the beer drinking I do on a regular basis, my palate is improving. Or maybe it’s that breweries are brewing better and better beer. Or–most likely–a combination of both. Regardless, this is a good problem to have! So I’ll just go with it and share all of the ones that I truly loved.

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Without a doubt, one of my top picks is Belching Beaver‘s Peanut Butter Milk Stout. I usually end up with a peanut butter beer on my final list, which is no surprise considering my love of beers that taste like food. But this one blew me away! So much peanut butter, exactly as it should be. And an exciting side note: Belching Beaver won this year’s Alpha King Challenge with their double IPA Pound Town. Congratulations!

2014 Alpha King Champs! Belching Beaver.

2014 Alpha King Champs! Belching Beaver.

Next up: Bourbon Carrot Cake from Short’s Brewing. Another beer that tastes like food?! But of course! Bourbon Carrot Cake is a dessert ale made with carrots, marshmallow, vanilla, maple syrup, orange zest, walnuts, pecans and spices and then aged in bourbon barrels. While it might not be for everyone, I feel it is something that can certainly appeal to craft beer lovers as well as those who “don’t like beer.” I only wish I could get my hands on some to test out this theory! Short’s won a Gold in the Experimental category for their Key Lime Pie. Way to go!
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Since I seem to be on a roll with beers brewed with food, this would be a good time to mention the Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine by Almanac Beer Co.. I don’t consider myself to be a big fan of barleywines in general; I find most of them are too sweet for me. But I didn’t run into that with the Heirloom Pumpkin. I thought it was quite easy to drink, which could be dangerous considering it’s actually 12% ABV.

Pretzel necklaces: great for cleansing the palate. Necklaces with jerkey, cheese crackers, candy, etc. = you're too cheap to buy food. I loved these guys' idea for bread necklaces! Different, yet practical.

Pretzel necklaces: great for cleansing the palate. Necklaces with jerkey, cheese crackers, candy, etc. = you’re too cheap to buy food. I loved these guys’ idea for bread necklaces! Different, yet entirely practical.

Not a food beer, but a delicious combination of coffee and beer: Coffee IPA from FATE Brewing. This is a local beer brewed just 30 minutes away in Boulder, Colorado. Why would I “waste” time stopping at a booth whose beer is a but half hour drive away? Because it’s just that good. And FATE doesn’t currently distribute this beer, so it was definitely worth a trip (or three) to their booth. A shout out to them for winning a Gold for their Laimas Kolsch!

The crew from Black Star Co-op in Austin.

The crew from Black Star Co-op in Austin.

I have a special fondness for Texas beer. Having family & friends there, it’s the one place I’ve spent more time than anywhere else outside of Colorado. And my favorite thing to do while there is to explore the craft beer scene. One in particular really did it for me at GABF, and that was Benedictum from Real Ale Brewing Company. This sour brown with tart cherries is part of Real Ale’s Mysterium Verum (Latin translation: Real Mystery) barrel aged series. Very solid sour ale. I will be looking for this during my upcoming Austin trip–fingers are crossed that I’ll find some!

Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Texas' Oldest Craft Brewery) brought this chapel where people could actually wed at the festival.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company (Texas’ Oldest Craft Brewery) brought this chapel where people could actually wed at the festival.

Over the past several months I’ve begun to realize what an outstanding barrel-aging program Avery Brewing has. There have been many Sundays I’ve made the trip up to Boulder for their special releases, and the one that I constantly rave about is Opuntia, a tequlia barrel-aged sour. Pretty much every sour I’ve had from Avery has been top-notch, but the combination of prickly pear and tequila makes Opuntia one of the most unique tasting sours I’ve ever had.
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I don’t have any specific order for my favorite beers at this year’s GABF. I consider every beer mentioned above to be “amazing.” And here are some more for you:

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I know there were so many more worthwhile beers present. If only I was somehow capable of sampling them all! But I can only do so much, and I’m anything but disappointed in the beers I elected to try at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. Check out my Facebook album for a few more photos. Until next year!

GABF Media Luncheon 2014

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I’ve attended the Great American Beer Festival for several years and, for the past couple, have provided coverage on my blog. But this year was definitely different in that I was granted a media pass for the very first time, thereby giving me the privilege of being part of the GABF Media Briefing and Luncheon.

Vegetarian starter. Not sure what it is, as it wasn't listed on the menu.

Vegetarian starter. Not sure what it is, as it wasn’t listed on the menu. But it sure was good! Paired with Serenity from Wicked Weed and Opal from Firestone Walker.

Throughout the working lunch we were given lots of great information by the Brewers Association‘s Craft Beer Program Director Julia Herz. It was great to listen to the panel discussions with knowledgeable brewers and brewery representatives during the meal.

Granny Smith Apple with Ginger and Grapefruit. Paired with Berliner Weisse, Napoleon Complex by the Brewers Association Team Homebrew.

Granny Smith Apple with Ginger and Grapefruit. Paired with Berliner Weisse, Napoleon Complex by the Brewers Association Team Homebrew.

I love beer and food pairings, so I was excited to attend this event. The pairings were so well thought out. I really appreciated that they were able to accommodate the vegetarians in the group, and the food was anything but boring. I truly enjoyed every course!

Vegetarian main course: Grilled Portobello stuffed with green chile quinoa & queso fresco, smoked tomatillo salsa verde and crispy shallot. Paired with Black Eagle Baltic Porter by Black Tooth Brewing and Old Tom Porter by Piney River Brewing.

Vegetarian main course: Grilled Portobello stuffed with green chile quinoa & queso fresco, smoked tomatillo salsa verde and crispy shallot. Paired with Black Eagle Baltic Porter by Black Tooth Brewing and Old Tom Porter by Piney River Brewing.

While all the food looked wonderful, our dessert was beautiful! It was called Dusty Miller Semifreddo with warm toffee sauce, paired with Balt Altbier from Union Craft Brewing and Tsunami Stout from Pelican Pub & Brewery. I tried to select just one photo to upload, but I couldn’t choose. So here are a couple:


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The 2014 GABF Media Briefing and Luncheon was fantastic! Thank you to everyone involved for a job well done!
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The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour

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Author John Schlimm has a new cookbook, The Ultimate Beer Lovers Happy Hour. And he’s celebrating with the Ultimate Beer Lover’s Oktoberfest Blog Tour. You could win The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Oktoberfest Party Pack (US & Canada only) by entering a Rafflecopter giveaway. The contest has already begun and runs through November 7th. Check out some of these awesome prizes:

Ultimate Beer Lover’s Oktoberfest Prize Pack items:

  • 1 signed copy of The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour by John Schlimm
  • 2 Humane Society of the US T-shirts (1 male M, 1 female M)
  • Lucky Brand Jeans Gift card for 1 free pair of jeans
  • 6 Straub Brewery Pilsner Glasses
  • Coleman soft cooler with hard liner (red)
  • Weber Barbecue Apron, black
  • 1 OXO Steel Bottle Opener
  • Set of 2 wooden snack bowls
  • Set of 4 wooden coasters

I personally love cooking with beer and think this cookbook looks amazing! Here are a couple of sample recipes to make your mouth water:

Horseradish Mustard

Hippie Cayenne Sourdough Pretzels

Like what you see? The Ultimate Beer Lovers Happy Hour is packed full of delicious beer-infused recipes that you will want to make–repeatedly. Enter to win here at a Rafflecopter giveaway. And order your copy of this awesome cookbook today!

Get Home Safe With UBER: GABF Code for First-Time Riders

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It’s time for the Great American Beer Festival! There’s nothing quite like 4+ hours of sampling dozens (hundreds?) of beers from all over the country. It is such a unique, fun experience. But when it comes time to leave, there is nothing fun about driving under the influence. There are plenty of ways to avoid ending up with a DUI or getting into an accident, so please be sure you have a safe way home after a day or night of imbibing. This year, Uber is offering all first-time customers $25 off their first ride. Just use the code GABF2014 when you sign up here. What a deal! Why not take advantage of this great offer from Uber during this weekend packed full of beer events?! Go out and enjoy all of the festivities, but first: sign up with this special code today to get home safe and sound.

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