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July Beer Events!

Summer is packed with beer events in Colorado. Can’t decide which ones to attend? Here are my picks for July.

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  • Brewery Brunch at EDGE Restaurant & Bar with Great Divide (ongoing): This event is ongoing, every Saturday and Sunday. On Sundays representatives from Great Divide will be on hand to talk to guests about the company, their award-winning beers and more. Bottomless featured Great Divide taps, and you get to keep the pint glass.
  • Tue., Jul. 7, 6-8 p.m.: Summer Tuesday Women’s-Only Craft Beer Sessions at Factotum BrewhouseThe second in a series of 3 educational classes for women. This one will focus on the nuances of the different craft beer styles, their history, proper glassware for different beers, and common food pairings.

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  • Sat., Jul. 11, 12-4 p.m.: JUL-IPA Festival7th annual JUL-IPA Festival in Boulder, brought to you by The West End Tavern and The Millennium Harvest House. Festivities include over 35 breweries pouring IPAs, live music, and BBQ from West End Tavern.

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  • Sat., Jul. 11: Colorado Brewers Guild 19th Annual Colorado Brewers RendezvousOne-day brewfest in beautiful Riverside Park in downtown Salida. Sample the different and unique beers by specialty craft brewers from around Colorado.
  • Thur., Jul. 16, 6-8 p.m.: Brewery Night at Stout Street Social with Crazy Mountain BrewingComplimentary beers from Crazy Mountain. The brewer will be on-site and available to chat about the beer program plus the cicerone-certified Stout Street Social staff can answer many beer questions.

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  • Sat., Jul. 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.: Breckenridge Brewery’s 25th Anniversary HootenannyThe grand opening of the brand new 12 acre brewing campus, and Leftover Salmon featuring Bill Payne will be headlining; additional bands will be playing throughout the event. There will be a pig roast and plenty of Breckenridge beer available. 
  • Thur., Jul. 23, 6-10 p.m.: Big Eat 2015Bites from 40+ restaurants, cocktails from Denver’s top mixologists and craft beer from favorite Colorado breweries Crazy Mountain, Oskar Blues and Great Divide. 

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Big Eat 2015

Photo from Imbibe's Big Eat event page

Photo from Imbibe’s Big Eat event page

Denver has its share of stellar restaurants, so many in fact that it’s hard to find time to visit them all. So what could be better than bringing over 50 of them to the same place at once?! The fifth annual Big Eat is happening on Thursday, July 23rd from 6-10 p.m. at The Galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Check out these awesome restaurants that will be in attendance:

Ace Eat Serve
Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina
Appaloosa Grill
Argyll Whisky Beer
Bacon Social House
Beast + Bottle
Beatrice & Woodsley
Bijus Little Curry Shop
Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs Restaurant
Bubu
Butcher’s Bistro
Central Bistro & Bar
Chowder Room
D Bar Denver
DiFranco’s
duo restaurant
El Camino Community Tavern
Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen
Happy Cakes Bakeshop
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar Denver
Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar Glendale
La Loma
Linger
Los Chingones
Lou’s Food Bar
Lucky Pie Pizza and Tap House
Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza [Downtown]
Masterpiece Deli – LoHi
Mercado at Dorchester
New World Cheese
North County
Panzano
Pinche Tacos
Poco Torteria
Root Down
Russell’s Smokehouse
Salt & Grinder
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery [Downtown]
Steuben’s Food Service
Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs
Stoney’s Bar and Grill
Sugarmill
TAG
The Corner Office
The Berkshire
The Lobby
The Village Cork
Trillium
Vesper Lounge
Vesta Dipping Grill
Vine Street Pub & Brewery

 

In addition to all the above restaurants, attendees can enjoy cocktails created by the Colorado Bartenders Guild with local spirits from Laws Whiskey House, Peach Street Distillery, Woody Creek, Golden Moon, craft beer from Crazy Mountain Brewery, Oskar Blues Brewery and Great Divide Brewing Co., and wine from Trinchero Family Estates.

Ticket price ($55) includes unlimited small bites, beer, wine and signature cocktails. Proceeds from The Big Eat support the efforts of EatDenver.

 

Great Divide’s 21st Anniversary Party

Reusable stainless steel pint glass. They even gave us lids for them upon exiting the party.

Reusable stainless steel pint glass. They even gave us lids for them upon exiting the party–a very nice touch!

Last Saturday I attended Great Divide’s 21st anniversary celebration. I have been to several of its parties in the past, but this year’s was a little different to me, for a couple of reasons. The 2015 anniversary party is the first one I’ve gone to at the site of the new Great Divide facilities that are currently under construction. The 2014 bash was also held here, but I wasn’t able to make that one. So it was nice to see so much additional space, as I was used to the downtown block party situation in previous years.

Lines.

Lines.

The other difference–which I was most pleased about–was the presence of so many sour beers this time around. I counted around 7 different sours being poured that day. I tried my best to get to them all, but unfortunately the lines were some of the longest lines I have seen at a festival in recent years. In many cases, I found myself waiting 30+ minutes for a beer. I guess there were either too many attendees or too few pouring stations, as I do not believe the intention was to have such lenghty lines starting immediately after the event began. Even just one hour in, most of the lines stretched halfway across the space of the event. Because of this, there were some beers that I simply didn’t have time to try.

One of the many sours at this year's event.

One of the many sours at this year’s event.

However, of everything I drank that day, there were a few standouts that were pretty amazing. My favorite overall was the Prince of Darkness, a black sour. I also really enjoyed the 21st Anniversary American sour and the Demeter, a strawberry rhubarb sour that would make the perfect popsicle for those hot summer days. I also liked having 2 different years of Old Ruffian being poured side by side for comparision.

Partygoers with the ever-popular Yeti.

Partygoers with the ever-popular Yeti.

I am a fan and supporter of Great Divide, and I’m happy I got to try some great beers. But unfortunately the main idea that will stick with me about this year’s event: half hour beer lines. I am confident though that the glitches will be worked out for next year’s party, so count me in for 2016.

Boulder’s 7th Annual JUL-IPA Festival

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Photo from a past JUL-IPA Festival: “Celebrating the BEST and BADDEST IPAs out there.”

Saturday, July 11th is the 7th Annual JUL-IPA Festival, presented by The West End Tavern in Boulder. The event will be held at the outdoor pavilion of the Millennium Harvest House Hotel from noon-4 p.m., and proceeds will benefit Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence.

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FATE brews one of my favorite IPAs: Moirai Coffee IPA.

I love IPAs, but for some reason I had not heard about JUL-IPA until this year. So I am very excited to be attending for the first time. So many delicious IPAs in one place! Breweries slated to pour at this year’s fest include:

Avery Brewing Co., Boulevard Brewing Co., Bristol Brewing Co., BRU Handbuilt Ales, Crazy Mountain Brewing, Crystal Springs Brewing Co., Denver Beer Co., Elevation Beer Co., Epic Brewing Co., Fate Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Left Hand Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co., Odd 13 Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Pikes Peak Brewing, River North Brewery, Sanitas Brewing Co., Ska Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Telluride Brewing Co., The Post Brewing Co., Upslope Brewing Co., and Wild Woods Brewery.

unnamed (3)In addition to all the great beers at the fest, there will be tasty food from The West End Tavern, which will be be serving up its world-famous BBQ Pulled Pork, Bacon Baked Beans, and Mac & Cheese. There will also be live music by The Goonies and Sixty Minute Man, and even carnival games. Sound fun? Grab those tickets now!

Wild Wild West Brunch (& Beer!) at Kachina Southwestern Grill

“The Marg,” Kachina’s house margarita

Last weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying a leisurely meal at Kachina Southwestern Grill in Westminster. I had never been before, but after browsing the menus online, I knew it was a restaurant I absolutely must try.

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One of my favorite weekend activities is going out to brunch, so while all of Kachina’s menus looked enticing, I decided to stop in on a Sunday for its Wild Wild West Brunch.  In addition to the mouthwatering dishes, one aspect that drew me to this particular establishment was the fact its beer list contains numerous craft beers–several of them from Colorado breweries like Great Divide, Upslope, New Belgium, Odell, Boulder Beer, and more. As a beer drinker, I consider a restaurant’s beer selection just as much I do its food. This place scored well on both fronts.

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Chips + Salsa Sampler: ancho tomatillo salsa, chile morita salsa, pico de gallo

I started off with an Avery IPA; my guest got the house margarita. While I typically favor beer, I also love a good margarita. So my guest was kind enough to let me have a taste, and I thought the house marg was great. Once drinks were in hand we needed something to snack on, so we chose the salsa sampler. The ancho tomatillo and morita were two of the best salsas I have ever had! For some reason I have never liked tomatoes (so of course I avoided the pico), so it can be a challenge to find salsas I can actually try. I was so pleased that there were two that weren’t the typical chunky tomato style. Both were rich in flavor, slightly sweet and slightly spicy; I couldn’t stop eating them.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros: crispy blue corn tortillas, cowboy beans, eggs any style, red chile, pico, cheddar cheese, cotija

I normally prefer a savory dish at brunch, so I was excited about the Huevos Rancheros. And it turned out that everything about it was perfect…the crispy blue corn tortillas, cowboy beans and red chile. I have craved these huevos every day since then! My guest ordered the Pinon Crusted French Toast with cajeta caramel, whipped cream and toasted piñon nuts, which was really tasty as well.

Pinon Crusted French Toast: cajeta caramel, whipped cream, and toasted pinon nuts

Pinon Crusted French Toast: cajeta caramel, whipped cream, and toasted pinon nuts

Given the quality of the food, the beer and cocktails and the level of service, I will definitely be back to Kachina. Its menus are very versatile; there are lots of vegetarian options, which I appreciate, as well as many interesting meat dishes too (I’ve heard the bison is delicious). I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Bar area

Bar area

June Beer Events in Colorado–What a Month!

June is bound to have an event (or five) for every beer lover in Colorado. Here is a quick rundown of what’s going on this month. Click on any event for more information, tickets, etc.

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Saturday, June 6:

Tuesday, June 9:

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Saturday, June 13:

Sunday, June 14:

Tuesday, June 16:

Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2014

Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2014

Thursday, June 18:

Saturday, June 20:

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Wednesday, June 24:

Saturday, June 27:

Bites & Beer at Second Home Kitchen + Bar

Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter

Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter

Second Home Kitchen + Bar recently rolled out its Spring & Summer menu with some delightful new additions. I stopped in for dinner and drinks to try out some of the seasonal fare. But first up: beer!

Housemade Tater Tots with chipotle ketchup + malt mayo

Housemade Tater Tots with chipotle ketchup + malt mayo

While Second Home doesn’t have any beer on tap, they offer bottles from some of Colorado’s best breweries, such as Great Divide, Breckenridge Brewery, New Belgium, Ska and Odell. I chose Breckenridge’s Vanilla Porter, one of the first brews I really fell in love with as I first started to discover craft beer several years ago.

I enjoy both simple, basic dishes as well as inventive creations. So my guest and I decided to order a little of both:

The housemade tater tots were the perfect accompaniment to my porter. The consistency was spot on, they weren’t greasy like frozen/pre-made tots, and the malt mayo was phenomenal!

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Crispy Squash Blossoms: Haystack Mountain Green Chili Jack, shoestring zucchini and fresh mint

I had tried the crispy squash blossoms at a beer and food pairing event in April (BrüFrou) and was in heaven. Afterward, I looked up Second Home’s menu to see if I could get a full order of this delightful dish all to myself, but sadly it was nowhere to be found. Fast-forward a few weeks, and there it was! Indulging in a plate of squash blossoms made my day!

Spring Pizza with grilled asparagus, wild mushrooms, baby red potatoes, pesto, oven-dried tomatoes, and fresh arugula.

Spring Pizza with grilled asparagus, wild mushrooms, baby red potatoes, pesto, oven-dried tomatoes, and fresh arugula.

Pizza is pretty much my favorite food. Pizza and beer together–even better! I thought the new Spring Pizza with tons of veggies (grilled asparagus, wild mushrooms, baby red potatoes, oven-dried tomatoes and fresh arugula) seemed like the way to go. However, I also love a more traditional pizza, so my guest got the Margherita Pizza and we shared. Both were incredible. The crispy, slightly chewy crust was just the way I like it.

Margherita Pizza: cherry tomatoes, basil, and San Marzano tomato

Margherita Pizza: cherry tomatoes, basil, and San Marzano tomato

I was very pleased with my experience at Second Home. I must return soon so I can try even more of their menu and check out some of their cocktails. Their Social Hour (4-6, M-F) is definitely a draw, with bites ranging from $2-$8, along with drink specials. It makes me happy to find a new (to me) restaurant where I can order a local beer and get something delicious to eat too. Thanks, Second Home!

Mmm...tots. With a Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker.

Mmm…tots. With a Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker.

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