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Author Archives: coloradobeergirl

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!

Day of the Dead: Mexican Craft Beer at La Biblioteca

Four Day of the Dead beers at La Biblioteca

Day of the Dead beers at La Biblioteca with a Vegetariano Roll & Wok Blistered Shoshitos

I first visited La Biblioteca in November and had some excellent cocktails and food. I recently found out about some new beer they are serving: Day of the Dead Beer. What’s special about this brewery is that it’s the first craft brewery in Mexico. Located in Tecate, Mexico, Day of the Dead Beers offers six different varieties of craft beer.

I was curious, yet perhaps a bit hesitant, about Mexican craft beer. All of the beers I’ve had from Mexico have been weak, watery, and just generally not my style. (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve only had Mexican lagers in the past). So I was excited to try some other types. La Biblioteca carries DOA IPA (Hop on or Die), Hefeweizen (Immortal Beloved), Blonde Ale (Death Rides a Pale Horse), and Porter (Pay the Ferryman). 

I really enjoyed all four of the beers! While I’m not normally a big fan of Blondes or Hefeweizens, I actually found these to be some of the better ones I’ve had. They were both far more flavorful than many of the others I’ve tried from various breweries. The IPA was good–not as hoppy as most American IPAs, but tasty nonetheless. And the Porter was smoky and smooth. Day of the Dead also brews a Pale and an Amber, though these two weren’t available at La Biblioteca.

If you are at La Biblioteca, or anywhere that serves the Day of the Dead Beers, I strongly suggest trying them out. They definitely beat your typical Mexican beer and, as a side note, they have neat labels. Also they are prefect for helping balance out the heat from the Shoshito Peppers! Salud!

Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival 2014

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Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my first Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival at Vail Cascade Resort. I had heard about this festival for a few years and was extremely excited to finally go.

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I liked this display from Bonfire Brewing

My drive to (and especially from) Vail was treacherous. There were several points that were so scary I honestly thought I might not make it home alive.  But I did, and fortunately it was all worth it. Because I think I had more good beers here than at Great American Beer Festival. Maybe it’s because I’m a “big beer” kind of girl. In any case, I was very impressed with so many of the beers I tasted that day. If you’ve ever been to a festival serving high ABV beers at 8,000 feet, you’re probably aware it becomes nearly impossible to remember all of the details of each beer. But the one that stood out most to me was Waelz Blood from Crooked Stave. This might be the best sour I’ve ever had. Crooked Stave had several excellent, rare beers that day. I also enjoyed Lolita from Goose Island, Bird of Prey from Sanitas Brewing, Tropical Paradise Imperial IPA from Wild Woods Brewery, and Hopslam from Bell’s.

Apparently I decided to take a photo of this very full dump bucket. Hmmm...

Apparently I decided to take a photo of this very full dump bucket. Hmmm…

There were several more that I wish I could write about, but attempting to decipher my notes has proven to be quite a challenge. One of the most unique beers I tried was Chimayo from Three Barrel. It tasted like I was drinking straight balsamic vinegar. Not really my style, but interesting nonetheless. It definitely left its mark, and I won’t forget it!

Enjoying a big beer

Enjoying a big beer

My only less than wonderful experience was the restroom situation. I was a bit dismayed to find that the only option was outdoors. There were separate men’s & women’s “upscale” porta-potties, each with a few stalls that were housed in a sort of trailer, so it could have been worse. But there was no soap, so I had to stand outside in freezing weather and pump ice-cold water to wash my hands–brrr! Perhaps this is something that can be worked out for next year’s festival.

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I am so thrilled to have attended the festival. I definitely recommend it. You get to try some unique and amazing beers, it’s in a beautiful place, and it is such a great time.

Well done, 2014 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines!

Station 26 Brewing Now Open

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Station 26 Brewing is now open in Denver. I stopped by on December 21st, their opening day. Though I was a bit short on time that afternoon, I was excited about its opening and wanted to check it out. Predictably, I started with the IPA. IPA #1 is described as “A smoothly bitter IPA loaded with our favorite hops (Apollo, Simcoe, & Nelson). Flavors of orange, pine, and gooseberries.” It has an ABV of 6.3% and 54 IBUs. I’d say their description is pretty accurate; I definitely picked up on the fruity flavors as well as the pine.

IPA #1

IPA #1

I had time to try one more, so since I was hanging out in an old fire station I decided to go with the Cherrywood Smoked Golden. And smoked it was! It was a bit much for me, as I’m not a huge fan of really smoky beers. But it was very well done and is a must-try for those who enjoy smoked beers. It will not disappoint! They also had a New World Bitter and a Belgian-American Pale Ale on tap, and I have since seen that they’ve added a Kolsch and a Session Stout.

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Station 26 is a great addition to the Denver brewery scene. The tap room is nice and spacious and–at least so far–does not have televisions, which is always a plus for me. Everyone has their own personal preferences but I am of the mind that breweries/tap rooms are for sitting down with a couple beers and engaging in conversation, not for being glued to a tv all afternoon. It’s nice to be able to talk without the roaring cheering or jeering when a good or bad play occurs. Whether or not they will add them in the future is to be determined. But, in any case, I recommend stopping in soon to give Station 26 a try!

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