Colorado Beer Girl

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Thirsty Lion’s Fall Dishes, Seasonal Beers

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As a beer lover, I know there is always something on tap for me at Thirsty Lion. Its 52 taps has something for every beer drinker: ambers, IPAs, lagers, saisons, stouts and more. And while I typically stick with the same few beers when I stop in, I am always excited to see what’s new when the seasonal fresh sheet makes its appearance. The Fall Fresh Sheet came out, I knew it was time for another visit.

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Pan Seared Shishito Peppers with Chipotle Aioli. Paried with a Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide.

I wanted to try the new Shishito Peppers, but I can’t seem to visit Thirsty Lion without getting the pretzel with beer cheese fondue (which is on the regular menu). So I decided to start with both!

I’m never sure how hot shishito peppers might be, so I usually pair them with a stout, as a dark beer helps tame the heat. And the hint of smokiness complements the peppers’ blistered skin. Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout was just the beer for this dish. Note: these peppers were very approachable; they were not too spicy, which allowed me to really enjoy the flavor.

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Brick Oven Baked Soft Pretzel with Amber Ale Fondue. Paired with a Märzen from Prost Brewing.

The decision about which beer to have with the pretzel was an easy one. What goes better with a soft pretzel than a traditional German lager? So I selected Prost Brewing’s Märzen, one of the fall seasonals.

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Margherita Pizza paired with an Autumn Ale from Breckenridge Brewery.

For the main course I ordered a Margherita Pizza (off Thirsty Lion’s regular menu) and a Breckenridge Autumn Ale (seasonal). The slightly sweet flavor of the ale went well with the pizza, and the mouthfeel of this full-bodied beer accentuated the chewiness of the crust and cheese.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake paired with a Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder Beer.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake paired with a Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder Beer.

After my meal I was ready for something sweet. I was in the mood for chocolate, but I absolutely had to try the new Caramel Apple Cheesecake. So I developed a plan: pair the cheesecake with a Shake Chocolate Porter! And it was perfect! The creaminess of the beer and the cake were a winning combination.

Since I am vegetarian there are many more fall dishes available that I wasn’t able to try. Here are some of the other items on the seasonal fresh sheet (which runs through early December):

Seared Atlantic Sea Scallops, Pomegranate, Spinach & Pancetta Salad, Fennel Sausage & Sundried Tomato Pizza, and Black Berry BBQ Pork Tenderloin.

Seasonal beers on tap are Woodchuck Fall Apple Cider, Breckenridge Autumn Ale, Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Prost Märzen, Lefthand Oktoberfest and Leinenkugel Harvest Patch Shandy. And new cocktail items include a Pear Martini and Bulleit Rye Old Fashioned.

Fennel Sausage & Sundried Tomato Pizza

Fennel Sausage & Sundried Tomato Pizza

Don’t miss these fall drinks and dishes; they are available now through early December.


Denver Gets Funky with Sam Adams

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Jim Koch toasts two of the 2015 winners of the Sam Adams LongShot American Homebrew Competition at the Quench Your Own Thirst brunch in Denver last week.

Denver is an amazing place to be during the week of the Great American Beer Festival. In fact, it is the place to be. Craft beer enthusiasts and breweries alike travel from all over the country to attend this legendary event. And what happens when breweries and the people who love their beer come together in one place for an entire week is extraordinary.

Most craft beer drinkers are familiar with Samuel Adams‘ flagship beer, Boston Lager. And rightfully so, consdering it’s been around since 1984. But I have found that many people aren’t familiar with a lot of the other Sam Adams beers that, at least for me personally, are some of the most truly outstanding beers they brew.


GABF is the perfect opportunity for breweries to showcase the best of the best, and that’s just what the Sam Adams crew did last week in Denver. In fact, Denver was chosen as one of the locations lucky enough to be on the Kosmic Mother Funk (KMF) Grand Cru Tour. KMF Grand Cru, an American Wild Ale, is tart and funky, and is my favorite Sam Adams beer. Note to other cities: click this link to see if you’re up next, as the tour continues through December. (I’m looking at you, Portland, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Austin…and several others).

In addition to having the good fortune of KMF Grand Cru, there were plenty of other rare and seasonal beers to be had, both at GABF as well as at tap takeovers around town. A few examples include American Kriek (from the Barrel Room Collection), small batch beer Fat Jack Double Pumpkin, and of course Utopias, a limited release.

If you enjoy craft beer and solely think of “Boston Lager” when you hear the name Sam Adams, I implore you to branch out and try some of the other interesting things they are doing. If you’re into IPAs, check out the Rebel Family. Prefer a beer that’s fit for the current weather? The seasonals have you covered whether it’s 9 or 90 degrees outside. If you like aged beers, the Barrel Room Collection is calling your name. In short, whatever your style, it’s likely that Sam Adams has a beer (or two, or three…) for you.

October Beer Events


  • Sat., Oct. 3, 12-4 p.m.: 10th Annual Falling Rock Fresh Hop Festival at Falling Rock Tap House (1919 Blake St., Denver). Hop growers have about 24 hours to get hops from the farm to the brewery’s drying kiln before they start showing signs of spoiling. When these hops connect with the wort within that 24-hour window, then you get yourself one good fresh beer! These beers are exciting because every beer is different, all have varied levels of hoppy flavor, and are super exclusive due to the fresh hop process. The majority of the beers at this festival will come from Colorado, but you may see a few out-of-state guests.
  • Oct. 4-9: Harvest Week 2015 at The GrowHaus (4751 York Street, Denver). The epitome of an independent restaurant collaboration returns for the 2015 edition! Dinners will take place all week long. Each night a group of 5+ chefs / restaurants will come together to create pop-up parties at the GrowHaus—an urban garden. Every day includes a full bar, copious amounts of food, and endless amounts of fun. All the festivities of the week go to support EatDenver and the Growhaus. **Of particular interest may be the Grapes vs. Grains event on Wed., Oct. 7: With every course, the Colorado Brewer’s Guild and the Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology pour their best offerings of Colorado beer and wine. Patrons vote after every course as to which pairing tasted better** 
  • Sat., Oct. 10, 12-3 p.m. (1st session), 4-7 p.m. (2nd session): 2nd Annual Haunted Brew Fest at Colorado Springs Event Center (3960 Palmer Park Blvd., Colorado Springs). 40 breweries, 100 different beers, live entertainment, free prizes, discount tickets to Ghouls Gulch Haunted House.


  • Sat., Oct. 10, 12-6 p.m.: Brews and Bluegrass at City Hall ( 1144 Broadway, Denver). Who doesn’t love live music and great beer?! Brews and Bluegrass is presented by New Imagage Brewing to benefit Project Helping, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to create joy in the lives of people living with depression. Tickets are $25 and will include three beers. Additional drinks at the event will be cash bar.
  • Sat., Oct. 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.: The Grand Coffee Bazaar at Our Mutual Friend parking lot (2810 Larimer St., Denver). The event will feature tastings from 15 featured Colorado coffee roasters, multiple breakfast-focused food trucks, morning libations, and a specialty coffee bar. Your ticket includes unlimited coffee sampling, small bites from food trucks and coffee shops, a specialty coffee drink, morning cocktail or beer, and a keepsake mug. What else could you possibly want on a Saturday morning? 

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  • Tue., Oct. 27, 7-9 p.m.: Barley’s Angels “Preview Crazy Mountain Brewing’s New Denver Facility” at Crazy Mountain Brewing (471 Kalamath St., Denver). Crazy Mountain Brewing has invited Barley’s Angels female beer group to preview its new facility in Denver before it opens to the public. The full amount of the ticket price is payable here and includes your selections from 12 taps of their beer, as well as snacks and sweets.


  • Sat., Oct. 31, 12-4 p.m. (11 a.m. for VIP): Fall Back Beer Fest at the Estes Park Event Center (1125 Rooftop Way, Estes Park). Held each year on the day we turn the clocks back, Fall Back Beer Fest is not only a celebration of beer, but also the people who make it. Returning for its third year, FBBF not only has exciting new additions, but this year we “fall back” on Halloween! Be sure to check out what’s new, including our Halloween celebration! 

GABF 2015: Recap, Best in Show

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The 2015 Great American Beer Festival promised to be “Bigger. Better. Beerier” than ever before. There was an additional 90,000 square feet in the tasting hall, a second entrance for ticket holders and around 3,800 beers from 750 or so breweries. And in my opinion, it was the best yet.

I’ve been to dozens of beer festivals over the last several years, and GABF is the most well run fest I’ve experienced. The Brewers Association–along with many other folks that make this massive event possible–clearly work extremely hard to get everything just right. A festival of this magnitude faces many potential logistical challenges. But the team is on top of it, ensuring that every aspect runs as smoothly as possible. Therefore, the Great American Beer Festival was just as organized as ever, even with approximately 60,000 people in attendance.

Nothing says

Nothing says “Welcome to GABF” like bagpipes!

The following list contains my top picks of all the beers that I tried. Even with attending more than one session, I still ended up with numerous breweries on my list that I simply didn’t have enough time to stop by, despite my best efforts. But here are my favorites out of the countless beers I drank.

GABF 2015: Best in Show (in no particular order)

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Perhaps it’s due to the fact that there were more breweries and beers this year, but I had more awe-inspiring beers than any previous GABF. I only had to dump a couple, as I was impressed with the majority of everything I tried.

I’d like to make an additional mention about a few breweries that were probably my overall favorites. First, Wicked Weed. While I didn’t get to taste the award-winning Pernicious IPA (due to the constant long lines at their booth–and rightly so), every one of their sours blew me away. If Wicked Weed ever distributes in Colorado, I’ll be one happy girl. Also–being very into sour beers–I had hoped to sample more of what The Rare Barrel had to offer. But by the time I made it they were down to one, Another World, which was one of the best beers I had at GABF. And of course The Bruery did not disappoint with my standard fave Tart of Darkness as well as a newer beer, Souren.

242 breweries took home medals at this year’s event (including 31 Colorado breweries). Congratulations to all winners! And a huge thank you to the Brewers Association and everyone else who made the 2015 Great American Beer Festival utterly amazing.

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Want to see more photos? Click here for my Facebook album.

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Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru from Sam Adams: It’s Coming for You, Denver!


Denver! Beginning next Monday, Samuel Adams will be bringing one of its rarest and most unique brews to Denver: Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru. Denver is one of 20 stops on a KMF coast-to-coast tasting tour.

What is KMF Grand Cru? Below is some information from a 9/1/2015 press release from Sam Adams that will give you more information about this limited beer.

The Kosmic Mother Funk recipe was inspired by the Belgians, known for their unique beer styles and brewing techniques including blending, aging and conditioning beers that deliver wild and flavorful results. The Samuel Adams brewers began by taking a Belgian ale and aging it in Hungarian oak tuns where it evolved and took on a life and character of its own over time. Aged for up to a year, the long contact with the wood allows air to slowly seep into the beer during secondary fermentation, smoothing out any harsh flavors. Wild yeast and bacteria including Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus also interact with the beer, imparting unique spicy, fruity and bright tart flavors. This distinctive beer was then blended at varying levels into a series of Belgian brews, the manifestation of which became the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection.

Originally a French term used to describe wine vintages, when used in the context of beer, ‘Grand Cru’ has come to denote a brew that is the ‘best of the best.’ When crafting Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru, the brewers at Samuel Adams aimed to create a unique beer unlike anything they had barrel-aged before. At 6.5% ABV, KMF Grand Cru is a wild, funky and complex ale aged for just over a year, with a depth of flavors ranging from earthy and spicy to floral and sweet.

“Craft beer drinkers are adventurous and opening their palates to new and interesting flavors,” said Samuel Adams Brewer and Founder Jim Koch. “Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru isn’t for everyone, but those who enjoy it appreciate the depth and complexity that make it one of the most unique beers we’ve ever crafted, only to be described as a kosmic collection of flavors.”

When and where can I find KMF Grand Cru in Denver? Find out here. Don’t miss your chance to taste KMF!

Gearing up for GABF: Past Favorite Beers to Watch For

I was very impressed with Short's at GABF 2014

I was very impressed with Short’s at GABF 2014

Beer lovers, rejoice! It’s almost time for the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned GABF veteran, this year’s festival is sure to be one of the best yet, with 90,000 additional square feet and over 800 breweries.

For those who haven’t attended before, there is lots of helpful information on the GABF website. And with the venue being larger this year, everyone can benefit from checking out the festival map and brewery list.

The list of beers being poured doesn’t usually get posted until either the day before of the day of, but keep an eye out for it as it’s a good idea to browse it for any particular styles of beer you may be seeking, or to see what your favorite breweries will have at the fest.

Curious to know some of my personal favorite beers from 2013 & 2014? You can find them here:

Best in Show: The Standouts of GABF 2013
GABF 2014: Best in Show

What are some of your past favorites that you suggest looking for this year?



Brews or Bust at GABF 2015


Check out this interesting concept and art exhibit called Brews or Bust. It is an artistic partnership between The Great American Beer Festival and The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) that features an exhibition of 12 breast casts from some of the most influential brewers in the industry. See the full press release below:

DeVonne Buckingham, painted by Chris Kepler

DeVonne Buckingham, painted by Chris Kepler


The Keep A Breast Foundation Presents:
The First-Ever “Brews or Bust” Art Exhibition at The Great American Beer Festival®
New York City, August 28, 2015 — This fall, the global non-profit organization The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) is celebrating their 15th anniversary by teaming up with The Great American Beer Festival for the first ever “Brews or Bust” art exhibition, in Denver, CO, from September 24-26.  On display will be 12 breast casts of female brewers from the beer industry (with the exception of one male). Internationally known artists Mike Giant, Jay Howell, and Alyasha Owerka-Moore, as well as local talents Gemma Danielle, Strange Dirt, Rebecca Green, Chris Kepler, Brandon Lomax, Joseph Martinez, Allie Ogg, Bunnie Reiss, and Jason Thielke, will be painting the breast casts. The theme is happiness, which showcases KAB’s commitment to creating a relationship between themselves, art, breast cancer prevention, and the craft brewing industry. The casts will be available through an online auction on from September 24-October 4.


The artists’ and castees’ opening reception will take place at the LOVE Gallery in Denver, CO on September 23rd from 5:00PM-8:00PM. Post-GABF, the casts will remain on display at LOVE Gallery through October 7th. 100% of the proceeds will benefit KAB’s ongoing work.

The 12 castees include:

●      Cyrena Nouzille – Ladyface Ale Companie
●      Dande Bagby – Bagby Beer Company
●      Devon Randall – Arts District Brewing
●      DeVonne Buckingham –  Drake’s Brewing
●      Evan Price – Noble Ale Works
●      Jenniffer Chase –  Automatic Brewing Co.
●      Kim Lutz – Saint Archer Brewery
●      Lauren Salazar – New Belgium Brewing Co.
●      Megan O’Boyle – Cigar City Brewing
●      Melanie Pierce –  Brewbies Festival
●      Melodee Storey – Boneyard Beer
●      Ting Su – Eagle Rock Brewery


The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is the largest festival in the country, featuring over 1,300 breweries and 49,000 attendees. The “Brews or Bust” event is the first time in their 33 year history that they have ever had an art component tied to a social cause.

“When Melanie from Brewbies and Cyrena from Ladyface Ale Companie asked me about having a Brews or Bust exhibit at the Great American Beer Festival®, I was thrilled. Promoting breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection in such a fun and artistic way is a fantastic addition to the festival.” said Nancy Johnson, Event Director, Great American Beer Festival.

The Keep A Breast Casts

The story of the The Keep A Breast Casts™ is the story of KAB itself. Over a decade ago, KAB’s founders, then involved in their own arts organization, rallied to support a friend with breast cancer. They developed an idea to express the female experience of breast cancer by reimagining the traditional canvas as a participatory sculpture. After some experimentation and partnerships with the right people, they developed and tested a technique for capturing the female bust in a plaster. The result was a white cast that was then customized by artists. The success of these breast casts as conversation starters, awareness builders and fundraising tools ultimately led the creation of the non-profit The Keep A Breast Foundation.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring The Keep A Breast Casts to The Great American Beer Festival. This is a fantastic platform to get the word out about breast cancer prevention and a great opportunity to try an amazing selection of beer!” said Shaney jo Darden, CCO & Founder, The Keep A Breast Foundation.

For more information on KAB’s Breast Cast Art please visit For more information on The Great American Beer Festival, visit

Pedaling Toward Men’s Health & GABF: 1400 Miles


“Don’t fear the finger!”

1400 Miles is an organization that aims to probe the conversation on men’s prostate health. Founded by Davis Tucker, owner of the NXNW Restaurant and Brewery in Austin, who was inspired by his friend and craft beer pioneer Don Thompson, the team is biking 1400 miles from Austin to Denver in an effort to fundraise and promote awareness of prostate cancer. Once the team reaches Denver on September 20, 2015, the riders and their supporters will gather at the Falling Rock Tap House Denver at 12 p.m. for beers, burgers and barbeque to celebrate their success.

Having completed their 1,400 mile ride, the 1400 Miles team and their custom fitted bus ‘Beerliner’ which has been following them on their journey from Austin to Denver will also be available throughout the Great American Beer Festival hosting 4-day men’s health screening tests (free!) and serving beers at the following dates and times:

Location: Parking Lot corner of 14th and Stout Street

· September 23, 2015, 6-10 pm

· September 24, 2015, 1-5 pm and 10 pm-12am

· September 25, 2015, 10 pm-12 am

· September 26, 2015, 6 pm-12 am

Please see the official press release below for more information on the organization and the ride:

Austin, Texas — Don’t fear the finger! Or a 1,400 mile bike ride. To raise awareness and probe the conversation about prostate health, a group of brewers and beer enthusiasts will bike 1,400 miles spanning cities and states across the country this September. Just in time for National Prostate Cancer Month, the Big Ride, organized by the non-profit 1400 Miles, will kick off on September 6 in Austin and culminate on September 20 in Denver, CO, where just days later one of the greatest beer events in the country, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), will take place.
Leading up to the Big Ride, 1400 Miles will host smaller day-long community rides in Youngsville, LA and Austin, TX, administering free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. Once the ride reaches Denver, the Big Ride participants, GABF attendees and all beer lovers, are welcome to board to the The Beerliner—the coolest ’74 Bluebird Bus on the road—which will serve as the home base for the Brewers Health Initiative, a 4-day men’s health screening courtesy of 1400 Miles and partners Pints for Prostates and Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC).

1400 Miles was founded by Davis Tucker, owner of the NXNW Restaurant and Brewery in Austin, who was inspired by his friend and craft beer pioneer Don Thompson. Thompson has had a long battle with prostate cancer, and Tucker will ride to honor his craft brewing colleague and the millions of men fighting this disease.

“Using craft beer, bikes and a bit of humor, we hope to eliminate the discomfort associated with discussing prostate health and encourage men to get checked,” said Tucker. “Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. One new case of prostate cancer occurs every 2.3 minutes, and a man dies from it every 18 minutes. With more conversation and awareness, we can dramatically transform these statistics. The riders and crew of 1400 Miles are hell bent on doing just that. ”

Braving the elements and enjoying a few beers along the way, 1400 Miles brings participants on the following route*:

Stage 1
Day 1 | Sunday, September 6 l Austin, TX to Brownwood, TX
Day 2 | Monday, September 7 | Brownwood, TX to Sweetwater, TX
Day 3 | Tuesday, September 8 | Sweetwater, TX to Lubbock, TX

Stage 2
Day 4 | Wednesday, September 9 | Lubbock, TX to Clovis, NM
Day 5 | Thursday, September 10 | Clovis, NM to Santa Rosa, NM
Day 6 | Friday, September 11 | Santa Rosa, NM to Santa Fe, NM

Stage 3
Day 7 | Saturday, September 12 I REST DAY
Day 8 | Sunday, September 13 | Santa Fe, NM to Abiquiu, NM
Day 9 | Monday, September 14 | Abiquiu, NM to Pagosa Springs, CO

Stage 4
Day 10 | Tuesday, September 15 | Pagosa Springs, CO to Southfork, CO
Day 11 | Wednesday, September 16 | Southfork, CO to Salida, CO
Day 12 | Thursday, September 17 | Salida, CO to Leadville, CO

Stage 5
Day 13 | Friday, September 18 | Leadville, CO to Granby, CO
Day 14 | Saturday, September 19 | Granby, CO to Boulder, CO
Day 15 | Sunday, September 20 l Boulder, CO to Denver, CO

To learn more about 1400 Miles and The Big Ride, please visit

*Route subject to change.

Unique Beer Alert: Not Your Father’s Root Beer


You may not have heard of a small town called Wauconda, Illinois. But that’s about to change. In this small town, there is a brewery, appropriately named Small Town Brewery. And this brewery is quickly gaining lots of attention for its unique brew, Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer is in fact a beer (5.9% ABV), and it does in fact taste like root beer. Brilliant idea. And it’s a very versatile beverage too. It’s delicious straight out of the bottle, over ice, or as a root beer float!

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I decided to make a float using chocolate ice cream, and it was amazing! Of course vanilla is traditionally used, and that is tasty as well. But I also recommend trying it with chocolate, just for something different.

Clearly I’m a beer drinker, and I enjoy a variety of styles. But I feel that even folks who say they don’t like beer just might be pleasantly surprised by this one.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer can be found all across Colorado. Check your local liquor store and give it a try!

Mark Your Calendars: August Beer Events


And the events just keep on coming! Check out new additions to August beer events:

Originally posted on Colorado Beer Girl:

Another month in Colorado means another month full of fantastic beer events. Here is what we have to look forward to in August:

  • Copy-of-SeshFest__152Saturday, Aug. 1, 12-4 p.m.: Sesh Fest 2015 at Sculpture Park (1345 Champa Street, Denver). Over 40local breweries pouring beers that are 5% ABV or less.
  • https_proxySaturday, Aug. 1 & Sunday, Aug. 2, 1-5 p.m.: 19th Annual Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival at Keystone Resort, CO. Over 35 breweries and more than 14 bluegrass bands will be at this festival.
  • Saturday, Aug. 1, 4-7 p.m.: Hops for Habitat 2015 at Plains Conservation Center (21901 E Hampden Ave, Aurora). 11th annual fundraiser for the Plains Conservation Center with breweries, live music and food trucks.
  • unnamed (1)Sunday, Aug. 2, 1-4 p.m.: Jack’s Benevolent Bash, hosted by The Post Brewing, at the Koenig Alumni Center at CU. This bash features some of the area’s best chefs and breweries, and…

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