Colorado Beer Girl

A blog focusing on Colorado beer, breweries, bars, beer & food pairings, restaurants with craft beer, beer events & more

Archive for the tag “American Craft Beer Week”

May Beer Events

May Beer Events post is up! Click here to see what all is going on in Colorado craft beer in May.

Black Shirt Brewing now has a kitchen! Serving up absolutely delicious pizzas, salads, and more. If you haven’t been, be sure to stop by soon!

Tons of fun, fantastic events featuring: 

Boulder Beer Company

The Pint Room

Denver Beer Co.

Big Choice Brewing

Mockery Brewing

American Homebrewers Association

Fiction Beer Company

Denver Bacon & Beer Classic

38 State Brewing Company

Odyssey Beerwerks

Strange Craft Beer Company

The West End Tavern

and of course: the ever exciting American Craft Beer Week! 

Day of the Barrel at Falling Rock Tap House

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Barrel Aged G’Knight and Claymore Scotch Ale

Saturday was Day of the Barrel at Falling Rock Tap House, and what a great event for American Craft Beer Week. They tapped 15 kegs of beer aged in barrels of whiskey, bourbon, wine, and more. I had the Oskar Blues Barrel-aged G’Knight (8.7% abv – G’knight Imperial IPA aged in Chardonnay barrels) and the Great Divide Whiskey-aged Claymore (7.7% abv – Scotch ale aged in Whiskey barrels). I realllllly liked the G’Knight. I’m not a big fan of white wine in general, but it blended perfectly with the beer. And when I had the Claymore the one word that came to mind was “tangy.” Both had very interesting flavors and were fun to try!

Here is what else they had to offer:

50/50 Eclipse (2011) 10% abv – Totality Imperial Stout aged 300 days in Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon barrels.

Boulder Barrel-aged Mojo 7.2% – Mojo IPA aged in Rum barrels.

Bruery White Oak 11.5% abv – 50% Wheat Wine aged in Bourbon barrels plus 50% Mischief (Golden Strong Ale) .

Deschutes Abyss (2010) 11% abv – Stout brewed with molasses, 33% aged in Oak and Oak Bourbon barrels.

Descutes Black Butte XXIII (2011) 10.8% abv – Black Butte Porter brewed with cocoa nibs and orange. 25% aged in Bourbon barrels.

Deschutes Stoic (2011) 11% abv – Brewed with pomegranate, 16.% aged in Oak Wine barrels, 16.5% aged in Oak Rye barrels.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo (2011) 12% abv – An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted.

Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura 8.1% abv – A Belgian inspired stout that is as dark as a moonless midnight, brimming of roasted malts and bitter hops. It will keep you good company in all places, be they light or dark. Aged in Oak barrels.

Left Hand Oak-aged Imperial Stout (2011?) 10%abv – This is the last year they did an Oak-aged Imperial Stout BEFORE Wake Up Dead. Chris has been hanging onto it for a while, research indicates it is either 2011 or 2009. This one was in Bourbon barrels.

Lost Abbey Angel’s Share (2011) 12.5% abv – Ale aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels.

North Coast Old Rasputin XV 11.9% abv – Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels.

Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout 10.5% abv – Stout aged 4 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels.

Port Older Viscosity 12.5% abv – American Strong Dark Ale aged in Bourbon barrels.


Did You Get Wood on Friday Night?!

Friday night at Star Bar was their Wood & Barrel Aged Beer Party, yet another great event for American Craft Beer Week.  What am amazing lineup of beers:

  • Great Divide 18th Anniversary Ale
  • Great Divide Belgian Yeti – Aged in Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey Barrel
  • Oskar Blues G’Knight – Aged in Leopold Brothers New York Apple Whiskey Barrel
  • New Belgium Tart Lychee
  • New Belgium Vrienden
  • Crooked Stave – Petite Sour
  • Odell Shenanigans
  • Odell Saboteur
  • Fort Collins Brewery – Oak Aged Maibock
  • Boulevard – Rye on Rye
  • Firestone Walker – Parabola
  • Dogfish Head – Noble Rot
  • Dogfish Head – Black and Blue

I tried three of the above, and there was one clear standout:  Oskar Blues G’Knight aged in Leopold Bros. New York Apple Whiskey Barrels (pictured below, on right). That was one of the best beers I’ve had in a long time.  And I drink lots of beers.  I need to have year-round access to that one…I’m getting thirsty just thinking about it.

I also had Odell Shenanigans, an Oak Aged Crimson Ale.  It was alright, but nothing special in my opinion.  And Firestone Walker‘s Parabola, a Russian Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (pictured above, on left)t.  One of my favorite beers is Firestone Walker’s Double Jack IPA. And, like the Double Jack, the Parabola was big on flavor.  I count myself lucky to have tried it, as it seems to have very limited availability.

If you are a lover of wood and barrel aged beers, this was the event for you.  Did you get wood?  I did, and I sure enjoyed it.

The Mysterious & Elusive Yeti

You’ve probably heard about the Yeti.  It’s been called one of the greatest mysteries of our time.  Many have tried for years to prove whether it’s real or not.  Well, I’m here to tell you today: the Yeti is real, folks.  I have seen it, smelled it, tasted it.  Just two days ago, in fact, I touched the Yeti.  And to prove it to you all today, I even snapped a photo of the Yeti.  Now, some of you might doubt this photo is real, but I can assure you this is no fake.  And it’s no ordinary Yeti, either.  This is the Limited Reserve Maker’s Mark Yeti.  Only two kegs of it were ever produced in the entire world.  And I was one of the lucky ones who got to experience it.

Great Divide Brewing Co., with the help of West End Tavern in Boulder, concocted this rare and limited beer especially for American Craft Beer Week.  I’ve had the Yeti, Oak Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti–all of which are amazing.  But the Maker’s Mark barrel aged yeti tops them all.  Not only am I a big Yeti fan, I’m also a lover of barrel aged beers.  So this beer combined two of my favorite things ever.  And it blew me away.  Unfortunately it’s so rare I was only allowed a 3 ounce sample, but it’s a sample I’ll never forget.  Strong bourbon flavor penetrated every taste bud–just the way I like it.  I’m not sure what else to say about this brew.  It pretty much left me speechless.  So I’ll end here by proving that I, Colorado Beer Girl, had a real, true, undeniable Yeti encounter.  And I’ll never be the same.

Star Bar’s Beer Cocktail Melee

Tuesday night at Star Bar was the Beer Cocktail Melee, an event for American Craft Beer Week.  I had been curious about beer cocktails for a few months, yet I hadn’t had the opportunity to try one.  When I heard about this, there was no way I was going to miss it.  First, all the cocktails were made with Great Divide beers, so that was incentive number one.  If I were going to introduce someone to beer, I’d recommend a sampler, so the fact that I could try a number of different beer cocktails for one flat fee was reason #2 that I was excited for this event.

The first one I tried was called Boca Loca Jungle Bird Shandy, by Matty Durgin.  This was a refreshing, fruity cocktail made with Boca Loca Cachaca (a Brazilian rum), Aperol, pineapple juice, bitters, and Colette Farmhouse Ale.  Normally I’m not a fan of Colette, but I learned that–in a cocktail–I can actually drink a beer I don’t usually like. I was pleased to come to this realization upon the first drink of my first beer cocktail. This was a fairly light, tasty drink that is perfect for those hot summer months.

I stopped next at the table of Joshua Peter-Smith for a Yeti Snapshot.  When I saw the Yeti, I knew it was going to be good.  Joshua started with about 1/4 of an orange which he proceeded to squeeze right into the glass–now that’s some freshly squeezed orange juice.  Also Leopold Bros. Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur (I love Leopold’s!), SNAP Gingersnap Liqueur,  Angostura bitters, and Yeti.  Shake vigorously–and this man can shake, I tell you.  Served over crushed ice, garnished with fresh orange and ginger. This one was creamy and somewhat rich, yet the gingersnap liqueur and fresh ginger offset it and provided a clean, crisp feeling.  This ended up being my favorite drink of the night (pictured below).

While the Yeti Snapshot was my favorite actual drink, the next drink had the most creative name.  Created by Glenn Pollak, the Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen was one of his “mustache series” beer cocktails, in honor of those with fabulous mustaches.  If the name sounds a bit familiar, think Back to the Future III.   The Mad Dog had me a little intimidated, as the first ingredient I heard was “egg.”  Not too sure about that.  But it depends on what else is in it: Leopold Bros. American Small Batch Whiskey and their Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur, Angostura bitters, nutmeg syrup, and Yeti. Interesting.  Very interesting.  I was given only a small taste, as it was leftover from the “photo shoot” that had taken place just before the event (FYI: if you want some great pictures of the beer cocktails, go to Eater Denver.  Those people get paid to take photos and write articles, and they got to snap shots of the drinks in actual glass glasses, complete with beautiful garnish and all, while the rest of us poor saps got stuck with low lighting and plastic cups).  But a small sample ended up being just right for this particular drink.  I can’t stomach too much of a cocktail containing raw egg. There’s just something about the thought of it that kinda creeps me out.

Moving on, I tried the Sweet Lady Country Cocktail by Justin Lloyd.  This one was made with Peach Street Colorado Straight Bourbon, Aperol, muddled mint sugar, Colette, and garnished with fresh mint.  Like the Jungle Bird, this one would be an excellent summer cocktail as well.  It was somewhat spicy, and I tasted just a hint of cinnamon (see other not-so-great-picture below, though I did take this one outside for a bit of natural light).  I’m not a big fan of mint drinks, so I didn’t love it, but it was something different at least.

Walking by Ryan Conklin’s table I noticed Great Divide’s Claymore Scottish Ale and had him whip me up a Chai Scotsman.  This drink was made with Benedictine Liqueur, Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur (which reminded me of Chartreuse), Dancing Pines Bourbon Whiskey, a nutmeg-cinnamon syrup, Calymore Scottish Ale, garnished with lemon.  This was definitely the strongest drink I had.  The Bourbon was the most noticeable flavor, and I did not need much of it to get its full effect.

And now for something completely different.  Britt Henze, the only female bartender in attendance, had something called the Texas Hops Em.  This was one spicy drink, made with Thai chili, house-made orange/basil/jalapeno tequila, muddled orange, Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur), Hercules Double IPA, served over cubed ice and garnished with fresh orange.  I love Hercules, but interestingly enough this drink reminded me more of a bloody mary than anything else.  That would be fine if I liked bloody marys, but I do not.  However, this would be a great drink for those who do, and especially for those who like them hot and spicy.

Just when I thought I’d had all I could handle, I noticed some bottles of Titan IPA at Ryan Conklin’s table.  Titan is one of my staple beers, so of course I had to try a cocktail made with it.  While there was nothing “on the menu” that included Titan, I asked Ryan to come up with something for me.  His combination was quite interesting: Campari, Leopold Bros. American Orange Liqueur, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, and Titan, garnished with fresh cucumber.  I’ve never tasted anything like it.  I have very little experience with vermouth as it is, so the flavor of this cocktail was unique and impressive.

I still had drink tickets left to use, but after all of that, I was done.  For one, I had to work in the morning.  And I’d had just about all I could take after 2.5 hours of horrible, repetitive classic rock blaring at a ridiculous volume out of the speakers (and was about to go broke playing my own tunes from the juke box at 50 cents a song so as to not go insane from their Pandora station).  I am so happy I attended the event though, as it was the perfect introduction to a wide variety of beer cocktails.  Now that I’ve experienced several different beer cocktails, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fan.  While it’s an innovative idea and something fun to play around with, I’ll stick to beer.  And cocktails.  But not beer cocktails.  Now I know.  And knowing’s half the battle.

American Craft Beer Week!

Happy American Craft Beer Week to All!

Honestly, every day is craft beer day for me.  However, it’s great that there are so many fun events happening all across the nation this week.  I actually kicked off the week yesterday by having happy hour on my own balcony with Great Divide’s Titan IPA and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi, two of my favorite Colorado IPA’s.  I paired the beers with a strong, sharp Cheddar cheese, spicy feta, bread, and olives.  What a nice way to relax after a day at work.

Tonight I look forward to heading over to an excellent neighborhood watering hole, Star Bar, for their Beer Cocktail Melee.  $25 for twelve–that’s right–twelve different beer cocktails.  This event sounds perfect for me, someone who’s not so sure about this whole beer cocktail craze.  I will get my first taste of a bunch of Colorado beers mixed with local spirits concocted by 6 Colorado bartenders.  I’m quite excited and look forward to letting you know how it goes. 

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