Weekend Beer Update

This first weekend of spring brings a diverse mix of events including some anniversaries, some openings and the first annual Big Reveal where participants do blind tastings of Colorado beers, with the winners revealed during the event followed by more tasting.

Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23: Head up to Loveland for the multi-day sixth anniversary party at Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project. In addition to the usual special releases, Thursday features a four-course Anniversary Dinner and on Saturday the big guns come out with more releases, brewhouse tours, cake and music.

Friday 22: Down in Colorado Springs Brass Brewing Co. kicks off their first anniversary party mid-afternoon with a beer release followed by food and music.

Saturday 23: What might be the most interesting event of the weekend, The Big Reveal at Union Station will serve 20 Colorado-made American IPAs in a blind tasting and attendees will get to vote on their favorite. Once the votes are counted the winners will be revealed and attendees can go back and re-sample all the beers. The event is sponsored by the Colorado Brewers Guild and PorchDrinking.com to cap off Colorado Craft Beer Week. Note: This is a ticketed event.

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Joyride Rooftop Patio Under Construction

Saturday 23: The long-awaited rooftop patio at Joyride Brewing Company makes its debut with great views over Sloan’s Lake on what looks to be a relatively mild spring day.

Saturday 23: One of my favorite breweries, Weldworks Brewing Co., celebrates four years with their Super-Time Great-Fun 4th Anniversary weldworks-can.jpgGet-Down. They’re thinking big and will take over their entire parking lot, put up a big-top tent and bring in multiple food trucks. All of that on top of the usual special tappings and release of two barrel-aged barley wines. Saturday’s gonna be huge!

Saturday 23: Taking over the former Caution space in Lakewood, Olde 121 Brewhouse holds their official Grand Opening with six of their beers on tap plus a collaboration with The Grateful Gnome as well as some live music. In addition to beer, Olde 121 plans to make their own craft soda and serve flavored hot and iced teas.

Sunday 24: Wrap up the weekend with some music and fun at Seedstock Brewery’s weekly Bluegrass Jam from 4-6 p.m. If you want to join in you can bring your own instrument, or just kick back and relax with a brew.

Colorado Pint Day!

20170103_210350_HDRTomorrow is Colorado Pint Day! What does that mean for you and me, you might ask? It means almost 100 breweries serving up pints in commemorative glasses that cost just $1 and help support the Colorado Brewers Guild. Many breweries are also offering beer discounts, special releases, or other events for the day and throughout the week, as March 16 – 23 is Colorado Craft Beer Week. 

Brewery Snapshot: Wynkoop Brewing Company

One of Colorado’s craft beer pioneers, Wynkoop Brewing Company offers an extensive list of brews in an old warehouse space in lower downtown. The large restaurant/bar has been a LoDo staple for years as the neighborhood grew around it and is still a go-to place for many people who find themselves in the area and want some beer or grub or just a place to hang out.

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Main Bar

BEER LINEUP: Given its long history, Wynkoop naturally covers all the bases as far as beer styles, from light wheats through IPAs, ambers and all the way to stouts. While not as trend-focused as some breweries (i.e. few sours, barrel-aging, etc.) Wynkoop does produce its share of seasonal and one-off experiments. Probably the oddest one I’ve seen is the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which is surprisingly good even with the knowledge that it’s aged with three bull testicles per barrel. Between the variety of beers and the full bar everyone ought to be able to find a beverage they can enjoy.

ATMOSPHERE: Wynkoop takes full advantage of its large historic warehouse building and both floors are left open to show off the worn brick and iron structure. The place has a comfortable, unpretentious feel with a bar area and restaurant section on the main level along with a second bar, more dining and pool tables upstairs. Depending on the time of day and any downtown events the place can range from virtually empty to packed and the vibe can also vary from very chill to high-energy. Wynkoop is one of the few breweries to serve food.

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Upstairs Pool Room

SERVICE: The service is generally fast and friendly and the servers can provide in-depth information on their beers, even the rotating/temporary ones. When there’s a large event downtown the downstairs bar can get crammed, which understandably slows things down.

NEIGHBORHOOD: As one of the first businesses to participate in the revitalization of LoDo, Wynkoop remains in the center of it all with restaurants, bars, shops, and activities in every direction and the recently-rebuilt Union Station just across the street. Parking in that part of LoDO can be challenging but there are metered spots and lots, though public transit or ride-sharing might be the best option. Wynkoop is within walking distance of Coors Field, The Convention Center, and lots of other downtown venues so it’s an easy pre- or post-event stop, part of a brewery crawl, or a destination in it’s own right.

STANDOUT BEER: Maybe it’s the recent cold weather, but I really enjoyed the Shadowmere American Stout. At first glance it appears very dark and thick but a sip tells you it’s just medium-bodied. The true appeal is in the complex and changeable flavors of this unique beer. Uncharacteristically, this stout presents hoppy notes up front along with raisin, plum, and dark fruits which then fade as a chocolate and coffee finish takes over.  If it sounds appealing get it fast, as this is one of their one-off beers!

Weekend Beer Update

Ok, so it’s St. Pat’s weekend and there’s an unbelievable amount of stuff happening on the main party day Saturday March 16. It seems like about every bar and brewery is dragging out the Irish dancers and bands. As such, I’m going to assume y’all can figure out where to drink Irish-type beer that day and I’ll only be mentioning non-leprechaun stuff.

20181205_185334_HDRFriday 15: Get ready to rampage and pillage! If you’re already sick of the St. Patrick’s  hype, throw on your furs and horned helmets for Copper Kettle Brewing Company’s Viking Party from 6 – 10 p.m. The throw-down will feature six different kveik-style beers from six different breweries with flavors from saison to barrel-aged. For the costumed hordes, Copper Kettle will also have a photo booth and costume contest.

Saturday 16: The spring festivals roll on with the sixth annual Collaboration Fest at the Hyatt Regency downtown from 2 – 6 p.m. The festival will pour over 100 beer collaborations made by over 200 breweries. Irish, St Patrick'S Day, IrelandAll beers have at least one Colorado brewery on the team. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 17: Celebrate the actual St. Patrick’s Day at Goldspot Brewing Company with their Irish Breakfast from 10 a.m. – noon. They’ve partnered with The Noshery to serve up a traditional breakfast paired with the brewery’s dry Irish stout. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Weekend Beer Update

This weekend brings a whole lot of activity across the metro area and beyond, with multiple anniversaries, Day of Dorks, a new Beer Bus and other assorted fun & games. 

westfax-bar.jpgFriday 8 – Saturday 9: Celebrate three years on West Colfax with WestFax Brewing Company. Over the course of the weekend they’ll release seven new beers, treat beer-lovers to a concert, bring in food trucks, and have some other fun treats like anniversary glassware, beard trimming and axe throwing.

Friday 8 – Sunday 10: If you’re looking to take a field trip, Gilded Goat Brewing Company up in Ft. Collins marks their second anniversary with a weekend of fun. They’ll have special tappings and bottle releases along with birthday cake, a toast with the mayor, raffles, giveaways and a commemorative glass for the first 50 customers on Saturday.

Saturday 9: Anniversaries continue, with Zuni Street Brewing Co. marking two years with a full-on celebration in their parking lot offering up the usual food trucks and live music along with art from local artists, pottery painting, yard games, a photo booth, and topping it off with a bouncy house.

Saturday 9: Rounding out the anniversary celebrations, New Image Brewing Co. in Arvada brings on the special releases, live music, and new merchandise for year number three.

Saturday 9: The Beer Bus concept comes to southeast comrade-taps.jpgDenver, with busses running from 1 – 9 p.m. between Platt Park Brewing Co., Comrade Brewing Co., Grandma’s House and Copper Kettle Brewing Company. It costs just 5 bucks to ride all day and if you complete each brewery you get a coupon for a free beer. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 9: It’s finally time for Day of Dorks! Wynkoop Brewing Company’s celebration of geeky and quirky beers takes over the upstairs pool room from noon – 4 p.m. with over 30 breweries pouring their dorkiest stuff. Geek-wear is encouraged. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 10: The monthly incarnation of Bluegrass Brunch comes back to Station 26 Brewing Co. Starting at 11 a.m. they’ll bring in a food truck and bluegrass band for you to relax and recover from the weekend.

Lady JusticeSunday 10th: Join Lady Justice Brewing’s Big Fun Celebration at their shared space with Factotum Brewhouse. The party will celebrate two of Lady Justice’s Community-Supported Beer Membership grant recipients with music, a food truck, and of course beer!

Brewery Snapshot: Dos Luces Brewery

Born out a lifelong connection to Latin America and the traditional beer styles of Chicha and Pulque, Dos Luces Brewery on South Broadway aims to change the way that people think about beer, according to owner Judd Belstock. The brews are created from corn and maguey (in the agave family), ingredients20190118_174407_hdr.jpg available to indigenous peoples in the Americas, but brewed with modern methods. The result is a much different flavor profile and experience than your standard barley-based beer. Judd and his staff are happy to educate visitors on the history and production of their products, as well as to make the argument that these are just a different style of beer. It seems to me that these styles are pretty much love/hate types of brews, but it’s certainly worth it to stop by and experience them in person.

BEER LINEUP: First off, this is not a traditional brewery. The two flagship beers, chicha and pulque, are made with corn and maguey syrup, respectively, and use spices like cinnamon and clove in place of hops. As a result, their flavors have little in common  with barley-based brews and it’s worth describing them in more detail than usual. Both are served in opaque, eight-ounce ceramic vessels. The chicha is medium-bodied with a slightly sweet and un-complex flavor and a bit of cinnamon. The pulque is, as Belstock describes it “a reverse sour.” The initial taste of the frothy brew is mildly sour, fading off into a light sweetness with numerous spice notes along the way; in general, a very complex beverage. Dos Luces also constantly experiments on these flagships by adding spices, flowers and fruits to create completely different-tasting brews (see below). They serve several guest taps for the less-adventurous and chicha morada, a sweet, non-alcoholic traditional beverage made from blue corn. Note: Some people find the smaller pours a little pricey compared to other breweries.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom feels like the courtyard of a hacienda in Costa Rica, with rich, vibrant paintings, tropical plants and patio-style furniture. The crowd seemed a little older and more subdued than many South Broadway drinking establishments, with a mix of people hanging out to converse over drinks and those who stopped in to get a sampler of the unique beers. Overall the taproom had a more sophisticated vibe of discerning and/or curious drinkers.

SERVICE: On the night I visited there were an abundance of servers (bar service only) who were happy to discuss and educate customers on the unique chichas and pulques on offer.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The brewery is located at the edge of historic South Broadway and offers many options for walking to food, other breweries & bars, and even a little bit of shopping. Arrival by car or public transit is relatively easy, as it is near I25 & Broadway, and you can generally find metered parking within a few blocks. It would be a great inclusion on a brewery crawl.

STANDOUT BEER: The Azteca pulque is the result of one of the continual experiments that Dos Luces undertakes to combine ingredients in unique ways. In this case the inspiration was Mexican hot chocolate and the beer includes three kinds of chocolate plus cayenne peppers. The result is a light, frothy beverage with notes of rich, real chocolate kicked up with a hint of heat from the cayenne. It reminded me very much of some of the best hot chocolate I had in Oaxaca, Mexico. Beer? Perhaps. Tasty? You bet!

 

Beer of The Month: Altbier

March brings springtime and slightly warmer temps, but many days still have a nip in the air, which makes Altbier a great fit for this month’s beer. Altbier lightens things up from the thick, alcohol-heavy beers of winter and bridges the gap to lighter summer beers. While not a hard and fast rule, Alts were traditionally more often madeAltbier 2 in the winter and spring months so if there’s a season for it, now’s the time.

Historically, Altbier has come from Dusseldorf and the surrounding region of Germany.  It differentiates itself from other German lagers in that it uses top-fermenting yeast but still ferments at cool temperatures like bottom-fermenting lagers. The cooler temperatures result in a slower and longer fermentation. Alt means “old” in German and may refer to the longer time that it takes to make the beer or that the use of top-fermenting yeast is an older method of beer-making.

The longer fermenting and conditioning time produces a smooth, balanced beer with an amber to auburn color rarely straying into brown territory. The initial aroma should be clean and slightly malty with the potential for very light fruit esters or hop spiciness. The flavor stays true to the aroma with modest maltiness and possible hints of fruit, spice or herbs from Noble or Spalt hops. Body will be medium and alcohol will fall into the low/medium range and should not be noticeable.

Rarely, you may run across a stronger and more flavorful version called Sticke Alt. This variant has another percent or so of ABV and a more hops-forward taste.