Brewery Snapshot: Wibby Brewing

When a friend scheduled a brewery crawl up in Longmont I had some reservations, given the remoteness of the location. However, I’d enjoyed Wibby Brewing at a few festivals so I made the effort to drive way up north and overall was pleased with the results. At heart, Wibby is a German-style brewery, which provides a preview of the beers you’ll encounter. The brewery is also all about about the outdoors with huge areas of tables and games but a rather cramped taproom; in other words, best to visit during warm weather.

BEER LINEUP: As mentioned, Wibby has a focus on German styles and you’ll find plenty of helles and dunkel being thrown around. However, likely in deference to current tastes, they also pour several IPAs, a red and other wibbey-bar.jpgnon-German styles.

ATMOSPHERE: The setup includes a HUGE outdoor area with several seating sections plus a game area. The small indoor taproom definitely encourages taking the party outside. The overall design is relatively cookie-cutter; rustic/industrial with brewing equipment at one end and garage doors opening to the patio on the other. One novel concept is direct bar ordering from the patio. The crowd seemed younger and happy to be chilling out with some brews and bar games. With no kitchen, Wibby’s hosts food trucks to satisfy customers’ hunger.

SERVICE: The service was reasonably fast and the bartender was friendly.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The area is currently very industrial but appears to be transforming rapidly, with a huge apartment complex going up across the street. It’s just a couple of blocks from Longmont’s main street so a visit can be combined with some shopping and dining. It’s also within a longish walk or a short bike ride or drive to several other breweries so a pub crawl also works as an option. They have a parking lot plus plenty of street parking (for wibby-moondoor-dunkel.jpgnow, at least). One additional transportation note: The Brew Hop Trolley runs on weekend days for those too tired or drunk to walk, bike or drive the route.

STANDOUT BEER: Moondoor Dunkel. At a German place I had to go native. This mahogany/brown beer hits you with heavy roasted malt and lots of it! Notes of chocolate along with the medium body keeps it from being overwhelming, though.

 

Weekend Beer Update

This weekend is absolutely packed with beer-drinking fun! From anniversaries in south Denver to festivals in northern Colorado there’s no shortage of stuff to do. Add in what’s shaping up to be decent weekend weather and there’s no excuse not to be out and about grabbing a few brews and catching some rays!

ck-8th-anniversary.jpgFriday 26 – Sunday 28: For an action-packed weekend head to Copper Kettle Brewing Company for their 8th anniversary celebrations. Friday kicks off with a release of five sours, multiple food trucks and a band. Saturday brings the Staff Showdown where each staff member has brewed a beer and customers vote for their favorite, plus more food and music. Sunday keeps things going with a cellar draught release of aged beers from 2014-2018 and a Hangover Brunch.

Friday 26: For something unique head up to Longmont for Primitive Beer’s barrelhouse opening. Primitive focuses on spontaneous, barrel-fermented beers. Between the hectic schedules of the owners, who both work at other breweries, and the limited quantities of the beers, Primitive only opens for a few hours twice a month.

Friday 26: In Boulder, Microbreweries for the Environment brings bluegrass music and beer from almost twenty breweries to the Boulder Theater in support of a good cause. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 27: Another southeast Denver brewery celebrates an anniversary, as Comrade Brewing Co. marks five years with special beer releases, food trucks and souvenir glassware. Since they’re just a couple miles apart, a bus will circulate between Comrade and Copper Kettle’s party for just five bucks.

Saturday 27: Now that we’re finally getting warm-ish weather, it’s a great time to check out Halfpenny Brewing Company’s Biergarten Opening! Oddly for a biergarten theme, it has mostly British elements – a fish & chips truck plus the release of a bitter. Whatever nationality, it ought to be nice to hang out in the sunshine with brew and listen to some live music.

Saturday 27: Get your hop on at Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project’s IPA Bash in Loveland. Verboten plans to offer over 15 different versions of IPAs including fruited, sour, and the ubiquitous hazy.

Saturday 27: If you’re already up north, why not wibby-tasters.jpgstop by Longmont and Wibby Brewing’s Ancient Steinbeer Brew and Crawfish Boil. Wibby’s brewmaster will illustrate the ancient art of brewing a steinbeer, complete with fire and the chucking of red-hot stones into wort. The fires will be put to further use for s’mores roasting, complemented by a crawfish boil from 3 – 6 p.m. To round out the day, Wibby will also feature ice carving and live music.

Saturday 27: Also up north, High Hops Brewery’s Patio Party brings food, music and the tapping of a special spring Berliner weisse. Looks like good weather will be part of the package as well.

Saturday 27: Back down in Denver, another Crawfish Boil fires up at Station 26 Brewing Co. with beer, mudbugs, and live music.

Saturday 27: Rye Fest 2019 comes to Chain Reaction Brewing Company, bringing unlimited tasters of rye beers from over a dozen Colorado breweries. Note: This is a ticketed event.

20180224_175151_HDRSaturday 27: The fourth annual celebration of Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s Beer Purity Law, takes place at Mockery Brewing with their Reinheitsgewhat? party. They’ll mix things up with music from a polka/metal band along with a number of special releases that don’t exactly adhere to the law, but are likely to be tasty nonetheless.

Saturday 27: For a slightly healthier option, jump on the West Side Brewery Bike Loop. Participants get a discounted beer at each of the five participating breweries along with a free beer voucher for finishing all of them. A group ride leaves at noon from Westfax Brewing Company, or ride at your own pace starting at any of the breweries during the afternoon. The other participating breweries are Joyride Brewing Company, Hogshead Brewery, Seedstock Brewery  and Oasis Brewery.

Sunday 28: For lovers of Belgian beer, Bruz Beers’ Belgian Brew Fest is a can’t-miss, with pours from 10+ breweries, live music and food. Special guest breweries Duvel and Ommegang will also be on hand for your drinking pleasure. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 28: What goes together better than beer, tacos, and live music? The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco, and Music Festival brings all three to Fiddler’s Green. With tastings of over 100 beers, lucha libre wrestling and some pretty big names in punk music (The Offspring, Bad Religion to name a couple) this looks to be one helluva party.  Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 28: For a more cultured experience, drop in on Living the Dream Brewing Company’s Night Photography Class. Over some great beer, Darren White will explain techniques for better nighttime photos such as focus, exposure, stacking, noise reduction and post processing ideas. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Brewery Snapshot: Dead Hippie Brewing

As most regular readers have figured out, I’m a huge promoter of local craft breweries and always try to give positive reasons to try a particular brewery, even if it’s not my favorite. However, a recent visit to Dead Hippie Brewing left me challenged for reasons to recommend it, particularly in light of the half-dozen or more breweries within a 10-minute drive. The highlight for our entire party was the funky, psychedelic taproom with interesting artwork, jam band artifacts and games – not so much the beer.

BEER LINEUP: The tap list covers a lot of ground, from a blonde through several IPA’s, a few Belgians, and couple of dark beers including a stout.  On the surface it sounds like a winning combination, however as our party worked through several sets of tasters we found that almost every beer seemed to be off to some degree from the style noted. Only a few were unpleasant but the descriptor that came up most frequently for the rest was “meh”.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom epitomizes the brewery’s name, with lots of hippie throwback artwork, Deadhead memorabilia and even pinball machines. The taproom and brewery share the same big and airy space. During our visit they had a jam band (big surprise there) but the mixed crowd of younger and older patrons plus a few families seemed to contain few actual hippies. The vibe was chill and relaxed. Dead Hippie serves snacks but has no kitchen and on our visit there was no food truck.

SERVICE: As one might expect, the service was dead-hippie-bar.jpgrelaxed and casual but friendly. The servers seemed obsessed with clearing empty glasses, but a bit more laid back about actually pouring fresh beers.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Dead Hippie is visible from South Santa Fe Drive but only accessible by driving through the big box hell on the corner of Santa Fe and Hampden Avenue. As a point of reference it’s hidden behind a Michaels. I suppose it could be convenient if you wanted to combine beer with some errands, and Boggy Draw Brewery shares the same retail/light industrial complex if drunk shopping is on your mind. Parking seemed decent and there are several restaurants in the area. The brewery is also close to the South Platte River bike trail so biking could be an option, but public transit seems inconvenient.

STANDOUT BEER: The Smoothed Out Stout is a dry Irish dead-hippie-flight.jpgstout on nitro and on the chilly evening it seemed like a comforting option. The dark color and medium mouthfeel give way to a heavily-roasted malt flavor with noticeable chocolate notes. The nitro kept carbonation low and smoothed the feel on the palate.

Weekend Beer Update

Happy Easter weekend! It seems that spring is ever-so-slowly working its way across the Front Range and we’re getting those occasional patio-drinking opportunities. Many breweries are starting their summer fests, with a disproportionate number of crawfish boils coming in the coming weeks so if that’s your thing stay tuned. With the holiday this weekend, a number of breweries are offering family-friendly Easter egg hunts with something for the grownups as well, along with some special releases tied to sweets. 

Friday 19: Head to Highlands Ranch after work lone-tree-sign.jpgfor Lone Tree Brewing Co.’s Crawfish Boil.  Mile High Cajun will serve up crawfish from 4 – 8:30 p.m. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 20: Start the sugar-filled Easter weekend with a Stroopwaffel pairing at River North Brewery. Good Sugar Baking will create four Easter-themed versions of caramel-filled Stroopwaffels, which will each be paired with a River North beer taster.

Saturday 20: With fun for everyone,  Halfpenny Brewing Company puts on their annual Easter Egg Hunt at 11:30 a.m. Some eggs will have treats for the kids, others will make the adults happy with prizes like beer coins and growler certificates.

Saturday 20: Up north, Kokopelli Beer Company hosts a family-friendly Pancake Breakfast with a coloring contest, pictures with a fire truck, kid-oriented egg hunt and a visit from the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For some adult fun, Kokopelli will have Cadbury Milk Stout on nitro and a new beer release as well.kokopelli-taproom.jpg

Saturday 20: If you’ve had enough of rabbits and eggs, hop down to Freshcraft for their Secret Stash Tapping of beers that they’d hidden away for the Craft Brewers Conference last week and are now happy to share with the rest of us. They’ll have at least fifteen beers, all from out of state craft breweries.

Sunday 21: Finish out your weekend with some music and fun at Seedstock Brewery’s Bluegrass Jam from 4-6 p.m. Bring your own instrument to jam out, or just enjoy the show with a brew.

Weekend Beer Update

The Craft Brewers Conference took up lots of people’s 20190411_112941_hdr.jpgattention and maybe wrecked a few livers this week but there are still several fun things going on this weekend, from festivals to live music and more. Since I spent most of the week at the CBC this list will be a bit shorter than normal  . . .

Saturday 13: Keep CBC week rolling with more festivities at the Barrel Aged Beer and Whiskey Festival in RINO. The name pretty much says it all – sample all the tasty goodness of stuff that’s spent time in barrels.  Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 13: Kick back with some great blues music from the Dry Creek Duo as Halfpenny Brewing Company hosts Blues & Brews Night from 6-9 p.m.

20170729_132834_HDRSunday 14: Mardi Gras may be long past but that’s not stopping Living the Dream Brewing Company from holding their annual Crawfish Boil. In addition to the tasty crustaceans Living the Dream will have music, beads and of course beers. No need to hurry, as the boil runs from noon to 6 p.m. and you need to reserve your mud bugs in advance. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 14: The monthly Bluegrass Brunch returns to Station 26 Brewing Co. with a brunch food truck and bluegrass band. The fun runs from noon to 3 p.m.

Craft Brewers Conference

20190408_194358_HDRThe Craft Brewers Conference is in town for their 2019 meeting and hundreds of brewers will be packing the convention center this week for education, networking, and fun. What that means for us Denverites is that loads of local breweries – especially downtown – are hosting after-parties and events. Of course it’s kind of a mixed bag since they’re sure to be fun gatherings if you go, but might also kill any plans you have for a quiet beer. In any event, be warned and maybe try and get in on some of the action. 

Last night’s welcome reception was phenomenal, with numerous Colorado breweries pouring their tastiest beers for attendees, plus a great spread of food, entertainers, and music.

Brewery Snapshot : Blind Faith Brewing

The cottage and beer garden may look the same but the name and beer have changed. With St. Patrick’s moving to a distribution-only model, Blind Faith Brewing has taken over their Littleton brewery and taproom. Owned by the same folks as space-constrained De Steeg Brewing, Blind Faith looks to move beyond De Steeg’s Belgian focus into the full spectrum of brews and also take advantage of the Littleton taproom’s generous size and huge garden area. 

BEER LINEUP: On our visit the brewery was transitioning from St. Patrick’s to Blind Faith’s brews so it’s tough to say what the final tap list will look like. However when we stopped by they offered a dozen or more beers including straight-up traditional styles as well as more experimental beers with fruit, peppers, and some high-gravity offerings. Assuming minimal changes, the menu should have enough diversity to satisfy almost every taste and all the beers we tried were solid.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom opens to the brewery and is divided into a bar, an area with regular tables, a cozy fireplace pit, and a game area with a ping-pong table and other games. The neighborhood and family atmosphere that St Patrick’s fostered continues, with a mix of old and young, singles, couples, kids, and dogs. Most people stopped in for one or two and maybe some to-go beers although the families seemed to be camping out all afternoon. At some points the screaming kids became annoying even in the bar.  For warm weather, Blind Faith also has a huge, shady Blind Faith Fireplacegarden area with picnic tables and outdoor games that overlooks the South Platte River. It seems like they generally have food trucks and Lucille’s restaurant is next door, though the hours don’t overlap much with Blind Faith’s.

SERVICE: At the bar, service was friendly but spotty. On the positive side, the servers were cheerful, informative, and occasionally opinionated about the beers they served. On the negative side, they were easily distracted on a none-too-busy weekend afternoon and we had to call their attention to our empty glasses to get fresh pours.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Located a few blocks outside the quaint downtown core of Littleton, Blind Faith is sort of marooned in the middle of the parking lot it shares with Lucille’s and Dish customer service. While there is no immediate “neighborhood” to speak of, it’s certainly walkable from downtown Littleton and could be a nice stop after strolling the shops. It has a huge parking lot too. The beer garden abuts the South Platte Trail so you could even reward yourself with a beer after a nice walk or ride. I suppose it could accessed via public transit by bus or blind-faith-strawberry-fire-taster.jpga bit of a walk from light rail too.

STANDOUT BEER: Strawberry Fire combines the up-front sweetness of strawberries with a little kick of hot pepper on the backside that quickly fades out. The pepper isn’t overly pronounced so even sensitive palates shouldn’t worry. The clear, light-yellow/straw beer has a light body and few other noticeable flavors besides strawberry and peppers.