Weekend Beer Update

Enjoy some of the last of the beautiful fall weather this weekend with all sorts of fun festivals, fall beer events and even a pet costume contest in addition to the usual anniversaries and grand openings. 

Friday 19 – Saturday 20th: Multiple sessions of The Festival bring you dozens and dozens of small-batch and artisan beers from the United States and around the world. It would be impossible to try all these brews and meet so many brewers without breaking the bank and this weekend they all come together at The Rock Drill in RINO. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Friday 19: Get into the Halloween/Day of the Dead spirit at Golden skullIntrepid Sojourner Beer Project by painting a sugar skull mug. The finished mugs will be taken to Potter’s Touch for firing and returned to you just in time for Halloween. Note: The cost for supplies and firing is $30.

Saturday 20: In preparation for Saturday sessions of The Festival, Freshcraft hosts a Fuel for the Fest brunch starting at 10:00 a.m. with special tappings to complement the tasty brunch food.

Saturday 20: Head down to Parker to check out the grand opening of Welcome Home Brewery. Details seem a little sketchy but it looks like they’ll be pouring some of their newly-crafted beers, along with having some food and a DJ.

Saturday 20: If you’re looking for somewhere more established, head up to Loveland for Crow Hop Brewing’s fifth anniversary party with at least ten wood-aged brews plus other specialty beers, a food truck and giveaways.

Saturday 20: Oktoberfest’s not done with us yet! The Real Oktoberfest Crate Brewery Beer -Brick Lane Londontakes over Glendale’s Infinity Park in combination with Olympic-qualifying women’s rugby. Starting at 1:00 p.m. grab samples from over 30 breweries before checking out the action on the field. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 20: The Brew Hut holds their annual home brew competition. Entry space is limited but they are looking for judging and stewarding volunteers.

Lit-up Halloween pumpkin with shadow vector imageSunday 21: Pumpkin mayhem hits Station 26 Brewing Co. as they celebrate all things pumpkin with beers, pies, carving, and even a bit of smashing. The brewery will supply tools and pumpkins to carve up at outdoor stations.

Sunday 21: Dress your pet for success at Bruz Beers’ pet costume party. In addition to  prizes there will be treats, swag, photos and it all benefits a good cause – MaxFund Animal Shelter. Note: This is a ticketed event for entrants.

Weekend Beer Update

This weekend ushers in colder weather but that’s not preventing a number of breweries from holding outdoor events – fortunately on Friday and Saturday before the snow flies! 

Friday 12 – Saturday 13: Head north to Windsor and help High Hops Brewery celebrate their 6th anniversary with food, music, commemorative swag, giveaways and of course beer releases.

20170610_195333_hdr-e1497366840193.jpgSaturday the 13th ushers in the Lucky 13 Anniversary Party at Dry Dock Brewing Co’s North Dock. They’ll be bringing out the big guns with music, food, lawn games, beer releases, screen printing and even a tattoo artist. Even better, you can also purchase the First Mate’s ticket, which gets you a souvenir glass and covers all the beer you want to drink. Seems like one helluva deal to me!

Saturday 13: The monthly West Side Brewery Bus Loop Hits the streets between Zuni Street Brewing Co., Hogshead Brewery, Little Machine Beer and Joyride Brewing. For 5 bucks you can ride the loop and get a free future beer if you complete the circuit. This month has a theme that about every beer-lover can get into, which is wear your brewery gear!20180621_171744_HDR

Saturday 13: Turn up the heat with Copper Kettle Brewing Company’s BBQ Cook-Off starting at noon. Note: This is a ticketed event for samples.

Saturday 13: Make a run up to Longmont for Collision Brewing Company’s grand opening with live music and giveaways, not to mention their spanking-new beers.

Saturday 13: At the opposite fringes of the metro area, Iron Mule Brewery opens in Castle Rock. Housed in the same facility as the recently-deceased Castle Rock Beer Co., they’re hoping to have an actual mule in attendance at the festivities.

Pub Pass Circuit

In an attempt to check off a number of Pub Pass breweries, a friend20181001_143113_HDR scheduled at short ride (approx. 5 miles) through The Highlands and Edgewater. The route primarily uses residential streets but takes a few trails, most notably through Sloan’s Lake Park with pretty views of the lake and mountains. The shorter ride lets you finish before dark on these shorter fall days but beware if it’s a Broncos Sunday, as the first part of the route runs reasonably-close to the stadium.

Briar Common signWe started at Briar Common Brewery + Eatery, which as the name implies offers both beer and food. The location in The Highlands is reasonably accessible by bike from light rail and other transit but if you choose to drive, parking can be tricky with many streets marked for resident permits only. Briar Common serves up a wide range of beers that should satisfy most tastes, paired with gourmet/trendy food offerings. The location in an old brick building feels cozy and has a wonderful patio on the roof for warm days (and why else would you be out biking, right?)

Leaving Briar Common we rode directly west on 23rd Avenue to Sloan’s Lake Park and beautiful views of the Front Range. A quick ride through the park to the corner of Sheridan Boulevard and 25th Avenue brought us to our next stop at Joyride.

Arriving at Joyride Brewing Company, we used 20180915_135700_hdr.jpgthe bike racks in front and at the municipal lot across the street and dived right in to the diverse taplist. In my experience Joyride can be a hit or miss in their selection but I’ve never been completely frustrated with their offerings. The taproom connects to the outdoors with garage doors opening to pleasant Sloan’s Lake views in front and a patio/biergarten out back. On our visit it appeared that they are building a rooftop patio to further leverage their location. Like Briar Common, this place is best experienced in warm weather. If the short ride calls for some sustenance, food trucks consistently park out front.

Crossing back over Sheridan Boulevard and taking Byron Place along the edge of the park we took a left on Xavier (though almost any of the streets opposite the park will work), headed uphill four blocks to 29th Avenue and took a right to bring us to Hogshead Brewery after a couple more blocks.20180915_152206_hdr.jpg

Hogshead Brewery was busy on the beautiful day we rode, with the tiny interior and big patio almost full. Hogshead’s specialty is English-style cask ales  so we settled in for a few lightly-carbonated bitters, porters, and the like. They do have a few other beers such as a saison and blonde but where they really shine is the English brews. They don’t typically have a food truck but there’s a coffee shop next door for a quick snack, and if you happen to have bike problems a bike shop shares the building with the coffee place.

We continued east on 29th Avenue across Lowell Boulevard and the tricky Speer Boulevard crossing to Zuni Street and Zuni Street Brewing.

Zuni Street Brewing Company was also having a busy day with both patios plus their interior full. The taproom has an island feel to it thanks to the vegetation-covered bar, the openness to breezes 20180915_172342_hdr.jpgfrom both the front and rear patios, and the chill band. As for beers, Zuni Street covers the full spectrum from dark to light but on my visits it seems like IPAs and hoppier styles are their sweet spot. We found a place in the shade on the front patio where we had easy access to both the bar and food truck.

Finally, as the sun and temperatures started to drop we headed back out on 29th Avenue – west this time – a few blocks to Clay where we turned south until we reached 23rd Avenue and our starting point of Briar Common.

This route is pretty easy to shake up many different ways and add or subtract breweries since it’s such a target-rich area (Little Machine comes to mind). Given the short distances you definitely want to pace yourself, though, as it’s easy to travel between breweries in just a few minutes.

For details on our particular route click the link.

Weekend Beer Update

The Oktoberfest options continue! Many more breweries will celebrate the traditional German holiday this week, along with a culture-heavy Friday & Sunday plus lots of other interesting-looking stuff to do.

Friday 5: Get a little dose of culture with an opening reception for Bruz Beers’ artist of the month, Chris Austin, from 6 – 8 p.m.20161104_175636_hdr.jpg

Friday 5: For a big dose of culture head to First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive, where you can check out local galleries, sip beer & wine, and pay a visit to one or more craft breweries. By my count you have at least four options – Crazy Mountain Brewing Co., Black Sky Brewery, Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project and Renegade Brewing Co.

Friday 5 – Saturday 6: Longmont is first out of the gate this weekend with their Oktoberfest that spans two days and is sponsored by Left Hand Brewing Company. The festival features beer from over ten breweries, music, food and games for the whole family. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Friday 5 – Sunday 7: Get into the anniversary spirit as Blind Faith Brewing celebrates one year of beer with a whole series of barrel-aged releases.

Friday 5 – Sunday 7: Welcome Goldspot Brewing Company’s new owners at the weekend-long New Ownership Party featuring daily beer releases, rotating food trucks, music, raffles and on Sunday a dog show at 2 p.m.

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Saturday 6: Beer steins, bands, music and food usher in Oktoberfest at Kokopelli Beer Company in Westminster. Kokopelli currently features an extensive lineup of German and Oktoberfest-specific beers, which I had the pleasure of trying last weekend and which I would highly recommend!

Saturday 6: Oktoberfest also rolls on down south in DTC at Halfpenny Brewing Company with all the traditions you’d expect: German food, music and of course beer! In addition, Halfpenny will have games, contests and prizes.

Saturday 6: If you’re already on the south end of town 20171108_161432_HDRfor Halfpenny, why not combine it with Locavore Beer Works’ Oktoberfest in Littleton?  They’ll tap some traditional German beers to complement their food while you watch (or participate in) yard games and stein-holding contests.

Saturday 6: Hop lovers will flock to Falling Rock Tap House for Fresh Hop Fest featuring beers from dozens of breweries created using the unique fresh-hopping process. No ticket required; just buy your hop happiness by the glass.

Intrepid Sojourner SignSaturday 6: For those more centrally-located, Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project throws down their version of Oktoberfest with a new Kölsch release, special steins, lawn games & contests and a craft market.

Sunday 7: Enjoy some ales and art at Alpine Dog Brewery’s Sunday Night Culture Club featuring the work of  Nastasja Martel.

Style of the Month: Saison

Generally brewed in the cooler months for summer drinking on the farm, the saison season now extends year-round due to modern production methods. For me it’s a great fall beer to transition between summer and winter: not thin and light like sessionable summer lagers but not too dark and heavy like the hearty 20180919_171052_hdr.jpgwinter stouts. There are a number of sub-categories of saison like French or Farmhouse but I’ve tried to provide general expectations below for the more casual, non BJCP, beer-drinker.

On first impression, saisons will present somewhere in the golden-to-orange spectrum and may be slightly cloudy with significant head. The aroma will often have light fruit, hops, or spice notes and maybe even a bit of tartness.

Brewed with pale malts, wheat and light/medium hopping, most saisons will be balanced and typically have a noticeable yeast component. Because they were traditionally made on farms with local ingredients, spices and the yeast blowing in the air, there can be a 20180804_160644_HDRsignificant variation in  flavors. In many cases the yeast or other local ingredients produce fruit, sour or spice notes and some of the farmhouse styles contain flavors that many describe as “barnyard” or “earthy”. While most saisons brewed in America will come via a keg, the traditional method involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle and a relatively high level of carbonation.

While flavorful, saisons typically avoid the extremes; not hellaciously hoppy, puckeringly sour, thickly malty or boozy. Given the variation in flavors, I would suggest trying several different styles from several breweries before making a decision on whether saisons are your thing or not.

Weekend Beer Update

Hopefully by now everyone has recovered from their Great American Beer Festival hangover and perhaps found a new favorite brewery or beer at the Fest. Life goes on, and this weekend offers up a number of fall-themed brewery events including several Oktoberfests across the metro area.

Friday 28 – Sunday 30: Munich comes to Boulder at Avery Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest, with a special beer menu and free Kaiser for anyone in a traditional German outfit.reichstag-entrance.jpg

Friday 28 – Sunday 30: If RINO is more your scene, Black Shirt Brewing Co. celebrates their sixth anniversary all weekend with special releases (actually starting Wednesday), creative beer slushies and cocktails, Beer, Bacon and Bluegrass on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.

Saturday 29: Oktoberfest makes a stop at Seedstock Brewery from 5-11 p.m. with a special Hell tapping, plenty of Oktoberfest beer, polka music, contests and free mugs for those in traditional German attire. A meat-heavy food20170808_182550_HDR truck rounds out the Germanic picture.

Saturday 29: Join Brewability Lab in celebrating their second anniversary with music, a mobile cigar lounge, a yoga bus and a pop-up shop.

Saturday 29: Load up on numerous can and bottle releases at Fiction Beer Company’s fourth anniversary party. In addition to the takeaway options,  enjoy special tappings, live music and limited-edition glassware on their special day.

Saturday 29: Howdy Fest Rides into Lafayette with music, food, and a special release briar-common-sign.jpgfrom The Post Brewing Co. along with pours from a number of other area breweries.

Sunday 30: Enjoy a preview of Briar Common Brewery’s upcoming anniversary beers at their five-course beer-pairing dinner. The first seating starts at 4:30 p.m. but if demand calls for it they will add a later seating. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Brewery Snapshot: Jagged Mountain Brewery

At the corner of Lawrence Street and 20th Street, Jagged Mountain Brewery occupies an enviable spot as one of the only breweries in the downtown business district. As you would expect, that keeps the place busy with a diverse mix of customers. However Jagged Mountain doesn’t just count on their location to drive business; they brew up a very broad and adventurous taplist that justifies a visit no matter the neighborhood.

BEER LINEUP: Jagged Mountain offers a large and diverse 20180919_164149_hdr.jpgmenu consisting of a few traditional styles augmented by a lot of beers tweaked with fruits or other additions plus a small high-gravity selection. Overall there’s enough diversity that almost any beer-drinker should find something enjoyable.

ATMOSPHERE: On a mid-week, pre-GABF evening the mixed downtown crowd created a lively and energetic atmosphere. It seemed like a lot of folks were dropping in for one or two after work or between other activities and there was a lot of turnover in the clientele of young hipsters, professional office workers, older tourists, and even the occasional family. The tasting room offers up the standard taproom look with exposed brick, steel & wood, a view of the brewery, and a small patio.20180919_164156_HDR

SERVICE: The bar-only service was reasonably quick and efficient, although the busy servers were not overly chatty about their beers.

LOCATION: The prime spot on the corner of two busy downtown streets makes Jagged Mountain easy to find, and a great stop before or after a ballgame, work, or other downtown entertainment. The brewery offers offers easy access on foot, via public transit or by car, although the parking situation varies depending on what’s going on downtown.

20180919_171052_HDRSTANDOUT BEER: Playin’ Hooky Cherry Wheat. At first look, the amber-colored beer is darker than a typical wheat, likely due to the cherry addition. After a nice noseful of cherry, the first sip brings a little bit of the malt peeking through the medium-sweet cherry flavor.  Nobody would mistake this beer for anything complex but it makes for a refreshing light, fruity beer that drinks nicely in this unseasonably warm weather. I made sure to finish mine while it was cold, as I do suspect that when it warms the cherry could lead to medicinal notes as often happens with these beers.