Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beer Bloggers Beer Drinkin' Roundup

As I mentioned in my previous post, I attended the Beer Bloggers Conference in early November along with about 115 other beer bloggers. Everyone was asked to bring a few bottles from their home state/region to share.

These folks are serious about their beer and man did we have a lot of beer to share. Unfortunately, we only had 2 hours.

Below is the list of 17 beers I managed to sample during the 2 hours of Bottle Night:

Upright Brewery - Four Play

This was definitely one of my favorites of the evening. This is a pinot-barrel aged sour ale with cherries. Delicious!

3Floyds - SheWolf IPA

Schlafly - Biere de Garde

Chatoe Rogue - Creek Ale (brewed with cherries)

Deschutes - The Abyss

Rising Tide - Ishmael Altbier - this was another good one.

Duck Rabbit - Milk Stout

Peach Tree Brewing - Hop Wrangler

New Glarus Unplugged - Old English Porter - this was a sour porter and another one of my favorites.

Troegs Pale Ale

Chimay Grande Reserve 1999

Kona Pipeline Porter w/ 100% kona coffee

Berkshire - Dean's Beans Coffeehouse Porter

Saint Somewhere - Pays du Soleil

New Glarus - Spotted Cow

Sun King Brewing - Osiris

Maine Beer Company - Peeper Ale

Monday, November 29, 2010

Beer Bloggers Conference and Where did November go?

Where has November gone? I can't believe it is nearly December 1st (my birthday) already.

I attended the 1st Annual International Beer Bloggers conference the first weekend of November, then immediately headed out of town to help my father move. When I returned I was working on the final touches for my first beer/food pairing event (next post) at the Sun Rose Cafe, then Thanksgiving and now head cold.

Between the long time lag, a million posts by the other 100+ attendees and my head cold, this blog post will be short.

I enjoyed the entire conference, had a great time, met some great people and learned a lot. I took 144 photos and will post a few here.

After checking in on Friday afternoon, a few of us headed over to Avery Brewing for lunch (liquid or otherwise). The folks at Avery were super nice to us and treated us to a tour of their barrel room along with a few tasters.

The Friday afternoon conference sessions were really good - Julia Hert from the Brewers Association, Jessica Daynor from Draft Magazine and SEO expert, Dustin Woodard. I thought they all did an excellent job and provided a lot of useful tips.

Oskar Blues hosted us for dinner/beers that evening. We were also treated to a brewery tour.

Then, onto Bottle Night back at the hotel. This was a blast! Everyone brought beer from their home state or region to share. Avery Brewing donated a ton of beer! There was enough beer for hundreds of people and we only had two hours.

The 1st beer I tried at Bottle night was my favorite! Upright Brewery's Four Play (Portland,OR) presented by Taplister:

Jennie Chen (Austin, TX) also known as MisoHungry made us homemade cupcakes that were to die for. A big thanks to Jennie.

Here is a photo of Jennie (our chef) and Eli Shayotovich from BeerTapTV

BeerTapTV setup live tweets from BBC10 during Bottle Night. These were in real time and super fun(ny).

Another beer I really enjoyed - presented by the Beer Babe(If I remember correctly):

One of the Saturday morning presentations (Room 214):

Erik and his crew from the Bull & Bush Pub invite us up to their suite for a beer and pizza party. We were offered Abo's Pizza, tons of beer, pretzels with homemade beer mustard and homemade beer ice cream.

Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing, was our afternoon speaker. He brought us bottles of not-yet released Lukcy Basartd Ale for all us try.

Next up was Live Beer blogging - see earlier post.

Then on to dinner and a brewery tour at Boulder Beer Company.

Last photo of the night: Eric Steen from Beer and SciFi and Focus on the Beer enjoying (?) a Coors Light:

After dinner was the 'Mall Crawl' - 5 bars/breweries had agreed to give us all free beer as we 'crawled' along Pearl Street. I only made it out for a short time to the first pub, West End Tavern.

Sunday was another good day of presentations.

That's all I can write today. I highly recommend attending this great conference next year in Portland, OR and/or London, UK.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Live Beer Blogging at Beer Bloggers Conference

We had 12 breweries present their beer to the bbc10 attendees in one hour. It was fast and furious. The following I wrote live, the photos were added later:

New Belgium
La Folie 2010
Aged in French Oak Barrels
6% ABV

Yum. I love sour beers! This is one of New Beligium's Lips of Faith beers. Copper colored with a red hue. Aged 1-3 years. Very nice sour brown ale.

Breckenridge Brewery
Christmas Ale
7.4% ABV

This beer did not have spices added to it. All spice flavor comes from the hops - Chinook and Mt. Hood. Nice holiday ale that isn't a spiced beer. Personally, I am not a big fan of spiced beers so I like this one. Balanced and doesn't taste like a high alcohol beer. Breckenridge Brewery has been using the same recipe since 1993.

New Planet Beer
3R Raspberry Ale

Certified Gluten free beer. Won a bronze medal at GABF 2010. Contract brewed at Fort Collins Brewery. Nice beer with a light raspberry flavor. 5% ABV

Dogfish Head
World Wide Stout

18% ABV

Nice strong Stout that doesn't taste nearly as strong as it is.

Great Lakes Brewing
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
5.8% ABV

Nice chocolate flavor. Very nice. Great Lakes doesn't pasturerize any of their beers which limits their ability to distribute in all states. Available throughout the great lakes area and mid-atlantic.

AC Golden Brewing Company
Colorado Native
5.5% ABV

All local Colorado ingredients are used. Brewed in the old pilot brewery for Coors.

Karl Strauss
Belgium-Style Brown Ale
6.3% ABV

Winter seasonal
Aged for 2 weeks in french oak - brings out a little vanilla flavor. Only available in Southern California. Would go pair really nice with a Thanksgiving Turkey. Yum.

Widmer Brothers Brewing
Brothers Reserve
9.5% ABV

Barrel-aged Brrrbon

Lots of cascade hops aged for 4 months in bourbon barrels. Pretty tasty for a high ABV beer - it doesn't taste like a 9.5%ABV.

Rogue Ale
Rogue Chocolate Stout
6.2% ABV

Unfiltered, unpasturized beer. Launched originally (in 2000) as a seasonal but now a year-round beer. Great chocolate taste. Lots of roasted malts. Pairs with Blue Cheese, Beef and Ice Cream floats.

Great Divide
Yeti Oak Aged Imperial Stout
9.5% ABV

Chocolate aroma and really nice taste. Doesn't taste like a 9.5% ABV.

Odell Brewing Co.
Mountain Standard Double Black IPA
9.5% ABV

Hop-focused. Nice hoppy black ales. Released today at 4:30PM Mtn to the public. The first few tables at BBC10 had it before the rest of the world! Cool.

Deschutes Brewery
Hop Trip
5.5% ABV

6th largest craft brewer
2 flagships - Black Butte and Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Fresh hop pale ale. Crystal hops (100%). Citrus/Orangey flavor. The bottle we are tasting is about 10 days old.

Okay, had 12 beers in one hour. Sorry for the sketchy notes. Room was loud and drinking/blogging was fast (1 hour).


Next up Dinner at Boulder Beer Company. Here we come!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ales for Females Beer Club Nov'10

I attended the monthly beer club at Left Hand Brewing earlier this week. The topic for November is Harvest Beer and Food.

Eric Wallace made recommendations on how to pair food with beer. He said you want to make sure that the intensity of each are equal. Then, you can pair them because they have complementary flavors or because they have contrasting flavors or both.

The food/beer pairing presented to us included:

Left Hand's Black Jack Porter paired with a Mushroom Ravioli with a little olive oil and some shaved 2 yr old Parmesan cheese.

The earthiness of the mushroom complements the golden hops in the Porter. The malty sweetness and bready characteristics go nicely with the aged cheese.

Next up was Lakefront Brewery's Pumpkin Lager paired with homemade Pumpkin Pie (made by Eric's daughter). The Pumpkin Lager was so lightly spiced that it actually was overpowered by the pumpkin pie.

Then, we had Left Hand's Haystack Wheat paired with homemade cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce had lots of citrus in it. The tartness of the cranberries were softened by the Wheat beer. The Haystack Wheat has a hints of banana, clove and nutmeg. The cranberry sauce knocked out the banana flavor. This was a very balanced pairing.

As usual, I then tried mixing and matching the pairings to see what else worked and didn't work well together.

Cranberry sauce went well with the Pumpkin Lager, as well as the Haystack Wheat.
Pumpkin Pie paired really nicely with Porter.
Mushroom Ravioli went great with the Porter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big Beaver Brewing Co.

I stopped by the new brewery, Big Beaver, in Loveland last week.

Big Beaver Brewery bills itself as a 'Loveland Community Brewery'. Members commit to purchase at least 2 growlers per month ($9/growler or $18/month). Membership has it's privileges ... members may make special requests for beers and they also have access to special releases.

Big Beaver did a soft launch on Oct 8th and signed up 100 members! Currently, their tap room is only open on Fridays 4-8PM and Saturdays 12-8PM.

I ordered the sampler, which included:
Wonder Wiener Wheat - a Bavarian wheat beer
Bust-A-Nut Brown Ale - 'brewed in the northern England tradition with strong malt characters'
Big Beaver Bock - classic Munich Bock (with Saaz hops)
Woodchuck Bock

They were out of their Shave Tail Ale. The Wonder Wiener Wheat was quite tasty while the Big Beaver Bock had an unusual aroma (but tasted okay).

The Brewer, Peter Villeneuve, Ph.D

The tap room was small (6 barstools) but the people were friendly. They even let me bring my dog inside! :)

Stop by the next time you are in Loveland, CO.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Colorado Mtn Brewery Tasting

A friend and I went to the mountains of Colorado to check out a few breweries. We didn't pick the best weather day - it was raining and sleeting a little bit but we had a great time.

First stop was the DAM Brewery in Dillon.

We had samples of:
Extra Pale Ale (brought home a growler of this one)
Sweet George's Brown
McLuhr's Irish Stout

Their logo is so cute - 'Get your own DAM beer' - we had to each buy a t-shirt!

Next stop was Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge. This place felt more corporate and the service was crappy. In fact, I didn't even take any photos. We had their Belgium Wit.

As we headed back towards home, we hit up the BackCountry Brewery in Frisco. We sampled their Telemark IPA and Peak One Robust Porter. Both were delicious.

Our final stop was Tommy Knocker's Brewery in Idaho Springs. Here we tasted their Cocoa Porter and their Black Powder Stout.

As we drove down the canyon into Golden, CO, we spotted three young Big Horn Sheep.

It was a great day. I hope to do something like this again soon.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

GABF Beer Tasting at The Pumphouse

The Pumphouse in Longmont has been doing these really great beer tastings every month during 2010. I have attended them all except for the Strong Ale one in February (I missed out on getting my ticket in time).

The tasting for October focused on winners from the Great American Beer Festival. The guest speaker was Gary Glass from the Brewers Association. He explained how the judging process works and presented the 14 different winners. He also reviewed the category for each winner. There were 3,594 different beers entered in the GABF from 522 different breweries. These beers were judged by 150 judges. That's a lot of beer!

Our greeting beer was the Pumphouse 4-Alarm Copper Ale. This beer is a German-style Altbier that won a GABF medal in 2004.

The beers we sampled were:

Miller Light - Gold winner in the American-sytle Light Lager (category #29)

Trumer Pils - Gold winner in the German-style Pilsner category (#25)

Del Norte Manana - Gold winner in the American-style Amber lager category (#33)

Pyramid Apricot Ale - Silver winner in the Fruit Beer category (#3)

Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale - Gold in the English-sytle Pale Ale (#43)

Mountain Sun Illusion Dweller Pale Ale - Silver in the English-style IPA (#44)

Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale - Silver in Double Barrel Ale (#52)

Firestone Walker Pale 31 - Silver in American-sytle Pale Ale (#45)

Bristol Laughing Lab - Bronze in the Scotish-style Ale (#54)

Walnut Brewery Old Elk Brown - Gold in the English-style Brown (#56)

Ommegang 3 Philosophers - Bronze in the Belgium-style Abbey (#67)

Bristol Old #23 Barleywine - Silver in the Barleywine category (#79)

Twisted Pine Big Shot Espresso Stout - Bronze in the Coffee-flavored Beer (#6)

CB and Potts Dark Side Lager - Bronze in the European-style Dunkel category (#32)

My personal favorites were the Firestone Pale 31, Firestone DBA and Twisted Pine Big Shot Espresso Stout. Yum!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Great American Beer Festival - Day One

I attended the Great American Beer Festival (opening day) last night.

I had many good beers. A few of my favorites:
* Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout
* Left Hand Fade to Black
* Rogue Double Chocolate Stout
* Papago Orange Blossom

My drinking companion, Oliver Porter, from Phoenix:

Besides beer, there was Hop Candy, which they said was just hops and chocolate. The dark chocolate was quite delicious.

I focused mostly on beers that I can't get in Colorado and/or were special release beers. The full list of beers I tasted:
Bell's Wild One
Boulevard Tank T Farmhouse Ale
New Glarus Moon Man
Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Mars
Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout
Russian River Pliny the Elder
Three Floyds Infinitas Attero
Three Floyds Sandpebbles
Short's Anniversary Ale (Blood Orange Wheat Wine)
Short's Key Lime Pie

* Both of the beers from Shorts were quite good and very interesting.

Bricktown Black Gold Raspberry Chocolate Stout
Brugge Pooka Sour Boysenberry
Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgium Style IPA
Fegley's Kriek Lambic
Left Hand Fade to Black (one of my favorites)- the only Colorado beer I drank at the festival.

Durango Blueberry Wheat (yummy)
Rogue Double Chocolate Stout
Rogue Chatoe OREgasmic
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
Firestone Walker Pale 31
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

* Firestone had these really cool 'bookmarks' that described each beer along with food pairings. Very cool!

Deschutes The Abyss
Deschutes Black Butte XXII Reserve
Allagash Fluxus 2010 (Belgium style Imperial Chocolate Stout)
21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
Four Peaks Kilt Lifter (Scottish Ale)
Papago Orange Blossom

It was fun running into Ally from Asher Brewing

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Great COntenders at Wynkoop Brewing

Last night I was at the Great COntenders Beer event at the Wynkoop Brewing Co in Denver.

I helped Stever Turner from Asher Brewing Co. pour beers.

There were about 20 brewers from Colorado and about 300 attendees.

Asher Brewing's Greenade Organic Double IPA was a big hit with the attendees.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beer Swaps

I met a fellow beer lover online that lives in NC. We decided to swap a few beers. My 12-pack from her arrived yesterday.

I am going to invite a few fellow beer lovers over for a tasting!