Spring beers mean warmer temperatures (hopefully)

With the frigid temps we’ve had in Colorado lately, it’s nice to remember spring is just around the corner. Breweries have begun pumping out spring brews as Colorado beer lovers mourn the end of powder days (bring on the corn snow) and celebrate the upcoming warmer weather, bringing more hiking, camping and fishing. Here are a few beers to pick up as you start getting out to enjoy the weather.

New Belgium Dunkelweiss – The latest in the Lips of Faith series is a dark German wheat, coming in at 9% ABV, and the alcohol is nicely concealed behind strong flavors and aromas. The candied banana and clove aroma matches the initial flavor, followed soon by a slight pepper spice. This big and strong beer is very drinkable and leaves you wanting more of the great flavors. Dunkelweiss is available in stores now, so get out and find a bomber at your local craft beer store.

Odell Red Ale – This spring seasonal is available now through April. It is packed with aggressive American hops, setting it apart from some other more traditional reds. The nose is grassy and floral, with strong hop aroma. The taste is also somewhat of a departure from most red ales, with hop bitterness and a subdued malt character. This red is fairly readily available in 6 packs all over the state, and beyond.

Avery DuganA – This Double IPA, released twice a year, in January and September, is perfect for the transition days between winter and spring. If you are looking for hops, you can stop now. This one is for you. Avery describes it as “a brutally bitter, dank, piney and resinous ale designed for those seeking a divine hop experience.”

Great Divide Belgica – Another early spring seasonal readily available is Great Divide’s Belgian IPA. Belgica combines American characteristics with Belgian traditions. The citrus nose couples with a fairly malty flavor, and finishes with a resurgence of the citrus character. This beer is great for the warmer days when you are looking to quench your thirst. Stop by the tap room to get one now, or think of it as you stop by on your way to the Rockies’ home opener on April 1.

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Great canned Colorado beers for a day in the mountains

Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing Co.

Since so many Colorado beer drinkers love to get out and enjoy the snowy mountains in the winter I figured I’d write a post on some portable delicious Colorado beers perfect for a trip out in the cold. Whether you’re taking groomer laps at Beaver Creek, hiking for your turns on Berthoud Pass, or snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park, you might want a couple cans of some amazing Colorado brews tucked safely in your pack. If your favorites aren’t included let us know what you take with you to the mountains.

Avery White Rascal – This staple from Avery Brewing is a throw back to the traditional Belgian white style. The crisp and refreshing White Rascal is an unfiltered brew spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel. I’d be happy cracking one of these open to celebrate the end of a skin up Berthoud Pass while getting ready for some fresh tracks. Avery is relatively new to the canning process, and White Rascal is one of the first they canned, back in August, and it sure is a great way to enjoy this awesome beer.

Upslope Brown Ale – Upslope Brewing is one of the relatively new breweries to Colorado and has been canning since opening their doors in 2008. This brown ale began as the homebrew concoction of Tap Room Manager, Chad Pieper, and went through several revisions to what we get today. The malty and roasted brown ale is a little more in your face than traditional English brown ales, but hey, we’re in Colorado, not England, so we’re happy to have it. If you are going to pick up a 6-pack, take a glance to make sure you’re grabbing the right Upslope brew, the brown ale is in green cans and the Upslope Pale Ale comes in brown.

Ska Modus Hoperandi – Another canned beer from an early adopter is Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandi. This American style IPA is perfect for getting out and snowshoeing or Nordic skiing around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, surrounded by pine forests. The pine and citrus characters blend well with a creamy, slightly caramel undertone. It pours with a creamy white head and very nice lacing; all around, Modus Hoperandi is a great example of an American IPA.

Oskar Blues G’Knight – Oskar Blues was the first microbrewery in the state to start canning their beers and this one has quite a story. G’Knight is an Imperial red named after Gordon Knight a Vietnam vet and Colorado craft beer pioneer who passed away while piloting a firefighting helicopter near Lyons in 2002. After being called Gordon for over 7 years the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group penned a cease and desist order, prompting Oskar Blues to change the name to G’Knight. Regardless of the name, this strong ale is hoppy, coming in at about 85 IBUs, and balanced with a malty and caramel flavor. G’Knight was formerly a winter seasonal, but is now a limited production year round brew, perfect for relaxing after a skin into a backcountry hut.

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CBW Press Release…

Hey everyone, just wanted to share our first Press release with you.  Please feel free to pull from it or contact us for more info…


First Ever Colorado Beer Week Calendar Now Forming

Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available for

The Best Nine Days and Nights of Beer


(Denver, CO) The first ever Colorado Beer Week will launch this spring, April 8-16, 2011, and is currently partnering with Denver-area restaurants and businesses as well as breweries from across the country looking to attract the attention of the best beer market in North America.

Colorado Beer Week spans “The Best Nine Days and Nights of Beer,” when both Denver locals and visiting beer gastronomes will enjoy a full calendar of opportunities to experience new beer releases, sample distinct beer and food pairings, participate in educational seminars, tee off in a one-of-a-kind beer and golf tournament, as well as partake in the West’s Best Pub Crawl. The week will kick off on the evening of the eighth with a celebrity keg tapping and beer and food stations hosted by dozens of local breweries.

Kerkmans first envisioned Colorado Beer Week in early 2008, when Time Magazine profiled the Denver resident and beer industry expert in an article showcasing Denver as the “Napa Valley of Beer”. Kerkmans, who is also a judge at the Great American Beer Festival each fall, saw the need for a complementary spring-season event that could take beer lovers out of the convention center and give them the opportunity to tour the Front Range’s best beer destinations.

“We’re working with our partners and sponsors to create the perfect opportunity to reach consumers, while helping to drive tourism in the spring,” Kerkmans says. “Beer lovers will benefit the most, but we’re also driving more attention to the beer industry and the State of Colorado.”

Currently, premier-event hosting opportunities are still available to sponsors, and Kerkmans and his staff work directly with each company to ensure that each customizable event provides the most benefit for each brand involved.

For more information: events@cobeerweek.com or 720-295-4229

About Colorado Beer Week

Colorado Beer Week (CBW) is a celebration of ales and lagers that will be held each spring, with the inaugural CBW taking place April 8-16, 2011 at participating breweries, restaurants, bars, hotels and other venues throughout the Front Range of Colorado. During the nine days and nights, partnering sponsors will be hosting events that bring together great beer with beer lovers from across the country. Everyone from connoisseurs to casual beer drinkers will be able to purchase tickets to CBW events online at www.cobeerweek.com in the coming weeks. Further, CBW will provide an extensive marketing and public relations campaign to highlight each sponsoring business leading up to, and during the event.

About Scott Kerkmans

Scott Kerkmans is an established authority and a fresh voice in the diverse and growing brewing community. Having started his professional brewing career while still in college, it didn’t take long for Scott to get promoted to head brewer at Kelly’s Brewpub in Albuquerque, NM. After graduating, Scott moved to Juneau, AK, to work as one of the award-winning brewers at Alaskan Brewing Company. In 2005, Scott started the beer industry consulting firm Nazdar Beer, Inc. Since then, he has consulted with everyone from national and craft breweries to world-class distributors and international restaurant chains. In 2007, Scott beat out more than 7,800 applicants to become the world’s first Chief Beer Officer for Four Points by Sheraton Hotels. Prior to starting Nazdar Beer, Scott also helped grow the highest volume on-premise sales route for Crescent Crown Distributing in Phoenix, AZ, and authored beer articles for Wine Enthusiast among other leading publications. In addition, Scott became one of the first five Certified Cicerone’s in the world in 2007. He continues to teach beer classes at Cook Street Culinary Institute, and is an annual Judge Captain at the Great American Beer Festival. Now, with the founding of the inaugural Colorado Beer Week, April 8-16, 2011, Scott is taking his appreciation of beer and experience in the beer industry and creating nine days and nights of beer events for everyone from the most casual of beer connoisseurs to the most ardent of beer geeks.



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Recap: 11th Annual Big Beers Festival

Last weekend was the Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines festival in Vail. A couple friends and I packed up our ski gear and put on our drinking pants. This was not our first trip to the annual festival, so we knew we had to prepare for a night of big flavors, and a lot of awesome people. It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite beer events of the year, one where you can mingle and talk, and not worry too much about anybody running out of some of the rare beers, or waiting in line to try some of the best beers in the world. For one weekend, every winter, Vail plays host to some of the biggest names in craft beer. Not only were some of the best, and most well known, brewers in the country there, they were serving the beer they brewed, and the beer is why they, and the rest of us, were there.

Colorado, understandably, had a big presence this year, including Aspen, Avery, Boulder, Breckenridge, Bristol, Crazy Mountain, Durango, Glenwood Canyon, Gore Range, Grand Lake, Great Divide, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odell, Oskar Blues, Pagosa, Pumphouse, Redstone Meadery, Ska, Strange, Tommyknocker, Upslope, and Wynkoop. Whew, hopefully I didn’t leave anyone out, but that’s a lot of great Colorado beer, and I can’t claim to have even attempted to sample a beer from each of them.

There were simply too many big beers to get around to all of them. However, there are a few that I would consider noteworthy. Three that stuck out to me were Nebraska’s Melange A Trois, Great Divide’s Grand Cru, and Diablo from Bristol’s Black Fox line. But, after only a few samples my palate was a little overwhelmed. I could still tell which beers I really liked, but can’t tell why. Overall, this festival is one that you should definitely put on the calendar for next year, and plan to stay the night in Vail, or have a DD on call, with these big beers it’s tough to have just a couple and still be OK to drive.

Here are a couple pictures from the event:

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Holiday cheer with local beer

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Many of us will be gathering with our extended family, and sometimes, in order to be jolly around family members a little liquid medication might be in order. Colorado breweries don’t disappoint when it comes to satisfying your taste buds with beers that make you think of a nice secluded cabin in the woods with a crackling fire and no one around for miles. Here are a few from some of Colorado’s best breweries that you might think about picking up for your holiday gatherings.

  • Avery Old Jubilation – You might have read about a Christmas/Winter beer tasting last week at Bull and Bush where I was able to sample the first production brew of this strong ale from 1998. This malty and slightly spicy (think a little cinnamon and hazlenut) beer is a great warming beer for some of the coldest Colorado nights.
  • Bristol Winter Warlock – An oatmeal stout, and a winner of a silver medal at 1998’s Great American Beer Festival, is a tasty and smooth dark concoction that is the epitome of a great winter brew. The smoky and earthy hop taste is sure to make you feel at home in the mountains this winter.
  • Great Divide Hibernation – For the past 15 years Great Divide has been brewing this strong ale, a winter favorite. A rich toffee and malt aroma matches the slightly sweet malty taste. You can find this delicious brew in 6-packs and on tap around the state.
  • Odell Isolation Ale – This winter warmer has also been around for quite a while with it’s first commercial production in the winter of 2000/01. Many of these winter beers can be described with a few similar aromas and flavors, yep this one is malty too, but has a fairly noticeable biscuit character, setting it apart from others, and is a little easier to drink than many of the bigger seasonals.

And for everyone looking for the perfect drink to enjoy as we celebrate 2011 make sure to think of the universally accepted Champagne of beers, Miller High Life. I couldn’t come up with a worthy description, so I will let Wikipedia put the proverbial pen to paper, “this beer is noted for its high level of carbonation, making it a very bubble-filled beverage, like champagne. It was originally available in miniature champagne bottles and was one of the premier high-end beers in the country for many years.” That’s about all I have to say on that subject.

Happy holidays! We, here at Colorado Beer Week, hope you enjoy what winter brings to the Colorado beer scene.

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All I got for Christmas was a 2003 Stille Nacht? I’m ok with that

Hanging out on the patio

A couple nights ago I joined some great friends at Bull and Bush in Cherry Creek for a rare Christmas/Winter beer tasting party. And there sure were some rare beers. I arrived a little late and some of the more sought after beers were already gone, but I wasn’t disappointed in the least! I did get to try some beers that I really enjoyed.

My first sample was a doozy, I just walked up to a random table and asked for the server’s favorite. She emphatically offered the 1998 Avery Hog Heaven, the first year it was brewed commercially. And it did not disappoint. It was a little warmer than most beers are typically served, which was nice, it brought out more of the character of the beer.

Bull and Bush's Randall

The next sample that really caught my attention was Bull and Bush’s own Yule Fuel, that went through a Randall (pretty much a filter) infusing the Christmas beer with seasonal spices and gave it a great aroma and taste of fresh flavors that reminded me of winter.

My favorite sample of the evening was the 2003 De Dolle Stille Nacht. It certainly didn’t disappoint with a sweet, almost caramel, scent mixed with some tropical fruit tones. The taste matched the aroma with a slight gingery finish. I don’t think I was alone picking this as my favorite. I heard similar opinions from several beer geeks, including @hookedonwinter and @DenverBartender.

I only sampled about a tenth of the over 120 beers at the event. It was a fun gathering of beer geeks around the holidays, and an opportunity to try beers that I will probably never have the chance to try again. Were there any that stuck out to you that I didn’t mention?

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Maui Brewing Colorado Launch Party

Freshcraft is teaming up with Maui Brewing Co. for a launch party to kick off Maui Brewing’s Colorado distribution. The state has been buzzing about getting some of Hawaii’s best beer, including Bikini Blonde Lager, Big Swell IPA & CoCoNuT Porter.

As we are bundling up for a long Colorado winter, maybe some of these beers from the middle of the Pacific Ocean will warm us up. Swing by Freshcraft, at 15th and Blake, in Denver, on December 18 from 1-5pm to grab some beers and celebrate! Keep up with the latest info with the facebook event.

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