September 24, 2014

Gigantic Brewing & Wicked Weed GABF Pour Lists

And a couple more GABF pour lists that have trickled in…

Gigantic Brewing

  • Pipewrench – Ransom Old Tom Gin barrel aged IPA (Gold winner at 2014 World Beer Cup – Barrel Aged Category)
  • Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout
  • Too Much Coffee Man – Black Saison with Coava Coffee
  • Gigantic IPL – India Pale Lager
  • Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen

Wicked Weed Brewing

  • Freak Double IPA, 8% ABV
  • Tyrant Double Hopped Red Ale, 8.5% ABV
  • Ruffian Black IPA, 10% ABV
  • Serenity 100% Brett Saison, 5.5%
  • Oblivion Sour Red, 8.5%
  • Mampara, 9% ABV
  • Hopburgular, 6.5%
  • Coolcumber, 4.9 % ABV
  • Malice Wild Ale,
  • Mosaic Saison,  6.2%
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September 10, 2014

A Few More 2014 GABF Pour Lists…

Melvin Brewing (Thai Me Up Restaurant)

  • 2×4, Double IPA
  • 4×8, Triple IPA
  • Melvin, IPA
  • Ch,Ch,Ch Cherry Bomb, Fruit Ale
  • Ginger Ale, Imperial Red Ale

 

Almanac Beer Co

  • Golden Gate Gose
  • Cerise Sour Blond
  • Farmer’s Reserve Citrus
  • Heirloom Pumpkin
  • Dogpatch Strawberry

 

Boneyard Beer

  • RPM IPA, American-Style India Pale Ale, 7%
  • Bone-A-Fide Pale Ale, American-Style Pale Ale, 5.5%
  • Notorious Triple IPA, Imperial India Pale Ale, 11.5%
  • Armored Fist Cascadian Dark Ale, American-Style Black Ale, 10%
  • Bone Light ISA, Session Beer, 4%

 

Funky Buddha Brewery

  • No Crusts
  • Last Snow
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Nickolai Vorlauf Imperial Stout
  • Raspberry Berlinerweiss
  • Floridian Hefeweizen
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September 10, 2014

GABF 2104 Pour Lists

I’m working on my annual North Denver Tribune article on the can’t-miss breweries this year at the Great American Beer Festival. Decide to focus on some of the lesser known joints out there that I’ve been enjoying.

Here are some that I’ve gotten so far:

DC Brau Brewing

  •  The Penn Quarter Porter – Robust Porter – 5.5% abv
  •  The Tradition – Golden Ale – 5% abv
  •  The Citizen – Belgian Pale Ale – 7% abv
  •  El Hefe Speaks! – Traditional Hefeweizen – 5.3% abv
  •  On The Wings of Armageddon – Imperial IPA – 9.2% abv (yes, yes, yes)

 

Prairie Artisan Ales

  • Coolship Truck (Wild Ale collaboration with Evil Twin)
  • Tequila Barrel Branson (Branson is an imperial stout we do, this one aged in tequila barrels)
  • Rum Barrel Beer Wasteland (Beer Wasteland is a barley wine we’ve done.  This version is aged in rum barrels)
  • Funky Gold Mosaic (sour farmhouse ale dry-hopped with mosaic)
  • Ambassador Ale (English style brown)

 

Societe Brewing

  • The Harlot, 6.0% ABV Belgian Extra Ale
  • The Butcher, 9.8% ABV Imperial Stout
  • The Apprentice, 7.5% ABV American IPA with Amarillo and Simcoe hops
  • The Pupil, 7.5% ABV American IPA with Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops

 

Fat Heads Brewery

  • Head Hunter IPA
  • Hop Juju Imperial IPA
  • Bone Head Imperial Red
  • Trail Head Pale Ale
  • Battle Axe Baltic Porter
  • Black Knight Schwarzbier
  • Lagerfeuer Smoked Helles
  • One Night In Bangkok – This is and herb and spice beer made with citrus honey, Yuzu fruit, lemongrass, candied ginger, and kaffir lime leaf.
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March 10, 2014

Lowdown Brewery Hits The Spot

Dark chocolate, chewy black licorice, vanilla, coconut, and a smidge of port. No this isn’t a dessert description, it’s a list of all the layers of flavors swirling around in the glass of Imperial Stout in front of me. This beer, aged for a year in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels and then one more year in a keg, wasn’t what I expected from a brewery in it’s opening week, but it’s exactly what Lowdown, Denver’s newest brewery, had to offer when they opened their doors this February. It’s this kind of forethought and execution that quickly shows anyone paying attention that the new kid on the block is not messing around.

Headed by two ex-Rock Bottom brewers, Lowdown takes their former employer’s same approach of offering a wide range of beer styles and options. And like Rock Bottom, they are a bona fide brewpub with a full kitchen and restaurant menu; bucking the brewery-and-a-food-truck trend. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a Rock Bottom re-incarnate. Lowdown has taken a more…flavorful, let’s say, take on both their food and their beer. It’s obvious they’re not trying to cater to the tourist strolling in off 16th street looking for a light beer and a burger.

Initially, the food options might sound like standard pub grub; pizza, sandwiches, salads, etc., but a closer look at the menu reveals a bounty of unique ingredients and creativity. Beet and pickled carrot salad? Pancetta, apricot and goat cheese sandwich? Green chile and lime crema pizza? Definitely not your average fare and most importantly everything sampled was delicious. As a bonus, prices were reasonable, with sandwiches ranging from $8 to $12 and 10” pizzas from $9 to $13.

Behind the bar, an impressive 10 taps pour freshly brewed suds and accompany three guest taps currently showcasing local brewers Crooked Stave and Prost.

Hopheads will certainly enjoy their flavor-forward IPA and India Red Ale, but the real hoppy winner was the Selfish Ale. A unique 5% ABV beer with a subdued malt character and hop bitterness, but bursting with tropical fruit flavors from exotic hop varietals like Citra and Amarillo. It has all the hop punch of an IPA, without the alcohol sting, and was created by the brewers as something they could enjoy after work without worrying about feeling groggy the next morning.

Malty options abound as well with the two-year aged Imperial Stout stealing the show. While we can’t expect them to constantly have such time-intensive brews on hand, it showcases the brewhouse’s prowess and is hopefully a harbinger of more to come. Other excellent malt-forward choices included the Lonely Sheep, a Scottish style ale with sweet caramel flavors and a dry finish from a pinch of roasted malts, and the Black Bessie milk stout, a beer that gives Left Hand’s classic a run for its money.

Lowdown’s atmosphere is classic brewpub with its comfortable booths, high-tops and long bar surrounded by stainless steel fermenters. It still manages to retain a fresh decorative twist though with strings of hung lampshades and vibrant African travel photographs dotting the walls.

We look to provide readers with neighborhood specific info. Our coverage extends north to I-70, south to 6th Ave, and to Lincoln and Wadsworth for the respective eastern and western borders. Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen sits in the very southeast corner of this zone at 8th Ave and Lincoln, not far from the new History Colorado Center. Almost out of range, so not something we’d normally cover, but a few visits convinced us otherwise. With so many solid nearby options in our Highlands, it can sometimes be hard to venture too far out of our neighborhood, but Lowdown makes it well worth the trek.

Ales and menu items from Lowdown Brewery

Meatballs and dopplebock. Mmmmm

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December 12, 2013

Jagged Mountain (hopefully) Brings The Vintage Beer Heat

It’s a little known fact among non-beer drinkers that many beers actually improve with age. Really, no different than a fine wine or a wheel of cheese. This may come as a surprise because, after all, beer has always been touted as a beverage that’s best drunk fresh.  But if a beer has the right criteria, namely high alcohol (at least 8%), or is acidic/sour, it ages at a considerably slower rate than your typical 5% pilsner. In a well designed beer, time enables unique new flavors to emerge, such as sherry, port, amaretto, dried fruit, or even vanilla. So, forget your experience with the skunky old Heineken you found in your garage; these beers evolve into something that can go toe-to-toe with a fine Amontillado or Maderia wine.

And it’s at one of the country’s most respected breweries, Kuhnhenn, a tiny brewery/B&B in Warren, Michigan, that some of these ultra-strong, cellar-able beers are being brewed. Located in a defunct hardware store, their beer is only available locally, but is so popular that beer geeks regularly make cross-country pilgrimages to get it. In fact, it’s so sought after that at one point, its Raspberry Eisbock was ranked the #1 beer in the world on beeradvocate.com. No small feat. And In 2010, their English barleywine, Fourth Dementia, won gold at both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. We’re talking about some serious street cred.

The reason their beer is so exceptional – and most of their customers will agree – is because they typically age them for a decent period of time prior to being served. And they’re brewed with the correct technique and ingredients that allow them to stand up to time in the cellar.

But what does a Michigan brewery have to do with Denver? Well, as Denverites are well aware, we live in one the greatest cities in the world.  So, when Wayne Burns, the brewer from Kuhnhenn, decided to strike out on his own and open a brewery, it’s no surprise he chose our fair city. Along with Michigan-bred friends, RJ Banat and Randy Stinson, he opened the doors to Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery last month much to the excitement and anticipation of local beer buffs.

Housed in an old brick building at the corner of 20th Street and Lawrence (about three blocks from Coors Field), this brewery is a real beaut. With a warm pine bar, plenty of high tops, and windows overlooking the action outside, the location will clearly be a hit. An astounding 20 taps are installed and though only 4-5 are currently being utilized, they’re looking forward to having most of them pouring very soon.

Given Burns’ pedigree, it’s easy to expect him to focus solely on making age-able, high ABV beer, but the strategy is instead to brew a wide range of styles that will cater to the beer-diverse LoDo crowd. And unlike the one-and-done model of many new breweries, Jagged Mountain plans to have a series of “house” beers  available, in addition to rotating “experimental” offerings. The anticipated regular offerings include a black IPA, saison, Scottish ale, American IPA, and a double IPA, and what’s been on offer so far has clearly showcased that their brewing abilities aren’t limited to high ABV bruisers.

That being said, they do expect their niche to be their experimental beer. These will trend toward barleywines, imperial stouts, old ales, and eisbocks; and if Burn’s work at Kuhnhenns is any indicator, they’re going to be huge; upwards of 15-20% ABV. If this were to happen, it would certainly fill a local niche that has been lacking.  The only CO brewery making these kind of beers is Avery, but in extremely limited amounts (not to mention being fairly cost-prohibitive). Time will tell if Jagged Mountain can reach Kuhnhenn’s legendary status, but what’s been put out there thus far is a good sign. Here’s hoping.

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