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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January 17, 2014

Happy Leaf: A Different Kind of Brewery

Mention the word “brewery” and almost everyone, especially us Denverites, think of a big copper kettle, a bearded brewer, and sacks of hops and malts waiting to be turned into beer. However, when talking about Denver’s newest brewery, Happy Leaf, you’d be dead wrong. Instead of beer, the folks at Happy Leaf are brewing a fermented tea known as kombucha.

For those unfamiliar, kombucha is a lightly effervescent, sweet, yet tangy tea which is often served chilled. It is made by taking a sweetened tea (any tea works), adding a specialized mixture of bacteria and yeast, and allowing it ferment. It’s really not a whole lot different than beer, except that instead of the sugars coming from malted barley, they come from a source such as cane sugar or fruit juice. As it undergoes fermentation, alcohol is produced (again, just like beer). However, a unique bacteria then transforms the majority of the alcohol into acetic acid, the same tangy compound found in vinegar (not like beer).

Along with the acetic acid, a smidge of alcohol (typically below 0.5% ABV), and tea created during the fermentation process, all sorts of other enzymes, amino acids, phenols, and other organic acids are produced. Many believe that these compounds provide a variety of health benefits, ranging from hangover prevention to helping to cure cancer. Thus far, there has been no scientific research to substantiate such claims, but people the world over have experienced enough benefits for themselves to become believers.

In fact, this is how the owners of Happy Leaf, Jenny Lyons and Mike Burns, first got their start making kombucha. After Lyons was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, she decided to eschew chemo and pursue a homeopathic path instead; one that included drinking a significant amount of kombucha. Five years later, her cancer is in full remission; a fact that’s baffled her doctors and something she credits fully to this “magical” fermented tea.

After years of home brewing the tea, the couple decided to take their hobby to the next level and began selling it at farmer’s markets across the Front Range. Often made with fresh, local fruits and unusual flavors, the kombucha was instantly popular during the hot summer months.

This success enabled them to begin looking at expanding their operation to a permanent facility. So when a spot opened up in the red hot RiNo neighborhood, they jumped at the chance. Located on Brighton Boulevard, just a few short blocks from the trendy Source Marketplace, the locale should make for an easy stopover for those doing their gourmet shopping in the neighborhood.

Happy Leaf is highly industrial, with stark walls and high exposed ceilings. A comfortable bar of beetle kill pine (made by the couple) adds warmth and a smattering of pieces from local artists makes for enjoyable viewing.

While you can enjoy their kombucha on site, feel free to order a bottle to go. Lyons and Burns plan to offer five teas at any time, though high demand already has some selling out early. Their “regulars” are Pura Vida (coconut, ginger, lime) and Longevity (lemon, hibiscus, ginger), but look for a variety of unique, seasonal offerings to be on tap as well. Thus far, flavors like strawberry-basil and even a Simcoe dry-hopped version have been available.

Whether it’s for health-related interest, or just culinary curiosity, kombucha is well worth a try. Not only are they serving up a quality product at Happy Leaf, but their use of local ingredients helps you to feel good about spending your hard-earned cash. Next time you find yourself in the RiNo neighborhood be sure to stop in and try out this funky tea.

Kombucha Brewery Happy Leaf's Owners

Mike Burns and Jenny Lyons Happy Leaf’s Owners

Happy Leaf Kombucha

Happy Leaf Kombucha

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