Friday, May 16, 2008

And . . . it's on-line

As promised, Beer Run has gone on-line. Today's looks at one man's opinions of the best brews in Colorado Springs. Want a dark beer during the Democratic state convention? How about an ale awaiting you after Air Force Academy graduation? Click here to see what's out there:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beer Run Changing Formats

For those of you who have followed my Beer Run column in the Go section of The Gazette for the past five years - and have wondered where it's been for the past four months - the answer is that its abscence has largely been a victim of the shrinking space of our paper. So, starting tomorrow, Beer Run will be featured in a whole new format.

The column will become the first exclusively on-line column run by the G, an effort to continue to get all-important beer news out to readers while also dealing with the limitations of a modern newspaper. The good news is that this will allow me to write a little bit longer and more in-depth about subjects, starting with tomorrow's look at the best beers in the Springs. The bad news is that you won't be able to just open the hard copy of the paper and read the column on a bus . . . unless you carry a PDA or laptop . . . which many people do now. So, I guess the downside isn't really that down.

With this, I will return to my regular format of writing once every two weeks. And now that the legislative session has ended (you know, my pesky real job), I'll try to blog every couple of days rather than every couple of weeks.

My thanks as always to everyone who actually wants to hear what I have to say about beer. Let's keep the talk going and the good beer flowing.

Hooray for the Beer Pairing Dinner

For my birthday this week, my wife took me out to one of my favorite growing phenomena - the beer pairing dinner. The concept - putting fine food together with fine beers to create a wonderful tasting experience - would have been nothing short of ridiculous 30 years ago, when American brews offered all the gourmet pleasures of, oh, an Arby's. Now, however, beer is moving rapidly into the territory that wine once dominated in being food-friendly.

How do I know? I heard it Tuesday from some really good sources - the brewers themselves. Left Hand Brewing owner Eric Wallace said he's doing four to six beer dinners a month now, and the events aren't relegated to the Front Range alone. People's eyes are being opened to what is out there, and they're loving what a good beer can add to food (since these are, really, two of the greatest things in life).

There is the way the flavors of the beer can complement a meal. At this particular pairing at Duo Restaurant in Denver, Left Hand's Milk Stout, for example, was the perfect lead in to the desert of marscarpone ice cream, the slightly sweet dark body of the beer paving the way for the taste-bud-blowingly cream and sweet feel for the food.

And sometimes, the beer becomes far more than a complement and actually enhances the flavor of the food in a way that no other beverage would. This was made clear when we combined the simple roasted pork dinner with Avery's Out of Bounds Stout. The pork was nice on its own; when you first ran the thick, chocolatey stout over your tongue before eating it, however, it was like you were coating the meat in a new taste, almost like you'd created a mole pork dish in your mouth.

It's worth noting, I suppose, that had I written about beer-drinking in this way 30 years ago, I probably would have been stared at before having a Coors bottle smashed upon my head. But just in case this has made you curious about the beer-pairing dinner sensation, it's worth noting that Duo ( is doing another one on June 18 with Breckenridge and Tommyknocker.

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