This Week in Colorado Beer
What? A weekend without a beer festival? . . .
Saturday (today), 2 to 6 p.m.:
Boulder's newest brewery, Upslope Brewing Co
., will break out its Belgian Dubbel at a release party that includes cheap pints and some free eats.
Monday: Fort Collins Brewery
taps Common Ground, a collaboration between it and Jackie's Java to create a coffee-infused amber ale.
*Already missing the spate of summer beers that debuted this season? Crabtree Brewery
in Greeley just cracked open a Strawberry Blonde to ensure you don't have to drink dark beer before all the kids are back in school.
*Wednesday: Trinity Brewing
of Colorado Springs is putting its Flo IPA on cask at the same time it keeps it on its regular tap as well. Crazy.
Tuesday, 5 to 8 p.m.:
Great Divide holds its latest beer and cheese pairing. Here's a tip that I've learned firsthand: If you're wanting to go, make sure you RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Patrick at 303.296.9460 x29. It will be worth it.
Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: Can't get enough of that Flo IPA? Trinity hosts a $55 six-course beer pairing dinner, with a maximum of 20 seats available. Call 719-634-0029.
Labels: Crabtree Brewery, Fort Collins Brewing, Great Divide, Trinity Brewing, Upslope Brewing
Five Things I Learned from the Manitou Craft Lager Festival
The seventh annual Manitou Craft Lager Festival took place this past weekend, and at two full days with 22 different breweries (and one beer made by about a dozen brewers), it was bigger than ever. One is always tempted to use the cliche "bigger and better," and with a bevy of good bluegrass music and host Jason Yester strolling throughout the festival talking beer with everyone, that expression is probably true.
But I'll choose to use the term "bigger and smarter" instead, because that's how I came away from the event. And here's a few of those things to smarten you up that many attendees may have picked up this year:
1) Just because a beer is of a typically light style doesn't mean it is. Ask especially the Sam Adams Double Bock
, which was, in the opinion of this one beer geek, the offering of the festival. A dark, malty, ass-kicking beer that weighed in at 9.5 percent ABV, this is the most complex version of a lager that you'll find. Kudos as well to Carver Brewing's X-Rock Bock, whose big alcohol left it with a caramely sweet taste.
2) Even if it is light doesn't mean it tastes anything like (Insert Megabrewery Here) Light. Some of the finest sips on this 85-degree day came from thin, translucent beers with easy malt flavoring - the emphasis being on actual flavor. Left Hand's Polestar Pilsner (which judges named the beer of the festival) was crisp, refreshing and style-defining. Likewise, Del Norte's pale Orale Mexican-style lager was just lightly hopped and sweet enough to pronounce its personality without getting in the way of your need for something less than chewy under the summer sun.
3) Fruit, which soars in Belgian-style ales and adds personality if done right in regular ales, can be intrusive in a lager. Ask Michelob, whose Pear Beer resembled a pushy cider but not a beer. Even Rocky Mountain Brewing, the Colorado Springs envelope-pushers who have added everything but a thick steak to their beers in their first year of existence, demonstrated that a little lemongrass in a lager might intrigue you, but it also can take over the beer.
4) "Bitter" and "lager" no longer are mutually exclusive terms. Shmaltz Brewing, another envelope pusher, opened a lot of eyes with its Sword Swallower, an IPA-inspired lager brewed with eight hops that jolted while most of the other beers poured at the festival soothed. Meanwhile, Boulder Beer rolled out a new Rye't On! Lager that presented a spicy and bitter taste to you.
5) Pug Ryan's
needs to find a way to get its Helles Good Beer out to the Colorado market somehow. A sweet and highly malty seasonal bock that somehow finishes with cooling properties, it had the best combination of originality and drinkability of any lager on tap. A number of people said the same thing at the 2008 Arapahoe Basin beer festival. The small Dillon brewpub right now cans just one of its concoctions - its Morningwood Wheat. If you can't wait for the Helles to come to you, I'd suggest getting up to Summit County to try it this summer.
Labels: Festivals, Manitou Springs, Pug Ryan's, Sam Adams
This Week in Colorado Beer
A quick edition for the beer drinker on the go . . .
Saturday and Sunday, 1-6 p.m.: Manitou Craft Lager Festival
. One of the best beer festivals in Colorado expands to two days and relocates to roomier Memorial Park in Manitou Springs. Tickets are $35 at the door - but they only take cash. Brewers from more than 20 states will be on hand, and there will even be daily beer education talks.
*The Colorado State Fair is like a festival, but really big. And the state fair accepts entries from both commercial brewers
. But the entries are due on Aug. 15, so if you've got something good that's done or about to be done, you may want to think about submitting it.
*Trinity Brewing of Colorado Springs on Thursday released Libidinous, an unhopped lager brewed with juniper berries, chai and saffron. It is available at the brewery
or at the Manitou Craft Lager Festival.
Thursday, 5-7 p.m.: Falling Rock Taphouse
in Denver is pouring Russian River Temptation, a blonde ale aged in French oak barrels with brettanomyces.
*Great Divide Brewery
in downtown Denver has extended its tap room hours until 10 p.m. from Wednesday through Saturday. Now, I'll never get home again.
Labels: Falling Rock Taphouse, Festivals, Great Divide, Trinity Brewing