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This Friday (July 23) is the 4th annual Denver Summer Brew Fest. It’s at Mile High Station, and should be an awesome time. There’s about 35 breweries there, music, and even a VIP early entrance that includes a beer and cheese pairing.

Some other cool stuff of note.. If you ride your bike there, you get $5 off the ticket price. Of course that means buying at the door, and it could sell out. It’s limited to 1500 people.

It looks like some awesome breweries are gonna be there (see list below), including the 3 I brewed at a few weeks ago (Strange, Mountain Sun and New Belgium). There’s a bunch I’ve never heard of or haven’t had the opportunity to try, such as Abita and Anderson Valley. Most are in state, but a few have traveled (Stone) far (Alaskan) for us.

I went to the Winter Brew Fest (same group puts it on, but it’s in the winter. Crazy, I know) and it was a blast.

I’m going. See you there?


Info and stuff:

TICKETS: General Admission: $30 advance, $35 day of, VIP Tickets – $40 advance, $45 day of.  Available on www.denverbrewfest.com

WHERE: Mile High Station by Invesco Field  www.milehighstation.com

WHEN: 6-10pm VIP, 7-10pm GA on Friday, July 23rd, 2010

WHO: This is a RightOn Productions event benefiting Swallow Hill Music Association www.swallowhill.org.

Attending Breweries:

  • Abita
  • Alaskan
  • Anderson Valley
  • Asher
  • Blue Moon
  • Boulder Beer
  • Bristol
  • Colorado Native Now
  • Crabtree
  • Del Norte
  • Deschuttes
  • Grand Lake
  • Great Divide
  • Herman Joseph
  • Hops
  • Killians
  • Lefthand
  • Leinekugels
  • Mountain Sun
  • New Belgium
  • New Planet
  • Odell
  • Oskar Blues
  • Pyramid
  • Rock Bottom and Breckenridge
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Ska
  • Stone
  • Strange Brew
  • Tommyknocker
  • Trinity
  • Twisted Pine
  • Upslope
  • Wynkoop

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This is the second part of my event recap. For the first part of the story, please visit my post on the Hop Press.

Anyway, back to Odell. Chad poured me a Friek, a blended and aged cherry sour with a touch of raspberry, and the help of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. I’m not generally a huge fan of fruit beers, but the cheery was very understated. It was a great sour.

Bristol Brewing, one of the first breweries I ever experienced, brought their Flanders Red. It was a blend, aged for six years. Super tart and delicious. Not too much body to it, but absolutely amazing flavor. I shared it with Chad, and he explained that it had been aging for so long that a lot of the body has fallen out, letting the crisp sourness explode. Definitely a great beer.

I lived in Colorado Springs for five years while I was in school. I chatted with Boone of Bristol about our shared experiences in that town. Boone is a great guy. Very fun. He invited us to stop back at the booth at 6 for a special treat. More on that later.

Besides all the breweries, there were a few other kinds of booths. Draft Magazine was there, as well as White Labs, and a few others. I chatted with John Carroll from White Labs for a little bit. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Pointing at WLP007 Dry English Ale I like this one the best.
John: Yes! The James Bond yeast!
Me: Exactly! Sneaks in quietly, takes down everything in the room, and leaves without a trace.
John: I’ve never thought of it that way…
We both ponder the analogy, and then go on with our lives

Obviously, this was a little later into the festival…

At one point, I looked over at the Allagash booth and saw Sam Calagione serving. Apparently Rob needed a break, and Sam stepped in to lend a hand. I love this industry.

Sam Calagione serving Allagash

There was one surprise guest. Michelob was there. They brought a few beers, and I tried their Whiskey Stout. It’s funny, the bottles all had Bud Light caps on them, so the bins had blankets over to hide the caps from us, the consumer. Anyway, the Whiskey Stout… It smelled great. It tasted pretty awesome initially. But it didn’t have much body for a stout, and the flavor died as soon as you swallowed. The guys at the booth were nice. I asked if anyone had given them grief for being there, and I guess one guy had been obnoxious, but for the most part people were intrigued. Comment on their presence as you will. They still can’t make a great beer.

Sam Adams brought some Utopias with them. I’d never bothered to wait in line at GABF for a taste, but here there was no wait. So I had a taster of the massive beer. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan, though I am glad to have tried it. At 27%, I’m not sure it’s really even beer. But, I had it.

After bouncing around to a bunch of other breweries, including Great Divide, Schmaltz, Gore Range, Left Hand, Deschutes, Stone, Upslope, etc., it was time to go back to Bristol. Boone had a bottle of Bristol’s Grand Cru. It was unmarked, just sitting in the cooler behind the booth. He affectionately referred to it as “The Shit”. I would not disagree. He described to me the contents of this brew, but I’m sad to say I did not write them down, and my memory of the exact words escapes me. But, “The Shit” adequately describes it. Pretty much, if you have the chance, take a sip, but I’m guessing it’s one of the harder offerings to find.

I tried a lot of other amazing beers. I really could go on for even longer, but obviously I’ve said a lot so far. There is one more beer I want to tell you about.

Altitude Chophouse & Brewery in Laramie, Wyoming, brought something amazing.

They call it Krampus. According to Wikipedia, Krampus is a mythical creature, not unlike our old friend Moloch. Apparently, he travels the world with St. Nicholas. Old St. Nick hands out the good stuff to the good kids. But the bad kids get coal? I think not! Krampus finds his pleasure in punishing the bad kids.

As a beer, Krampus is a spiced weizenbock. Following the rule of 58 – a rule I learned of that night, and I’m pretty sure involves math – the brewer combines the estery flavors of banana and clove with mulling spices, caramel, and raisin malt. Oh. My. If this is what I get for being a bad boy, I’ll never be good again.

Overall, the festival is absolutely amazing. If you’re able to go next year, I highly, highly advise it. The beer, the people, the town, it all adds up to the best beer festival I’ve been to.

I’d like to thank Laura and Bill of Highpoint Brewing for setting up the event. Also, Kell Benson and Phill Tearse took some wonderful photos. You can see more of their shots in this slide show, or their individual Flickr pages: Kell Benson’s FlickrPhill Tearse’s Flickr

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Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival
This post is copied from my post on the HopPress

What are you up to January 7-9? Nothing? Then get yourself to Vail, Colorado, for the 10th annual Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines festival.

There will be dinners. Seminars. Competition. And beer. Lots of big beers.

The event starts Thursday night with a Brewmaster’s dinner. Adam Avery, Brewmaster/Founder of Avery Brewing, and Sam Calagione, Founder/President of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, join brewing and culinary forces for their Calibration Dinner.

Friday from 8:30-12 is the opportunity to show what you know about beer and brewing with Ray Daniels’ Cicerone Program.

Friday at 12, get ready to taste the big beers. All About Beer Magazine brings in beers specifically created for the 10th anniversary of this event.

At 1:30, the AHA-sanctioned Belgians, Barleywines and Strong Ales Homebrew Competition gets underway. Entries for the competition are due December 30th, so get on it!

2:30 is another chance to prove your beer industry knowledge with the Certified Cicerone Exam.

Friday night at 8pm is the Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Brewmasters’ Dinner. Featured brewmaster Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium will be joined by international featured brewmaster Lodewijk Swinkels of LaTrappe at Bierbrouwerij Koningshoeven.

Saturday morning’s seminar should be really interesting. It’s brought to us by  White Labs Yeast, and is on the recent explosion of experimental brews. The seminar is entitled “Brewing Outside of the Box: Brewers Gone Wild!” This seminar is followed by another by International Featured Brewmaster, Lodewijk Swinkels of LaTrappe/ Bierbrouwerij Koningshoeven. Immediately after is a seminar by Colorado Featured Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing Co. Both of these seminars will be on topics of each brewer’s choice.

And finally, the event you’ve all been waiting for. From 2:30 – 7 is the commercial tasting portion of the festival. With around 150 commercially produced brews, the homebrew competition award ceremony, and a beer and food pairing challenge, this event is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Here are the breweries participating in the event:

  • Alaskan
  • Allagash
  • Altitude
  • Anchor Brewing
  • Anheuser-Busch
  • Avery
  • BJ’s
  • Bosteels
  • Boston Beer Co.
  • Boulder
  • Boulevard
  • Breckenridge
  • Bristol
  • Bruery
  • Cambridge
  • Caracole
  • Carver
  • Chouffe
  • Corsendonk
  • Delirium
  • De Ranke
  • Des Rocs
  • Deschutes
  • Dogfish Head
  • Dry Dock
  • Dubuisson
  • Dupont
  • Duvel
  • Eisenbahn
  • Flying Dog
  • Flying Fish
  • Glenwood Canyon
  • Gouden Carolous
  • Grand Lake
  • Grand Teton
  • Great Divide
  • Green Flash
  • He’brew/Schmaltz
  • Hoegaarden
  • Jolly Pumpkin
  • Kapuziner
  • Kasteel
  • Koningshoeven
  • Klumbacher
  • Leffe
  • Left Hand
  • Lindemans
  • Lion
  • Lost Abbey
  • Maredsous
  • Meantime
  • Mendocino
  • Moinette
  • New Belgium
  • Odell
  • Ommegang
  • Orval
  • Oskar Blues
  • Pagosa Brewing
  • Papago
  • Pinkus
  • Port Brewing
  • Pumphouse
  • Redstone Meadery
  • Rogue
  • Russian River
  • Samichlaus
  • Samuel Smith
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Silverton
  • Ska
  • Slaghmuylder
  • St. Bernardus
  • St. Feuillien
  • Steamworks
  • Stone
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Trinidad
  • Uinta
  • Urthel
  • Val-Dieu
  • Victory
  • Westmalle
  • Wynkoop

I will be the festival all day Saturday, and if work allows, all day Friday as well. I’ll have a full write up here, so if you can’t make it, you can read all about it. It looks like an awesome event, and I’m really excited to check it out. Plus, it’s in Vail. Anyone up for some turns on Sunday?

For more information on the festival, check out their website at bigbeersfestival.com.

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The first ever Breakfast & Brewing is planned for this Sunday (12/20).

baconAround 11am, we’ll have omelets, bacon, coffee, and more, and maybe even some Fraggle Rock or Pinky and the Brain.

Around 12 or so, we’ll kick off the brew. I’m not sure what style we’re going to make yet, but it will be a partial-mash of deliciousness.

If you really want to see a certain style, leave a comment or ping me on Twitter. And make sure you sign up for the newsletter to get these notices ASAP.

Whether you want to be a part of every step of the process, or just hang out with like-minded beer people, this should be a fun day.

If you want to join, reply to this email. I need a head count for bacon purchasing, and I’ll give you directions and whatnot.

See you Sunday!

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