Breckenridge Brewery and the Crafty Ladies

From Lady Lupulin

Breckenridge Brewery made an appearance in front of the Crafty Ladies during two February gatherings, the only brewery to return for a second annual visit so far. I attended the session on Monday, February 20th, with a significantly smaller group than the packed room during the Firestone Walker tasting last month. But it was still a very successful evening. I met some great beer aficionados and managed to taste some new beers paired perfectly with food from Highland Tap & Burgers’ exquisite kitchen.

Starting the evening off right, we had the Spring Seasonal: Pandora’s Bock, paired with perfectly fried tortilla chips like you get in Mexico (hard to find in Denver) and a salsa verde. Pandora’s Bock will be distributed in 6-packs exclusively this spring. It’s a malt-driven German-style bock with lager yeast that sits in the fermenters for an impressive 8 weeks. This is an extremely long time for a brewery that’s distributing to 33 states with a growing need to push its brewing capacity to the limits.

Up next was the Oatmeal Stout paired with a triple cream cheese on a rice cracker. The Oatmeal Stout was the first beer ever made by Breckenridge over 25 years ago. It’s a straight forward oatmeal stout that’s even better on nitro, (which my husband and I previously enjoyed at Breckenridge’s Kalamath location).

The Vanilla Porter came for our third course, and I have to admit I’ve tried this beer on other occasions and wasn’t too fond of it. But through the brilliance of our Breckenridge guide, we were served a cup of vanilla ice cream alongside . . . can anyone say Vanilla Porter Float?! The Vanilla Porter was originally made in Breckenridge about 6-7 years ago as a local seasonal beer. The brewers in Denver were adamant against brewing a beer with vanilla.  Eventually they gave into the pressure. And it’s a good thing, because it’s now the number 1 seller for the brewery, (maybe much to the dismay of the brewers?).

I hadn’t heard of the next beer until about 10 minutes before it was served. Annie, a fellow Crafty Lady, was raving about the 72 Imperial as we were conversing about favorite beers and breweries. What we didn’t know was that this was the next beer on the tasting menu, cheekily paired with a grilled pb&j on none other than Wonder Bread.

The 72 Imperial is named for the 7.2 ABV. But it’s so much more than that: a double chocolate cream stout, brewed with 250 pounds of chocolate in each batch from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. They are bottling as we speak, so look for it at your local distributor in the next few weeks. The buzz word around the room for this beer as we were tasting was “crackalicious.” Indeed.

Rounding out the evening was one of my favorite hoppy delights that Denver has to offer, the 471 IPA. It was paired with a deconstructed blue cheese cake with pretzel crust and orange fig compote . . . in translation: a pretzel cracker with blue cheese and orange fig jam . . . in translation again: delicious.

The 471 is named after the 471 Kalamath Breckenridge location, where all Breckenridge beer is currently brewed. It’s a hop-forward beer brewed with west coast hops and dry-hopped with Chinook. I really like this beer and have been known to order more than a couple 471s, whether I’m at the Alehouse at Amato’s or getting a pulled pork sandwich at the Kalamath location. It is a really well-crafted beer with a great balance of hops and malts in the finish. Have I mentioned how much I like this beer? I’m really glad this was chosen as the dessert course.

Congratulations to Katie and all the staff at Highland Tap and Burger for another great Crafty Ladies event. Looking forward to Renegade Brewing in March!

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