A Roadside Reprieve: Suds Brothers in Fruita

So much of food and beverage writing is focused on criticism, whether it be high praise or brutal, honest disgust. From Yelp to Wine Spectator we are saturated with other people’s perspectives about what we are going to eat or drink. And there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s quite helpful.

But another category of writing interests us a bit more here at Colorado Brewery Days: the story.  Not is something good or bad, or worth a 10 hour drive or not worth a second of our time, but what happened while you were there? Why did you go? What did you see? Who did you meet? Continue reading

Crafty Ladies with Oskar Blues’ Hops and Heifers Farm

I knew going into the Oskar Blues Crafty Ladies  that I was going to have to pace myself, as Oskar Blues has some incredibly high ABV beers, but when I walked in and was handed a G’Knight (8.7% ABV) as the “starter” beer I really had to watch it. G’Knight is a smooth, yet strong, Imperial Red named for former master of brewing Gordon Knight. Lucas Allen, our Oskar Blues guide for the evening, shared some nice words about Gordon who won three GABF titles from three different breweries in the 1990s. Unfortunately, we lost Gordon too young while fighting a fire near Rocky Mountain National Park in 2002. But his glory lives on with the folks at Oskar Blues and G’Knight.

Oskar Blues is no stranger to Crafty Ladies events,  so to mix it up a bit the focus of the evening was around their Hops and Heifers Farm in Longmont.  Hops and Heifers is the 50 acre home to 100% Oskar Blues raised Black Angus cattle. The cows feast on the spent grain from brewing, which Allen described as “candy for the cows,” especially the grain from the Ten Fidy. They also have two acres of hops Continue reading

Crafty Ladies: Left Hand Brewing Company Oktoberfest

We walked into a room filled with cameras, lederhosen and beer. . . not your typical Crafty Ladies. Left Hand Brewing hosted their annual Oktoberfest Crafty Ladies event and head brewer, Ro, came dressed for the occasion, looking dapper in his traditional German garb. The cameras were a new addition for a special taping of Crafty Ladies to be aired on the new Beer:30 television show on Channel 3.  To say I was excited for this Crafty Ladies event is an understatement. I love Left Hand, they are one of my all time favorite craft breweries and knowing that they were going to put on an Oktoberfest extravaganza made me elated.

Upon arrival, we were handed the crisp and refreshing Polestar Pilsner to be paired with grilled artichoke and Highland Tap and Burger house-made duck liver pate.  Polestar is a German-style pils that is light in body with nice floral hops, which, as Left Hand’s VP of Brewing stated, paired perfectly with the earthiness of the duck. Continue reading

Crafty Ladies Summer BBQ Beer Dinner with Firestone Walker and Oskar Blues

Elizabeth Kagan from Firestone Walker and Chris “The Gubna” Katechis from Oskar Blues compiled an in-your-face tasting menu of big beers for our Summer BBQ Beer Dinner.  We started out light with the Solace and Mama’s Little Yella Pills weighing in at 4.8% and 5.3% respectively. Both beers are nice and easy session beers, perfect for the 30 minute time frame between arrival and the first course.  The Solace is a “summer fusion wheat” beer and Mama’s Little Yella Pills is the 2011 GABF Silver Medal winner. Bittered with Czech Saaz hops, Mama’s is a great pilsner that went down smoothly on the hot summer night. Both beers are currently on tap at Highland Tap and Burger, though the Solace is headed out to make room for one of Firestone’s fall brews. Continue reading

Crafty Ladies: Alaskan Brewing

“It’s summer time in Alaska and the campfire is roaring.”

This slogan embodies the Crafty Ladies event with Alaskan Brewing on Tuesday, July 10th, where bottles of Smoked Porter from 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2011 surprised and delighted our palettes. We were fortunate to explore the intricacies of this toasty brew through our vertical tasting that began with the youngest and smokiest 2011 to the twelve-year-old, slightly smoky and definitely sweet 2000. Ashley and Darin, representatives from Alaskan Brewing, certainly put their best foot forward by thoughtfully pairing the delicious food from Highland Tap and Burger with these four vintages of their most robust porter. Continue reading

American-Style Beer Dinner

Crafty Ladies Tasting and Tales #6: Spring Beer Dinner with Left Hand and Firestone Walker (5/17/2012)

The Spring Beer Dinner with Crafty Ladies was inspired by “distinctively American style beers.” In honor of Colorado Beer Week, Highland Tap and Burger along with Left Hand Brewing and Firestone Walker Brewing led us through an American beer (and food) feast. This was one of those rare events where spouses, boyfriends, partners, etc. were also invited. So the room was filled with beer loving women, and beer loving men.

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Deschutes Brewery

Crafty Ladies Brewery Tasting and Tales #5: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR (5/8/2012)

Renee Linholm, Deschutes Brewery Market Manager for Colorado and New Mexico, led us on another delicious Crafty Ladies tour. We tasted six beers in all, most familiar to my palette, but there were some great surprises along the way.  It seems that everyone knows of at least one of Deschutes’ beers at this point.  In fact, when Linholm asked who was familiar with Deschutes, 99% of hands rose to the air, speaking to the great marketing and reception of Deschutes in the Rocky Mountain state.  Their flagship beer, the Black Butte Porter, has been a long time favorite of mine. I think it was one of the first beers I tried in college that turned me on to the craft beer revolution.

Linholm and the talented staff at Highland Tap and Burger (HTB) were diligent and thoughtful in their pairings with all the beers. They also brought out some new culinary  treats to the Crafty Ladies. Continue reading