Jagged Mountain in Downtown Denver: Your Local Brew #5

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With nearly 200 breweries now in Colorado, character is the one thing that will make a new place stand out.  Every brewery has the opportunity to put a twist on their stout, place their unique stamp on the tap room theme, or create a particular community vibe.

Jagged Mountain offers such character with a clear style to their beer, atmosphere, and community outreach, making them a great micro-brewery to finally pair with the near-by and ever-expanding Great Divide. And fortunately for all of us, their tap room will accommodate the crowds they should expect since they’re just a stones throw from the heart of downtown and Coors Field. So pull up a stool and enjoy …

… beautiful pictures of Colorado and mountain ranges the world over. These guys are outdoor enthusiast and mountaineers most definitely.  I joyfully imagine that a copy of Freedom of the Hills sits next to their beer recipes. After the Dirty Thirty Ultra this summer, I look forward to drinking my “earned” specialty beer.

… their “High Octane” beer menu which is a tour de force of big, bold, and flavorful brews. Though sometimes circumstances indicate that it’s best to play it safe in the mountains, that mode shouldn’t apply to breweries in Colorado.  Jagged Mountain is definitely testing the limits and walking the edge. Reminiscent of Elevation in Poncha Springs, I’m ready to take this adventure with them.

… contributing to the Jagged Gives program. Talk about an innovative way to give back to their local community.  I was already intrigued by this brewery after a few samples, but their poster about this project on my way out the door really made me pleased with what this team is up to. All small businesses should consider the community as part of their bottom line.

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Colorado Springs’ Red Leg: Your Local Brew #4

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Tasty beer, knowledgeable and friendly staff, locals that will share a pint with you, and a theme dedicated to honoring our military men and women: Red Leg has it all. Colorado Springs is lucky to have this new spot on the northwest side of town … another great place to enjoy a post-work pint, or a beer after hiking in Garden of the Gods.

I stopped in there on a Friday afternoon earlier this month, right as they opened their doors at 2 pm. The bartender happily poured me a tasting tray while sharing many thoughts on the beer and Red Leg’s mission as a brewery.  Some regulars indulged me with their appreciation for Red Leg’s drafts, and other beer tourists, including a couple from Oregon and two army colonels, shared in my enjoyment of the tap selection.

And I’m always looking around businesses for clever innovations. Let’s just say that Red Leg’s is hidden … on purpose.  There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about breweries being designed to build community, and to do so, brewery designers recommend focusing the brewery on conversation and interaction by not filling the tap room with flatscreen T.V.s.

I appreciate this. But let’s be honest with ourselves, when Bronco Fever takes over, a bar without a T.V. will see a drop in customers and lose a prime opportunity to build camaraderie.  With all this in consideration, the crafty minds of Red Leg installed a retractable big screen.  So when the big game is on, (Broncos, Hockey Playoffs, or Lindsay Vaughn in the Olympics), we can enjoy our sports, and drink our beer too. Then the T.V. disappears when it would otherwise just be blaring  in the background with a golf match, or even worse, the dreaded ESPN football commentary show.

Mountain Toad: Your Local Brew – Part 3

Another Foothills Classic

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Golden was once home to only  Coors and its “2nd largest brewery,” Golden City Brewery. But the wave of Colorado breweries opening in 2013 has brought new taps to this delightful foothills community.  I visited Mountain Toad for the first time with a friend from out-of-town after enjoying the tasty cuisine at the near-by Sherpa House.

It was a chilly evening, so we went straight for their darker beers: the Coal Creek Black IPA and the Ryrish stout.  I was immediately impressed by the quality of both brews: well-balanced and traditional stylistic elements with a twist. Continue reading

Epic Brewing: Your Local Brew – Part 2

EpicStraight from their website, “the Epic [Brewing Co.] Team has a strong belief in doing everything all out.” And we’re now benefiting from their mentality here in Denver, as this Salt Lake City brewery has opened their doors in the RiNo. While I always write with accolades, it takes a lot these days for me to get really stoked on a new beer or a new brewery. But Epic has me ecstatic to call them a Mile High “local brew” for many reasons. My main excitement comes with their expansive, almost unfathomably expansive, beer menu . . . which is all their beer.

They offer not-so-basic, basic brews including IPAs, Lagers, Porters, and Wheat Beers in their Classic Series. And then Continue reading

Diebolt Brewing: Your Local Brew – Part 1

Your Local Brew is a mini-series charged withThe Sunday Crowd at Diebolt Brewing catching-up on all the incredible new breweries that opened in 2013.  A year ago, we could make the claim that we’d visited every brewery in the state, but with the fury of grand openings during the last ten months, and several more openings between now and early 2014, we have a lot of Colorado Craft tasting to complete.

While exploring some of the newest spots in the state, a theme emerged early on, and it’s a theme that we’ve observed many times before: there’s quite possibly room for a small brewery to open up in your neighborhood, in every neighborhood. Like the local dive bars of yesteryear, once made hip again by the hipsters and the DINKS, a new brewery has the potential to quickly become a gathering place for the after-work crowd, the post-dinner social, and the Saturday pint. Continue reading

The Tasty Privilege of Maui’s Local Variety

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Beer List at Maui Brewing (by KRoark)

We recently enjoyed a little beach vacation time in Hawaii, which meant the good fortune of checking out the Maui Brewing company facilities first-hand, (both their brewery and their brew-pub).  We heard the owner speak at a GABF event two years ago and have been intrigued by the company’s deep commitment to local production and sourcing ever since.  Maui-made is something in which the islanders have a great deal of pride and they should, especially since many “Hawaiian” products are brewed or manufactured on the mainland.

The biggest surprise though during our visit was the shear quantity of beers the brew-pub had on-tap. In took three visits, but we managed to sample all 22 of their ales, lagers, and specialty beer.  They’d organized their menu into the categories of “hoppy,” “regional releases,” “dark and malty,” and “lagers,” which made each visit and tasting flight distinct.

This diversity was astounding for the obvious reason that here in Colorado, we don’t benefit from the vast array of delicious beer that Maui Brewing Company creates; shelf space, limitations on distribution, and the volume of production make this impossible and understandably so. While we enjoy a few of their brews via can (Coconut Porter and the Big Swell IPA), their most exciting and interesting beer demands a long flight and some dedicated beer tourism. Continue reading

An Old Favorite: Odell

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Anybody know the current count of breweries in the state?  Continue reading