No, despite some people’s attempt to claim it as fact, beer is not an American enterprise in the way that baseball, July 4th, and the word “dude” are absolutely defined entities of the U.S. Like it or not, the brewing process traveled the high seas from Europe to the Jersey shore. While America is certainly defining beer for the 21st century, craft beer-makers here in Colorado spend a lot of time considering, adapting and reinventing Old World styles, honoring their ancestors everyday.
Though my attendance at the Crafty Ladies Holiday Beer Event is no longer news worthy, the “Old World/New World” theme presented at the dinner by Merchant du Vin and our very own Avery Brewing Company, got me thinking, and paying even more attention to the roots of the styles I enjoy everyday.
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 →
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 →
There’s no better way to start a day than with a beer.
Even better, I began a day in July with seven Crafty Ladies at a place that makes some of the tastiest beer in the state, one of the happiest places on earth. We’re talking Disneyland-two-hours-before the-gates-open happy: Odell Brewing. On this special Crafty Ladies brew day, we arrived at an empty tap room, (a truly rare site at Odell, only possible because of the early 9 am hour), where they gave us our pick of whatever morning beer suited us best. I tried several samples from the current Pilot Series: Strawberry Rhubarb Saison, Thick as Thieves Stout on nitro, Pomegranate Pale on cask, and an oak aged IPA from their Woodcut Series. Ultimately, I withdrew to the breakfast of champions, my favorite, St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale.
After this rather tough decision, we headed into the brewery to assist Linsey Cornish, Odell’s one and only female brewer, (she’s also one of just two women who work in the entire Odell brewing operations sector). Continue reading →
“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 →
You may have noticed a few postings on our Facebook page and recent blog posts about California breweries. We took a little sabbatical from Colorado beer to explore breweries both big and small from San Diego to Sonoma Counties. During 600 miles of driving, we visited 25 breweries and wineries, including three beer meccas that were simply magical. The Webster Dictionary regards meccas “as a center for a specified group, activity, or interest;” Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, Lagunitas in Petaluma, and Russian River in Santa Rosa fulfill Webster’s definition exactly. And though all three breweries offered very different experiences, it seemed that angelic choirs of beer gods sang to us as we walked up to the front entrance of each location, acknowledging our arrival to very special places. Continue reading →
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.