Cue John Denver, please. If only I could soundtrack this blog....We are getting CLOSE to 100 folks! Here are some of the incredible breweries that call Colorado home, and find a yummy place in my happy tummy. This is QUITE the trio. Enjoy!
BEER & BREWERY #94
New Belgium Blackberry Love Tart: Oh my blackberry love! Definitely a darker fruit quality (not the brightness associated with raspberry) with brambly vine and leaf notes, vanilla, oak, and that more restrained, earthier blackberry aroma. Resonates on the palate. Delicious! Nice mild sourness, and a sweetness on the back end that would prevent drinking substantial amounts, but it's a beautifully interesting beer. It was our great honor to taste this special brew during Dr. Bill's Rare Beer Tasting at Falling Rock, brought down by Lauren Salazar in pitchers! A dream come true....
I'll admit it. Before delving into New Belgium's line of sours, I wasn't their biggest fan. I've never enjoyed Fat Tire, and my exposure to the lineup of beers was sparse. Yes, it's not fair to judge an entire brewery on one beer, but sadly, I kinda did. So it was like a happy beer bottle thunk on the head when I first tasted La Folie, hands down one of my favorite American Sours. (Think Newton and the apple but sub out a New Belgium bottle falling from the great Craft beer tree.)
New Belgium began in 1989 with homebrewer Jeff Lebesch riding through Belgium. He returned and made a Dubbel and the beer that would become their trademark, Fat Tire. By 1991, they had brought their dream to the public, and they now operate one of the most popular craft breweries in the country. And people LOVE working there! After one year, employees are given their own bike and ownership in the company...awesome. In 1998, New Belgium became the first wind power brewery in the nation, making them admirable and beloved on even another level. It was most unfortunate I was unable to visit the brewery this year at GABF, but never fear. Your beer girl will be there NEXT year. Stay tuned!
BEER & BREWERY #93
Ska Nefarious Ten Pin Imperial Porter, 8% ABV: I have been hearing about this beer for quite some time, so I was thrilled they were offering it at GABF. Finally! Having tried and enjoyed their Modus Hoperandi, I knew I was in for a treat. Nice smokey aromas, with freshly brewed coffee and roasted bean, bitter chocolate, dried dark fruit, charred wood, and campfire. I like this nose. I am reminded of staying at a friend's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. Very smooth and easy drinking with nice bitter malt finish. If you like a little smokey (you know I do!) in your porter, I definitely recommend.
If you like comics and good vs. evil, you are going to LOVE their inventive and entertaining website. Sharply designed, they provide an entire cast of characters, including heroes and villians. Started in 1995 by two fellas named Dave Thibodeau and Bill Graham, Ska Brewing in Durango, Colorado, gives the craft beer world a good dose of comic satire and tasty beer. After all "It takes characters to brew beers of character."
BEER & BREWERY #92
Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter, 6.2% ABV: I like this one. As you know, I have issues with Baltic porters, as I often find them too intense, cloying, and off-balance. But there is none of that overly intense dried fruit, molasses, or heavy dark caramel here, but is nicely smokey and gives tickles of the Baltic porter elements rather than punches in the face. The notes of campfire and charred wood lend an element that brings the heavy nature of the Baltic porter into equilibrium. I picture the lady of justice holding the two scales with Baltic porter in one dish, and the smokey charred wood in the other. Nice.
I am a huge fan of Great Divide, so visiting the brewery was on my must-do list for GABF. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the festival, I enjoyed a late afternoon there tasting through four of their brews, including the Belgica, Titan IPA, and the Espresso-Aged Yeti. Stay tuned for a full brewery feature with the other beers tasted!
Until next time,
Get out there, visit your local breweries, and get hiiiigh on beer. Craft beer, that is.