Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Green Flash - Le Freak

I was not officially introduced to the beers of Green Flash until last year at the Great American Beer Fest 2010. Let me tell you that it made quite an impact, not just for myself, but for many of the conventioneers. I found myself going back again and again to try these wonderful brews.
Although Le Freak is certainly not a new beer to me as I have been steadily consuming it for the past year. I thought that now was as good a time as any to write an official review.

With Le Freak you are truly getting the best of both worlds as it is a combination of two of my favorite styles of beer, an Imperial IPA and a Belgian Trippel. When you first pour this beer you will see that it is an orange copper color with an absolutely huge off-white, creamy head. The carbonation level is a bit higher than your normal pale ale. The aroma has a nose of fruit, hops and that tang that can only come from Belgian yeast. The first sip can be a confusing one as your pallet picks up citrus hops, Belgian yeast and fruit flavors such as orange and peach. This beer is so well balanced and complex that it can be almost difficult to describe. After the first sip of the beer I can pick up back flavors such as toast and resin from the hops.

There is nothing better then a well made beer and this is one of them. Green Flash was able to take two very distinct beer styles and combined them so perfectly that you would never even consider that it hasn't been made this way for hundreds of years. The only bad comment I can make is that I am now out of Le Freak and will have to find some more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Odell Brewing Co - Myrcenary Double IPA

I have always been a big fan of Odell Brewing Co, and likewise a big fan of India Pale Ales. So I was extremely anxious to try Myrcenary. What better place, then to go to the source and have a pint at the Odell taproom.

Myrcernary is a 9.3% ABV Double IPA that was named after Myrcene, which is a component of the essential oil found within the hops plant. The idea being that Odell Brewing wanted to created a Double IPA utilizing the hop varieties that have the largest amount of Myrcene in them.

As it is first poured, Myrcenary is a clear golden color with a tint of orange. It has a thick creamy white head that when dissipates, leaves a beautiful lace. The aroma is of resiny hops and pine mixed with tropical fruits. The flavor has very strong American hops characteristics full of floral and citrus flavors such as grapefruit and orange. I would take a guess that it has some Amarillo and Cascade hops in the recipe. It is very bitter and yet well balanced. Although this is a high alcohol beer, the hops and malt mask any hint of alcohol warmth, making it a dangerously drinkable and refreshing beer.

Overall, this is a wonderful IPA that easily captures the citrus and floral flavors that I love. I enjoyed this so much that I would go as far to say that it is right up there as one of my favorite Double IPA's and has earned a place of honor in my fridge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fort Collins Collusion 2011

In honor of American Craft Beer Week, Nine breweries from Ft Collins, CO joined together in what may very well be the largest collaboration of beer ever made. OK, I actually don't know if this is even remotely true, but nine seems like a lot of breweries to work together and create a beer.

In April, brewers from C.B. & Potts, Coopersmith, Crooked Stave, Equinox Brewery, Fort Collins Brewery, Funkwerks, New Belgium Brewing Co., Odell Brewing and Pateros Creek Brewing got together and created what has been named Collusion 2011. They used ingredients that were sourced locally such as Schezwan peppercorns from the Old Town Spice Shop, as well as Elderflower and Chrysanthemum  from the Happy Lucky’s Teahouse. The ingredients were then brewed at both the Coopersmith and Equinox Breweries.

In a town that prides itself on its exceptional breweries, this has created quite a stir in Ft. Collins. I had the opportunity to sit down at Funkwerks to try the Collusion 2011. It is a Pale Ale with strong herbal aroma, the appearance is a hazy golden color with a creamy white head. When I first tasted the beer, I was taken back by the strong peppercorn flavor. It also seemed to have a back flavor of ginger, even though I do not believe there is any ginger in the beer. The floral and herbal flavors were reminiscent of a tea as they overpowered any hint of malt.

Although the Collusion 2011 has received some wonderful reviews and is obviously a creative and well brewed beer, It was not really my cup of tea, (pun intended). This may be because peppercorns and ginger are two flavors that I have never been overly fond of, especially in my beer. Regardless, The people of Ft Collins and the brewers should be very proud of what they have created and the example they are setting for the rest of the country. Keep it up, I can't wait to try Collusion 2012 in the next year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Freshcraft - Fresh Food, Craft Beer

 Over the last week, I did what many overly obsessed beer drinkers did, I used American Craft Beer Week as an excuse to go out and drink some great beer. One of the places I was lucky enough to visit was Freshcraft in Downtown Denver. When I say lucky, I mean it, as I just happen to drive by and see it after I had left the Great Divide Brewery. Since I was getting pretty hungry, it seemed like the perfect place to stop.

The idea behind Freshcraft is a simple one, yet very rare. The idea is to have great food and great beer in one place (shocking, I know). When I first sat down at the bar area, I was greeted by Ariana who was extremely pleasant and kind enough to recommend some favorites from both the food and beer menus. I ordered a sandwich called the Fresh Pretzel Turkey Baja, as I didn't want a huge meal. Let me tell you that it hit the spot. This is not just a sandwich but a soft pretzel bun stuffed with slow roasted turkey, cheese and tomato, oh yeah.

Now I just need to wash it down with something. A beer perhaps? Freshcraft has 20 craft beers on tap plus somewhere along the lines of 100 or so bottles to choose from. I decided that a nice Myrcenary Double IPA from Odell Brewery was the way to go and was not disappointed. As I sat there eating and drinking my beer, I was silently reprimanding myself for not coming to Freshcraft sooner. I assure you, I will be going back very soon.

Freshcraft is located at:

1530 Blake, Suite A
Denver, CO 80202

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Belgium Brewery (Lips of Faith Series) - La Folie

There is no doubt that Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewery got this one right. I had heard many wonderful things about this beer and was still pleasantly surprised.

This Sour Brown Ale has the aroma of sour cherries,  with notes of lactic and slight vinegar. When poured you see a crystal amber brown color with a thin tan head that creates a beautiful lacing that last throughout the beer. At the first sip I can pick up the complex flavors of the cherries and apples and what I would almost describe as cran-raspberry. This is followed by a strong sour tartness that is overwhelming at first, but keeps you coming back for more.  It is all brought together and balanced out with a nice woody oak flavor.

If you are a fan of sour beers such as a Flanders Red, the La Folie will knock your socks off. Although New Belgium makes some wonderful beer, I would go out on a limb to say that this is my new favorite.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Mighty Cost of Utopias

About every 2 years or so, Jim Koch and the brewers of the Boston Beer Company, continue to push the boundaries of brewing by releasing Utopias. A beer that has evolved into a 27 % alcohol by volume, cask aged, behemoth of a beer. This limited edition beer that is bottled by hand and individually numbered has become a collectors item for many a beer connoisseur. Now the 2011 Utopias is going to be hitting the shelves of a liquor store near you, for a whopping $150.00 per bottle.

This makes me wonder where do we go next and when do we draw the line. As a beer lover I would love the opportunity to try even a 2 oz pour of Utopias...and maybe... with that one little sip, the clouds will part, the heavens will open up and just maybe I will have a realization that this is unlike anything that has ever previously touched my lips and a single tear shall fall.
 But getting back reality, I think that there is a better chance that I would say wow that is a really strong beer and mighty tasty, now what else could I have spent this $150.00 on.

I am certainly not knocking Jim Koch and the Boston Beer Company for being pioneers and continuing to push the level of what is possible with beer. But as a consumer I just can't seem to justify shelling out that much coin for a beverage, even one that may be as life changing as Utopias.

Twisted Pine - Ghost Face Killah

If you were in Colorado yesterday, you may have noticed that it was a pretty lousy day, cold and rainy.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I spent the morning outside helping my brew club install some water lines for the Hop Yard at the Rock Yard in Castle Rock.

Luckily enough, someone much smarter than I, thought ahead and brought along some beer. I have to say that I have been contemplating trying this beer since it was released, but I was a tad bit apprehensive as I don't handle spicy food very well.  But given that it was 35 and drizzling, I couldn't have asked for a better climate to try what Twisted Pine has labeled the "Hottest beer this side of hell."

If you are not familiar with this new release, Ghost Face Killah is a chili beer that is absolutely loaded with peppers. This includes serrano, jalapeno, habanero, fresno, anaheim and of course the rediculously hot ghost pepper. At first taste, I was getting a bit nervous as the heat began to increase but then planed off to a deliciously hot and yet somehow enjoyable level. I have to say that I have never been a big fan of chili beers in the past. I think that many times too much emphasis is put into the chili's and not enough into the beer. This is definitely not the case with Twisted Pine Ghost Face Killah. The malt actually comes through to create a wonderfully tasting beer with a nice chili heat and flavor. Don't get me wrong, the heat is definitely there. But it is not crippling.

I don't know that I could drink more than one in a sitting. But I am looking forward to having another Ghost Face Killah sometime very soon.

Welcome to Craft Beer of Colorado

As today is the first day of American Craft Beer Week, I felt that it would be appropriate to also be the start of a new blog dedicated to beer. As I am sure most of you are aware, Beer Blogs are not new, nor are they rare in any way. There are many extremely talented writers and journalist who provide better info than most newspapers (well at least back when there were newspapers).

So why, oh why, did I decide to jump on the beer wagon? Well I guess that the best answer to that question is the fact that I enjoy talking about  beer and this will give me a forum to do it.

Although Craft Beer of Colorado is obviously based in Colorado, and I also firmly believe in the old mantra of "Drink Locally, Think Globally"; this blog will be discussing and reviewing beers from all over the world.

So grab a beer and help me on this new journey of beer blogging.