Craft Beers

It is always nice to come back to the office and find beer on the desk.  It doesn’t hurt anything at all when it is a brewer that you really like as well. It is even better when it is one that you haven’t tried before! Kind of a real life version of a trifecta.
Upslope India Pale Ale - Upslope Brewing Company
This one pours out a hazy coppery gold with a tall off white head, that faded fairly quickly leaving clearly discernible lacing rings.  It has notes of caramel, grapefruit, orange, toffee, spruce, and lemongrass.  It has a medium mouth feel with a clean, smooth, finish. The hop bitterness comes out at the end, while surprisingly the sweet malt is very forward, especially for an IPA. 
There are a number of layers of complexity here, with the sweet malts playing against the hoppy bitterness.  I understand why they put deep on the label.
Though IPA is not my favored style I can really tell how well made this one is.  I also really enjoyed the depth of complexity.  I would certainly drink it again and would have no difficulty recommending it to a hop buddy.
American India Pale Ale | 7.20% ABV

It is always nice to come back to the office and find beer on the desk.  It doesn’t hurt anything at all when it is a brewer that you really like as well. It is even better when it is one that you haven’t tried before! Kind of a real life version of a trifecta.

Upslope India Pale Ale - Upslope Brewing Company

This one pours out a hazy coppery gold with a tall off white head, that faded fairly quickly leaving clearly discernible lacing rings.  It has notes of caramel, grapefruit, orange, toffee, spruce, and lemongrass.  It has a medium mouth feel with a clean, smooth, finish. The hop bitterness comes out at the end, while surprisingly the sweet malt is very forward, especially for an IPA. 

There are a number of layers of complexity here, with the sweet malts playing against the hoppy bitterness.  I understand why they put deep on the label.

Though IPA is not my favored style I can really tell how well made this one is.  I also really enjoyed the depth of complexity.  I would certainly drink it again and would have no difficulty recommending it to a hop buddy.

American India Pale Ale | 7.20% ABV

While in Grand Lake my wife and I stopped into the Sagebrush BBQ & Grill (try the wild game sausage entree - was very tasty).  To wash down the tasty meal I went with a draught offering from a local brewer (always try the local brewery when you have the chance).  I was not disappointing at all.
Wooly Booger Nut Brown - Grand Lake Brewing Company
This one poured out a clear dark red brown with a very thin (almost nonexistent) white head that left very little lacing.  It had notes of pecan, caramel, toffee, maple syrup, and coffee.  Medium mouth feel with low carbonation, smooth and a sweet with an almost  bitter finish.
This is a very drinkable, easy to love beer.  It went well with my dinner and would probably stand well with other roasted and grilled meats.  I would pair this again with friends for my own BBQ (pork loin stuffed with garlicky pesto - I think).  I hope I have the chance to try some more of Grand Lake’s offerings,
American Brown Ale | 5.80% ABV

While in Grand Lake my wife and I stopped into the Sagebrush BBQ & Grill (try the wild game sausage entree - was very tasty).  To wash down the tasty meal I went with a draught offering from a local brewer (always try the local brewery when you have the chance).  I was not disappointing at all.

Wooly Booger Nut Brown - Grand Lake Brewing Company

This one poured out a clear dark red brown with a very thin (almost nonexistent) white head that left very little lacing.  It had notes of pecan, caramel, toffee, maple syrup, and coffee.  Medium mouth feel with low carbonation, smooth and a sweet with an almost  bitter finish.

This is a very drinkable, easy to love beer.  It went well with my dinner and would probably stand well with other roasted and grilled meats.  I would pair this again with friends for my own BBQ (pork loin stuffed with garlicky pesto - I think).  I hope I have the chance to try some more of Grand Lake’s offerings,

American Brown Ale | 5.80% ABV

While my wife and I were away playing in Grand County, CO we didn’t want to count on finding enough beer along the way (always be ready for a beer emergency) so we packed some to go.  One of the ones that was a hit while on the porch looking out onto Grand Lake is from Breckenridge.  It was a nice while away the afternoon beer…
SummerBright Ale - Breckenridge Brewery
This one poured out a hazy golden straw grass color with a very thin white head that left noticeable lacing.  Had notes  of lemon, orange, sweet malt, and fresh baked bread.  The mouth feel was thin and clean, with very little lingering notes.  Refreshing and smooth this was perfect sitting on the porch with a cool breeze coming in off the lake.  It says summer on the label and they mean it.  Very sessionable.
This is a simple, clean rendition of an American wheat and well worth an evening with friends on the lake…
American Pale Wheat Ale | 4.50% ABV

While my wife and I were away playing in Grand County, CO we didn’t want to count on finding enough beer along the way (always be ready for a beer emergency) so we packed some to go.  One of the ones that was a hit while on the porch looking out onto Grand Lake is from Breckenridge.  It was a nice while away the afternoon beer…

SummerBright Ale - Breckenridge Brewery

This one poured out a hazy golden straw grass color with a very thin white head that left noticeable lacing.  Had notes  of lemon, orange, sweet malt, and fresh baked bread.  The mouth feel was thin and clean, with very little lingering notes.  Refreshing and smooth this was perfect sitting on the porch with a cool breeze coming in off the lake.  It says summer on the label and they mean it.  Very sessionable.

This is a simple, clean rendition of an American wheat and well worth an evening with friends on the lake…

American Pale Wheat Ale | 4.50% ABV

Got to try a new nano brewery (a little 3 barrel system) in Winter Park, CO - right on the main drag!  It is called Hideaway Park Brewery.  It is less than two weeks old and the owner (Andy) is a pretty cool dude.  He doubles as the bartender in his taster room as well.  He spent a quite a bit of time chatting and it was awesome finding out who he was as a person.  An engineer in a previous life, he has decided to follow his dream.

As you can see from the board he has some interesting brews and the prices are really reasonable.  I tried a flight (he does not call it that - I might have been the first customer to do it) of all six of his current brews in five oz tasters.  At $12 it was a great value.

So how were they you ask?  Excellent!  I can hardly wax more enthusiastic.  My favorite was the rye (15% in the grain bill) but all of them were well done and interesting.  My wife really liked the summer ale and was sorry that we hadn’t brought my growler.

Island Fever Summer Ale (6.5% ABV) - clean, refreshing and with a slight bite.

Remy Dog Red Ale (5.6% ABV) - a little bit sweet from the malt with some fruitiness on the pallet

Rye Not Try it Stout (7.2% ABV) - the rye in the malt bill is apparent, but not overwhelming, nice roastyness with cocoa up front

Pocket Rocket Red (6.4% ABV) - dry with some caramel and a little bit of bitter on the finish

Witches Tit Wit (4.8% ABV) - nice crispness, a little bit of citrus, a little bit of spicy.  Very sessionable.

BruBrew IPA (7.3% ABV) - bold citrus (orange and grapefruit) up front slightly oily hop at the finish (New Zealand hops if I remember right). This will be popular wit the hop heads! 

I hope everyone who travels through Winter Park, CO will stop by and try some really great beer and meet a really good brewer.

Hey Folks - sign ups for the Great American Beer Festival are about to happen!  I would love for everyone to be here.  To help motivate folks I have loaded my glasses for the first six GABFs, (yes - my wife is not lyin’ when she calls me “old man”) 1982 - 1987.

While rooting around on the back row of the shelf (I did mention that I was dusting, right?) I found another one from 2011.  This one was harder to get as I had to have friend brink it back while he was there.  I actually had some Alaskan Brewery beer in the very early 90;s before it was being shipped around the country (and unfortunately long before I started the monster bottle collection).  They did a good job then, so at the time (early 2012) I was happy to see one of their brews on the shelves of the local liquor store.
Alaskan Smoked Porter - Alaskan Brewing Co.
This one pours out black with some amber highlights along the edges when held to the light.  It has a fairly tall light brown head with some modest lacing and good retention.  It leads with notes of the smokey malt, chocolate, caramel, dates, and some faint (but noticeable) hops.  It had a medium mouth feel with a fair amount of carbonation and just a touch of bitterness at the end.  Smoked porters aren’t my first choice, but this one had a nice combination of smoke to balance against the rest of the beer.  It was like getting home in the winter and smelling the wood smoke in my canyon from people warming their homes.  Not strong, but always there in the background.  I wish I had a couple of bottles of the 2011 vintage now, as I suspect this ages very well.
American Porter | 6.50% ABV

While rooting around on the back row of the shelf (I did mention that I was dusting, right?) I found another one from 2011.  This one was harder to get as I had to have friend brink it back while he was there.  I actually had some Alaskan Brewery beer in the very early 90;s before it was being shipped around the country (and unfortunately long before I started the monster bottle collection).  They did a good job then, so at the time (early 2012) I was happy to see one of their brews on the shelves of the local liquor store.

Alaskan Smoked Porter - Alaskan Brewing Co.

This one pours out black with some amber highlights along the edges when held to the light.  It has a fairly tall light brown head with some modest lacing and good retention.  It leads with notes of the smokey malt, chocolate, caramel, dates, and some faint (but noticeable) hops.  It had a medium mouth feel with a fair amount of carbonation and just a touch of bitterness at the end.  Smoked porters aren’t my first choice, but this one had a nice combination of smoke to balance against the rest of the beer.  It was like getting home in the winter and smelling the wood smoke in my canyon from people warming their homes.  Not strong, but always there in the background.  I wish I had a couple of bottles of the 2011 vintage now, as I suspect this ages very well.

American Porter | 6.50% ABV

I know the picture doesn’t show it very well but this is the 2011 version of this beer.  I am starting to dust off the shelves and finish writing about the various beers (Slowly… slowly… stop pushing!).  I like the folks at Odell.  They have an interesting place and some interesting people.  The beers they make show real integrity of purpose and I love that.
Bourbon Barrel Stout - Odell Brewing Company
This one pours out dense, black and very opaque with a small creamy off white head and very little lacing.  Has notes of oak, vanilla, date, chocolate, and heavy caramels.  It has a big mouth feel, with very little carbonation, and a smooth, almost silk finish with very little alcoholic bite.  I happen to like both Buffalo Trace and Old Fitzgerald Bourbons and was pleasantly surprised to note that you could taste the bourbon without it overwhelming the beer.  The notes were significantly more subtle then expected for such a solid brew.
I am sorry that they have discontinued it as I love barrel aged stouts (they are probably my favorite of all the varieties) and I liked the subtle nature of this one.
American Double - Imperial Stout | 11.50% ABV

I know the picture doesn’t show it very well but this is the 2011 version of this beer.  I am starting to dust off the shelves and finish writing about the various beers (Slowly… slowly… stop pushing!).  I like the folks at Odell.  They have an interesting place and some interesting people.  The beers they make show real integrity of purpose and I love that.

Bourbon Barrel Stout - Odell Brewing Company

This one pours out dense, black and very opaque with a small creamy off white head and very little lacing.  Has notes of oak, vanilla, date, chocolate, and heavy caramels.  It has a big mouth feel, with very little carbonation, and a smooth, almost silk finish with very little alcoholic bite.  I happen to like both Buffalo Trace and Old Fitzgerald Bourbons and was pleasantly surprised to note that you could taste the bourbon without it overwhelming the beer.  The notes were significantly more subtle then expected for such a solid brew.

I am sorry that they have discontinued it as I love barrel aged stouts (they are probably my favorite of all the varieties) and I liked the subtle nature of this one.

American Double - Imperial Stout | 11.50% ABV

I have a friend that works at Blue Point and (knock on wood) will continue to do so even though the evil empire (AB) purchased the company.  The former owner swears that no one will lose their position.
I also worked with Goose Island before the big purchase and of the eight folks I used to work with only two remained after six months…  I hope that doesn’t happen with Blue Point.
My friend shipped me some of their tasty toasty lager a while back before her wedding (loved the kilts!).  I shared around the office (beer karma is good karma) but had a couple of bottles for myself.  After speaking to her on the phone I was reminded of that tasty beer and decided to go to my notes and write about it. 
Blue Point Toasted Lager - Blue Point Brewing Company
This one pours out a clear golden amber color, with a large off white head that left clean and well defined lacing.  It had notes of toasted malt, caramel, fresh cantaloupe, tart apple, and mild summer grasses. It had a medium mouth feel with a smooth fairly clean finish, surprisingly mild carbonation, and just a touch of hop astringency.
This had a good complex balance of notes and layers.  It is clear that it is an award winner for it’s category.  Though lagers aren’t my first choice, they are popular with my wife and I try and choose ones to keep around that I know she will enjoy in the quiet evening or with supper.  This one would be well worth keeping on hand. 
American Amber Lager | 5.30% ABV

I have a friend that works at Blue Point and (knock on wood) will continue to do so even though the evil empire (AB) purchased the company.  The former owner swears that no one will lose their position.

I also worked with Goose Island before the big purchase and of the eight folks I used to work with only two remained after six months…  I hope that doesn’t happen with Blue Point.

My friend shipped me some of their tasty toasty lager a while back before her wedding (loved the kilts!).  I shared around the office (beer karma is good karma) but had a couple of bottles for myself.  After speaking to her on the phone I was reminded of that tasty beer and decided to go to my notes and write about it. 

Blue Point Toasted Lager - Blue Point Brewing Company

This one pours out a clear golden amber color, with a large off white head that left clean and well defined lacing.  It had notes of toasted malt, caramel, fresh cantaloupe, tart apple, and mild summer grasses. It had a medium mouth feel with a smooth fairly clean finish, surprisingly mild carbonation, and just a touch of hop astringency.

This had a good complex balance of notes and layers.  It is clear that it is an award winner for it’s category.  Though lagers aren’t my first choice, they are popular with my wife and I try and choose ones to keep around that I know she will enjoy in the quiet evening or with supper.  This one would be well worth keeping on hand. 

American Amber Lager | 5.30% ABV