BEER-MAN

If I Say I'm a Beer Man, You Will Agree...

Whole Hop Infusion

My favorite part of the brewing process (beside drinking the beer) has got to be the hop addition. Gripping a handful of whole hop flowers or pellets, and smelling the bright, citrusy, floral buds when you’re tossing them into steaming wort is an experience than really makes me appreciate the whole process. 

Many people define the types of beers they like or dislike according to the hop profile, but besides knowing that an IPA is hoppy and a Brown Ale is not - most people have no clue how hops ultimately effect a beer’s finished product. Bull & Bush Brewery here in Denver is doing something that puts beer drinkers in the drivers seat and allows them to dry hop their own beer table-side. 

They’re calling it Whole Hop Infusion, and it’s basically beer served in a french press with crumbled Cascade, Chinook, or Cyrstal hop cones. The hops come from Jack Rabbit Hill farms on the Western Slope of Colorado. Dry hopping a beer for a minute to 10 minutes can drastically change the taste.

(Source: blogs.westword.com)

Boulevard Brewing Co - Long Strange Tripel 

Boulevard Brewing Co - Long Strange Tripel 

A HAIKU

                                         Drink Myrcenary

                                         A perfect hoppy pleasure

                                         Four is not enough

My buddy Collin and I drove six and a half hours from Denver to Durango last week on a road trip that turned into a glorified drinking tour of Southwestern Colorado. We had very few “musts” on the trip - visiting Ska Brewing Co. was at the top of the list. 

We were the first people to the taproom at 10:30am and started heavy with Decadent IPA. Five pints, a handful samplers, a bowl of Salsa Rio Doritos, free posters, pint glasses, and stickers later - I was in love…and drunk.

GREAT DIVIDE - NOMAD

I picked up a 6 pack of Great Divide’s newest release before ice fishing on Evergreen Lake this past weekend. Nomad, a bohemian style pilsner was released on New Year’s Eve, and replaces Belgica in their January-March Seasonal lineup. 

Great Divide has made a name for itself releasing bold, intense, unique beers like the “onslaught of the senses” Yeti Imperial Stout and the “not for the faint of heart” Hercules Double IPA. I hate to say it, but Nomad is forgettable and a disappointment. A couple months back when I heard that they were going to release a pilsner, I was looking forward to it, and was excited to see how they’d do brewing a lighter, less intense beer. I had hopes for something well balanced and very drinkable - something like Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues

Nomad pours crystal clear and is bright gold in color. It has a soapy head that disappears quickly. The soapiness carries over into the smell, which also has slightly corn-syrupy malt aroma, and a twinge of flowery, lemony hops. It doesn’t get any better when you actually taste it. Nomad doesn’t have the crisp mouth-feel that you look for in a pilsner - it is way too sweet, and the lingering hop bitterness is messy and just plain confusing. Brewing it to an ABV of 5.5% might be the root of some of the problems - the best pilsners are usually in the mid 4s. The sweetness and lack of clean, crisp flavor might be side effects of this. 

Disappointing beer aside, the ice fishing was a blast as always, and we came away with some nice rainbows that will be perfect for putting in the smoker. 

BADASS BEER - MICHIGAN BREWING COMPANY

 "Like a half pint of water, mixed with a half pint of bud light, with a teaspoon of dishsoap” - Rory Carroll

DOGFISH HEAD - OLDE SCHOOL

Picked up a four pack of these little shits this weekend. Dogfish Head’s Olde School is a barleywine fermented with dates and figs, and compared to many of the barlywines I’ve had recently, it’s almost too drinkable. The smell of this beer might be the best part - it has rich, malty smells of honey, toffee, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, and booze.

Denver’s Beer Culture - Great Divide, Breckenridge, Wynkoop, and Denver Beer Co are featured - is it wrong that the video gives me goosebumps?

TOP TEN COLORADO BEERS

Jonathan Shikes, Managing Editor of Denver’s Westword magazine, released a list of his top 10 Colorado beers of 2011 earlier today. He limited the list to only beers that are currently being bottled/canned. I’m glad to see Myrcenary and Mountain Standard on the list. They’re two of my favorites this year, and have worked their way into my regular rotation. His list is pretty bulletproof. 

10. Crazy Mountain Amber Ale
​9. Odell Myrcenary
8. Crooked Stave Fertile Soil
7. Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout
​6. Dry Dock Wee Heavy
​5. Crabtree Brewing Cezanne Saison
​4. Fort Collins Brewing Wheat Wine
​3. New Belgium Le Terroir
​2. Avery Rumpkin
1. Odell Mountain Standard 

(Source: blogs.westword.com)

We brewed a new batch of beer this afternoon. We were planning on doing two at the same time, but we didn’t have the yeast we needed for the American IPA, so we just brewed a robust porter. We used Galena, Cascade, and Tettnang hops - it should be tasters choice when it’s done. 

We’re naming the beer Terry Porter (pronounced Turry, as if Charles Barkley were saying it) after the former Blazers point guard and 2 time NBA All-Star. I am not completely sure why that is so hilarious to me.

AVERY - HOG HEAVEN

For the most part, I’m not crazy about Avery’s beers, especially their year-round selection. I can’t really put my finger on why, but they just don’t match up against Great Divide, Odell, Aspen Brewing or my other favorite Colorado breweries. Also, their labels suck. 

One of Avery’s beers that I AM a fan of is Hog Heaven. They call it a “barleywine style ale”, but it could easily be categorized as a double IPA or imperial IPA if you ask me. Right off the bat, it has a super hoppy nose with some caramel and bready/yeasty aromas. Coming in at 104 IBUs, Hog Heaven has a significantly bitter finish, but it is surprisingly balanced, and doesn’t taste too boozy even though it has an ABV of 9.2%. While it’s a pleasure to drink, it’s a serious beer and it never lets up - by the last couple ounces of the bomber your mouth’s ready for a break. 

Most of my posts are about beer, brewing, or breweries. That being said, nothing makes me want to drink beer like a good mountain hike.

Last weekend some friends and I went up to Mayflower Gulch near Copper Mountain to snowshoe. Bang for your buck - this is one of the best hikes I’ve done since moving to CO. Here’s some more info - Link