WHAT: Oak & Orchard Strawberry Rhubarb Barrel-Aged Sour Ale (6.9% ABV)
WHEN & WHERE: Available now in single 375mL bottles across Epic’s entire distribution footprint (AZ, CA, CO, ID, IL, IN, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OH, OR, PA, RI, TX, UT, VA, DC, WA, WI, & WY)
ABOUT: A bit of info from Epic: The base beer is a Lambic-inspired, 6.9% ABV, light sour ale that is aged in an oak foeder for eight months. The fruit is added toward the end of the aging process allowing most of the sugars from the fruit to be fermented, while leaving huge amounts of flavor and aroma.
MY THOUGHTS: I have really enjoyed all of the Oak & Orchard beers from Epic Brewing since I first tried them last year. I posted about the series in March 2017, and at that time the Dark Sour with Plum topped my list. And now comes Epic’s latest Oak & Orchard beer: Strawberry Rhubarb Barrel-Aged Sour Ale, which is my new favorite!
This was one of my first experiences with rhubarb. I’ve only had one other beer brewed with rhubarb, and within the last couple of months I finally ate rhubarb for the first time ever (in the form of a couple of tasty desserts). So I was pretty excited and hopeful about this beer.
In the first few sips I mostly get a lot of strawberry flavor—no complaints there! And then as I let it warm up some, I start noticing the rhubarb coming through. I definitely recommend giving it a little time to let the flavors come out and mesh together they way they were meant to. The full fruit flavors blend together so well.
If you see Epic’s description of this beer (above), it refers to it as a “light sour.” If you’re a sour freak like me, I often wonder if a beer will be “sour enough” for my taste. When choosing a sour I want to know that it’s truly sour as opposed to just being “tart.” While Strawberry Rhubarb is light in color and mouthfeel, it’s definitely a true sour. It is really an excellent, well-brewed, delicious beer. I love it! Be sure to get this limited-release while you can!
IT’S HERE! The brand new Odell Brewhouse & Taproom is about to open its doors in Denver. Get ready, because it officially opens in just three days, and you are going to love it!
As of Monday, June 4th, Odell’s Brewhouse & Taproom will be open 7 days a week in Denver’s RiNo district. I got the chance to preview the new digs this week, and it is beautiful, inside and out. The building (2945 Larimer Street) was originally constructed in the early 1900’s, and Odell has transformed it into a stunning space with lots of exposed brick and gorgeous reclaimed wood.
Odell’s new Brewhouse & Taproom is located at 2945 Larimer Street in Denver
The Brewhouse & Taproom provides lots of options for customers, in more ways than one. There are so many choices when it comes to where to sit or hang out. You can sidle up to the bar, bask in the sunlight at a table by the massive windows, or grab a table against the wall.
Mural by Mona Caron
Feel like drinking outside? Stroll out to the patio and admire the massive mural. And there’s more: head upstairs where you’ll find another bar, and then go check out the rooftop deck.
One of the most exciting things to me is the beer selection. There are 16 beers on tap, 8 of which are classic Odell beers like 90 Shilling, Myrcenary (my favorite!), and St. Lupulin. And here’s where it gets really interesting: the other 8 taps are dedicated to RiNo Exclusive brews. I love knowing I can get one of my standard, go-to Odell beers but that there are also a bunch of innovative new beers to try as well.
RiNo Exclusive Taps
During the preview event, the Exclusives were: Milkshake IPA, Margarita Crossover Ale, Guava Gose, Pineapple Berliner Weiss, Hop Work #1 IPA, Imperial IPA, Chocolate Coffee Stout, and Lil RiNo Session IPA. Lots of interesting stuff! I had a taste of the Margarita Crossover, and it was delicious! It definitely reminded me of a margarita; it was citrusy and refreshing—just in time for summer.
10-Barrel Pilot System
While they do not serve food, customers are welcome to bring their own. And if you’re wondering what’s nearby, Shake Shack just happens to be right next door. There are also many other restaurants in the area, and food trucks are often in the neighborhood as well.
The new Brewhouse & Taproom opens on Monday, and you should definitely get over there! The hours will be Sunday-Wednesday: 11am-10pm and Thursday-Saturday: 11am-12am.
90 Shilling Mini Cupcake from Yours Truly Cupcake (at the pre-opening party)
I am truly impressed at what a fantastic job Odell has done with this new location, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us with all of the upcoming creative RiNo Exclusive beers.
This isn’t my first post about Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill, and I suspect it won’t be my last. Since the Union Station location first opened in Denver in 2014, I’ve been somewhat of a regular. Why? I’ll start with the obvious: the beer—over 50 taps, mostly craft. Additionally, Thirsty Lion has a really fun, casual atmosphere. And then of course, there’s the food. As a vegetarian I often have limited choices at restaurants. Not so at Thirsty Lion; they have a bunch of excellent veggie dishes. Some of my favorites include the house-made veggie burger, mac & cheese, grilled veggie panini, giant soft pretzel (with beer fondue!), and spinach & artichoke pizza. And now I can add one more to my list:
The Spring Seasonal Menulaunchedrecently, and I did a double-take when I saw this burger on the menu. I’d heard a lot about it and knew there are very few places in the area to find it. So naturally, I headed to Thirsty Lion to try it. And folks, the hype is real. I love this burger!
Though it definitely looks like a hamburger, I didn’t find it to taste exactly like beef (I consider that to be a good thing), but it’s fairly similar. The texture resembles meat, but this burger has its own unique taste, and it’s hearty (filling!) with lots of flavor.
As of now, the Impossible Burger is on the seasonal menu. And while most of those items are gone at season’s end, the Impossible Burger has been so well received that it is going to become part of the core menu, which makes me very happy!
Another item on the Spring Menu is the StrawberryRhubarb & White Chocolate Cheesecake. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks. I’ve had a couple of beers brewed with rhubarb, but I only recently ate rhubarb for the first time, and I really enjoyed it. So I was excited for this dessert, which was scrumptious.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned the beer selection, to which I’d like to add that there is always a plethora of local beer on tap at Thirsty Lion. During my most recent visit I chose a Yeti from Great Divide Brewing Co. and a Modus Hoperandi from Ska Brewing, two of my staple Colorado beers. You can also routinely find beers from Odell, New Belgium, Left Hand, Denver Beer Co., Funkwerks, Dry Dock, and many others.
Speaking of beer, the Cherry Creek Thirsty Lion(not available at the Union Station location) has cool a program going on now through September called the Trilogy Series, where a different Colorado brewery’s series is featured each month through the summer. Three 13 oz beers will be offered as a trilogy for $15:
May: Comrade Brewing Co.
August: Denver Beer Co.
September: Elevation Beer Co.
Complete the trilogy (either alone or with friends) and enter to win a Beervana Mountain Ski & Snow Getaway! I suggest enjoying these local beers on the awesome patio in Cherry Creek!
Lots of exciting new stuff happening at our Denver Thirsty Lion locations. Stop by and check out the fun!
Have you missed drinking Wynkoop beers in the comfort of your own home? If so, I’ve got news for you: thanks to Wynkoop’s new canning machine, you can now get crowlers to go! And just in time to kick off summer.
“A few years ago we decided to stop canning and selling our beer to retailers to focus on more creative, short-run beers with a constantly changing line-up of seasonal as well as small-batch and barrel-aged products. Now we’re excited to offer 32 ounce cans to give guests a way to bring our beer home and on the road,” said John Sims, Head Brewer at Wynkoop. “The cans allow us to share our brews with more people outside of Wynkoop, while still focusing on what we do best–creating unique beers–without sacrificing quality.”
Photo courtesy of Wynkoop Brewing
Any Wynkoop beer can be canned onsite, with prices ranging between $10-18 for a 32 ounce can.
Upcoming beer releases at Wynkoop include:
Malty-Tasking – May 25 (chocolate malt nitro beer)
To launch these beers, Wynkoop Brewing Company will be hosting a special Release Party on Saturday, May 26th at 10am. Reserve your FREE ticket here on Eventbrite, space is limited and tickets go quickly.
To celebrate the new crowler program, the brewpub is giving away 20 cans on Thursday, May 31. Just show up at Wynkoop between 3:30-5:30 pm and ask for a raffle ticket. Twenty lucky winners will be announced at 5:30 pm (must be present to win!). Each winner gets to choose their beer, and Wynkoop will fill their 32 ounce can to take home and enjoy. **Must be 21+ to participate**
Pro Tip: For those attending the raffle, remember that Happy Hour is 4-6 pm with some killer deals. My favorites include Chips & Queso ($6) and Beer Cheese & Pretzels ($7). You can also get a burger or wings for just $9!
Wynkoop is ready to can the beer of your choice especially for you, so stop by today and grab one to-go!
WHAT: New England Style IPA Recipe #3: Lupulin Burst (7.0% ABV)
WHEN & WHERE: Available now in 12oz cans and on draft across Epic’s entire distribution footprint.
ABOUT: A bit of info from Epic: This hazy New-England Style IPA is packed with JUICY flavors of honeydew, guava, passion fruit and pineapple without the typical bitterness of an IPA. We use an abundance of late-addition Mosaic hops and enormous hop back of whole leaf Cashmere with even more generous dry hop additions.
MY THOUGHTS: In 2017, Epic Brewing launched a new series of New England-style IPAs, with new recipes being released every few months. This particular beer, Lupulin Burst, is the real deal. It is without a doubt the hoppiest beer I’ve ever had from Epic, and it is the very definition of a “juicy” IPA. I love that its name truly reflects what it’s all about, as I get a definite *burst* of hop aroma upon cracking one open, as well as *bursts* of resinous flavor with each sip. Hop heads, Lupulin Burst will blow you away! This is one IPA you don’t want to miss, so get it while you can!
As a newbie to Banded Oak, I wanted to try a bunch of different beers
There are a lot of breweries in Denver, not to mention throughout the entire state. So many in fact that I just realized I’ve only visited about one-third of the breweries in Colorado. Having a full-time day job and doing my best to keep up with the myriad chores and errands that come with being an adult, I don’t often have a lot of extra time to get out and explore all the breweries around me. But last weekend I made it to one I’d never visited, and I am so happy I did!
I was familiar with the name Banded Oak Brewing Co.(470 Broadway, Denver), as I’d heard nothing but positive comments about its focus on barrel-aged beers. And I love barrel-aged beers. So I finally stopped into Banded Oak last Sunday afternoon.
Banded Oak Brewing Co.
The home page of its website says it loud and clear, “Barrel-Aged Beers For All,” which you’ll also find painted on the wall inside the taproom. I’ve never been one to have the best of luck, and as it turns out they’d had a particularly busy Friday and Saturday, leaving them with only one barrel-aged beer on tap by Sunday. But I didn’t let that hold me back! I had intended on trying several different styles anyway, so I was excited to build my flight.
In addition to barrel-aged, I also tend to favor IPAs, sours, and dark beers. While I didn’t find any sours, I was very pleased to see an IPA, Double IPA, and Cabernet Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Strong. I needed one more for my four-taster flight, so I chose something out of the ordinary for me: a French Lager Bièr Ambrée. I’m not typically a big lager fan, as many of them are just a little too light for my taste. But the French Lager was different, very flavorful with a hint of something slightly sweet. I was pleasantly surprised! The IPA was a solid, middle of the road IPA (not overly hopped, not too malty), and the Double was just right—hop forward with a resinous aroma.
Get your crowlers here!
I especially enjoyed the Cabernet Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Strong. It wasn’t extremely heavy on the Belgian yeast flavor, which was perfect for me. At 12.4%, it was definitely strong, and I could taste it; some beers with a high ABV can be deceiving in taste, but this beer reminded me of its strength with each sip (yes!). Its sweetness reminded me a bit of a doppelbock, which was quite interesting. Lots of complexity here.
Cabernet Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Strong
Banded Oak’s tap room is small and cozy, and its large garage-door-style windows open up to the patio, giving it a more spacious feel and adding plenty of additional seating for guests. They offer crowlers to-go and usually have at least one style of bottled beer on hand.
I had hoped to sample more their barrel-aged creations, but hey—this just means I’ll have to stop in again soon, right? And I know the perfect opportunity to do so: Banded Oak is celebrating two years with a 2nd Anniversary Party on Saturday, June 9th! There will be seven barrel-aged beers, live music, and Areyto Puertorrican Food will be on-site serving up delicious fare. I’m thinking some Bolas de Queso (Gouda Cheese Balls) with a Pinot-aged French Lager! Whether you’re a regular or if you’ve never visited before, this is one party not to miss!
If you haven’t checked out Banded Oak, stop by any time for well-crafted, tasty beers. Barrel-aged or not, they are sure to have something to please your palate!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Is it a holiday? No, but it should be! I’m referring to the Beer Review at Yard House. And Denver, get ready for 29 new beers at the downtown Yard House location.
I am a huge fan of Yard House. Why? 100+ beers on tap (a majority of them craft), an enormous & delicious food menu, excellent happy hour deals, and a fun atmosphere. The beer selection at Yard House is second to none. I can always find dozens of local beers from which to choose, in addition to beers from all over the country and the world. And the choices don’t get old; Yard House keeps things fresh with its annual beer review, which takes place in March.
The Denver location has just added 29 new beers, and here’s some of what you’ll find.
New Colorado beers on tap:
Avery Barrel Series (currently Tweak Bourbon-Barrel Aged Coffee Stout)
Avery The Real Peel Tangerine IPA
Blue Moon Mango Wheat
Great Divide Roadie Grapefruit
Lone Tree Peach Pale
New Belgium Tartastic Fruit Series (currently Raspberry Lime Ale)
New Belgium VooDoo Juicy Haze
Odell Colorado Lager
I recently stopped in for lunch to check out the new offerings. In building my flight, I of course wanted a couple of Colorado beers, so I went for Tartastic Raspberry Lime Alefrom New Belgium and Avery Brewing’s Tweak Bourbon-Barrel Aged Coffee Stout. I hadn’t tried the Tartastic Raspberry Lime before, and I’m glad I chose it. Lightly tart and bursting with fruit flavor, this beer has summer written all over it. And at just 4.2% ABV, this refreshing sessionable ale will certainly pair well with long, hot sunny days.
And at the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Tweak from Avery: thick, dark, and 16% ABV. Tweak isn’t for the faint of heart. Aged in bourbon barrels, this coffee stout is one serious, hard-hitting beer. Many people prefer stouts in colder weather, but I am happy to drink Tweak any time, any day, any season.
Mushroom Pizza (normally comes with pepperoni too but I requested plain ol’ mushroom)
Yard House also has a number of excellent Belgian ales. Newly added in Denver is De Garre, an 11% Belgian Triple from Bruges. A fine example of a true Triple, this is another beer that really packs a punch.
In addition to the beers mentioned above, there are plenty of others from renowned breweries such as Melvin, Cigar City, Pipeworks, and more. The Yard House team really did its homework for the beer review, and it shows. A job very well done! Take a peek at the full list of new beers at the downtown Denver Yard House. Stop in today and find your new favorite. CHEERS!
WHEN & WHERE: Available now in limited quantities as a single 12oz bottle across Odell’s 15-state distribution footprint (Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Illinois and Iowa).
ABOUT: A bit of info from Odell:
Extra Special Red is our Imperial Red Ale, a crimson-hued brew full of juicy hop flavors and aromas of pine and stone fruit. After 6 months of aging in rye whiskey casks, it was roused from its oak cradle to the bottle in your hands. The barrels impart notes of sweet vanilla and soft tannins, while the hops settle into the background in favor of the strong malt foundation. Slainte!
We love barrel aging beers to integrate oaky flavors and aromas into the brew. So, we made a small batch of Runoff Red IPA and aged it in Woody Creek’s used Rye Whiskey barrels. You’ll find notes of vanilla, chocolate covered strawberries, and caramel in this medium-bodied, smooth barrel-aged red.
MY THOUGHTS: I love barrel-aged beers. When I think barrel-aged, I typically expect the beer to come in somewhere between 10-12% ABV (or even higher). So while I really enjoy them, I can’t always indulge in them due to the high alcohol content. Not so with Odell’s Extra Special Red. This is what I’d call an easy-drinking barrel-aged beer; at just 8.7% ABV, I can get that aged flavor I’m craving without going overboard. And the 12 ounce bottle is the perfect size for one person.
While the whiskey was definitely present, I found it to be fairly subtle, and the beer overall was very smooth. I’m going to grab a few of these to savor this summer when I want something barrel-aged but not extremely boozy and intense.
It won’t be around long, so catch it while you can. Check your local liquor store, or search with Odell’s Beer Finder to help you find what you’re looking for.
The 5th Annual Collaboration Fest was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver last Saturday, March 31st. 123 beers, over 200 participating breweries (144 from Colorado) from 42 states and six countries. I seem to say this every year, but Collab Fest 2018 has topped them all!
First, I loved this venue. I thought it worked out perfectly for the festival; it was very spacious—though there were lots of people, it did not feel crowded. While most booths didn’t have a line for beer, those that did had plenty of room for passersby to get around with no problem. Everything just flowed, so I think it’s safe to say this location is my favorite venue ever for Collab Fest.
And then of course there’s the beer. The brewers came up with some truly imaginative recipes this time around! But it wasn’t just the brewers; something new and unique this year was The People’s Beer. In an effort to create the biggest collaborative beer in history, ticket-holders were given the opportunity to vote on all aspects of the beer (to brewed by Little Machine and “the people”), from the name to ingredients, in the weeks leading up to the festival. The end result was a tasty saison with Pevec pilsner-style malt and flaked rye, crystal hops and tangerine zest. Well done, people!
I had more favorites at this year’s festival than ever before! With 123 beers to choose from, it’s hard not to find a bunch of great ones. And then there are always a few that run out before you can get to them.
Beers I wanted to try but that were already gone by 4:15:
All 3 beers from Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales
On The Shoulders of Giants from New Belgium & Rare Barrel
So I didn’t get to try the four beers above. But that didn’t stop me from sampling the other 119! And I had a difficult time narrowing it down to the ten I liked most, but here goes.
My Top Ten:
Pimms Yo! from Liquid Mechanics Brewing & Wiley Roots Brewing
This sour blonde blend was based on Pimm’s Cup cocktail. This may have been the most interesting beer I had. Tart and citrusy with a bit of ginger, a lot of cucumber, and a hint of mint. I actually don’t care for cucumbers, and this beer was definitely cucumber heavy, but I absolutely loved it!
I Can’t Believe It’s Actually Butter from New Image Brewing & Molly’s Spirits
Ahhh, pastry stouts! And with butter for the win! It truly was like a Samoa Girl Scout Cookie.
Cherry Coast to Coast from Crooked Stave & Brewers Guilds
Burgundy Origins sour is one of my top Crooked Stave beers. So take that + Colorado sour cherries = bliss.
There were 3 varieties of this beer, each aged in different types of barrels: Merlot, Chardonnay, and Bourbon. All delicious, but there was something especially wonderful about the bourbon barrel version.
Stranger Than Fiction from Fiction Beer Co. & Strange Craft Beer Co.
I’m not the biggest saison fan, but I tend to like them if brewed with fruit or herbs. This one was barrel aged on plums and blackberries and was amazing! I was somewhat surprised to find that I could enjoy a saison quite this much.
Nitro Raspberry Porter from Strange Craft Beer Co. & Metro State University Brewing Program
When I first started getting into craft beer, I was all about porters. But I don’t see too many of them these days. This was a fine example of a well-brewed porter, and the raspberry was quite noticeable.
Collaborations Are For Lovers (Imperial Stout) from Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. & Stillwater Artisanal
As far as I know, this was the strongest beer at the fest, 16.5%. And what an awesome combination of flavors: mango, vanilla, and coffee from Logan House Coffee.
Barking Iron (Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Blend) from Liquid Mechanics Brewing Co. & The Lost Abbey
Barking Iron was modeled after the revolver cocktail: a blend of Liquid Mechanics’ Bourbon Barrel Aged Kahlua Marianas and Lost Abbey’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Serpent’s Stout with notes of coffee, chestnuts, slight orange.
Bianca Persica Wild Wild Brett from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project & Omnipollo
This beer was fermented in oak foeders with Palisade peaches, and as we all know nothing beats those Colorado peaches!
An English style IPA finished in red wine barrels and with a different variety of Brettanomyces in each barrel. IPA and red wine? Yes please!
Not surprisingly, most of my favorites had something to do with food: chocolate, coconut, vanilla, chestnuts, and all kinds of fruit. What can I say? Beer and food pair well together, and beers brewed with things you can eat are yummy!
I would like to thank Two Parts, the Colorado Brewers Guild, and everyone else involved in the planning and execution of the 2018 Collaboration Festival. It was very well organized, the beers were fantastic, and it was a very fun time! I am more and more impressed every year, and I always look forward to seeing what’s next. Cheers!
Kabocha Khao Soi: Thai Yellow Coconut Curry, Egg Noodles, Kabocha Pumpkin Basil, Pickled Chilies, with a Coedo Sweet Potato Amber
Beers from Coedo Breweryhave arrived in Denver! And you can get them at Ace Eat Serve, where you’ll also find a variety of unique dishes to pair with each of the new Coedo beers. I stopped in last week to sample all four of the beers from Coedo, a Japanese craft brewery (located in Saitama, Japan), and I was impressed. The beers are: Ruri Pilsner, Shiro Hefeweizen, Beniaka Sweet Potato Amber, and Shikkoku Black Lager, all of which are tasty and very well done. Coedo brought in brewers from Germany to coach them in the brewing process in order to perfect the craft, and the outcome couldn’t be better.
Coedo Ruri Pilsner. Nice, clean finish.
The story behind the Sweet Potato Amber is pretty cool: the recipe was basically invented as a way to prevent food waste. There are lots of fresh markets in Japan, where consumers are on the hunt for the best possible produce. Unfortunately, many good items are discarded on a daily basis due to being picked over in favor of the nicest looking fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes in particular were being tossed out at an alarming rate, so Coedo has chosen to collect “unsightly” sweet potatoes and use them in the brewing of its amber beer.
Shanghai Pork Belly Bun: Braised Pork Belly, Hong Shao Glaze, Crispy Shallots, with a Coedo Shiro Hefeweizen
The beer program at Ace is one of a kind in that it offers such a wide range of beers. I like going to Ace for interesting new beers as well as my standard favorites. During my last visit I noticed beers from from Japan, China, Thailand, and Singapore on the menu. And of course many craft beers from Colorado breweries such as Ratio, Odell, Left Hand, Avery, Funkwerks, Trve, Great Divide, and more.
In addition to the great variety of beer, as far as food goes Ace also has lots of vegetarian options—just another reason it’s so awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed the Jade Stir-Fry and Kabocha Khao Soi (curry). My guest also loved the Shanghai Pork Belly Bun. The staff recommended specific Coedo beers to pair with all of the dishes, and they were spot on.
Jade Stir-Fry: Seasonal Greens, Lotus Root, Garlic, with a Coedo Shiro Hefeweizen
There is so much going on at Ace Eat Serve! Go for the expansive beer menu and innovative dishes, stay for some Ping Pong! And the happy hour is fantastic: from open until 6 pm daily you’ll get deals on beer, wine, cocktails, and small plates. And you can’t beat the Lucky 11—choose from six types of Ramen and a drink for just $11! Just some of the many reasons I’m a fan of Ace Eat Serve.
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