Reminiscing Beer in Denver

I recently had a Twitter conversation with a few folks about a long gone Denver brewery.  It got me thinking about when I first moved here and how the beer landscape (beerscape?) has changed over the years.

I moved to Denver from Buffalo, NY in the Summer of 1996.  In Buffalo, I was introduced to “microbrew” and was an avid drinker of Pete’s Wicked Ales, JW Dundee’s, and others.  Once I arrived in Denver, I found some new brews.  But back then, there wasn’t nearly as many as there is today.

One of the first “microbrews” I tried in Denver was Tommyknocker.  The beer from Tommyknocker I remember the most was the Maple Nut Brown.  I can actually remember going to the Mayfair liquor store, which was a great beer store even back then, and finding brews from Great Divide, Odell and Boulder Brewing.  But nothing like they have today.  Most beer back then lingered in the 6% range and rarely went above that.  Bombers didn’t exist (at least, to my knowledge).  Beers were not big like Yeti, nor super-hoppy like Hercules.

I still remember my first exposure to New Belgium’s Fat Tire too.  Back in the late 90s, locals (aka, natives) were going nuts over it buying it instead of the states flagship beer; Coors.  I remember being at a friends house where they had just bought a case, and everyone was very excited.  It was damn good too, different than anything else out back then.

Back in those days, I visited Estes Park brewing and Mountain Sun, The Wynkoop was around, and Flying Dog had large bar in the current River North Brewing location…but there wasn’t much more than that.

Heavenly Daze was a Steamboat Springs brewery famous for a raspberry wheat and their “hemp” beer.  They opened a Denver outpost located in the current Rackhouse/Stranahan’s pub location, but did not last long.  The Denver location lasted maybe 2 years, then closed shop along with the main brewery in Steamboat.  I’ve searched the web to find out what happened, why they closed, but found nothing.

Another brewery that is now long gone is the Pyramid Brewery in Boulder.  I remember going there a few times and being impressed with the inside.  It was decorated in old Egyption adornments, with large fans made of palm tree leaves (fake, of course, but still impressive) and faux marble counter tops.  I don’t remember the specific beers they had, but do remember they had good food.  It’s unclear to me if this is the same Pyramid from CA (there is little to no information on the web), but I do believe it was an outpost for the CA brewery though.

There’s really no point to this post, just some reminiscing about Denver beer when I first moved to town.  Feel free to post any stories of your own in the comments.

Denver Beer Hunter’s Report – 03/02/2012

Here’s this week’s report:

  • Breckenridge Brewing’s Well Built E.S.B should show up on shelves this week.  This is a collaboration between Breckenridge Brewing and Stranahan’s Whiskey.
  • Maybe not a highly sought after beer for beer hunters, but a beer release of note is Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s.  16 oz cans of goodness should be on shelves this week.
  • Other beers of interest; Elysian’s Nibiru (for your end-of-times pleasure) & Dragonstooth Stout, Twisted Pine’s Canis Lupulus and Lost Abbey’s Deliverance & Serpent Stout.  Some of these are leftovers from past weeks but have been scouted at one local liquor store.

Look for more updates throughout the week (if there are any more to report).  Please share any Denver area beer release news you might have with me either in the comments or on Twitter @ssteigerwald.

Denver Beer Hunter’s Report – 02/24/2012

FYI, this week I will be out of town, so the Beer Hunter’s Report might suffer from lack of updates due to my travels.  But, I will try my best…

Here’s this week’s report:

  • Breckenridge Brewing’s Well Built E.S.B won’t be released during this week’s time frame, but I thought it was worth a mention here. It should be available next week. This is a collaboration between Breckenridge Brewing and Stranahan’s Whiskey.  Sounds pretty good to me…for more info, check out the @ColoBeerMan‘s writeup here.
  • Denver Off The Wagon Wagon Ryed! – How bummed am I that I will miss this set of events this weekend?  Denver Off The Wagon is THE premiere beer and spirits based blog in Denver.  Period.  Check it out!
  • Pliny the Younger – More being released this week, check Westword: http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/02/get_your_pliny_the_younger_now.php.
    • Falling Rock is having their last keg released this weekend.
    • Freshcraft is releasing PtY on Wed, Feb 22 at 5:30.  It will go fast…so get there early!
    • Cheeky Monk‘s Westminster and Colfax locations will be tapping some soon…dates TBD.

Look for more updates throughout the week (if there are anymore to report).  Please share any Denver area beer release news you might have with me either in the comments or on Twitter @ssteigerwald.

Denver Beer Hunter’s Report – 02/17/2012

Here’s this week’s report, remember this is a work in progress so come back throughout the week:

  • Odell’s Footprint – Released on Saturday (2/11) at the brewery, expect to see this on shelves this week.  This beer is so spanking new, there aren’t any reviews yet (as of 2/14)
  • Funkwerks Dark Profit – A barrel aged dark or mahogany (?!) saison.  Being released Thursday (2/16), but it is unclear if this is a brewery-only release or if we will see it in stores.  I’ll update this when I find out more.  [EDIT: Confirmed that this is going out to stores on 2/16, should be on shelves this weekend.]
  • Ska Skawork Orange – Oak Aged Cream Stout. Availability does seems to be limited, so this might be good for a hunt.
  • Pliny the Younger – More being released this week, check Westword: http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2012/02/get_your_pliny_the_younger_now.php

Look for more updates throughout the week (if there are anymore to report).  Please share any Denver area beer release news you might have with me either in the comments or on Twitter @ssteigerwald.

The Insanity that is February in Denver

I never remember February being like this before. I’m finding it hard to fit in all the beer events going on. Having a family, I can’t just up and go to every event, but I’m trying my best. Here’s a sampling (yes, I said SAMPLING):

  • Falling Rock Dain Bramage Month – Barleywines all month long, many of them vintage kegs that Falling Rock has squirreled away.
    • Falling Rock also held a Barlyewine pairing dinner!
  • Danny Williams Fundraiser at Backcountry Pizza and Tap House (Boulder) – Feb 11th, good cause, good people. Just do it.
  • Vine St (Mountain Sun) Stout Month – The darks. All. Month. Long.
  • Avery Barrel releases -  Récolte Sauvage and Muscat d’Amour releasing Feb 11
  • River North Brewery opening – New Denver brewery, open NOW!
  • Pliny the Younger hits Denver – Multiple locations, multiple dates
  • Copper Kettle Bourbon Breakfast Stout release (past event) – and Copper Kettle had some other releases too
  • Dry Dock Avon Breast Cancer Fund – Feb 19th, I went last year and this was my first taste of Bligh’s…worth the go for the gems they release and for a good cause.
  • Wagon Ryed release at Wynkoop – plus a multi-day event being held by Denver off the Wagon! Feb 23 – 25
  • Other events: Freshcraft food pairing dinner (past event), Parry’s Pizza opens in Highlands Ranch, Bull & Bush adds tableside whole hope infusing

And the usual onslaught of normal beer activity happening in Denver.  February should be longer!!!

Denver Beer Hunter’s Report – 02/09/2012

The Beer Hunter’s Report is something new I am going to try.  In the Beer Hunter’s Report, I will report on what new beers are available each week (in the Denver area, of course).  I won’t post every week, especially those weeks when there are no interesting beers being released or lack of information from my sources.  Also, look for the Beer Hunter’s Report to be updated throughout the weekend as I find out more.

So here’s this week’s report:

  • Firestone Walker §ucaba (formerly Abacus) – I had no heads up this was coming, very last minute. Early reports are this will be very limited in Denver and will go fast.  Tip: One store in the area will have the local FW reps at the store and will also release XV and some other goodies…
  • Dogfish Head Noble Rot – At least there seems to be more of this available in Denver than §ucaba, but still pretty limited.  Also note that Tweason’ale is out there, although this one might not be that highly sought after.
  • Avery Récolte Sauvage and Muscat d’Amour – Note that these are being released from the brewery in Boulder on Saturday (Feb 11th) only.  Very rare, 6 limit per person, might not make it to shelves and probably won’t make it out of state.
  • Russian River Pliny the Younger – First keg in Denver is being released this Saturday, Feb 11th @ 1 PM at Falling Rock.  Not a bottled beer, but a rare enough and highly sought after beer for me to mention here.  I might forego this year since I had copious amounts last year, time for someone else to try it.  Or maybe I’ll sneak a taste…we’ll see.
Fun story of the week: Last week, Boulevard Chocolate Ale was released to Denver and it ended up being very highly sought after. One of the liquor stores I frequent said that Boulevard actually called them to buy back the Chocolate Ale. Supposedly, Boulevard was short on Chocolate Ale at their release over there in Missouri and they are trying to buy back stock for the locals that missed out.

Look for more updates throughout the weekend (if there are anymore to report).  Please share any Denver area beer release news you might have with me either in the comments or on Twitter @ssteigerwald.