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!!!


Dry Dock Brewing’s Ho Ho Ho Slapdown

Dry Dock Brewing Co in Aurora, CO held their 3rd annual Ho Ho Ho Slapdown on November 26th, 2011.  In this event, the Dry Dock brewers enter their beers into a competition and let the patrons choose the winner.  The beers and brewers were:

  • Ashleigh Carter – Lady Penrhyn (Imperial Brown aged in Stranahans Whiskey Barrels), 8.2%, 32 IBUs
  • Bill Eye – Doppelsticke Altbier (Imperial Alt), 8.3 %, 55 IBUs
  • Brett Williams – Ambiguation Black Ale (Belgian Black IPA), 6.4%, 65 IBUs
  • Doug Hyndman – Nitro Shotgun Stout (Russian Imperial Stout aged in Stranahans Whiskey Barrels), 10%, 50 IBUs

Patrons were given the four beers in sample glasses to taste and a bottle cap to cast a vote.  The bottle cap was placed into a mug indicating the beer of the patron’s choice for best beer.

Dry Dock's Ho Ho Ho Slapdown beers

I chose to first sip about half the sample of each beer, then to sip the remaining contents of the sample one after another to help me narrow it down.  We also brought various cheeses from The Truffle (blue, romano and a soft stinky cheese) and paired them with the beers to see how well the beers paired with food.

The Ambiguation Black Ale was a great black IPA, hoppy and earthy.  The Lady Penryhn was delicious and definitely a great double brown ale.  It was cloudy and lacked carbonation.  The whiskey was faint but present.  The Shotgun Stout was awesome, this beer definitely represented this time of year well.  Dark and sweet with a heavy whiskey backbone, it was hot on the alcohol but still went down smooth.  The Doppelsticke Altbier was absolutely wonderful.  It was slightly sweet and caramely, smooth and silky.

I was with 10 friends and we were all over the place with our votes.  Each beer received at least two votes from our table, but the altbier and the stout were the standouts.  I voted for the altbier, my wife voted for the stout (I did have a hard time choosing between the altbier and the stout though).  Some of the women at our table voted for the brown and a couple of guys voted for the black IPA.

Looking at the mugs that contained the bottle caps, there was no clear winner.  The level of the bottle caps was almost the same across all the mugs.  This goes to show that these were all outstanding beers and covered a good range of flavor profiles that appeased varying palates.  When the winner was announced, they indicated that the competition was indeed very close.

The results:

  1. Bill Eye’s Doppelsticke Altbier – Winner
  2. Doug Hyndman’s Shotgun Stout – 2nd Place
  3. Ashleigh Carter’s Lady Penrhyn – 3rd Place
  4. Brett Williams’ Ambiguation Black Ale – 4th Place and winner of the Cherry Vixen Award

The Cherry Vixen award is given to the last place winner.  The story behind this comes from 2 years ago (2009) at the first Ho Ho Ho Slapdown when Kevin DeLange, the owner of Dry Dock, brewed a Belgian Strong Ale with sour cherries for the competition.  It came in last place that year and has become a running joke since then.

The Ho Ho Ho Slapdown is a great annual event put on by Dry Dock.  Make plans to attend next year, and stop by the brewery over the next few weeks to sample the winning beer.

What’s in a name?

The protagonist of the show and movie “The Horse Whisperer” is described as a “talented trainer with a remarkable gift for understanding horses“.  I’ve been described by some of my neighbors and friends as being, “The Beer Whisperer”.  I suppose I am a “talented drinker with a remarkable gift for understanding beer“.

I tend to agree with them.

Here’s why:

  • I ALWAYS talk about beer. Yes, I talk about other things but I brighten up and get all chatty when beer becomes the subject.
  • I ALWAYS post about beer.  On Twitter.  On Facebook.  Everywhere.
  • I know a lot about beer.  A LOT.
  • I can taste things in beer that others either cannot, or never realized.
  • I have tried many, many beers.  I love them all.
  • If I could quit my job and do whatever I wanted right now, I would open something beer related.  Like a beer bar or brewpub.
  • I seek out rare, hard to find beers.  When I travel, I always try to drink locals only (if/when possible).
  • I read books about beer. I read magazines about beer. I read the interwebs about beer. I read about beer all the time.
  • I buy and try new beer every week. No really…every. single. week.
  • Beer.

I have had other blogs before, but I hope to make this one different by not taking things so damn serious.  No beer reviews, at least not the traditional type.  Mine will be called “AntiReviews”.  What this means is, I will tell you about the beer, what I like about it, but will not give aroma/taste/mouthfeel/etc comments.  And I will not give grades or ratings.  There are too many sites out there that already do that, so I will just tell you, “Mmmm, this is fucking good”.  (maybe a little more than that).

I will also be trying to talk about Beer in Society.  How people react to those of us fascinated with beer.   How we are treated by the “non-believers”, the “unconverted”.  How we are viewed by the media.  What are the results of trying to introduce and educate about craft beer. And so on.

Finally, I will discuss events and news that I see fit.

Please come back, check it out and have fun.