I definitely feel like I have been in hiding the last few weeks. I guess when life gets busy, you tend to ignore the things you like doing. To kick off our birthday week, the Husband and I hit a few new breweries in the area. First up was Powder Keg Brewing.
Powder Keg has been open for a few months (mid summer opening) and as usual, I waited for the kinks of a new business to work themselves out before dropping by. We parked out front right as they were opening for the weekend grabbed a seat at the bar.
When I think about some of my favorite styles, I usually don’t put saison near the top of my list. They usually hit me as a little too fruity or too sour. With the PKB list in front of me, I noticed that there was a farmhouse style ale, a saison, and an infused saison. To say I was skeptical is an understatement.
And they I sipped…
and I was blown away! My favorite beer on the list was the Chene Cerise which was the farmhouse all infused with cherry flavor. It was easy drinking and the cherry was there but it didn’t hit you in the face like a can of cherry pie filling would. This was real fruit flavor mixed artfully with the sensible beer.
I would definitely recommend a stop at Powder Keg Brewing for a beer and snack if you ever find yourself killing time in Niwot. There isn’t a full kitchen but a small selection of warm snacks and empanadas. Solid beer, beautiful building, and a great atmosphere. We will be back (and soon!).
You can check out their beer list here and the Powder Keg Facebook page here.
I am starting to edit my pictures from California. I thought I would grab out the beer ones first! Once we got into San Francisco, we dropped off the car and our bags and got some recommendations from our bellman at the Hotel Triton! He mentioned the Thirsty Bear (which I had never heard of) and we were set to go.
Once we had the name, we googled the address and found out there were cheese and charcuterie plates and pairings. We got set up and I couldn’t wait to dive in. Who doesn’t want to do a flight of beer with cheese, meets, and toast! I was surprised about the Salmon pairing and I would love to have this plate over and over again. The tomatoes made it so fresh and the salmon was decadent. The tiny pickles were pretty tasty too.
After I had a chance to look around this gigantic place (two floors and some great party space) we noticed the Organic brewery sign. From the Thirsty Bear website:
“ThirstyBear Brewing Company is the first and only brewery in San Francisco to brew certified organic beer. ThirstyBear Brewing Company brews CCOF and FDA certified organic beer, because we care how the agricultural practices that grow your barley and hops affect.”
Each beer we had was true to style and delicious. We have tried other organic breweries that seem to have limited flavors due to limited ingredient choices. What I learned is that Organic beer doesn’t have to be boring! This beer was amazing. My favorite was the Polar Bear Pilsner. After an afternoon of walking around and a week of big Zins, the cool and crisp Pils hit the nail on the head.
I would certainly recommend Thirsty Bear to anyone stopping in San Fran! I just wish I could get their beer here in Colorado… Can anyone help me with that? Beer Exchange? Make sure to check out their social media to find out what they are up to.
This week the tasting I went to looked a little like this…
The image did load correctly, you are seeing a black square. That’s because I attended Barley’s Angels Blind Tasting. You can check out their site here. They have meetings all over the front range the one on Wednesday happened to be in my backyard.
I was intrigued when I got the description.
Bring your blindfolds (we know you have them: men’s dress ties, fabric pieces, cloth ties to dresses) and tune into your palate at this tasting featuring Gerry Leary, owner of Boulder’s the Unseen bean coffee shop. We’ll enjoy three tasters of Left Hand craft beer, first without looking at it, then in full sight. Food pairings are provided by Lori’s Cuisine and include food made with coffee from the Unseen Bean.
So I took off my glasses and donned my blindfold and we were ready to taste. I will say that I think this event would have been a bit more fun for me if I had done it somewhere besides Left Hand. I had a bit of an advantage when it came to recognizing the beers and the carbonation choice. It was fun though to see how each of the beers paired with the dessert menu. Lori Marcolina did all of the food and it was incredible (sidebar, if you need a caterer, she is tops! She can even do vegetarian so let me know if you need her info.) Most of the pictures below were taken with the blindfold on. I definitely had to go through a lot to find these!
Overall, it was great to hear about another local women’s group and a way to get involved in the beer community.
Yes it was! After a fll day of driving around the front range of Colorado, I was ready to try out a new brewery. As luck would have it, we stopped for lunch in Nederland. This town is great for quick day trips! We ski here, we visit Grandpa in the shed here, and we usually stop here on our road trips. And now we have another brewery to try out!
Once we settled in at Very Nice Brewing Company, we ordered a tray of seven tasters to split. I really loved the variety of beers on tap. You can see the whole menu here.
My favorite beer of the day was the Very Nice Pale Ale. As the website, it was easy drinking and full of flavor. The Husband’s family seemed to like the Hefe. I think if it was warmer when we visited, this would have been the perfect porch drinking beer.
The only beer I didn’t like was the Gruit. I don’t think I have tried this style before. This is a hopless beer and this one was sour. From Wikipedia:
“Gruit (alternately grut or gruyt) is an old-fashioned herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer, popular before the extensive use of hops. Gruit or grut ale may also refer to the beverage produced using gruit.”
I can defintely plan on stopping here after we ski at Eldora. There wasn’t any food here but the pizza place is upstairs and the grocery store is next door. The first time we head up for skiing, I think I will take our apres ski picnic inside! With so many options and such a great variety, my tastebuds will never be bored!
And be sure to check out their social media!
How many breweries are there in Colorado now? I think the latest count I have seen is 207. 207? Colorado now boasts 207 breweries that are tickling the tastebuds of beers consumers and providing the best product we can enjoy. I ventured out last weekend on my own and tried BRU in Boulder. I was delighted from the moment I sat down. I was able to taste 7 of the 14 beers on tap and I was never sad My favorite taste, pictured below, was the Obitus. I think the brown category is growing on me. They are warm and usually a hint of caramel. Just enough sweet to make me think I’m having dessert.
Everything in this place was handcrafted, from the beer to the art on the walls. I also really loved that they started with the beer and added food. Who doesn’t love a beer centric menu that is created to enjoy the beer on tap? If they put the mustard spread I had in a bottle, I would buy enough to keep me through the winter!
There were porch sipping beers like the cream ale and the kolsch but most beers were food beers. And when I say food beers, I mean beers that are great on their own but even better when paired with the right tasty bite. Just a hint of bitter or salt sometimes makes a beer the best thing you’ve ever tasted. While the tasting notes on the menu were very simple, the way the flavors in their well done food played off of them made them even better.
I can’t wait to head back for lunch or dinner and test the beers against more food choices. There are so many choices. Anyone in? want to join me for happy hour after work some day?
And because everything at BRU is handcrafted, I wanted to share some of the handcrafted pieces around the restaurant.