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.
This is happening! I will have a full review and few pictures tomorrow morning for you all!
In the meantime, check out the hashtag #leftapalooza to see what I was up to this weekend. It was an amazing day of bands, beer, and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And it was standing room only at the end!
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.
We have been spending a lot of time close to home and we haven’t gotten out to all of the breweries I had hoped to at this point. But luckily for me, a brewery opened up a few blocks away from one of our other frequent stops. July 4th weekend was Berthoud Brewing Co.’s first full weekend! I saw a bit of buzz for their soft opening and knew I had to stop in.
As the new brewers settle into their new set up, they are brewing on a 5 barrel system with 10 barrel fermenters. I was able to taste four beers, 3 soon to be standards and 1 firkin. 6 standard beers will eventually make it to the tap handles at the bar.
What I loved about about the brewery is the amount of history that was packed within the walls. Most of the wood was reclaimed from barns around Berthoud. There were traces of the trains that brought Berthoud to Colorado all over. You can get a glimpse of Berthoud’s history from the Switch Track Amber description.
“It’s not every day an entire town moves. Not every decade either. But that’s what happened when in 1883 when the Berthoud train depot started getting demands from railroad managers. The officials said the depth of the Berthoud valley and the heavy weight of the loads made it difficult for the train to get out. But that wasn’t the only problem. After the train’s first two years running, engineers just up and went missing when they passed through town.”
My favorite part of going to a new brewery is the staff! Everyone behind the bar (and the staff at the bar) were so excited to answer questions and tell us about their beer. What I learned is that over the next few months, Berthoud Brewing Company is aiming to be a place to hang out and have a few beers. Each beer will be sessionable and full flavored! Hopefully we can get some food trucks in and we can walk hang out for a meal and enjoy the full menu of beers!
Good luck BBC! I can’t wait to see what else you can send out! (Especially the Friday Firkins)
And if you don’t like beer (you might be in the wrong place!), here is a picture of fireworks for you!
Well it’s been a sporadic few weeks but it’s time to come back and share my latest beer adventure! This time, we didn’t try anything new. We helped a great brewery and a great organization raise money while drinking beer and petting puppies! On Sunday, City Star Brewing put on the annual Hops & Harley event to raise money for National Mill Dog Rescue. If you haven’t seen anything about Harley before, check out his story here.
From the City Star Press Release (read the full one here)
“Harley spent 10 years living in a small cage in a puppy mils, never knowing the touch of a kind hand … until he was rescued and found a loving home. City Star Brewing, located in Berthoud, Colorado, learned the plight of the puppy mill dogs through Harley. “Hops and Harley” then became a reality.”
We had a great time drinking some Honey Wheat for Harley, eating from a local food truck, and bidding on the silent auction. This was a dog friendly event so there was plenty of puppies to play with. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend weather wise! It is so nice to see a community rally together for a great cause and be able to bring the whole family, even the furry ones.
And if you have the inclination, you can still help dogs like Harley find a forever home by donating here!
Filed under Beer, blogging