I decided to section off my posts on GABF into brewery visits, outside events, and the actual sessions. When we arrived in Denver early Thursday morning, we headed straight to Fort Collins, then we hit Rock Bottom in downtown Denver that evening, and finally, Avery on Saturday.
Odell Brewing Co:
We ordered the “Co-pilot” flight at Odell and an extra sampler of their cask beer, Friek.
From L to R in picture below:
Pro Am Dortmunder | 6% ABV
This beer was created by Odell to be their Pro Am entry at GABF. They call it an ale for some reason, though it is a lager that originated in Dortmunder, Germany. It was pretty typical lager, though a bit watery. Definitely got the biscuit malt flavor.
FalAle Pumpkin Spice | 6.3% ABV
A pumpkin beer, brewed with 32 pounds of pumpkin, as well as nutmeg and cinnamon. I really liked this beer, it was a great balance of fall flavors and aromas without being overpowering, but not too light either.
Myrcenary Double IPA | 9.3% ABV
I’m sure y’all know how I felt about this. Entirely too much hoppiness for me. It is brewed with 7 varieties of American hops, and the name is an ode to hop oil, Myrcene. John loved it though!
Hiverrano American Wild Ale | 9.5% ABV
I wanted to love this, really. The hop presence was just too forward for me to enjoy it. As it warmed the wild character came through a bit more, but it was still quite hoppy, not something I really want in my wild ales. It’s a blend of a Double IPA with a barrel aged Belgian wild ale, using their proprietary yeast.
Cranberry Oatmeal Porter | 5% ABV
Now this beer, I loved. Its an oatmeal porter base with organic cranberries and cinnamon added. It had a very rich and velvety mouthfeel, you could definitely taste each of the elements of the beer; the slight sweet and tart taste from the cranberries complemented the oatmeal base very well.
Bourbon Barrel Stout | 11.5% ABV
This is their Imperial Stout aged in Woodford Reserve whiskey casks. It had a great bourbon aroma and not too overpowering flavor. The vanilla was very prevalent and quite nice.
Friek (Cask) | 6.5% ABV (for regular Friek)
I was disappointed with their cask offering. Knowing it was a day old, the lack of carbonation wasn’t the issue. I was expecting much more tartness and funkiness, maybe a side effect of a day old cask?
New Belgium Brewing Co:
more impressive than the beers (which weren’t very) was the size of New Belgium, and the fact that they create their own wind power and funnel excess power into the city of Fort Collins. The brewery is in a quiet area of town, and they look to be expanding.
I tried 3 beers that I have never had from New Belgium before, and 1 I had, just in case it was any different (read: better) on tap at the brewery.
Old Cherry | 6.5% ABV
I didn’t get much cherry taste, and maybe because I have been drinking so many good sours, I wanted there to be there normal tartness to help balance the sweetness, but no. It smelled like cherries and bread and tasted mostly like a lager with a hint of fruit.
Lips of Faith (LOF) Ken’s Hefe | ?% ABV
This beer isn’t listed on their website, so maybe it’s new, or tap room only? It was a decent Hefe, not my favorite style of beer, so for me to really like it, there should be something unique. It did smell a bit funky, which gave me hope, but alas, not much going on with this beer. I wanted more, as it is part of the Lips of Faith series, but it came up short.
LOF Clutch | 9.5% ABV
I have had this beer before and was sorely disappointed in the misleading name on the bottle: “dark sour ale” because it was hardly sour. I tried it on tap on the off chance it would be more sour (wishful thinking) and was let down again. If it were labeled a Belgian stout I wouldn’t have been so disappointed, it was tasty, dark and roasty with that classic Belgian yeast character, just not sour.
LOF Abbey Grand Cru | 9.5% ABV
this beer is their regular Abbey Ale (a Belgian Dubbel) that has added hops, malts and fermentation time. honestly, it’s a well-made Belgian, it just doesn’t do much for me.
Fall Wild Ale | ?% ABV
Another beer not listed on their website… I just wanted a sour, damn! Too bad the “wild” in the name was misleading. It smelled funky which gave me hope, but once again, I was disappointed. Maybe they didn’t mean for “wild” to imply “sour”, or maybe no sour is good enough after a Cantillon binge in NOLA.
This little place was on John’s radar after there was some conflict with one of the names of their beers, Maori King, which also happens to be the name of a group of indigenous people in New Zealand. They only make saisons, and share their tiny brewery space with Crooked Stave, a brewery of barrels, sours, and anything funky. We started with two flights of the Funkwerks Saisons, took a tour of the facility, then had our Crooked Stave tasting. The Funkwerks brewery set-up is very unique in comparison to a lot of breweries I have visited. They use mostly 100% organic ingredients. In two years of production, they still use a 15 barrel system, with 3- 15 barrel fermenters. They are playing around with a French saison yeast strain, a peppery/fruity one according to our guide, in most of their beers, giving all of them a distinct taste recognizable in all of their beers.
Key Lime Rye | 5.3% ABV
This beer is brewed with both a rye and barley malt and after fermentation, key lime juice is added. I wish they would have added more key lime juice, as I hardly tasted it. Maybe it would have made it like a tart saison!
Saison | 6.8% ABV
For this being their standard saison, it definitely smelled the funkiest.
Hibiscus Resistance | 7.2% ABV
For this beer, they added hibiscus to their Belgian Resistance saison. The aroma was very floral and sweet and the hibiscus was definitely present in the taste.
Motif | 8.75% ABV
This saison is brewed with cane and brown sugar from Malawi and German, Belgian and Czech hops. I wasn’t taking the best notes at this time.
Cochon | 6.3% ABV
I was expecting a bacon saison for some reason, what a let down! This was a very hoppy saison, not my favorite of the bunch by any means.
Southern Tropic (Maori King) | 8.0% ABV
This controversially named imperial saison is brewed with peaches, mangos and passion fruit from New Zealand, and even New Zealand hops. The fruit flavor was a great complement to the saison style.
Chardonnay Barrel Blonde | 8.2% ABV
Funkwerks second release out of their Brettanomyces barrels. This was definitely my favorite, funky, a slightly sour element and oaky from the barrels. Great contrast that worked well together.
Belgian Resistance | 6.7% ABV
This saison is brewed with German malts and hops and a Belgian yeast strain, giving it a subtle roast mixed with the classic Belgian taste.
Funkwerks is definitely experimenting like crazy with their saisons, some successful, others not. Interested to see future beers next time I’m in Colorado.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project:
Wild Wild Brett Rouge | American Wild Ale | 5.2%
I was a bit disappointed in the level of sour in this beer, just didn’t do it for me. Especially after we took the tour and talked about the Foeder and wild yeast, I was ready to try some funky, sour beers. It definitely had potential, though.
Wild Wild Brett Orange | American Wild Ale | 5.2%
This was definitely more my level of sour, but still not quite what I had hoped for coming from a brewer that only does this style of beer.
Good Glory Chardonnay Barrel Aged | Biere de Garde | 5.4% ABV
This is their regular biere de garde aged in chardonnay barrels, which helped it develop some acidic tartness from the barrels, balanced with spicy and floral notes from the wood. Very nice beer.
This brewery was recommended to John from a local while we were at Odell. The owner has a homebrew shop (right next door) and decided to open a brewery. John tried their Scottish ale that had been infused with habanero peppers and one that had ghost chiles. I tried a sip of the Habanero and it was hot, it burned my lips and the back of my throat much like eating it does to me. I definitely wouldn’t order a full pint, but it’s cool to see brewers experimenting with different ingredients. We ordered one of their flights and an extra sampler of the Mr. Delicious Oatmeal stout. I won’t pretend I took notes, but in a shocking twist, I actually liked their IPA! It wasn’t too bitter, but still had an agressive hop profile. It had a nice sweet backbone to balance everything out. Other than that, nothing really stood out for me, though the oatmeal stout was quite delicious, a good standard of the style.
Rock Bottom Brewery
Before hitting the Thursday evening session we decided to get some food and kill time to let the line go down by eating (and sampling!) at the downtown location of the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.
Mad Cow | Milk/Sweet Stout | 6% ABV
Their milk stout was no Left Hand on Nitro, but what is? It was decent, not bad but not impressive.
Woodford Barrel Aged Barlewyine | English Barleywine | 13% ABV
Maybe I shouldn’t have gone for the 13% ABV Barlewyine before GABF even got started, but I couldn’t help myself. I am glad I did. The nose was full of raisins, caramel and booze, but it didn’t taste as boozy as it smelled at all. Figs and caramel notes along with the raisins filled up this medium bodied beer. It was so delicious. No big hop bite, like in some young barleywines, overall a fantastic beer.
Avery Brewing Company:
After a quick nap on Friday after the Beer for Boobs Brunch and the Denver Rare beer Tasting at Wynkoop, we decided to take the short drive to Boulder to visit Avery. Tucked away in the back of an industrial park-type place, was the tap room. It was getting late so we didn’t have the best chance to take a tour, but I definitely saw the most important part (to me) the barrel room! Some of the tappings from earlier that week were gone already but we still got a special sour and some old favorites.
Listed in Right to Left order in the picture:
Eremita | American Wild Ale | ?% ABV
This is a special tap room only wild ale aged in Zinfandel and Cabernet barrels. It had a very tart aroma and flavor mixed with a nice oaky barrel taste and wine flavors as well. This was definitely my favorite of the Avery tasters, though probably by default since it was the only sour I hadn’t had.
I can’t find any outside info on the style or ABV of this beer, but the tap room menu (read: my notes of what it probably said) called it a Bourbon Barrel Quad & Grape ale. Interesting…
Depuceleuse | American Wild Ale | 9.7% ABV
This beer, that I cannot even begin to pronounce, holds a special place in my heart, as one of my first sour beers. Cherry, slight citrus tart, fruity aroma and taste, just delightful.
Ellie’s Brown | American Brown Ale | 5.5% ABV
A total classic, perfect example of the style- rich and smooth, well-balanced. The last time I had this was at the special mid-summer Vic N Anthony’s beer dinner highlighting their new line-up of craft beer choices. Paired so beautifully with a Kansas strip; I could go on all day about their beer dinner, but I won’t.
Lilikoi Mahu | Fruit Beer | 5.6% ABV
Lilikoi is a Belgian wheat made with passion fruit; the aroma and flavor of passion fruit was very prominent in this beer, but gave the decent Belgian some “oomph”.
Out Of Sight Stout- House Blend | American Stout | 6.3%
This beer is their Out of Sight Stout made with a cold coffee todday blended in, it was a bit too bitter-coffee tasting for me.
That wraps up all the breweries we visited in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder. You can check out my 1st post on GABF- the sessions and the 2nd- the events to get the whole GABF experience we had! I definitely hope to attend GABF again sometime in the future, it was a complete blast!