Small Batch Festival 2012

Odell Small Batch Festival 2012

As right as rain, 2012’s Memorial Day Weekend centered around making our way up Fort Collins to attend Odell Brewing Company’s Small Batch Festival. A beer event that I would be hard pressed to miss and this year’s did not disappoint. Twenty of their finest offered up to 6,000 purported beer lovers.

Beer wise, I wager I got to at least sip in the neighborhood of seven of the beers offered. Without question, Footloose, a golden sour, and Kiwi IPA, an IPA brewed with New Zealand hops, were the standouts of what I got to have. The Kiwi IPA was another Odell IPA triple, if not a home run. The utilization of three New Zealand grown hops created an outstanding IPA that tasted of flavors of fruit and earthy dryness. Footloose was the perfect companion to the sun scorched parking lot. A decent amount of tart and funk while being very drinkable and refreshing. I left slightly disappointed that I didn’t partake in the Pond Hopper Double Extra Pale Ale and wasn’t able to get a pour of my favorite from last year, Wooden Elephant. Finally, it seems that there has been quite a bit of buzz about Mash of the Titans, a chocolate coffee stout. Had it been a rainy day, that probably would have been my first pick. I would be lying to say that I wasn’t hoping for some Hiveranno action.

Small Batch Festival 2012

In hindsight, last year’s cool, drizzly, and overcast day was much preferable to what became a very warm, if not hot day. Like a pack Peruvian dogs in the dead of summer, we sought shelter behind one of the Odell supply trucks for the majority of the event. I learned from last year that endurance is key at this event and baking myself in the late afternoon sun would have been a great hinderance to that. True, I may have missed out on even more people watching, but doing so allowed me to carry on my beer drinking at The Mayor of Old Town long after the event concluded.

My biggest criticism about the event would be how quickly it seemed beers ran out this year. Perhaps my memory has faded, but I don’t remember it being so drastic last year. In all honesty, I’d be OK with an increase in price per beer to guarantee extended availability of the more unique creations at the event. Conversely, the most noticeable change from last year was that every beer was available at every beer station which made navigating the festival that much easier.

All said and told, I’d be a fool not to be back in 2013.

Happy Birthday Miss Erin

Finally, a very happy birthday is in order for the lovely Miss Erin, who’s birthday once again coincided with Small Batch Festival. Nothing but best wishes for the new year for an amazing person and my best friend.

Oh La La at Euclid Hall

Beer Month at Euclid Hall

After a long week at work complete within fixing another Pharma Hacked website, on Friday night we headed to Euclid Hall for our last hurrah of their beer month. This time to sample Oh La La from New Belgium Brewing. Oh La La, a member of the Lips of Faith series, is a dark raspberry fruit beer with an aroma of freshly pureed fruit along with a bit of sourness. The beer tasted very similar to their Frambrozen but was slightly more tart. Overall, I found Oh La La to be a bit too sweet for my preference. It was nice to try since it is so rare, but I think I would have found it more enjoyable if the tartness of the beer was pushed to a more prominent role. I’m happy to have sampled it, however, I wouldn’t seek it out again.

With that said, the night was not without standout beers. Prior to making our way to Euclid Hall, we imbibed on a few bombers of our own. Easily outshining Oh La La was New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole Lips of Faith brew. Best described as something unexpected from the brewery, it has a great cinnamon and chocolate taste that quickly dissipates to a wonderful bite of pepper. I really liked this one, and wouldn’t mind another sample of it. A good friend brought over a bottle of Odell’s Saboteur for us to try. The beer was an interesting combination of malt overtones with some hints of brett and funk. I felt the malt was a bit overpowering to the other aspects of the beer and since we were sampling this brew rather fresh, we all agreed that the beer might fair even better with some age. Finally before departing for our outing downtown, we uncapped Smuttynose’s Homunculus given to us by another good friend recently transplanted to Austin, Texas by way of Boston. Homunculus is a belgian style golden ale that skews a bit hoppy, which was fine by me and my palate. A beer that I wouldn’t complain about having more of, it was extremely refreshing and a great closure to our sampling at home. Though we consumed it in the depths of winter, Homunculus would shine as a summer thirst quencher.

As already expressed, I found beer month to be a great idea and success. It allowed us the opportunity to try five beers that we’ve been wanting to try but hand’t had the opportunity to do so. Each week it provided something to look forward to as we eek our way out of the depths of winter. I’m hopeful that this event comes along again, as I really enjoyed it and what it represents. Another tip of the hat to Euclid Hall as it has grown to one of my favorite places to spend my money in Denver.

Tea Cup Honey Raspberry Lager

Many of our weekends these days revolve around beer-centric events, and this weekend was no exception. Going back to our home-brewing roots, we brewed a batch of our Raspberry Honey Lager on Saturday night. Although an all extract brew, which is a bit abnormal for us to brew, it will be a nice session beer to have on tap in a few weeks alongside our brown ale. It was also our first night brewing session, which I found rather enjoyable, although I think I may have been the only one who didn’t mind standing out in the cold. Never having boil-overs with our all-grain batches, twice overflowing our brew-pot, this brew proved difficult to manage for whatever reason and reaffirmed my desires to upgrade our gear and capacity.

Annual Dry Dock Home Brew Competition

To cap the weekend off, we stopped into Dry Dock Brewing to see how our beers fared in their annual home-brewing competition. Walking a way a bit discourage, unfortunately our beers didn’t fare as well as I hoped with our vanilla porter doing the best out of the three we entered. One final tip of my hat to one of my bosses who won the entire event with his graham cracker brew. As a result, he gets to have the beer brewed at Dry Dock which should be pretty fucking cool to experience.