A quick stop during a spring snow

So I had planned to hunker down and check out the beers we have stored in the basement this weekend as the last big snowstorm was rolling through this weekend.  Instead what we got was some wet weather and cold wind.  I exchanged my flannel pajama pants for jeans and we heading out to see what a Saturday in Longmont had to offer!  We have seen Open Door Brewing at a few different beer events around town so we decided to give them a try.  Generally, new breweries are a no-go for us but this new tasting room is part of a brewing company that has been creating craft beer for about 18 months so it was fair game!ODBC_Keg

We asked for tasters of everything they had!  We ended up with the ODBC beers as well as their guest taps… Lots of beer and lots of styles! Pictured here are just the ODBC beers on tap.

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After sipping (very methodically, mind you) we settled on our favorites.  You can see a full beer list here.  My favorites Saturday were the Libertas Creme Ale and the current iteration of the Hopgave on tap (it sounds like there are a few versions out there!).  There was also an interesting grapefruit collaboration (with Crystal Springs, I believe) that was pretty tasty but the name escapes me.

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Overall, the tasting room was pretty empty but that might have been the storm.  It is good to note that it sounds like most of the restaurants in Prospect will deliver so this is a great place to meet up with friends if you need a big table!  With so much competition in Longmont, I don’t think I had any beers that would drive me back in but I will happily have another Libertas at the next Longmont beer festival!

For the TL:DR

The Husband’s Two Word Review

Atmosphere: Sterile

Beer: Mediocre

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California Dreaming

A few weeks back, I had the chance to hang out for a few days in California after a solid week of work and conference.  Can’t complain as the location was amazing…

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We moved from Monarch Beach to Long Beach and started a weekend of beachtime, sunburns, and good beer!

First, a quick shot of the ocean.  I go to California twice a year for work and once for fun (usually) and I never get to spend any time at the ocean.  Definitely got my feel of sun (read: cold baths to soothe major sunburns) and salt air.

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Once we settled into our hotel in Long Beach, we hit up Beachwood BBQ and Brewing.  We had some amazing food.  Too good to snap pictures and some great beer.  We wanted to check out the Blendery as well but we ran out of time.  Next time for sure!IMG_20160617_193230

Before we headed towards the airport, we made Sunday the beer tour day.  We started with lunch at the Anaheim Packing House, a favorite from my work trips.  I felt really silly when I realized that Anaheim Brewery was just on the other side of the parking lot.  This will definitely be a spot I will hit up on work trips.  Solid beer, great location, and really friendly staff.  The beer actually reminded me a lot of our trip to Dostal Alley.

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The beertender at Anaheim Brewing sent us on to Noble Ale Works.  This was a busy spot on a soccer Sunday but we were able to get our drinks and sit in the brewhouse.  This menu was a bit more experimental but there were some real standouts.  As it turns out, my favorite beer was the “I love it!”.  Really clean IPA and super refreshing for a 90 degree day.

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There are so many California breweries we didn’t seen on this trip but never fear, we will be back.  What is your favorite California brewery?

So what has the Half Pint been up to?

So while I haven’t been writing as much as I would like (read: at all!) I wanted to do a quick recap of some of the things I have been doing and get this little corner of the internet moving forward again.

We have hit up two different beer dinners at Samples.

Left Hand vs. Great Divide and Left Hand vs. Wibby!  Currently Wibby holds the title and we are looking forward to the next dinner in the series in July.  Want to go?

BvB_GlassWe have done a bit of biking and strolling around Longmont.  That has landed at Wibby quite a few times this year.  What a great patio!

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We also did a quick trip back to Iowa.  The Husband hit up some great breweries while I spent some quality time with my niece.  Luckily, we got some beer back in our suitcase to try out this weekend!

We had some paperwork to take care of while we waited for our flight in Des Moines and tried out two really great stops within 10 minutes of the airport.  If you are in Des Moines, try out Exile (great for food, too!) and Confluence near Sloan’s Lake.

 

Up next is RockMont from Left Hand Brewing.  Will you be there?

A quick stop at Cannonball Creek

Every time I drive through Golden, I tell myself we are going to stop at one of the new breweries that has opened in the last 18 months…  and then we drive through at 9:30 in the morning and I curse my poor scheduling.

A couple weeks back we found ourselves at the right place at the right time and stopped in for a tray of tasters.  20150419_145728

From the CCB website:

“Cannonball Creek Brewing Company was founded in January of 2013 by Jason Stengl and Brian Hutchinson.  Jason and Brian met in 2004 at the Mountain Sun family of breweries in Boulder, Colorado were they both learned to hone the craft they love.  With over 15 years of combined professional brewing experience and an uncanny ability to tolerate one another, they decided it was time to take a leap and chase the dream of opening their own brewery.”

What I really liked was the Mindbender IPA.  What my MIL liked (too all of our shock and awe) was the Double IPA, the Not Mindbender Imperial IPA.  Coming in at a whopping 9.5% this was definitely out of her typical pilsner and lager ordering habits but delicious and well rounded!  I definitely think all of the different citrus notes made it much more appealing.  Not the bitter hop fest I was expecting!

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This is a great location with plenty of space to grow and great crowd.  the variety of beers was great.  Everyone at our table found something they liked and the beers run the ABV gamut so you can definitely find something you are comfortable sipping all afternoon!  If the weather were better, we would have sat out on the great patio.  We will definitely be back to have a GABF winning Featherweight out in the Colorado sun!

 

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Take a seat at Dostal Alley

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So when you go to Blackhawk and Central City, you expect to see Casinos, casino shuttles, and people tethered to machines by little colorful bungie keychains.  Many times a year, you can find me enjoying a cocktail and pushing buttons on a penny slot machine.  What I didn’t know was there was a brewery!  If you go to Central City and poke around a bit, you will find yourself in a small casino with card game machines, a fun bartender, and their own beer!

And to make it even better, Dostal Alley isn’t just any brewery.  Dostal Alley is a GABF medal winner with a great stout!  You can see the whole beer list below.  My favorite was the stout and the Husband loves the Pub Ale!  The beers were true to industry standards and no surprises.  And sometimes that’s ok!  There are many times I just want to sit down and order a pint.  I don’t want to sip and smell and think about it, I just want to have a Stout!  It’s a breath of fresh air to have a beer and know what you are getting yourself into.CAM00387

Another great discovery was the brewer/author in the house.  I picked up a copy of Dave Thomas’s Book Of Mines & Beers. Dostal Alley has been brewing since 1998 but Gilpin County has a rich history of brewers and beer drinkers.  While I have only leafed through it a bit, I already know that I can’t wait to read about some of the brewers that have made the Front Range and Colorado such a great place to brew and enjoy beer.

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This brewery is so different from any other place in Colorado!  I am even having trouble putting into words why I love this place so much.  The team is humble, the space is comfortable, and the award winning beers are amazing!  I haven’t tried the pizza yet but I can assume it’s probably pretty tasty.  If you find yourself anywhere near Central City, make sure you make time to play a bit of Deuces Wild and enjoy a Dostal Alley beer.

 

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Find your way to Broken Compass!

Just before Christmas we were up in Breckenridge and I saw a sticker… a sticker for a new brewery in Breckenridge!  Guerrilla marketing at it’s best!

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On our next trip up the mountains, I had Broken Compass on my non-negotiable, must visit list.  After circling the industrial park for a few minutes, we pulled up and settled in.  We chatted up our beertender and stared at the tap menu.  After a couple brief glances, we decided to eliminate the pumpkin seasonal and let those who know the beer do the picking.  We tasted the six favorites (and a few sips of a few extras) and decided we could definitely make this a regular stop.

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I had two definite favorites.  My first was the Coconut Porter.  Coconut in anything is good but coconut in beer is pretty awesome!  The best part is that there is nothing fake about this coconut!  Real, dried, whole flakes of Organic Coconut are added to the fermenter to impart some strong flavor.  I could curl up with a growler of this beer and sit by the fire and stare at the snow all day!  No skiing necessary.  The minute they start putting this in cans/bottles, I will be stocking up.  (Brand new brewery so no idea when that will happen…  soon?).

The second beer I loved was the exact opposite.  This was a warm weather beer to be enjoyed in the sun (or after a long day of bluebird skiing).  This beer was the Ginger Pale ale and I sat an enjoyed  a whole pint of this.  If you will remember, one of my favorite beers on the planet is Left Hand’s Good JuJu.  While both of these beers share the ginger flavor, that is where it stops.  The Ginger Pale ale had a spicy, biting ginger taste that kept from chugging it down but kept you coming back.  It was intriguing and light but full bodied.  Definitely a unique taste.

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Overall, I had a blast getting to know another great mountain spot.  And if you check out their Facebook, you will see they are always having a great time!  Hopefully I can stop up sometime for a Potluck!

 

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This could get a bit hairy… A quick visit to GrossenBart Brewery

 

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What do you do when you are tired of looking at your Christmas decorations but it’s still snowing out?  You find the closest new brewery and brave the cold!  A few days ago (before the last pile of sow accumulated) we hit up one of Longmont’s new breweries, GrossenBart.  We have tried this beer at a few festivals and we were ready to see what they could do with a more permanent location.  After lurking around a back alley type circle behind the school bus lot, we stumbled upon the tiny cardboard brewery sign.  This is par for the course for many Front Range breweries.  We pulled into the lot and walked into a quiet, dog friendly brewery.  The set up was pretty sparse but it had everything you needed to enjoy a pint.

 

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We grabbed a mustache shaped taster tray and sat where I could get a good look at the chalk art on the wall.  We were able to try all of their beers.  Most of the beers on the menu were pretty low IBU’s and ABV so great to have a few with friends.  The IPA was the exact opposite of the rest of their pairings and a little too strong for these tastebuds.

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My favorite of the day was the pale ale.  It was nice and balanced.  Their website says that this is the beer for those not quite prepared for the IPA.  And each glass lets you try out your new facial hair.

“Each of our beers are associated with a different style of facial hair. Hold the glass up to your face to see how you would look sporting all the unique facial hair styles!”

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While we hanging out with the GrossenBart mascot, the Admiral, we watched the snow and heard about the two upcoming brews.  The winter wheat and red ales are next. And that means we will have to go back and sample.  While we didn’t get to know the guys behind the bar very well, we will hopefully get to sit down and chat on our next visit.

Welcome to Longmont guys!

 

 

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