|This wig is way too tight!|
Unlike when we flew down there last year for me to compete, this year's trip was so relaxed that it should count as a mini-vacation. Since this was our third "beer" trip to Denver in a year, we had the lay of the land down. Still, Denver is such a great beer town that we still found great new things to do. Here are some highlights:
|Outside of Pints Pub|
|Inside Pints Pub|
|Bill's Strong Scotch Ale|
|Me & my friend Pliny|
While I was waiting for the Pliny the Younger to be tapped, I had a pint of Pizza Port (San Clemente) ABLE Session IPA. I picked this beer for a couple of reasons: First, we don't get Pizza Port here in Alaska, but they seem to do well in competitions. Second, it was only 4.2% ABV and I wanted to keep a clear head, as I needed to be a judge later in the afternoon. This turned out to be an inspired choice, as I thoroughly enjoyed the beer. It poured a light gold with a nice white head, once again more pilsner in appearance than the typical copper color of an IPA. It had a nice clean hop aroma and a very pleasing balance of carbonation and bitterness from the Centennial hops used exclusively to make it. In sum it was very enjoyable and certainly lived up to its name as a session beer; I could have drunk pints of it all afternoon.
|Oskar Blues ODB Barley Wine|
During a separate visit to Falling Rock, I had a beer which was most certainly not a session beer: Oskar Blues Brewing's Old Double Bagger (ODB) Barley Wine. This was another beer that I picked off the chalkboard beer list without knowing anything about it, simply on the brewery's reputation. At 13.2% ABV and 100 IBUs, this beer is a monster; the first sip made me think of their Old Chub on steroids! It was a dark ruby in the glass with a nice cream head that left lace all the way to the bottom. The aroma was of caramel, alcohol, maybe some wood and a touch of smoke, along with a touch of citrusy hops from the Columbus variety that was used exclusively to make this powerful brew. It had great mouthfeel; smooth, rich, and warming with a long slow finish. Oskar Blues claims this beer is a work in progress, and will improve as it ages. As good as it is now, I shudder tho think that it can get better!
|How's that for lace?|
|Lamb stew + Scotch ale = Mmmmmm!|
|God save this honorable court!|
|James & Mike look on in awe as Phil blathers.|
|All Hail Phil Farrell, 2011 Beer Drinker of the Year|
First, at noon tomorrow (Friday, March 4), Kenai River Brewing Company will begin selling their new six-packs of Skilak Scottish Ale to the public. To celebrate, they will be cooking up bratwurst in the beer and giving them away at the brewery, starting when they open at noon. Beer and brats for Friday lunch? How can you beat that?
Second, you may or may not realize that next Tuesday, March 8, is Mardi Gras. As someone who was born and reared in the Crescent City, Fat Tuesday is a very important holiday to me. In celebration of the last day of Carnival, St. Elias Brewing Company will be serving gumbo and will have a 10-piece Dixieland jazz band playing from 7 PM on. So why not put on your masque and stop by to have one last blow-out before Lent starts and we aren't allowed to have anything except doppelbocks for the next 40 days?
Until Next Time, Cheers!