Estes Park Brewery – Estes Park, CO

Estes Park Brewery Logo

History of the Brewery:
The Estes Park Brewery is located in Estes Park, CO minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, The Stanley Hotel, and many other tourist attractions. I had to opportunity to visit Estes Park Brewery after a day of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was impressed with the selection, and quality of the beer. The location of the brewery makes it a perfect destination for anyone that enjoys a beer after hiking, biking, or simply taking in the scenery in the area.

In 1993 Gordon Knight started High Country Brewery in Boulder, Co. That same year Ed Grueff opened the Event Center in Estes Park. In 1994 Ed and Gordon decided to combine the two businesses and the Estes Park Brewery was born. The original Brewing equipment which consisted of a 4 1/4 Barrel Brewhouse was moved to Estes. For the first summer the Event Center kept the main floor as a stage and dance floor. For the first summer the Estes Park Brewery offered four beers: Estes Park Porter, Estes Park Renegade, Longs Peak Raspberry Wheat and Estes Park Pale Ale.

In the fall of 1994, Gordon Knight decided to sell his half of the business. When Gordon left, Eric Bratrud took over as the head Brewer. The Brewery also expanded to a 14 BBL Brewhouse and moved out onto the main floor where is now located.

In 1995 the Estes Park brewery started packaging their beers in 12 oz bottles, which expanded their market. By this time they added a number of beers including Trail Ridge Red, Estes Park Gold, Stinger Wild Honey Wheat and Samson Stout. 1995 was also the first year of the Best of the West Brewfest held in the Brewery parking lot. Since ’95 we’ve continued to evolve both in our restaurant and with our brewing operations.

IMG_0435About the Brewery:
In 2003 Tyler Lemirande and Eric Bratrud took over as owners. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tyler and talking craft beer during my visit to the brewery. Tyler is a very nice guy that enjoys providing fresh craft beer to tourists, and locals alike. The atmosphere at Estes Park Brewery is unique compared to many of the breweries I’ve been to in the Denver area. Unlike many of the breweries around Denver, Estes Park Brewery has a restaurant with a pub-style food menu, a full bar, arcade games, and tons of seating. Due to its unique setup, Estes Park Brewery is a great place for the whole family to visit and enjoy a meal, or a fun gathering place for those only interested in getting a locally brewed beer.

The beer at Estes Park Brewery is comprised of quite a few different styles. There’s definitely a beer for all different types of beer drinkers available at the brewery. One of the really great things about the brewery is that visitors can try samples of different beers on the main floor before they head upstairs and order a beer. I’ve never been to another brewery that advertised free samples to visitors. Estes Park Brewery’s approach to samples allows visitors to try new styles of beer without buying a beer they don’t like. While I was trying a few samples, I overheard a lady say “she never tried anything like that, and it was really good!” As someone that’s grown to love beer in all different styles, I think it’s awesome to have a brewery promote trying different beers until you find one you like (up to 4 samples are free).

Beer List:
The list pictured below is the list of regular beers you will typically find at Estes Park Brewery. My favorite beer at the brewery was actually a seasonal, and one that can be found at The Stanley Hotel, the The Shining Pale Ale (in honor of Stephen King’s The Shining). From EPBrewery.com, “The Shining Pale Ale is brewed with rare British All-Star pale malt to give the beer a full body and unique flavor. We hop with Amarillo and Cascade hops. Of course this beer is named after the book “The Shining” by Stephen King. We don’t guarantee clairvoyance after after a pint or two we just hope you enjoy the experience.” I really enjoyed the pale ale, and look forward to the next chance I get to drink it.

The two top sellers at Estes Park Brewery are the Stinger Honey Wheat, and Bear Lake Raspberry Wheat. Both of these are great beers for those that enjoy lighter beers without much hoppiness. Of the two, I really liked the Stinger Honey Wheat, which is brewed with local Colorado honey. The honey taste is subtle and the beer is a really smooth, drinkable beer that is not overly sweet.

Estes Park Brewery Beer ListI want to thank Tyler Lemirande for taking the time to sit down with me and talk craft beer. I had a great time visiting Estes Park Brewery, and look forward to my next visit. I highly recommend visiting the brewery to anyone that’s able to make it to Estes Park. There’s a lot to see and do around Estes Park, and stopping in at the brewery should be on your list!

Estes Park Brewery
470 Prospect Village Dr.
Estes Park, C0 80517
970.586.5421
www.epbrewery.com

38 State Brewing Company – Littleton, CO

38 State Brewing Company is our first featured brewery in Littleton, CO, and they’re also the first brewery/taproom located in Littleton. The name 38 State Brewing is in honor of Colorado becoming the 38th state to join the union in 1876. I had the opportunity to get some background information on 38 State Brewing from Brett Blazek, VP of Marketing, and one of the 4 part owners of the brewery. 38 State Brewing Logo

38 State Brewing started much like everyone else (homebrewers), and decided to take their passion for brewing to the next level after friends and family gave them ample amounts of positive feedback about their product. Initially they began brewing as a hobby, never thinking it would escalate to anything more than that, but friends can be quite persuasive, so they decided to take 38 State to the next level and open their very own brewery.

38 State Brewing is currently located at 8071A S. Broadway in Littleton, which makes them the very first brewery/taproom in the city. 38 State is strictly a brewery, so they don’t have the capability of preparing any food on site (like the Old Mill Brewery/Restaurant – also in Littleton). The team at 38 State is quite excited to be labeled with the distinction as Littleton’s first true brewery/taproom, and look to cater to those locals who have desperately wanted a place to call their own. The brewery and taproom is located just north of C-470 & Broadway.

The four owners of 38 State Brewing are: Mike and Kim Keating, Jason Virzi, and Brett Blazek. When you take a married couple, high school friends, and literal neighbors… and put all of that together, along with their backgrounds (Mike – Master Gardener, Kim – CFO of a payment processing company, Jason – Aviation Project Manager, and Brett – a humble school teacher), you get the heart and soul of 38 State Brewing Company! 38 State Brewing is glad they could come together and give Littleton something that it has been missing, and hope they will continue to do so for decades to come. In my visit with Brett Blazek, it was evident there is a ton of passion behind what is being done at 38 State Brewing. Great beer, good friends, and a fun place to get together is how I would describe what the owners of 38 State have created.

38 State is about as small as a nano-brewery can get. The brewery is currently running a one-barrel system made by Ruby Street Brewing (out of of Fort Collins). Head brewer, Mike Keating, along with two assistant brewers put in long hours the one-barrel system to ensure that 38 State can meet the demand of its patrons. 38 State opened to the public on May 10, 2014 and had such a positive turnout that they actually went light on a couple of their beers due to demand being so high. This was great news for the brewery, but meant that they would have to crank up the production schedule.

38 State Logo

38 State Brewing’s  logo – spray painted mural in the taproom

The team at 38 State is quite fond of their little one-barrel system as it allows them to not only produce their staple beers, but gives them the freedom to try new things, recipes, ideas, etc. knowing that if lightning doesn’t strike, they’re only out one barrel as opposed to twenty. This freedom and creative approach is what they began with back in the garage while homebrewing, and they continue to keep the same thought process day in and day out. One of the many things that 38 State is proud of is the truly “hands-on” approach to what they do. According to Brett Blazek, “Each day our grains are milled by hand, and that hands-on process doesn’t leave until that beer is poured into a guest’s glass. Milling, steeping, stirring, transferring, pouring… it’s all done (by hand) by our fantastic staff who understands what it takes to make a great pint of craft brew.” Brett Blazek 38 State Brewing

The Beer: In addition to the list below, 38 State plans to constantly introduce new styles to keep their beer selection fresh and different. Since their opening they’ve also showcased a small batch of Broadway IPA (a traditional IPA), and have two others debuting within 10 days time. As Brett Blazek puts it, “Again, we have this creativity per our one-barrel system, and we couldn’t be more excited to give the people something new time and time again.”

One thing I think is really cool about 38 State Brewing is that they’re still figuring out which beers are the most popular. Since they’ve only been open about a month, they’re taking feedback from patrons to figure out which beers should become a staple. Visitors of 38 State have the distinct opportunity to help shape future beer offerings by trying different beers, and providing feedback to the staff. It’s pretty cool that the people coming in to try a fresh craft beer, may also be the reason one of 38 State’s beers becomes a local favorite.

38 State’s current stable of beers consists of a little something for everyone. Keep in mind that with the current system, styles will be rotating frequently. The beer listed below may not be available tomorrow. The good thing is that overall, 38 State brews awesome beer, so you’ll be able to pick at least 1-2 that you’ll really enjoy when you visit.

Beer List:

  • Golden Lemon-Honey Wheat: This beer is created using fresh lemons, organic lemon juice and local Colorado honey. This American style Wheat beer has a crisp and refreshing taste that will help you get through the dog days of summer – or any time of year! Not too tart, not too sweet, we dare you to have just one! ABV 5.4%
  • ColorAmber Amber Ale: This American style Amber Ale focuses heavily on the special blend of both Munich and Biscuit malts which create a flavorful beer that is unbelievably drinkable. Add to that the pairing of Fuggle and Willemette hops, and you have an Amber Ale complete with superb taste and feel, making it a truly well-balanced session beer. ABV 4.3%
  • Great Plains Scottish Ale: This ale undergoes an extensive boil to help achieve its remarkable flavor and crisp bronze color. The high levels of fermentable sugar in conjunction with the gentle hop balance make this beer a special blend of savory malts and rich aromas that is sure to satisfy. ABV 6%
  • Two Buttes Double IPA:  A brew for serious hop heads! This robust and genuinely flavorful Double IPA is inspired by the old world style of brewing, making it a favorite amongst beer drinkers. A strong Double IPA, this beer endures a lengthy boiling process to guarantee maximum flavor from its special blend of grains. This recipe’s meticulous attention to detail of both malt and hops creates a “beast” of a beer. ABV 9.2%
  • Chocolate Stout: This is a very creative recipe inspired by both classic English and Irish stouts. We use an awesome blend of chocolate and coffee malts. This stout is lightly hopped to complement the roasted flavors unleashed during the boiling process which leads to an easy drinking beer. ABV 6.5%
  • Littleton Kolsh: This one’s brand new! We’ll have a description and ABV soon!
  • Chocolate Oatmeal Stout: Chocolaty, a little smokey from the oatmeal, and a good choice for fans of stouts.
  • Dunkelweizen: Dark in color, smooth, refreshing beer for a hot day. Well, any day really.
  • Lunch Pale Ale: A great summer Pale Ale with a subtle hoppy flavor. This is a great beer for someone that may have avoided hoppy beers in the past. Try this one out, and you will see what you’ve been missing.
  • ESB: A smooth ESB, with a subtle bitterness.
  • IPA: We didn’t try this one, but it will be back soon.

After visiting 38 State Brewing, and sitting down with part owner, Brett Blazek, I can say without a doubt that beer drinkers will enjoy visiting the first brewery and taproom in Littleton. The atmosphere is inviting and the feel of the taproom is unique. 38 State is located in an area that is predominantly automotive. There are repair shops, dealerships, and other automotive business close by. The building they’re located in is actually an old garage that has been revamped, and now has the feel of a modern cabin. There’s nice woodwork on the walls, flights are served on hand-crafted wooden serving trays, and the old garage doors open to give the taproom an outdoor feel. Of course, if you want to sit outside, there is a nice patio in the front as well. It’s fitting that 38 State opened in an old garage, as that is how the owners began brewing together years ago. I look forward to seeing the growth of 38 State Brewing, and will definitely be heading back to try more of their outstanding Colorado craft brews. Check them out at the link below.

38 State Brewing Company LLC
8071A S. Broadway
Littleton, CO 80122
760-220-8580

About


Colorado Craft Brews was born after years of cultivating a love of local craft beer. Jeremy Fleming is a Colorado native, and like many locals, he had a dedicated relationship with Coors for the majority of his adult life (only after he turned 21, of course). In July of 2008, he attended the Colorado Brewers’ Rendezvous in Salida, CO for the first time. This was when he realized how many great Colorado craft beers were available. An evolving taste for craft beer led IMG_20130609_184613him to leave his longtime love (Coors Banquet Beer), to move on and see what else was out there…ultimately his love for Colorado craft beer became so great, he decided he had to spread the word to others, and Colorado Craft Brews was created in February 2013. While he still enjoys a Coors Banquet, he has developed a serious connection with IPAs.  Jeremy’s favorite Colorado craft beer is the Tommyknocker Pick Axe IPA.

Thanks for visiting! I hope www.ColoradoCraftBrews.com is a valuable resource for you. Please feel free to contact me, or to submit information for use in blog posts here.

Cheers,

Jeremy

The 2013 Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival was a great event!

The 2013 Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival was held Saturday, April 6th in Downtown Breckenridge, CO. There was a lot of buzz as beer enthusiasts gathered to sample some of the best craft beer Colorado, and the United States has to offer. From big national brewers like Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada to smaller regional brewers like Palisade Brewery and San Luis Valley Brewing, the event provided visitors a chance to sample many different types of beer. Several Colorado favorites were available with AC Golden, Breckenridge Brewery, Great Divide, Left Hand, Odell and Oskar Blues providing their popular craft beers.

The atmosphere in Downtown Breckenridge was lively and fun as beer enthusiasts from all over gathered to sample a great mix of quality craft beers. The event catered to an audience of all ages, and many families came to enjoy the festival. Live music created a nice vibe as many participants danced in the street to the music of 7Horse, Mountain Standard Time, and Max Gomez. There is nothing quite like drinking a fresh beer, while listening to good music with the mountains above Breckenridge in the background!

 Breck Beer Fest (2) 4-6-13 Breck Beer Fest 4-6-13

Best Beers (in our opinion). Keep in mind that there were so many great beers available to taste, we didn’t even come close to trying all of them! To see a list of all brewers that participated in the event, click here.

  • Wheat: Pug Ryan’s Morningwood Wheat was outstanding. A smooth taste, with very subtle spiciness and a nice finish.
  • Stout: Left Hand’s Milk Stout was really tasty. The subtle taste of coffee, without being overpowering. The Milk Stout has a nice creamy/frosty finish and goes down really smooth.
  • Belgian: Avery’s White Rascal has a spicy, sweet and unique taste. As we overheard someone say “It tastes like Christmas!” While that is not how we would describe it, the saying actually works.
  • Lager: Colorado Native was our favorite lager of the day. A distinct malt flavor with some bitterness and an overall clean, crisp taste.
  • IPA: The Odell IPA was our first beer of the day, and just so happened to be our favorite IPA as well. Great hoppiness, with smooth, subtle hints of fruity finish.
  • Pilsner: The Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils. This beer has a bit of a different flavor than most Pilsners. A rich, smooth and subtly hoppy beer with a nice finish.
  • Most Unique/Unusual: Breckeridge Brewery’s Roasted Habanero Lucky IPA. This crazy beer has a subtle kick from the habanero, but is not overpowering. It’s a creative twist on the IPA, and was unlike anything else we tried!   

We had a great time at the Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival! If you were unable to make it to the Spring edition, plan on making it to the Summer edition. The Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival will be held July 13, 2013. To find out more check out http://breckenridgebeerfestival.net/july/

Renegade Brewing Company – Denver, CO

Renegade Brewing Logo

Renegade Brewing Company is located in Denver, CO. near the intersection of Sante Fe Dr. and 9th Ave. The area surrounding Renegade Brewing is an eclectic mix of industrial and residential buildings. Denver’s Art District on Sante Fe is around the corner, and creativity seems to be in the air in and around the brewery.

Renegade Brewing Company was started in 2011 by Brian and Khara O’Connell. Brian was a full-time statistician, and a part-time a homebrewer that loved to make beer. He started learning how to make homebrews after his wife Khara bought him a homebrewing kit. Khara thought Brian’s love of beer would simply be a hobby. She had no idea that after about three years of experimenting and training, Brian would decide to turn his hobby into a business.

Brian’s scientific mind and experience with statistics had an effect on the types of beers he brewed. Brian analyzed the ingredients he used and played with recipes a great deal. He developed brewing strategies from studying, researching, and even interning at another brewery. Once Brian developed his beers in his backyard, he brought his offensively delicious brews, developed in his backyard, to Denverites to encourage social interaction and friendship. Renegade Brewing Company’s slogan is ‘offensively delicious’, as they strive to brew beers that are creative, packed with flavor, and don’t necessarily align with traditional styles or trends.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Laura Vande Zande, Ambassador of Enjoyment for Renegade Brewing. Laura explained how Renegade has created a neighborhood pub atmosphere that encourages visitors to have genuine conversations. Ultimately, Renegade strives to be a relational brewery – they want to foster a sense of community, and to provide a place for friends to meet, or for strangers to engage in a conversation. The taproom at Renegade Brewing Company does not include a single TV. Instead, you will hear good music playing in the background, and see people sitting together, enjoying conservation.

Many visitors at Renegade Brewing appeared to be stopping in on their way home from work. Most patrons knew their way around the taproom, and were farmiliar with either friends or neighbors that were enjoying beers. The sense of community really stuck out, and the crowd at Renegade was a happy bunch (the beer may have had something to do with that)! The success of Renegade’s ‘relational brewery’ atmosphere is evident as they are planning to open a second location in 4-6 weeks. The new location will be located at University & Evans in Denver.

Beer List:

  • 5:00 (Afternoon Ale): We did not try the 5:00, but will next time.  5% ABV
  • Ryteous (Rye IPA): This was the original beer for Renegade, and was originally a homebrew recipe for Brian O’Connell. He brought the recipe to the masses when he decided to open up Renegade Brewing.  7% ABV
  • Elevation (Triple IPA): Don’t let the high alcohol content scare you away. This beer has a really unique, excellent flavor. The taste includes a grape-fruity flavor with a sort of piney finish. Elevation is very smooth, and great tasting!  11.2% ABV
  • Silas (White Stout): Beer drinkers may be confused by this one. How can a stout be white? Not sure, but this one is outstanding. It’s light in color, but has a taste similar to Guiness. Definitely one to try while at Renegade.  6% ABV
  • Midnight in Bruges (Belgium Black IPA) We did not try the Midnight in Bruges, but will next time.  8% ABV
  • Hammer and Sickle (Russian Imperial Stout) We did not try the Hammer and Sickle, but will next time.  9% ABV
  • Sunday Morning (Coffee Infused Strong Ale) This is a tasty ale with a coffee finish. The coffee smell is stronger than the taste. Overall the beer is smooth and the hint of coffee is a great touch.  6% ABV

If you want to find a place that sells Renegade’s beers, check out their beer locator: http://renegadebrewing.com/find-us/. Renedage’s beers are available in 4-packs of pint cans. To read Renegade’s blog about why they use cans, click here: http://renegadebrewing.com/we-can-can/

Awards:

  • Best New Brewery – 5280 Top of the Town
  • Best Neighborhood Brewery – Westword
  • #2 Best Bar in Denver – Westword
  • Elevation Triple IPA – #2 Best Beer in Colorado – Denver Off the Wagon

Renegade Brewing Company has created many great tasting beers that are far from typical. Renegade bucked the traditional beer do’s and don’ts in order to brace creativity and to push the envelope of what craft beers can be. We enjoyed all the beers we sampled, but the Silas White Stout, and the Elevation Triple IPA were the favorites. Both will surprise you with their flavor and smooth finish. We encourage you to visit Renegade Brewing Company to try out some really unique beers. Thanks to Laura for a great visit! We enjoyed sampling Renegade’s beers, and finding out more about the company.

To find out more about Renegade Brewing Company, check out their website: http://renegadebrewing.com

Renegade Brewing Company
925 W 9th Ave / Denver, CO
720-401-4089
info@renegadebrewing.com

 

Golden City Brewery – Golden, CO

Golden City Brewery LogoGolden City Brewery is located in Golden, CO. next to the Colorado School of Mines campus. We had the pleasure of visiting the brewpub and sitting down with Sales & Marketing Manager, Derek Gilmore, and part owner, Andy Taylor. It was really fun finding out more about Golden City Brewery — “The 2nd Largest Brewery in Golden!” Anyone that is looking for a neighborhood brewpub with a friendly atmosphere and great beer, needs to visit Golden City Brewery.

Golden City Brewery was founded in 1993 by two geologists, Charlie & Janine Sturdavant. They filled the old machine shop behind their historic Golden home with used dairy tanks, and Charlie began brewing German-style ales. The tasting room was originally located in the sunroom of their house, and provided Red Ale and Pale Ale to the local community in 1/2 gallon growlers and kegs. The brewery started out with the help of investments made by many of Charlie & Janine’s friends. Andy Taylor was one of the original investors and thought that he would most likely lose money on the brewery. It took nearly ten years, but the investors started making money on their investment, and to this day there are still 23 part owners. One of the main factors that helped the brewpub take off was the addition of a beer garden. Customers started sitting in the grassy area next to the brewpub… eventually this area became the official beer garden at GCB.

When Golden City Brewery first started out, the craft beer industry was much different than it is now. It was difficult to get started, as demand for craft beers was not like it is today. In 1993, most Americans simply made their choice for beer between one of the two or three major U.S. beer producers. This was referred to as “BMB”, or “Before Microbreweries”, in our talk with Golden City Brewery. Things have really changed for the craft beer industry, especially in the last 10 years.

Over the years, Golden City Brewery has expanded at the same location (still the Sturdavant’s home). The carriage house became the tasting room, and the backyard is now the beer garden. The brewery is still in the machine shop, but a second level was added inside. All of the old equipment has been replaced with real beer fermenters and a slightly used gas-fired kettle. The Golden City Brewery now produces the legendary Red Ale & Pale Ale, in addition to a few other brews, which are listed below. Each beer has it’s own logo, which are very creative and unique to the taste of the beer. Here’s the logo for Clear Creek Pale Ale, which was a very good beer, one of our favorites!

Golden City Pale Ale Logo

Beer List:

  • Clear Creek Pale Ale: Ale might not be what miners were looking for in nearby Clear Creek, but Clear Creek Gold can always be found at GCB. This is a traditional German Kolschbier that is hopped with Czech Saaz for a pleasant floral finish.   4.8% ABV
  • Evolution India Pale Ale: Evolution IPA has become one of our most popular brews. It’s stronger, hoppier character was designed to survive the arduous overseas journey from Britain to its colonies in India. Today, brewers continue to alter the formula and produce bigger, even hoppier renditions like smooth, aromatic Evolution. 7.3% ABV
  • Legendary Red Ale: Legendary Red was the first beer ever brewed at GCB. Its award winning flavor is derived from a large portion of Munich malt, a touch of crystal malts, and just a pinch of black malt. A healthy dose of German hops balances this altbier of epic proportions. 5.2% ABV
  • Mad Molly’s Brown Ale: Our award-winning English Northern Brown Ale is inspired by the infamous brewery wench, Mad Molly. You’d be mad too if you served ale all day without a single drop for yourself. Hence the origin of the age-old adage: “Tip your wench well, lest she go mad. For rest nor ale has the sweet girl had.” Molly’s Brown is light and malty with a nice chocolate quality. 4.5% ABV
  • Lookout Stout: Named after Lookout Mountain, which overlooks Golden. This oatmeal stout is characterized by a dose of chocolate malt and balanced out with oats for body. It is dark, chocolatey, coffee-like, and smooth. 5.0% ABV

Golden City Brewery mainly sells beer from the brewpub, and is not sold in many retail locations. This is not due to a lack of demand for the beer, it is because the owners prefer to sell from their pub. You can purchase 22 oz. bottles of all the the beer types, except for the IPA. GCB beers can also be found at My Brother’s Bar in Denver, and Woody’s Pizza in Golden. Liquor stores that carry GCB beers include: Foss Building Wine & Spirits in Golden, Clear Creek Wine & Spirits in Golden, Canyon Point Liquors in Golden, and Union Wine & Spirits in Lakewood.

We really enjoyed our visit to Golden City Brewery. GCB offers a fun environment and great beer! We enjoyed all the beers, but our favorites were the Clear Creek Pale Ale and the Evolution IPA. We highly recommend stopping by this fun brewpub, especially in the spring/summer. The beer garden is located in the back of the brewpub and is a popular place when the weather is nice. We’re looking forward to a return visit when we can sit outside and enjoy a breat beer at GCB.

Golden City Brewery
920 12th Street
Golden, CO. 80401
303-279-8092
http://www.gcbrewery.com/