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

Black Sky Brewery: Ale of Yoto Release Party May 13th – 7 PM

Decorated Author Set To Release Book Themed Brew with Black Sky Brewery

Denver, CO – 13-time award-winning sci-fi/fantasy novel The Bane of Yoto, published by FiXT, is setting its sights on beer lovin’ taste buds. Author Joshua Viola has partnered with Denver’s Black Sky Brewery to create The Ale of Yoto, a blueberry wheat beer crafted by master brewer Harry Smith. Black Sky Brewery logo

According to The Bane of Yoto Author Joshua Viola: “The concept of creating a beer seemed like a natural fit amidst the crazy things we were doing in the world of Yoto. The idea originally came to me when a friend — Groovey of Groovey.TV — had a custom brew developed for his online personality. It was received well and I knew then, after a fan suggested a Yoto beer, I had to do it.” “Groovey introduced me to the wonderful people at Black Sky Brewery and the rest is history. Their talented brew master, Harry Smith, concocted the most amazing beer I’d ever tasted. Harry came up with the blueberry wheat idea after reading the book; paying tribute the protagonist’s blue skin tone.”

A release party for the The Ale of Yoto will be part of the American Craft Beer Week celebration in Denver which showcases only the finest efforts from master brewers. Early taste testers have agreed that Black Sky’s Harry Smith knocked it out of the park. The Ale of Yoto has a smooth finish with just the right hint of blueberry and is perfect for the upcoming Summer season as well as for enjoying the blockbuster novel it was inspired from.

Ale of Yoto Release Party Tuesday, May 13th – 7 PM @ Black Sky Brewery
490 Sante Fe Drive | Denver, CO 80204

For More Information: 

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/

Arvada Beer Company – Arvada, CO


Arvada Beer Company LogoArvada Beer Company is located in Arvada, CO. in the historic Olde Town district. The building Arvada Beer is located in was originally built in 1916, and has changed quite a bit over the years. The building was divided into smaller units that originally included a drug store, a car shop and most recently, a printing shop. Arvada Beer decided to move into the building in November 2010, and finally opened up the brewery in October 2011 after a massive renovation that included replacing all electrical and plumbing throughout the building. The owners of Arvada Beer Company are proud of the building, and enjoy taking visitors on tours of the facility.

Arvada Beer Company was started by Cary & Kelly Floyd.  The husband and wife brewing duo have a really interesting story that is deeply rooted in a mutual love of homebrewing. Cary started homebrewing in 1988 and learned a great deal through trial and error. In 2002, Cary won his first medal for homebrewing. In 2004 he started dating Kelly (this is where the story gets interesting!). Kelly watched Cary brew one of his favorite recipes, and told him it looked really easy. Cary took that as a challenge, and told Kelly they should both brew the same recipe, and enter their individual beers into a homebrewing contest at the Colorado State Fair. Kelly won the gold medal! Cary won silver…this was when he knew he needed to make Kelly his wife!

With over 400 homebrewing medals (including 50 multi-award winning recipes), Cary and Kelly Floyd have learned a thing or two about experimenting with their recipes. They have created great beers that are always available, but they’re constantly tweaking recipes, or adding flavors for special occasions. Arvada Beer offers their ‘Brewers Limited Release’ on Thursday nights. The limited release is usually a regular beer with an extra flavor, or a twist on the original recipe. A recent beer featured in the ‘Brewers Limited Release’ was the Butter Pecan Gold. This unique beer was made with the Olde Town Brown and butter pecan flavoring from the ice cream shop next door. While Cary Floyd wouldn’t personally drink a full pint of the Butter Pecan Gold, he said the beer was a big hit among bar patrons.

Dennis O’Harrow is the brewer for Arvada Beer Company. He also has a strong brewing background, and brings a great deal of talent to the team. Dennis has won 49 professional brewing medals. His Coffee Porter won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and the World Beer Cup. Dennis previously brewed for CB & Potts before joining Arvada Beer. With a mix of experiences and techniques from years of practicing, the team at Arvada Beer Company brews excellent beers in many different styles. They are not afraid to push the limits, or to try something that sounds completely off the wall. Many breweries stick very close to their recipes, and try not to differ from batch to batch. Arvada Beer on the other hand, is contantly looking for a new way to add a crazy twist to what they do.

Beer List:

  • Water Tower Wheat: This true to style Bavarian Wheat beer is cloudy from the yeast, and includes notes of banana and clove.  4.5% ABV
  • Ralston’s Golden Ale: A crisp, refreshing beer. Easy drinking, malt oriented American ale.This beer is lighter and not too hoppy. This beer would be a great choice for someone that is looking for a good intro craft beer. 4.8% ABV
  • Goldline IPA: Smooth, not bitter with great citrus and floral tones. Goldline is hopped with 5 different hops, and then dry hopped with 3 different hops.  5.8% ABV
  • Flanigan’s Irish Red: With a deep red hue and subtle maltiness this Irish Red Ale is a sure fire easy drinking brew, with just enough hop for balance and the lower alcohol level of a traditional English ale. 4.8% ABV
  • Arvada Pride Double IPA:  American Hops and extra malt for a classic American Style Double IPA. With the high alcohol content, this DIPA still has as a great taste, and finishes smooth. 8.8% ABV
  • PoolHall Porter: A cross between a brown Porter and a Robust Porter, with all the taste of a robust porter and with some of the subtle flavors of a brown porter.      5.1% ABV
  • Lemon Shandy: This is a unique brew that starts as the Water Tower Wheat. Lemonade is added and it creates a lighter, sweeter flavor, and decreases the alcohol content. 3.8% ABV

We enjoyed tasting Arvada Beer Company’s beers. Our favorite was the Goldline IPA! Anyone that enjoys an IPA should definitely try out this beer. Arvada Beer is planning on canning in the near future, and the IPA will be one of the beers that is canned. Check back to find out when the IPA is available in cans, or you can always pick up a growler at the bar. Arvada Beer Company has a constantly changing beer list so check out their website for the latest: http://www.arvadabeer.com/our-beers/.

The atmosphere at Arvada Beer Company is very laid-back and has a great vibe. Olde Town offers a cool historic feel but with updated modern interiors in the buildings. There is a great neighborhood feel, and in our experience everyone was very friendly. While food is not provided by Arvada Beer, a cool option they have is to order from a number of closeby restaurants. Not only will these restaurants deliver your food, they will bring it right to your table! You can have Italian, Chinese, Indian, or many other options delivered in just a few minutes.

Arvada Beer Company has become an important part of the Arvada area. They participate in many city festivals and activities, and are a main part of many Olde Town gatherings. On March 16th Arvada Beer will be participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This festival will close off traffic in Olde Town, and will include activities for kids and adults. Arvada Beer will be providing green beer, and their Irish red as well.

Other Activities:

  • Brew Class: For $25 per person, you get your first pint of beer and a 6 pack of the beer made that day when it is ready ( limited to the first 10 people who sign up). If you want to just come watch and ask questions, our classes cost $10 each person, which includes your first beer. All Classes start at 9 am with mash in and should end around 3 pm. Must be over 21 to attend class.
  • Pro-Am Competition: We will be holding a competition again this year to determine our GABF Pro-Am entry. All entrants must be a member of the AHA at the time of judging and on 10/15/13 to be able to participate in the GABF Pro-Am.
  • National Homebrew Association Competition: Arvada Beer Company will be hosting some of the competition.
  • Arvada Oktoberfest: check the Arvada Beer website for more details as the event gets closer.
  • Beer Dinner: April 3rd at the Golden Hotel in Golden, CO.

We want to thank Cary Floyd for sitting down with us and sharing both the history and the beers of Arvada Beer Company! We had a great time, and look forward to visiting again. Anyone that wants to try great beer in a great environment, should head over and try out Arvada Beer for themselves. If you’re looking to try something different, and maybe a little outside of the box, look no further. With unique beers, and creative twists on everyday recipes, Arvada Beer Company is doing things most other breweries don’t. We hope you will take a trip to Arvada and see for yourself!

Arvada Beer Company
5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd.
Arvada, CO 80002
Phone: (303) 467-BEER
E-mail: info@arvadabeer.com