Friday, February 12, 2016

Triumphant Return

Hey there, Craft Beer Lovers!

I will be returning to write this blog on a regular basis.

If you have ANY suggestions of breweries or beers to try and review, please email me directly at

Thank you and Brew On!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Amazing beer at Snowmass Mammoth Festival last weekend

     Music, camping, mountains and beer; what could make for a better festival? The 11th annual Snowmass Mammoth Festival held last weekend combined all the right ingredients for an amazing time. With headliners like Leftover Salmon and The Chris Robinson brotherhood I expected the music to be great but was pleasantly surprised by the craft beer festival held Saturday. With over 25 breweries and 90 beers being served it was a great chance to sample some breweries not local to the front range. We were given real commemorative glass not plastic which does not seem the norm at a lot of festivals. The beer tasting went on at the same time as the music giving everything a fun and vibrant atmosphere. The pours were full and the brewers seemed in great spirits. Many of the brewers were on hand pouring glasses and happy to answer any and all questions. While there were a number of amazing beers there were a few that surprised me and one that I fell in love with.
   The first beer that I had at the tasting that was a truly unique beer was Dillon Dam Brewery's Dark and Stormy Summit Saison which was a collaboration beer made with all six of Summit Counties breweries. This was an amazingly complex beer that had a true saison taste that started off as something of a stout. It was a beer you could drink all day and never figure out what flavors created it!
   The next beer is from Strange Craft Beer Company out of Denver. Having just visited this brewery for the first time last month I was very excited to see what beers they would come up with. And of course they did not disappoint! Le Bruit Du Diable Farmhouse ale may have a tough name to say but the beer is amazingly drinkable, especially after you learn that the alcohol content is 8.3ABV. This ale was slightly hoppy but well balanced with the fruitiness I would expect from a Belgian.
   Upslope won for best beer for me with of all things an IPA. Now IPA's are not normally my favorite but I have been finding white IPAs to be much more drinkable. Simply named Thai Style White IPA it was just released last month and is an incredible beer. This beer combines a wit with an IPA and then throws in cinnamon, cracked pepper, ginger, lemon grass, lemon peel and Thai basil for a tasty beer that is not too hoppy even for people like me who typically do not love a traditional IPA.
   All the beers were great, people amazing and fun to talk to, and scenery that was breathtaking. If you have the opportunity to go next year, this festival is one to start planning for!
Everyone's enjoying the beer tasting!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

La Russo Fresh Cascade Pale Ale

A pic of of me and the LaRusso boys of La Russo Hop Farms enjoying the fruits of their labor.  I brewed a Pale Ale brewed with 100% fresh Cascade hops from their harvest this year. The brew day was pretty straight forward.  Fermented for 3 weeks and dry hopped for 4 days with fresh cascades.  The flavor was delicious!  It was hop forward, of course, with the Cascades showing off their fresh grapefruit / citrus flavors and aromas with a nice and balanced malt backbone.  These hops were amazing!

If you are interested in buying fresh cascades please do not hesitate to contact La Russo Hop Farms at the below contact info!


7535 N Lafayette. Denver, CO 80229
(303) 668- 7032

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

La Russo Hop Farms Harvest 2013

   Harvest time, 8/24/2013.  Time to harvest the hops from the bountiful Cascade hop vines.  The day started at 10am.  The truck full of hop vines backs up to the picking area. Vines full of aromatic Cascade hops make their way to the tables where many were there to assist with the picking.  Friends and family of the LaRusso's gathered around each vine and picked the ripe Cascades and placed them in the bucket where they were then transferred to the drying room in order to be prepared for packaging for sale.

    I was there, lucky enough to know these fine folks, assisting with the harvest and getting the opportunity to discuss the farm and their future plans.  The farm was started by Dave and his three sons Steve, Mark and Don LaRusso.  The idea came about, as I understood it, by them enjoying a couple of beers and hearing of the hop shortages that brewers and homebrewers alike face each year.  They had farm land, that has been in their family, and the drive to start a hop growing business.  They were off and running.

Pictured: Mark and Steve LaRusso
    The LaRusso's had decided to start out growing Cascades.  They planted a relatively small crop in order to start out slow, sell what they harvested and then move on to other varieties.  First year hops generally do not give a huge yield at harvest, but due to great fertile soil, abundant sunlight and water the vines were just packed with hop cones.  They looked as if these hops had grown here for years. As we started picking the hops from the vines the smell of fresh Cascades filled the air.  It was an aromatic heaven for beer geeks.  Being a homebrewer enjoy the smell of hops and love what it does to the smell and taste of beer.  I was definitely in heaven.

Fresh picked Cascade hops drying
    I must have been a good harvester as they gave me a sack full of the hops and I went right home and brewed up a LaRusso Cascade Pale Ale that I will be bringing over for them to try.  These hops are up for sale for professional brewers as well as homebrewers that are looking for fresh Cascades for their next brew.  If you're interested in contacting La Russo Hop Farms for hops, please do so at the contact info below.  I will be updating everyone on their progress and what plans they have in the future.  They are Colorado local growers so let's give them our support!!!

Visit them at their Facebook page by clicking the following link:

Or call them at the info below:

La Russo Hop Farms

Monday, July 01, 2013

J Wells Brewery - Boulder


     I had a great conversation with Jamie Wells of J Wells Brewery on Friday! A great guy with a passion for his craft.  He comes at his beers as a homebrewer would and with the customers in mind.

     Being a home brewer since 1992, Jamie felt it was time to take the leap of faith into the professional realm of brewing.  Leaving his job in IT, and only having one investor, he found a location within Boulder, Colorado's industrial park where he can comfortably craft his beers for the masses.  Opening January 10, 2013 he has found quite the following for his flagship beer Hop Haze which seems to be his best seller. A quaint hang out spot for people to gather and enjoy the hand crafted beers that he has to offer.

     Business is slowly building for J Well Brewery as they are on track to brew up to 200bbl this year alone (1bbl = 31.5 US gallons or 2 standard US kegs). This is allowing him to expand his brewery production with the purchase of four new conical fermentors giving him the opportunity to increase output and get further into distributing into local liquor stores. No tap accounts as of yet but is now selling 22oz bombers of his popular Hop Haze at Hazels, Boulder Wine & Spirits and Gunbarrel Liquor stores.

     Future plans for this brewery is to possibly expand the taproom to allow more craft beer fans to come, hangout and enjoy the craft beer. Jaime's business model is simple......whatever the customer wants.  That speaks volumes in this industry.  How's the beer you may ask? Well, I had the opportunity to taste what they had to offer and my review of the beers is below.  I can tell you this, however, being a fan of beer myself I will for sure be stopping by the taproom in the future so I can get my fix of Hop Haze.  When you vistit, and Jaime is there, shake his hand and let him know that Colorado Craft Brew Blog sent you!


Jaime's Best - 3.8%ABV:

   Jamie's Best is a fantastic 3.8% ABV, unfiltered, malty, British session beer.  Fantastic on a hot summers day. Made with all British ingredients to keep within the style.  On the nose you get a good malty sweetness with slight hop aroma.  Great head retention and lacing on the glass as you drink this one down. Great malt flavor with a slight hop bitter at the finish. This is one you can have many of on a hot day with it's session ABV content. Definitely one that I will have again upon revisiting J Wells.

Gitana Brown - 4.3%ABV:

     This is a great example of British brown ale.  Again using only British ingredients, this beer is smooth and easy drinking.  On the nose you get good malt character with slight chocolate note. The beer was a little hazy but I attribute that to being unfiltered.  It does not distract from the flavor.  Again, great head retention and lacing in the glass.  Good malt character with a chocolate note on the finish.  This didn't have much if any hop character on my palate, but it really wasn't missed.  This is another great session style beer for a hot summer day!

Chocolate Milk Stout - 5.5%ABV:

     J Wells Brewery hit another homerun with this chocolate stout example.  The nose picks up great roasted malt and chocolate characters as well I got a slight hop note.  Great head retention and lacing.  Great roasty chocolate flavor. Exactly what you would expect from a chocolate milk stout.  In the finish you get a great sweet creamy taste that reminds me of enjoying a glass of chocolate milk.  Fantastic example.

Hop Haze - 8.5%ABV:

     By far my favorite of the day. This is hopped with a couple of different hop varieties but all I could weasel out of them was Cascade. On the nose, right away you get a great hop aroma.  Makes your mouth water instantly. Great head retention and lacing.  Flavor-wise, the beer was excellent. Great hop flavor with a slight malt character.  The hops balances out the malt very nicely. A very smooth, easy drinking beer, without the alcohol heat you may expect from other 8.5%ABV beers out there.  I HIGHLY recommend this one. This is one that I will be coming back for time and time again.

I urge you all to pay J Wells Brewery a visit and I invite you to write your own review in the comments section below!!!

J Wells Brewery
2816 49th St #5
Boulder, CO. 80301

Tues - Thurs: 3pm - 9pm
Friday: 3pm - 10pm
Saturday: 12pm - 10pm
Sunday: 12pm - 8pm



Monday, June 10, 2013

Revamping Blog

Hey all,

Working through a restructuring of this blog.  Please, pardon our dust!  In the meantime, while the changes are being made, check out our official facebook page.

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Hobby of Homebrewing

     When I started seriously homebrewing, 1 year ago, I didn't realize the hold that it would take on my mind, heart and soul.  I mean I started brewing 10 years ago with a Mr. Beer kit (don't mock me) and it was not good so I stopped. Now, I dream about brewing.  If I have downtime at my day job I think about the next brew day and what I will be brewing.  I think about competitions and what I can do to make the best homebrew competition beer I can. It's not just an obsession, but it's a HUGE passion.

     I'm an IT guy by trade, so that makes me a problem solver / troubleshooter.  I love process.  I love learning different disciplines to making a great beer.  What a certain hop will do or how it would compliment this other hop along with grain bill.  What flavor a certain malt would bring to the palate. I guess I can basically explain it like this.  Beer is to a brewer as food is to a chef.

     My dream is that some day I will get paid for my passion.  I want to be able to wake up in the morning, go to work and brew the best beer I can for the masses.  May it be for an already established craft brewery or eventually opening up my own.  That may be a possibility, I guess anything is possible, or it's just a fleeting fantasy.

     My point here in this post today is, if you enjoy a good craft beer.  Sit down and think about the process that made that beer great.  The people behind it.  The passion that keeps them brewing it time and time again.  Maybe then, you will go out and buy a beginner homebrew kit and brew your first batch and appreciate that craft beer that much more and keep supporting the smaller breweries.  Be warned, though, if you're like me brewing that first batch might be that catalyst for a life long passion for the art.

This is just my 2 cents.

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