Climb Hard Cider

Colorado has plenty of breweries, but luckily I am finding cideries, too. A local one Wilbur’s (ahhh…) told me about was Climb Hard Cider. They are just down the street in Loveland, which means I need to go check them out in person soon.

Picked up a 6-pack of their ‘Apple’ cider. I say that because they have quite a few options available, one being vanilla, which sounds quite interesting. Now, based on their website they have both a dry and semi-dry apple cider. No where on the can does it say which one this is and nobody at Wilbur’s was sure.

Based on the taste, I’m guessing it’s the semi. Regardless, it was 6.1% ABV, 100% real fruit and tasted great. Crisp, refreshing and was too easy to drink.

Check it out if you can grab it at your liquor store. If you’re in the area and want to visit the cidery, let me know.

Cheers!

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Big B’s

Awhile back when I was in Steamboat (Springs), CO, I checked out one of the local liquor stores and came across a hard cider I had never seen or heard of before — Big B’s. They are located in Hotchkiss, CO and have a variety of apple-related products.

The cider I found is the Harvest Apple from their Orchard Series. This one is “created by using a perfect blend of fresh pressed apples. This is a semi-sweet hard cider and has a bold and refreshing apple taste.”

It was great because it hit semi-sweet perfectly. Nice and crisp, giving a bit of dryness, but not too much based on its category, and also no overkill on sugar. Comes in convenient cans, too.

I’ve only found it in one place in the Ft. Collins area, so far, which is Supermarket Liquors, so glad that’s easy accessible.

Cheers!

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The Cache, Ft Collins, CO

With the recent opening of Ginger & Baker in Fort Collins, CO that also meant a couple new restaurants. Had to check out The Cache.

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Made a reservation a couple weeks ahead and the only times left on a Saturday were early evening or very late night. Went with the early choice. Of course the thing to start with was wine and opted for an Erath – Resplendent. It was a Pinot Noir. Had never seen that one from them and just a nice one, not too light or heavy. Also looked for it at stores the next week and didn’t see it anywhere.

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For dinner, we opted to split anappetizer – Cache House Salad, mixed greens, crispy onion, grape tomato, sourdough croutons, lemon-olive oil $8

The dressing, so amazingly emulsified, so awesome! Perfect size to split

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For the dinner, I opted for the Seared Sea Scallops, green apple-parsnip puree, quinoa, brocollini $36. Some darn big scallops. Bring it on! And I’ll say, I don’t go shopping for parsnips, but they made they taste pretty darn good!

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The other one at the table went with the Colorado lamb shank, whipped potato, haricots verts, lamb demi-glace $34. Apparently the lamb shank just sort of melted off the bone, into the potatoes, that melted in the mouth. They were devoured.

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Overall:

One thumbs down, we wanted to nibble on something before all the food came out and bread was not free but rather $11. No, that’s not a typo…eleven dollars. Really, it’s bad enough when a place charges you 5 bucks, rather than bringing it for free. But double digits? Nix that. And prices overall were a bit high for this area.

But on the thumbs up, the food was all very good, and nice presentation. The service was also excellent. A manager came out to check on us see how things were. We couldn’t have asked for more. We had one mishap with my lactose intolerance (which I told the waitress of when ordering) and it was beyond taken care of in ways I have never seen before.

So, while I will say for Fort Collins the prices are a bit high, at least everything else was great. Worth going to for a nice dinner if you’re going to splurge.

 

Chocolate, Raspberry…& Beer

Chocolate, Raspberry…& Beer. Oh yes, you read that right. And it’s good. Was roaming around New Belgium Brewery during a local vendor event and they had a seasonal release on tap — Imperial Frambozen with Cocoa.

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It’s one of those brews that you just have to try. Very unique — you taste the fruit, you get that heaven of chocolate. It flows so smooth. And a warning — 8.5% ABV. It’s sold in 22oz. bottles, so you have a good amount to enjoy on your own or share with friends.

Hope you can get it near you.

Cheers!

Greenland Beer

Of course, when vacationing, one must try the local brews. And, Greenland does have a brewery. One of them I tried was the Brewery Immiaq‘s Aasaq Juniper. A light body beer with a hint of juniper. Can’t go wrong with juniper. The other one from this brewery was out.

The other beer was the Tuborg Paskebryg, which had a nice medium body, golden color and tiny bit of spice and super mild hops. And this isn’t local brewed, but hey, it was consumed locally.

These were quite nice to sit outside and enjoy in the 30+ degree weather in the bright sun.

From 6 pack to singles, Borgarnes, Iceland

After driving around all day in the wide Borgarnes vicinity, it was definitely time for happy hour. We didn’t really want to sit at the bar so I said let’s go check out the liquor store and grab something there and just come back to the hotel and enjoy. So we walked around the store and it’s quite interesting because you look at the prices. Right away you think that beer prices are tremendous in the liquor stores in Iceland. Something like $4-$6 for microbrew 6-packs.

Well, not so lucky. All the listed prices below a 6-pack are for the individual can or bottle. So, we’d see something like 440 kr or 390kr (which equated to about $4.50 or $4, respectively) and also a 6-pack with the paper ‘case’ torn apart or 1-2 cans missing. Very interesting. You can take a single or grab a 6 pack, whatever you want. This also makes a 6-pack come out to above $20.

Anyway, we opted to grab a  SÓLVEIG Hveitibjór NR.25 and ÚLFRÚN Session IPA NR.34 (could not find an English site for either of these). Both of these are brewed by Borg Brugghus.

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The first was 6% ABV, a wheat beer, unique citrus taste with some spice. The 2nd, the IPA, was 4.5%. It was great, not too hoppy (53 IBU) and pretty smooth.

To be very classy, we put these in water bottles because we didn’t want to sit in our room, and it was wet out and couldn’t just sit outside on our ‘patio.’ So we had our classy bottles with beer and sat in the lobby writing postcards.

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Viking and Einstök

Moving across the country in Iceland meant new hotel, new happy hour. Wow, this hotel in Vik actually had a 3-hour Happy Hour – 4pm-7pm. We could stay out late doing tourist stuff!

The two brews on tap we sampled in Vik were Viking Lager and Einstök Pale Ale.

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Viking Lager, per the site: The most popular draught beer in Iceland for some years, it is pleasantly mild with a slightly sweet flavour. Less filling and more refreshing than many other beers, it’s ideal for those who prefer a medium-strength beer with less bitterness. Tasting notes: Light golden, little sweetness, light, limited bitterness, corn, beans. ABV 4.5%.

My notes: A bit on the light side, nonetheless good. I like my beer to have a bit more body.

Einstök Pale Ale, per the site: Brewed 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, we balance three kinds of hops with pure Icelandic water to create an ale unlike any other. It can only be described as an Arctic Pale Ale and it’s truly one of a kind. Cascade hops give it American character, while Northern Brewer and Hallertau Tradition add just enough bitterness to make this ale refreshingly Icelandic – and to make everything else pale in comparison. Key Ingredients: Pale ale malt, crystal malt, chocolate malt, American and Bavarian hops.  ABV 5.6%

My notes: Good crisp beer, not hoppy, good body and color, perfect to drink after a day on the road.

And, since these were both enjoyed at happy hour, bargain price at 50% off bringing them to about $8/pint. Cheers!

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Boli & Gull

When in Iceland, drink what the Icelandics brew! The first night in Iceland we hit Happy Hour at HVER Restaurant at the hotel. These hours, we found, can vary a lot place to place, and often end early. This bar had it from 4pm-6pm. Jumping way forward, one place had it for 1 hour only, making that hour totally happy, from 9pm-10pm. That’s way too late. Most of the time beers were 50% off during Happy Hour, bringing the price of a pint down to around a ‘reasonable’ $8.

So, back to this one, we opted to try Gull and Boli, both on tap. The Gull was pretty light, nothing too exciting. Better than Bud, but not something I’d get every day. The ABV was 5.0%. The Boli had a bit more weight to it, more color to it, a bit more taste. It was a lager, and came in with 5.6% ABV.

Nonetheless, these were a great kickoff for vacation. They were enjoyed after walking around Hveragerði and seeing hotsprings. These are what the town is known for.

Beer, basil & bread

Beer, basil & bread…sounds like some kind of heaven to me.

So when I was making a dinner menu for the other night I decided that I really wanted to bake some bread to pair with the pork tenderloin I was craving. A recipe I had used a long time ago popped into my mind and then it was a matter of finding it…Basil Beer Bread. It’s from an issue of Real Simple in 2006! What’s great about this recipe is that you don’t have to think too far ahead because the stuff doesn’t have to rise.

Ingredients

Olive oil for the baking sheet
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan — I used Manchego
1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale — ok, total side note, somebody brought non alcoholic beer to a party at my place once. It’s been sitting around for awhile. Finally got to get rid of some of it here!
flour for the work surface
1 cup chopped or torn fresh basil

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Directions

Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a baking sheet. In the bowl of a standing mixer on low, or in a large bowl using a spoon, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

Add the beer and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the basil and knead gently just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared sheet.
Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

The loaf is heavy! Definitely not light and fluffy but totally delicious! Paired perfectly with the tenderloin and roasted Brussels sprouts.

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Prost Brewing

Last time I was in Ft. Collins was able to visit another new (to me) brewery — Prost Brewing. They also have a location in Denver. To find this place, you have to walk down crazy back alleys and around corners. Sort of hard to find, but very fun.

They have a huge menu of German-style brews, and offer all of them in small pours (as well as quite large ones), so you can get a good taste range. They have based what they offer on quite a history of alcohol & beer in the US. The way they craft their suds is from German influence and you get great bier satisfaction at this place. And, they welcome dogs. How can you go wrong with that?

There were a few of us there and we ordered several small pours to share. I know I grabbed the Weißbier and Kölsch. Both just great. The others around the table were equally as enjoyable. Glad I was able to check this place out.

Prost!