CO Wine

Wine is coming from many places now, and I recently tasted some from Colorado, Ten Bears Winery

The winery proper is located in Laporte, CO.  The sampling covered 7 wines; 2 whites, 3 red, 2 dessert wines and was $5.99.

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American Symphony (This lesser knows varietal is a hybrid of two old world grapes, Muscato of Alexandria and Grenache Gris.  It is a lovely, attractive white wine with amazing floral bouquet.  Lightly sweet with hints of Colorado wildflowers and dried peach on the nose followed by fresh apricots and citrus on the palate, finishing with lingering fruit and melon notes, a perfect pairing for a hot summer day.) $17.99/bottle

-Had light honey notes,  floral notes and sweetness

Cameron Pass White (Our Malvasia Bianca and Chardonnay blend is finished off-dry, producing a light to medium bodied, fruity white wine that is the perfect pair for sushi and seafood. Enjoy this wine chilled for a refreshing compliment to our Colorado summer days.) $15.99/bottle

-No nose, nearly clear, eww

American Pinot Noir (Our Pinot Noir is a Ten Bears Winery favorite that we can never seem to make enough of. It is a light bodied Pinot Noir aged on French Oak, for just the right amount of time, to impart delicate oak and tannins, which compliment the dried cherry fruit notes and cocoa, while keeping this noble red perfectly balanced.) $19.99

-Had the nose of Welch’s grape juice, cloudy, tiny chocolate taste at the end

Poudre River Red Table Wine (This light to medium bodied red blend of Alicante Bouschet, Colorado Merlot, Larimer County Marquette, and Zinfandel is a wine to pair with almost anything. Its complex and lively character displays black cherry, and raisin fruit notes, with delicate tannins, making it a smooth and easy drinking red wine. Enjoy at room temperature.) $14.99

-Cranberry nose, light, it’s definitely a simple table red

Grand Valley Cabernet (This full bodied classic Bordeaux style wine is balance to perfection with toasty notes of French Oak finishing with elegant and smooth tannins. Rich garnet and violet color!) $24.99

-Nice body, not chalky, good

Roaming Bear Seasonal (Raspberry/Huckleberry/Pomegranate) (We blended a medium, sweet Muscat of Alexandria, with Pinot Grigio and Barbera, then added natural flavoring to produce this playfully sweet and flavorful wine.) $15.99

-Very sweet, light,  this stuff reminded me of Boone’s

Nutty Laporte Dessert Wine (This is a vintage style port wine with hazelnut flavor added during its American oak aging. Its deep color and rich flavors of cordial cherries make for a deliciously warm finish to a nice evening. Grape varietals used in this port style dessert wine are Tinta Madiera, Touriga, Tinta Cao, and souza.) $18.99/375ml

-Nice!  Just like a port. Chocolate taste to it. Definitely my favorite one.

 

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Overall, a great time trying different wines — never knew CO made some. Not necessarily my favorites, but will never turn down a tasting. Cheers!

Avery Brewing

So, Colorado for the holidays, can’t go wrong.  Side note: I’m not doing my blogs in order of what I consume (it is not influenced by what I’m consuming), but more because of the bliss of the food and drink.  The first place I checked out when I arrived the other day was the Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO.

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Nice small place, makes you feel very welcome.  And I love what some of the info on the site says (reading it now) — “We are dedicated to making beer from the inside out: we brew what we like to drink–with utter disregard for what the market demands– and search out fans with equally eccentric palates.”

Did a read-through of the menu and was of course overwhelmed.  So many choices!  My friend highly suggested the Winter’s Day IPA.  I’m sometimes worried that the winter brews are a bit darker than I truly enjoy.  He told me it’s not too dark, more of a copper color.  And, based on the description it has a unique spice, beer-wise, in it — “Created with Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese Incident, this IPA is spiced with rosemary.”  The ABV is 6.5%.  WOW!  Great brew.  You can get a slight bit of the herb on the nose and then just enough when you drink it.  Great, great beer.  My other friend had the White Rascal Belgian-Style Wheat Ale.  After the sip I had, very nice traditional white Belgian beer.  Of course my two friends can come here any time because they live a few miles away.  If you’re in Boulder, check this place out.

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Horse & Dragon Brewery

I’m in Ft. Collins for Christmas and of course have to check out some of the local ‘fare’ — that mostly means good microbrews.  So today that meant a new brewery by the name of Horse and Dragon Brewing Company.

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Wasn’t sure what to get so opted for a sampler.  Ok, sampler?  Six brews of 4oz each for $8 — that is quite the nice pour of some high octane beer.

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The half dozen tastes included:

Fort Kolnz Keller Kolsch-Style Ale — “A grainy sweet aroma holds well with a slight citrus note derived from the moderate hopping. Dry and clean on the palate, bitterness is present but not overpowering. Extended cellaring is evident in the clean crisp finish and despite a very pale straw color and light body our ale has great depth and complexity. Ein Prosit Der Gemütlichkeit! ABV: 5.2%”

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Sage Adweisse Berliner Weisse — “A light, effervescent, slight tart wheat ale that tastes so refreshing that it mush be good for us.  Dominant ingredients are evident from the first sniff; wheaty goodness mixed with traditional German yeast scents and a hint of tartness.  One glass will make you wonder why anyone ever put a lime in a beer, though this beer is sometimes served with dashes of flavored syrup.  Our lowest ABV brew, this is an ale you can enjoy all day.  Sage Adweisse was name for our (well, really, Linsey & Titus’s) brewdog.  ABV:  3.6%”

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Whistle Blast Honey Brown — “A welcoming ale displaying warm mahogany earth tones accentuated by a thin veil of creamy foam head, our Honey Brown Ale is as inviting as the historic English pubs where the style originated. Slight roast malt character leads the nose to a warm sensuous balance of mild hop bitterness and sweet honey malt after notes. A clean, somewhat drying finish allows the sweetness of malt to shine through and remain as a memento for each sip. Quaffable in design, this ale will toast well in any social situation and keep you coming back for more. Cheers!  ABV:  6.3%”

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Picnic Rock Pale Ale — “Picnic Rock Ale aligns itself with recreation in Colorado and our noticeable desire for great craft beer.  Fresh hops aromas likened to lemon, pineapple, and honeydew melon stand out in front of this golden colored ale holding a white laced head.  The aroma taking center stage is then carried into the noticeable hop bitterness.  Malt body is medium-light and complements the bitterness, allowing for a smooth finish with a light floral hop linger.  Let’s go for a picnic!  ABV: 5.4%”

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L3 IPA — “The L3 IPA pours an inviting copper color topped by a strong, slightly off-­white foam. Your first sniff reveals the complex balance between the citrusy, spicy pear hop aroma backed by slight caramel malt notes. Tasting the beer takes you further into a flavorful American hop experience with plenty of hop bitterness balanced perfectly with the sweet malt backbone. This flavorful combination lingers on the palate yet finishes clean and prepares you for another sip. A very drinkable IPA, L3 is hop forward yet balanced. ABV: 7.6%”

L3The Dark Crystal Cascadian Dark Ale — “A relatively recent style that has gained traction in the Pacific Northwest is the American Style India Black Ale, or “Cascadian Dark Ale”.  Deliciously hoppy, also hugely roasty-toasty malty. Get on in here and give it a try! ABV: 6.5%” (forgot to snap a picture  — it is definitely dark!)

They were all quite unique — have to love microbrews.  My favorite two were the Picnic Rock and L3.  We decided to leave with a growler of the latter to enjoy some of before dinner and to have on hand the balance of the week.

From CO to MD

I visited the breweries in Colorado then went less than a hour north of Washington, DC to check about another great beer producer’s house of heaven.  This time it was Flying Dog.  Now, did you know they started in Colorado and moved to Maryland to grow/expand/make people around here even happier?  Oh, ok, maybe that last part wasn’t the true strategy but I don’t hear any complaints.

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So when considering checking out the Flying Dog Brewery, pull out next year’s calendar.  They have a several month wait list/lead booking time.  I lucked out because I was going alone and was able to snag a spot from a cancellation.  So, if you want to go that route, contact them a day or so before you’d be interested in checking it out.  They only do tours Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

You get there, get carded, get your nice bracelet.

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Pay $5 and get a great glass that you keep (this is jumping ahead as it has delicious fluid in it).  Then the tour begins.

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You get the scoop on the entire history, from the founder, the owner, the random tidbits, the alcohol, drugs, prison time, name, etc.  Neat stuff.  The hallway depicts all of this.  There are more paintings that the camera didn’t quite pick up.

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You continue into the beer processing area and learn about all steps of the brewing process, from when water and hops might initially collide, how they determine each brew (what goes into each one), when/how long it’s in vats, how the bottling process works and the final ‘boxing’/putting it in cases or kegging so we can enjoy it.

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When the tour was done, we headed to the bar where we could pick whatever we wanted.  For $5, we got 5 samples.  Big samples.  I had the staple, Raging Bitch.  Went with the White Wheat.  I tried the rarities — Orchard Ale.  Then some of the seasonals, which were hit or miss.  There were love/hates in the tour group as we discussed them.  The seasonals I tried were this beer and wine funky thing (can’t remember the name) — interesting.  One glass would be all I’d want and then the awesome Dogtoberfest Marzen.

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Great place, great tour, great beer.  Check it out when you’re in the area.

And the beer goes on…

Had to continue enjoying the local brews while in Ft. Collins.  One must take in as much as possible when not at home.  So I took one for the team…

Brewery 5:  Odell Brewing Company.  Sample — $4!  For 6 tastes!  This is another one with the whole (unfortunate) issue of 5 oz pours, 6 beers, 5,000 ft elevation…  This was my first stop of the day.  Hey, I was fresh right.  I had to be so careful and drink responsibly in the sense that there was more to come.  My total favorite was Levity with several close runner ups.

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Brewery 6:  Fort Collins Brewery.  Good name considering where I was.  I found another chili beer here.  After sampling a few I ended with this amazing smoky beer, that was that chili one — Mesquite Chili Lime Ale, part of their Out of the Ashes Smoke Beer Series.  Not describable in words.  Go to the store to find it, or better yet, just head out there to have some (limited edition though, so hurry)!

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Brewery 7:  New Belgium Brewing Company.  This is one of my favorites!  Went on the brewery several years ago and the twirly slide at the end if priceless!  This time I just went to sample.  So many options, so little time.  Many new Lips of Faith to try, other random stuff to sample.  It was packed that it was tough to even move.  I just had sips of some new stuff then finished with my favorite Fat Tire.  Oh happy day.

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All good things must come to an end.  I eventually had to get on a plane and come back east.  I do have a brewery tour scheduled at Flying Dog soon.  Looking forward to that!