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Tag Archives: beer


Boulder brewery tours

We had plans to visit several breweries in and around Boulder during our trip, but sadly we were only able to make it to 2.

The first one was Avery Brewing. Jeff was really excited to take one of their tours and see how a real large-scale production operates, but we missed their only tour of the day by a half hour. He was pretty annoyed, since their website said no appointments were necessary and to come in any time for a tour.

Avery beer tanks

Since we were already there (and it was quite a trek to get out there to begin with) we just saddled up to the bar in the tasting room and proceeded to get our drink on instead.

Avery tap row

We each chose 2 samples to start with. I can’t remember what Jeff ordered, probably an IPA or two, but I remember I got one flavored with passion fruit and the other with Buddha’s hand citrus. I loved the citrus one, but the passion fruit beer was sour and disgustingly thick and fruity. I knew I wouldn’t like it but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try something so unique.

First Avery tastings

We tried 4 more offerings, then we each chose our favorites and had a pint of each. Yeah, we drank a lot of alcohol that afternoon, but it was so much fun to get to try so many different things!

Second Avery tastings

We had planned to try to get back to Avery later in the week to actually get a tour from them, but time got away from us and by the end of the week it seemed like a better use of our time to tour a different brewery rather than go back to the same one.

We took a bus northward out of the city to a little local brewery called Upslope.

Heading into Upslope brewery

It was in a little warehouse strip surrounded by mountain views.

Upslope Brewery

They were cleaning the brewing area when we got there, so we decided to sample some beers while we waited for them to be ready to give a tour.

I think these were the pale ale, brown ale, and IPA. Every single one of these was fantastic! They were all right on point for style but each had a little special note of something to distinguish them from similar beers on the market.

First Upslope tastings

We also tried a few variations that are not really our style just for fun. These were the barleywine, barrel-aged Belgian dark, and a lager.

Second Upslope tastings

The lager was very good for what it is. I just don’t typically like lagers because they all tend to taste the same, but this one had a really enjoyable bready aftertaste that bulked it up a bit. I would have loved the Belgian dark a few years ago when I was really into them, but now I find all beers of this style too sweet. It was very well made though. But the barleywine was definitely not my cup of tea. It’s thick and unbearably sweet. Again, well made but not something I could actually drink a full glass of.

After a couple of hours of sampling beer and chatting up the locals, the bartender was ready to give us a tour.

Upslope beer tanks

One of the coolest things was their canning machine. Upslope only uses cans for their beers, not only to reduce light damage to the product but also because cans have a lighter impact on the environment. Environmental impact is one of their greatest concerns as a company and it reflects in everything they do.

Upslope canning machine

Barrels for aging Belgian beers…

Upslope barrel aging

Jeff really enjoyed getting to see all of their brewing equipment and learning a little about brewing on a large scale. I could just see him making a mental wish list of all the pretty brewing equipment he wants now. 😉

Us touring Upslope

And we’d both had so much to drink that I thought I might be hallucinating the family of groundhogs we saw on the way out!

groundhogs outside Upslope

The whole lot was full of them, and they were screaming at us because obviously we’re giant vultures come to snatch up their babies!

Anyway, I wish we got to tour one of the larger breweries in the area, but I’m glad we got to see what we did.

Do you have a favorite brand or brewery for beer?


Our Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone

Jeff and I are about to start our 4th brew day some time this month. We already have two   batches ready for drinking and the 3rd batch has been bottled and will be ready to drink soon too. I don’t even know how many 6 packs we have stored away in the basement right now, but it’s a lot.

I realized recently that I never even told you how our first batch turned out! So, I thought I’d show you just how it stacks up against the original Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that it was crafted to imitate.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and our clone

The Sierra Nevada pours very crisp and clear…

Sierra Nevada poured

Ours was a little cloudier.

Our clone poured

We left the last bit of ours in the bottle since it’s full of settled yeast sludge. Yuck.

yeast sludge in our beer

As you can see, the Sierra Nevada (left) is noticeably clearer and lighter in color.

side by side clarity comparison

Jeff checking the two in the light…

Checking clarity in the light

But how does it taste? Well, when we first tried it it was very close in flavor to the original. Crisp and clean with a subtle hoppiness and bright citrus. There was a bit of a strange flavor that Jeff noticed more than I did that he attributed to not letting it age long enough, so we decided to give it more time to age in the bottle.

Me tasting the pale ale

2 weeks later, we tried it again…

Jeff trying our pale ale 2 weeks later

This time it poured much clearer as the yeast sludge had completely settled and was caked into the bottom hard enough that it didn’t stir up again. The flavor had taken on a bit of a fruity note though. Not bad, just not as near to the flavor of the original Sierra Nevada as it was before.

Overall though, I’d say our first brew was a complete success. The beer tastes really good even if it isn’t exactly like the beer it was modeled after.

Now we’re trying to decide what to make for our 4th batch. Definitely something fresh and clean for summer like an IPA.

What is your favorite summer beer? Or, what’s your favorite refreshing warm-weather beverage?


Brew #2

Nope, no Valentine’s Day post. Jeff and I just sat on the couch and watched How I Met Your Mother over a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Neither of us really care about Valentine’s Day. And after having worked in restaurants for nearly a decade, I always feel a terrible anxiety in restaurants on holidays because I get this constant terrible feeling that I need to quit goofing off and get back to work. Makes it difficult to enjoy myself.

We did do fun stuff over the weekend though. Sunday was our second ever brew day, and this time Jeff invited a bunch of folks over to have beer and chit chat with us while we all stood around and watched water boil. I can now say with certainty that a watched pot will indeed boil. 😉

He prepped all the equipment while I cleaned up the house.

Jeff prepping for brew guests

And he wrote out all of our brew plans on a white board so everyone could follow along with what we were doing.

Brew day instructions

I made some snacks, a roasted garlic and chickpea dip with veggies and a persimmon yogurt dip with cinnamon chips.

Roasted garlic dip and persimmon yogurt dip

Our friends, Kelly and Marshall, brought some homemade vegan samoa bars too that were so yummy! The snacks disappeared fast!

Brew food plus samoa bars

This brew was much shorter than last time, about 3-ish hours rather than 8, because we were doing a mini mash. Basically we were brewing a smaller quantity of liquid, but super concentrating it with flavor and then diluting with water later.

Steeping the grain in a mini mash

I really liked having friends over for brew day. It was fun to stand around and talk over the bready smell of infusing grain, and having a few extra sets of hands helped too.

Brew day chatter

And not to mention the beer drinking!

Getting our beer on

Really, any excuse to get friends together to drink beer is a good one. I think we’ll be doing this brew day party again, and maybe expanding it next time. I know it’ll be more fun in the spring when we get a propane burner and can take this party outside to brew (and drink) in the sunshine.

And wouldn’t you know, the beer from our first batch is finally ready for consumption and we should be popping the first bottle open sometime this weekend! I see myself having a lot of dinner parties in the upcoming months for the sole purpose of having people over to help us drink all this beer. I’ll be sure do do a full review of our first brew when we crack it open!