A bonus to having the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder? Lots of opportunities for brewery visits!
First thing I did when I arrived in Denver on Thursday was to head about an hour north to Ft Collins and New Belgium Brewery. My friend Christine took me through the brewery and it was so impressive! I loved the wooden barrels tucked in the back of one warehouse and could have sat watching the Fat Tire zoom around the huge bottling line for hours - it was mezmerizing! As I mentioned in my last post - I enjoyed both the La Folie and the Frambozen post-tour. If you want to tour New Belgium, plan ahead - the Tasting Room was hopping!!! (but, just like Dogfish... you can reserve a spot for the free tours ahead of time online). Thanks for the tour Christine!
Back in Boulder the next day, we signed in to the Beer Bloggers Conference and dashed over to Avery Brewing Co for a quick bite and some samples in their tasting room. Upon arriving, we found out the tasting room doesn't serve food - but an enterprising catering company (also located in the industrial park) opened a takeout window and will bring you food right over to you in the tasting room once it is ready - Nice!! The tasting room offered samples and pints of about 15 different Avery beers. We tried a bunch and then Phil (the MAN behind the bar), couldn't let us leave without trying some extra special small-batch blends. We were tight on time (to make it back to the first session of the conference), but couldn't turn down an offer to check out the barrel room! Andy told us all about their barrel program and even pulled samples of some tasty sours from two of the wooden vessels. Before we rushed back, Phil loaded us up with beer to bring back and share with our fellow Beer Bloggers - thanks guys!
Following an afternoon of informative sessions at the conference, we all piled onto buses and headed over to dinner at the Oskar Blues Brewery (about a 20 minute ride). Oskar Blues is a unique craft brewery in that 100% of their packaged beer goes into kegs or... cans! We had a great dinner in the brewing hall and then split up and went through the brewery. They've been growing and have been adding fermentation tanks like mad (hmmm... sounds familiar!) through a big ole hole cut into the side of the building. Oskar Blues is planning to sell more than 40K bbls of beer in 2011. It was another great brewery visit in a great beer state - thanks to the crew at Oskar Blues!