Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here we go!

I’m passionate about a number of things: Colorado, music, environmentalism, the Nuggets. On top of that there are a few things about which I am truly obsessed. My friends could list off a variety of topics that fall into this category, prefaced with the warning, “You don’t want to bring this up with Jenn. You won’t get her to stop.” But one thing surpasses all the rest: beer. Well, that and my dog, but I imagine the rest of the world is much more interested in beer than my dog.

I attribute a lot of this to growing up in Colorado. While traveling, I found that most people associate Colorado with Coors. But anyone who has even a small interest in beer knows that Colorado is much more than the watered down piss “born high in the Rocky Mountains” (sorry, Coors drinkers, but I’m a beer snob, you had to see it coming). I consider Colorado to be a beer drinker’s heaven. And by winning the title of the nation’s top beer-producing state in 2007, I can’t be far from wrong. There is a staggering number of breweries and brewpubs all over the state (121 according to my beer map), a wonderful assortment of bars and restaurants to learn about the beers, as well as a population who is as passionate about their beer as they are about their mountains. Being a beer lover is something I consider to be a fundamental part of being a Coloradan.

I’ll admit that I don’t know that much about beer, given how much I love it. I can’t describe the different ways beer is produced, or what the separates a porter from a stout – other than taste. But that’s part of my intention towards this blog – to educate myself (and hopefully you) about beer; everything from the different types of beers to how one brewery compares to another, history, random facts and more.

To get you going, here’s a list of my five favorite beers:

-New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat

I am well aware that this is hardly an exciting beer. However, it was the first beer that I tried and thought “wow, this is really good.” I consider it to have taken my beer-virginity, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. In addition to that, New Belgium is an absolutely amazing brewery and company, with remarkable business ethic and a dedication towards sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.

-Great Divide’s Espresso Oak Aged Yeti

I love a good stout or porter. The Yeti line of stouts is amazing and Great Divide does a phenomenal job pairing it with espresso. It doesn’t hurt that the coffee used in the beer comes from the coffee shop down the street. I would be more descriptive, but as a seasonal beer, I haven’t been able to drink it since last March and, frankly, talking about it more will just sadden me. Expect a post about this beer in the start of February.

-Tommy Knocker’s Alpine Glacier Lager

All those Coors ads I mocked? This is what they are striving for. It is a light, refreshing beer, but it’s still a beer. There’s a slight sweet taste to it -- the first time I had it, it reminded me of rosewater -- but it has substance as well. It’s perfect for hot summer nights, but not something I would turn down in the wintertime either.

-Avery’s Ellie’s Brown

Something between the lights and the darks. I honestly didn’t notice how hoppy it was until a friend mentioned that to me recently. Prior to that, I found it to be a refreshing beer that is heavier than the lagers or wheats that I would normally drink in the warmer months. My friend's comments about the hoppiness verify the complexity of the beer – the variety of tastes it has without being overwhelming. Avery is a brewery that prides itself in making experimental beer -- many of their beers have intense flavors and strong overtones that are often too complicated for my palate. Ellie’s is where they mastered it, there are enough diverse flavors that it is interesting but not so strong that you can only drink one.

-Steamwork’s Third Eye Pale Ale

While most IPAs I can only distinguish from one another in terms of how hoppy they are, Steamwork’s has a unique taste – a sweetness and flavor that other IPAs lack, without straying far from the strong hoppiness that an IPA requires. In a blind taste test, this is the one IPA I would be able to tell apart from the others and then I probably wouldn’t give it back. If you haven’t had it before, get it now – I understand that Steamworks is going to stop distributing outside of Durango soon.

I’m well aware that this list is exclusively Colorado microbrews -- those tend to be what I drink. But I will expand my beer geography; I understand Oregon knows a thing or two about brewing.

This is only a starting point.

And with that, here’s what you can expect from the blog:

-Reviews of beers (frequent), bars (occasional) and breweries (as many tours as I can fit into my life). After all, the point of this blog is to write about beer.

-Lessons in beer: facts, history, overall beer knowledge. I intend to educate myself about beer, so while I’m at it, I might as well educate you too.

-(Hopefully) Stories from my first attempts at homebrewing. We’ll see how that goes.

-Random anecdotes, stories and other useless pieces of information.

Like I said before, I consider myself a beer fanatic not a beer expert. I am certain that there are a number of great beer blogs, websites and reviews out there written by people who truly know what they’re talking about. This isn’t one of those (yet). This blog is an opportunity for me to further my understanding of beer and to share the experience with you. So if you’re looking for extensive beer knowledge and expert opinions, you aren’t going to find them here. If you’re looking for thoughts on beer from a curious girl with a passion for hops, please check back frequently. I’m hoping this will be quite an adventure.

If you have comments or suggestions, email me at I’d love to hear from you, especially if there are beers you’d like to suggest, questions you want me to explore or information you’d like to share. Thanks.


  1. Jenn,
    Can you discuss Flying Dog at all?
    I think of it as a Denver semi-micro brew.
    But now I have been told they produce in Maryland? What's up with that?
    I really this company's beer - they have excellent ales and that's what I'm about. Educate me, beer girl!

  2. Bravo on using your blog as a journal of exploration. For years, the only thing I would touch except vodka and bourbon was the occasional pint of Guinness. That changed this year when my girlfriend, Dark Haired Honey, helped me rediscover the pleasures of scouting out good, local brewpubs, slowing the hell down, and tasting what was on tap.
    My favorite discoveries of 2009 were Left Hand's Milk Stout and Avery's Reverend Belgian-Style Quadrupel. We also park it quite often at the Trinity and the Bristol down in Colorado Springs. You owe yourself a visit if you're ever down that way.
    Look forward to seeing your blog take off. Cheers.