BruFrou: Colorado food and drink collaborations

Tomorrow I’m headed to the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum for Culinary Pairings’ third annual Brufrou. I’ve never been before and can only imagine what an event showcasing 40 Colorado breweries and 40 Colorado eateries looks, sounds, and tastes like.

I have a lot of “favorite” breweries and restaurants in Colorado. If you ask me for a recommendation for a favorite spot in Denver, I’ll give you a list with at least 5 breweries/distilleries and 5 restaurants because I like to give people options, and I can’t really pick a favorite.

Right now, at this very moment, my favorite breweries are Great Divide Brewing Co., Lowdown Brewing, Call to Arms Brewing Co., and Cerebral Brewing. My favorite places to eat in Denver are Euclid Hall, FreshCraft, Argyle, and Root Down. In two weeks, this list could change.

Brufrou’s pairing menu this year makes me think I’ll have some new favorites to frequent this spring and summer. Here’s a very small sampling of what to try tomorrow:

Beryl’s Beer Co. and Morgan Handmade Rations: Logan’s Barrel Reserve with Housemade Duck Pastrami, Ethiopian Shiro spread on a blue corn Johnny cake with citrus pecan dust.

Black Shirt Brewing Co and The Kitchen Next Door: Dry Hopped Mango Sour with a Spicy Salmon Croquette (wild coho salmon and avocado croquettes fried a la minute).

Brewery Rickoli and The Rib House: Social Lubricant Scotch Ale or Oats McGoats Oatmeal Stout with Tracy’s famous illegal hickory smoked baby back ribs.

Colorado Cider Company and Baur’s: Ol Stumpy Hard Cider with braised lamb meatballs with tomato ginger fondue and tzatziki sauce.

Four Noses Brewing Company and Elevated Catering: Vier Nuezen Belgian Tripel or ‘Bout Damn Time American IPA paired with Colorado Fritter, a wood-grilled rabbit confit, crispy rye flour donut, Palisade peach and Four Noses honey glaze with 10X powdered sweet corn.

Great Divide Brewing and Osteria Marco: Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout paired with Oak Aged Yeti Braised Short Ribs with Prosciutto and English Pea Arancini.

The event is not just a food and beer tasting festival. Also scheduled are Q&A sessions, dubbed “TastyTalks” with brewmasters, chef partners and industry experts. The topics for this year’s TastyTalks are “Change Menus. Change Lives”, “Craft + Culinary Made In Colorado: Innovation & Collaboration”, “Big Beers. Big Trends”, “Pairings: Pairing Partners” and of course, a panel of judges choosing the inaugural Golden Pair award.

I love celebrating Colorado food and drink — I’m incredibly biased, but I think we have some of the best chefs, brewers, and distillers in the country here — and I’ve never been to an event in a hangar before.
For tickets and more information: http://www.culinarypairings.com/2016-brufrou-details/

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Barrels & Bottles releases new flagship beers

The first three flagship beers at Barrels & Bottles in downtown Golden, CO have officially been tapped. Piney the First, Lil’ IPA, and Hot Lips should be on your “must drink this summer” list.

Piney the First is a pale ale made with all Chinook hops. It’s a “crisp ale for year-round enjoyment” and has a pine tree and citrus aroma. This beer is called “The First” as it was head brewer Kim Collins’ first recipe and first brew for Barrels & Bottles. 

Next up, the Lil’ IPA is a sessionable, summertime brew at just 5.2% ABV. Lil’ IPA is a perfect beer to drink on the patio and soak up all summer has to offer. With a low ABV, having two can still be considered responsible drinking.

Hot Lips is a sour mashed blonde ale that uses a pure Lactobacillus strain in the mash kettle, and produces a sharp tart note that doesn’t linger. Hot Lips is a pretty fantastic name for a beer and is a nod to owners Zach and Abby George’s military backgrounds. Think back to M*A*S*H and Major Margaret J “Hot Lips” Houlihan, the blonde military nurse.

Barrels & Bottles gets its hops from Voss Farms in Arvada. Zach and Abby handpicked these hops in the fall of 2013.

The brewery has four new beers on the way: “Cin-Ful” Porter (porter brewed with cinnamon), “Pixie’s Stout” (stout brewed with NZ hops and aged in French Oak), a well-balanced IPA (to be named), and “Juniperus” , a double IPA (dry hopped with Glacier hops and Blue Juniper Berries).

I met Kim Collins earlier this year and was ecstatic to learn she was hired as the head brewer for Barrels & Bottles. When you go check out the brewery, I hope you have the opportunity to meet her. I appreciate that she takes time to talk to people about her beer and answer questions.

Female head brewers are a small population of the brewing community. It’s refreshing to see women in positions that traditionally have belonged only to men. Collins said, “Since I began, I have seen more women become interested in the brewing process, not just drinking beer. It’s exciting to meet all the new ladies at both the Pink Boots Society meetings and the Colorado All-Female Brews.”
Collins’ interest in beer began in her rugby playing days at Indiana University. She disliked the boring beer served at parties. “I saw the other ‘old girls’ (senior players) bringing over craft beer, tried it, and was hooked on its actual presence of flavor!”

After home-brewing for about five years, Collins jumped into professional brewing. In 2012, she attending the MBAA (Master Brewer’s Association of the Americas” Malting and Brewing course, moved to Colorado and began a three month apprenticeship at Tommyknocker Brewery. She worked at Tommyknocker for a couple of months and then moved to Boulder Beer as a full-time brewer. Collins then became a full-time brewer for Epic Brewing in Denver (that’s where I met her) and left recently for her new gig at Barrels & Bottles. She’s been the head brewer for about three months.

Barrels & Bottles is located at 600 12th St., Golden, CO. Hours: Mon., Wed., and Thurs., 12-9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 12-10 p.m.; Sun., 12-8 p.m.

Head Brewer Kim Collins. (Photo courtesy of Kim Collins.)

Head Brewer Kim Collins. (Photo courtesy of Kim Collins.)

Italian Baguette.

Italian Baguette.

Piney the First.

Piney the First.

Artichoke Bruschetta.

Artichoke Bruschetta.

Kicking Off Colorado Craft Beer Week Right…Collaboration Fest

Collaboration Fest is today! I hope you’re going; it promises to be a fun event.

 

The festival will have over 35 beers, each brewed by a Colorado Brewers Guild member and another brewery – including some out of state breweries. The event starts at 3 p.m. at the Curtis Hotel downtown. 

 

This is the first year for this event and from the sound of the chatter on social media and from my friends in the local craft beer scene (the best kind of friends to have!), this event is going to be amazing.

 

I hope I will get to try many of collaborations, but I tasting more than 20 beers is a lot, even for me. I am sure it will bring back memories and tasting techniques from Great American Beer Festivals past.

 

A few of the collaborations I’m excited about:

– Dry Dock Brewing and Steamworks Brewing
– Oskar Blues Brewing Company and Saint Archer Brewing Co.
– Denver Beer Co. and Upslope Brewing Company
– Summit County Collaboration – Pug Ryan’s Brewing Company, Dillon Dam Brewery , Breckenridge Brewery and Backcountry Brewery
– Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew and Wild Woods Brewery
– Odell Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing
– River North Brewery and TRVE
– Caution Brewing and Copper Kettle Brewing Company

 For tickets: http://events.imbibedenver.com/products/collaboration-festival

A Mile a Day Helps Keep the Holiday Pounds Away…(we hope!)

I’m cooking and writing again. In the past five-ish years, I picked up running. Being a runner means my time management skills have improved immensely. This makes my Type-A personality happy when I plan my running schedule for the week on Sunday night. Until very recently, I never considered myself an “actual runner”. I ran sporadically, usually out of boredom or as a quick fix to solve a problem in my life or a recipe that didn’t make sense.

 

I am constantly “in my head”. I take things personally. I have tissue-thin skin. I try to decipher tone via text. I like having time alone; listening only to my feet hitting the trail and the quiet whirring of my brain while I sort things out.

 

Running is something I do for me. I don’t run with others. I’m slow and awkward, and I’m always scared that people I run with will have to slow down for me. So, I run alone. And I love it.

 

My college buddy Matt Elder and I met in Election Statistics (it was as exciting as it sounds) class years ago. His favorite modern president is Kennedy and mine is Reagan. Somehow, we are still friends. (He also named his dog after Theodore Roosevelt – so there’s that.) We’ve survived two presidential elections, too many terrible Colorado Rockies’ seasons, and many, many pints of delicious Colorado craft beer.

 

We were political science students together and I was one of maybe three Republicans in the entire program. I’m being serious; I went to school in Denver. Political boundaries have never deterred me. Some of my closest friends are the absolute opposite of me, which is both maddening (for me) and hilarious (for bystanders).

 

But we’ve never run together. That will change. I challenged Matt to 35 miles in 35 days. Matt’s wife, Lauren, is also a runner and is up for the challenge. Each of us will run at least one mile per day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

 

We’ll be checking in with each other regularly and giving each other hell for not showing up. They live in Wisconsin but that will not stop us from holding one another accountable and getting some miles in.

 

Matt and Lauren are coming to Denver for New Year’s and we’ve already planned a Denver Brewery Run. I’m already working on the brewery tour list, and figuring out mileage. It only has to be a mile, but rules are rules.

 

And I think we are gonna need t-shirts.

 

On a somewhat related note: I am giving up alcohol for the entire month of December. If you know me and my unadulterated love for craft beer and red wine, you know that this is going to be a great challenge. But I am also training for two, maybe three, half marathons before June 2014 and I want to get a head start on all the New Year’s Resolution suckers. I may be tweeting and Instagram-ing pictures of the copious bottles of water I will be drinking.