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Golden visit: Touring Coors, the world’s largest single-site brewery

June 13, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Travelin'

The Coors Brewing Company facility in Golden, Co., is the world’s largest single-site brewery.

The brewery, situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, produces 1.5 million gallons of beer per day. No, it’s not craft, but it’s certainly an impressive operation and worth touring if you’re ever in the Denver area.

Here are some photos from my recent visit to the Coors brewery. Be sure to check out the video of the packaging line at the end.

Coors - breweryGerman immigrants Adolph Coors and Jacob Schueler founded the brewery in Golden in 1873.

Coors - Historic copper kettleThis historic copper brew kettle greets visitors to the Coors brewery.

Coors - brandsCoors boasts of over 20 different brands of beer in North America.

Coors - hopsA bucket full of hops always smells nice.

Coors - mash tuns The brewhouse at Golden is monstrous.

Coors - Lion logoThe Golden facility is home to about 2,000 employees.

Coors - canning lineA view of the packaging line at the Coors brewery.

Coors - tasting roomDown these stairs you’ll find the tasting room, the most popular stop on the tour.

High-gravity beers from Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing arriving soon in Memphis

December 07, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Memphis

New Belgium logoIf you live in Memphis and like beers from Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Co., you soon won’t need to trek to the Walgreens in West Memphis, Ark., to buy New Belgium’s higher-alcohol beers.

The Fort Collins craft brewer’s Ranger IPA, Abbey and Trippel, as well as the Lips of Faith series and seasonal Frambozen, are slated to hit the Memphis market next week in bottles and on draft, according to distributor Budweiser of Memphis.

Many liquor stores that sell high-gravity beers will have the New Belgium line-up, as well as bars and restaurants with a good selection of craft beer, including The Flying Saucer, Young Avenue Deli, Local Gastropub, Alchemy, Sweet Grass, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Mellow Mushroom, Hog & Hominy and others.

Budweiser of Memphis has recently opened up a new company called West Tennessee Beverage to service liquor stores and bars and restaurants with high-alcohol licenses. Budweiser of Memphis has also recently taken over the craft beer portfolio of Southwestern Distributing as part of the sale of Southwestern’s beer business to the Hand Family Companies.

What’s your favorite New Belgium beer? Leave a comment below.

GABF recap: Three days of beer, beer and more beer in Denver

November 07, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Travelin'

GABF - sign

The 2012 Great American Beer Festival drew 49,000 attendees to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on Oct. 10-12.

The festival is the largest commercial beer competition in the world, and for craft beer enthusiasts, it’s heaven.

I was able to go as an entrant in the 2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition, thanks to Ghost River Brewing and the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs homebrew club. I had a brewer’s pass and was able to go all three days.

At the festival, I tried as many beers as possible, but ultimately one can only sample of fraction of what’s on tap. More than 2,700 beers were served by 578 breweries in the festival hall.

Among my new favorites: Alpine Beer Co.’s Duet, a West Coast IPA; Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Wookey Jack, an American-Style Black Ale; Redrock Brewing Co.’s Redrock Organic Zwickel Bier; and Laurelwood Brewing Co.’s Organic Deranger Imperial Red Ale.

GABF - sample glassThe sample glasses at GABF have a line showing the 1-ounce mark. The festival is fairly strict about pouring just an ounce, but the pours did get more liberal as the festival went on.

GABF - PBR outfitsAt GABF, you can’t bring in food unless you are wearing it, so you see a lot of people with homemade pretzel necklaces. There were also people wearing bagels, Funyuns and even bags of beef jerky!

GABF - Triple RockThe layout in the festival hall is divided up by region. I spent a lot of time hitting up the California breweries, including one of my favorites, Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse.

GABF - Charlie PapazianOne of the highlights for me? Getting to meet Charlie Papazian, who founded the Association of Brewers and the Great American Beer Festival and wrote The Complete Joy of Home Brewing.

GABF - 21st AmendmentBeers from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery, which is known for its cans and sweet designs, were pretty popular at GABF.

GABF - Silent DiscoI’ve spent some time in the Silent Disco at Bonnaroo, so I skipped it at GABF. But there was always a long line to get in. The concept is this: it’s a disco where people dance to music via wireless headphones. Fun to watch from the outside.

GABF - IdiotsHe’s with the idiot.

GABF - massageThe Designated Driver Lounge offered DDs free chair massages and the opportunity to taste craft-brewed sodas and root beers.

GABF - StoneSan Diego’s Stone Brewing Co. didn’t win any medals for its beers. But the brewery’s booth,  a popular destination at the festival, won the GABF Festival Flair Award for its awesome design.

GABF - Wall of T-shirtsOne of the cooler sites at GABF — the 30-foot wall of T-shirts for sale. I picked up shirts from New Belgium Brewing and Boulder Beer.

GABF - booksThe Beer Enthusiast Bookstore had a nice selection of homebrewing books and featured a full slate of book signings all three days, including authors Charlie Papazian, Garrett Oliver, John Palmer, Ray Daniels and Greg Koch.

GABF - Porter's PridePorter’s Pride, an imperial porter with chocolate, was brewed as part of a collaboration of Colorado breweries exclusively for the GABF awards ceremony.

GABF - governorColorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, one of the founders of the original Wynkoop Brewing Company brewpub, spoke at the awards ceremony.

GABF-First AmendmentI met up with a monkey in a spacesuit and Abraham Lincoln, who were representing 21st Amendment.

GABF - Woo Hoo!Woo hoo! Hope to make it back to GABF soon!

Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Co. is canning and expanding in Colorado

October 16, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Travelin'

Three days before the start of the 2012 Great American Beer Festival, Upslope Brewing Co. in Boulder, Col., was bustling.

Customers were sipping on beers in the taproom, a kettle was boiling in the cramped brewhouse and the canning line was churning out cans of Upslope’s Pale Ale.

On Saturday, the brewers at the upstart Upslope were taking the stage at GABF, winners of their third medal since 2009. Upslope’s Brown Ale took the silver medal in the “American-Style Brown Ale” category, a feat for a brewery that has been around just shy of four years.

Upslope Brewing - exteriorUpslope opened its doors in November 2008 at 1501 Lee Hill Road in North Boulder with a Pale Ale and India Pale Ale, both in cans.

Upslope Brewing-samplerAmong the standout beers at Upslope: the Craft Lager, Brown Ale, Pumpkin Ale and the Thai IPA. The Pumpkin Ale, a special release, won the gold medal in the “Field Beer or Pumpkin Beer” category at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

Upslope Brewing-taproomA view of Upslope’s taproom. Upslope has announced plans to build a new brewery in Flatiron Park in Boulder. The new brewery will be operational in the first quarter of 2013, allowing Upslope to initially expand by 70%, with plenty of room for future expansion. It will also open a 2,300-square foot taproom in the new facility.

Upslope Brewing-barOver the past three and a half years, Upslope has expanded six times in its current location. Once the new brewery opens, Upslope will continue to operate its taproom and brewery at Lee Hill. The Lee Hill brewery will be both a production brewery and an incubator for new and innovative beer styles.

Upslope Brewing-breweryUpslope currently produces just 6,000 barrels a year and brews on a 7-barrel system. Upslope will be upgrading to a 30-barrel system. “Demand for our beer continues to grow exponentially and ongoing expansion at the current location doesn’t meet our future goals. Flatiron Park has the infrastructure that our production brewery needs to take it to the next level,” says founder Matt Cutter.

Upslope Brewing-canning lineMany thanks to Sam for giving us an up-close look at Upslope’s canning line in action! Upslope cans its Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Brown Ale and Craft Lager, plus limited-release beers.

Upslope Brewing-canning Why cans? “Cans are better for the beer, the environment and are perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle of Colorado and points beyond,” according to a release from Upslope. “The benefits of canning – protection from light and oxidation and retention of brewery direct freshness – have been well received both through Upslope Brewing’s popular flagship and limited release beers.”