Thursday 26 April 2012

A Night with the Mayor of Old Town

I have just about got over the jet lag since my arrival back in to the UK about a week ago and now I’ve had the time to sit and digest my fourth visit to the wonderful Fort Collins it feels like time to write it down. I had planned to simply summarise the week in one or two posts but a single night sticks out far further in my mind than some of the others.

It was a Wednesday evening, I had been out the previous night and was struggling with a pretty bad hangover which wasn’t being helped by the mile-high altitude of Colorado. Despite the headache my Dad suggested we head to the biggest dedicated craft beer bar in town, The Mayor of Old Town and sample a few brews. Within seconds my hangover had lifted and I was out the door in a fashion akin to a rat out a drain pipe. The Mayor is actually about a ten minute walk from Old Town which lies in the centre of Fort Collins and stands just across the road from the smart campus of Colorado State University. The bar is set in a spacious and relatively new building (It’s the American west so old buildings are a rare thing indeed anyway) with modern furnishings, nice low yet warm lighting and a lengthy bar. You can either take a seat at a table or at the bar itself and thanks to the glorious thing that is American service there is no need to queue at the bar as a server comes to you to take your order.

The Mayors selection of beers is very impressive
Now the Mayor is no ordinary craft beer bar, it has no less than one hundred beers on tap, the line up of tap handles is mind blowing (the taps themselves span 26 feet) but what’s more impressive is the huge projected screen above the bar which features of a list of every beer that’s available and is updated in real time. The selection is a breathtaking mix of local and not so local craft delights but in a true open minded step they cater for those of us that don’t have a hop addiction with more common beers such as Bud Light, Stella Artois, Guinness and even Strongbow for those seeking sweet, spiky refreshment. ‘Real ale’ fans will be pleased to know that there is even a selection of British beers such as Morland Old Speckled Hen and Wychwood Hobgoblin, all on keg of course, there’s not a cask in sight.

Trivial things such as dispense method have never bothered me however, especially when there are so many delights to choose from, but where to start? I decide on something not too crazy to begin with and after Dad and I have taken a seat at the bar I order a Firestone Walker Pale 31. You know you’re in for a treat when the servers reply is to simply exclaim ‘DELICIOUS’ and he wasn’t wrong, I’ve never been remotely underwhelmed by a Firestone Walker beer before and Pale 31 is simply about as perfect as a pale ale can get. It was the colour of golden straw and had a wonderful aroma of lemon and pine, it cured my bad head in mere moments as its sharp grapefruit notes whizzed across my tongue. It had a wonderful refreshing dryness and try as I might to make it last the glass was soon empty.

The bar staff were beyond excellent, no sooner than you had drained the last dregs of your glass than you were being quizzed about what you wanted to fill it with. I’d being eyeballing the extensive menu for the entire duration of my last pint and was about to plump for a Saison Dupont when I spied another farmhouse style ale; Collette from Great Divide Brewing. I’m a big fan of Great Divide, Titan IPA is one of my favourite beers and for me they are one of the most consistent breweries out there. Collette is a wonderful take on this Belgian style, in fact my tasting notes read that if no one had told me it was from Great Divide I would have assumed it was Belgian. Delving into the yeasty aroma also gives you a hint of the tart, raspberry flavours that lie within. The fruit is wrapped in a wonderful blanket of funky Belgian yeast that manages to be fulfilling but never overpowering, it’s another really refreshing beer and not surprisingly it’s the Great Divide summer seasonal, well worth a punt if you can find some in the UK. Another nice touch was that the beer was served to me in a Belgian style ale glass which really helped me get the aroma and enhance the all around drinking experience, a nice touch and something that I would expect from a bar of this calibre.

I was having a whale of a time already and it wasn’t too long before my glass was emptied once again only this time I was ready for some hops. I ordered a glass of Oskar Blues Deviant Dales IPA which is a relatively new IPA from this awesome Colorado brewery, it arrived in a large snifter and my server asked me ‘I hope you are ready for this’. It seems only fair that I refer to my tasting notes here which read; ‘this is an IPA you could paint your house with.’ Deviant Dales IPA is without a doubt the most oily, most resinous brew I have ever consumed. The hop aromas of pink grapefruit and a blooming pine forest dig their claws into your face and slam it down into the bar. The hop oils literally coat your mouth as your drink, it’s not unpleasant, it’s a very good IPA, the citrus and pine flavours combining with a nice malt backbone but it’s one of those beers that for me, has taken it a step too far. I love hops, I love ridiculous double IPAs but I found even this to be a little bit too much, when my Dad tried some he chose to add a little water just to calm it down, it’s one crazy beer.

Later that week I did try some more Deviant Dales and enjoyed it but not as much as I enjoy their regular Dales Pale Ale which is a beer that I often gush about. Still I would like to hear from anyone else that’s tried it, I’m sure a beer like this has a lot of fans!

An IPA you could paint your house with
It was around this time and after a Bushmills chaser (The Bar Manager didn’t give us much choice about this, but you didn’t hear me complaining) that I struck up a conversation with the guy sat next to me, or maybe it was the other way around, it’s hard to remember these things when you’re quaffing strong beer at 5000 feet. His name was Dave and he was the head chef at a local restaurant and a fellow beer nut. He had been in The Mayor longer than I had and the signs were all there; slurred speech, drooping head, big smile, you get the picture. He turned to the bar staff and uttered the immortal words ‘What’s the most expensive beer you have here?’ While we waited for their answer my Dad ordered the three of us more Bushmills, not necessary but not unwanted nor wasted. The barman returned with two bottles because as it happens they were the same price (Twenty five dollars each, not cheap but for what we were about to consume I don’t think it was excessive and besides, Dave was paying) and from the same brewery, Firestone Walker.

The beers were both in presentation boxes, the first was the excellent §ucaba Barley wine. I had expected Dave who had asked for all of us to be given a glass to just give us a little taste but when he gave me a third of the bottle, I was honoured. Sadly I mixed the tasting notes up between the §ucaba and the equally awe inspiring XV Anniversary ale (because I was drunk, duh) but I was throwing words like amazing, boozy, port-like and wonderment around with reckless abandon. It was an honour to share and savour those two excellent beers with you Dave and if you ever read this, I thank you dearly.

Despite imbibing a large amount of alcohol already my Dad and I weren’t done yet and we ordered ourselves a cheese stuffed pretzel with Jalapeno jam to boost our resolve. It’s worth noting that as well as a simply ridiculous amount of beer that the Mayor has a full menu and the food is top notch. My Dad was getting itchy feet and wanted to head to another bar in Old Town which was fine for him, he lives in Fort Collins but I wasn’t going to get the chance to drink here again for a long time so I insisted we stay for one more. Despite wanting to sample the output of as many breweries as I could I had been hankering after some Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti for as long as I had been staring it on the beer list, which was all night.

I’ve had Yeti in the bottle before, it’s one of those brews that made me want to start writing about beer in the first place and it’s no surprise that among imperial stouts it’s got a bit of a cult following. I really liked the standard Yeti from the bottle and despite enjoying it immensely it didn’t quite rise to the massive hype that I’d read online but this could have been due to the way the beer travelled or simply that my palate wasn’t ready for it yet as it was one of the first ever big stouts I tried.

I had expected by now that my palate would have been shot to pieces and that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this beer to its utmost but thankfully the truth was far from this. The aroma held notes of cocoa, oak, espresso and subtle bitterness from the finishing hops, it was like velvet in the mouth, full of deep rich bitter coffee and warm, boozy flavours that had been absorbed from the barrel. The chocolate added a pleasant sweetness that was wonderfully balanced with a sharp hint of lingering grapefruit as you swallowed. It was so good that my Dad, who is not a big stout drinker also found many charms in its complexity, it was a thoroughly impressive beer and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

It was only when we wrapped up our tab that I realised something important, the price of each beer was absent from the giant projected display on the board. Now not all of these beers were expensive but there were several that you would not call cheap. Personally I didn’t have a problem with this as I drink beer for enjoyment, life is too short to worry about the price of a pint when you can get beer this good however judging by some of the beer blogs I read which seem to obsess over these prices you wouldn’t get away with this in the UK. Besides I stand by my previous statement that breweries, pubs and bars all have the basic right to make a decent profit from their living. The last thing a small independent business needs is people moaning about their prices.

The tab was inconsequential (it was my Dads round) and so was the rest of the night (which continued hazily into the early hours) but what was not was the Mayor of Old Town. Fort Collins is famous for its breweries and mountain vistas but visitors should not overlook the great nightlife the city offers and the Mayor is by far one of my favourite haunts and I can’t wait until I can go back.

Monday 16 April 2012

New Belgium Dig Pale Ale & Shift Pale Lager

Seeing as I'm on holiday in the States I thought I'd take the opportunity to review a beer that I won't be able to get a hold of in the UK and after several pints, I had decided on New Belgium's excellent spring seasonal pale ale 'Dig' as it's been my most quaffed beer on this trip. However when I was lucky enough to run into one of New Belgium's famed Beer Rangers whilst out for a meal and was presented with a free can of their new lager 'Shift' I was equally as impressed, especially as being an ale-head it probably would not have caught my eye. I was so pleasantly surprised by Shift that it would be rude not to review this beer as well, especially as it's only just been released alongside an impressive marketing campaign and no doubt this lager will, well, shift lots of units this summer and beyond.

Dig in, for victory
I first encountered New Belgium almost two years ago when I first visited Fort Collins, Colorado and before I became the craft beer obsessive I am today. I consumed pint after pint of their Fat Tire ale which is now a staple across the 28 states within which it is sold. Fat Tire, along with their range of core beers such as 1554 black lager and Sunshine Wheat no longer appeals to my palate which generally asks a little more of their beers these days but their more experimental brews such as Belgo Belgian IPA and their awesome autumn seasonal Hoptober always leave me begging for more. I have contacted them asking if they will ever distribute to the UK but sadly it doesn't look that this is likely to happen anytime soon however if any fellow Brits reading this ever visit the States be sure to try some of their beers. If you ever find yourself in Colorado be sure to pay a visit to 'The Mothership' which is the New Belgium nick name for their Brewery and Tap room, it's a beautiful piece of architecture and the best brewery tour I've ever been on (you get to go down a slide!) but make sure you book online in advance as tours fill up fast.

Having visited Fort Collins on a few occasions now I've had plenty of time to speak to locals about their opinions on the local breweries and although there is a huge, steaming pile of love for New Belgium not everyone considers them a 'craft' brewer any more and the word 'macro' was bounced around on more than one occasion. You see, New Belgium produce one heck of a lot of beer, they are the largest independent brewery in Colorado and the third largest in the States (behind Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada respectively.) Their beer is everywhere so a few hardcore beer geeks I communed with have disowned them but their loss is everyone else's gain as New Belgium produce some seriously kick-ass beers.

Speaking of which, on with the review starting with Dig, a new spring seasonal pale ale. Dig is a pretty recent addition to the New Belgium lineup following a revamp of some of their seasonal beers, it's more experimental than some of their core range and features an intriguing combination of Target, Sorachi Ace, Nelson Sauvin, Centennial and Cascade hops which gives this pale ale a really unique character. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Sorachi Ace hops, although many beer fans covet the strong herbal aromas Sorachi Ace produces I can find it a little medicinal tasting however when used well (such as in the excellent Thornbridge Bracia) it can really open up the flavour of a beer. The good news is that I only have big, big love for Nelson Sauvin and C-hops so how will these five unique tasting hop varieties taste together? Dig pours with a deep golden hue and produces a small blonde head that lingers long enough to leave a nice lace around the glass as you take a swig. On the nose the first and most dominant aroma that I get is of dry white wine, no doubt due to the Nelson Sauvin plus a little bit of lemon peel and dried herbs. Despite these five hops being so different in character Dig combines them all in one glorious whole, lemon and grapefruit notes mingle with grape and white wine flavours with that herbal edge preventing the malts from being overly sweet. The finish is dry and very, very moreish, it's an excellent beer and very easy to drink, a perfectly light and yet flavorsome beer for the spring months.

You'll want several...
Now it's time to 'shift' the focus of this review (HAH!) to the brand new pale lager from New Belgium. These guys already produce a very refreshing pilsner called Blue Paddle, it's a great interpretation on the classic Czech style but not to my tastes. Shift is closer to the Helles style of lager and not a million miles away in terms of flavour from the excellent USA Hells from Camden Town Brewery which I also tried recently and thoroughly enjoyed. As I said earlier I probably wouldn't have ordered this beer based on the fact that it's a lager alone but when the offer of a free can (Shift is only available in 16oz cans, a clever marketing move in my opinion) came about I could hardly refuse. The first thing that struck me about Shift is how prominent the aroma of lavender and elderflower is when you pour it from the can, it really slaps you in the face and indicates that this lager is seriously hopped. It is a true US interpretation of a European style, it pours the colour of pale straw with a very thin head and is very heavily carbonated as is typical of a lager but as well as being incredibly refreshing it hits you with a barrage of lemon, lime and elderflower and practically grabs you by the collar and demands you take another sip after you have swallowed your first. It is a truly wonderful lager, the second lager I've had on this trip that has really impressed me and proof that it's a style that craft brewers will make their own this year.

I think Shift will sell exceptionally well, not only because of a truly inspired marketing campaign but the superb branding and it will go a long was towards further increasing the market share that craft beer has in the United States. However as someone that can still remember when they found beers like this a little too hop forward I don't think it will make too many new beer geeks, on the contrary I think this is a lager that beer geeks like myself won't be ashamed to admit their love for because it's a stunner of a brew.

If, like me, you'd like to see New Belgium beers available in the UK, please harass them by clicking here to visit the contact us page so you can send them your request.

Friday 13 April 2012

Brooklyn Brewery

When in the United States there is nothing more I love to do than visit breweries and drink beer direct from the source. I have yet to find a brewery in the States that doesn't have an open door policy be it a tiny microbrewery the size of a garden shed or an epic AB-InBev Budweiser plant and why not, there is money to be made. Sure enough every brewery I have encountered in this country so far offers tours, tastings, tap rooms and plenty of branded merchandise to boot, beer is cool so why not wear a t shirt sporting the well designed logo of your new favourite brewery and while your at it why not pick up some branded glassware or even a frisbee? Breweries this good deserve to be making a decent profit margin and depending on which State you are in licensing and taxation laws are generally more relaxed here than they are in the UK. One thing that makes sense here is that bars can serve beer in whatever size glass they want, not strictly in thirds, halves or a whole pint, some of the beer laws we have in our country are quite frankly, backwards and in order to encourage even more growth in the brewing sector we could do no wrong by copying some of these North American laws, or lack of them.

Beer has dispelled the illness which was in me
On my last full day in New York we finally left the towering confines of Manhattan Island and took the subway to Williamsburg, a borough of Brooklyn, in order to visit the much lauded Brooklyn Brewery. Brooklyn is perhaps one of the most well known American craft breweries back in the UK, Brooklyn Lager and East India Pale Ale (or EIPA if you will) are pretty common sights in good pubs in bottle and on draught and are even starting to appear on some supermarket shelves. Brooklyn beer is becoming so popular in the UK that their Brewmaster, the legendary Garrett Oliver recently did a tour of some of the UKs finest beer establishments and brought some very special beers along with him. I didn't get the chance to go to one of these nights but this no longer mattered, I was now in the brewery itself and my Dad and I had our best drinking boots on ready to try some beer.

The brewery was only a short walk from the Subway and the relaxing pace of Williamsburg was welcome after the bustling intensity of Manhattan. The tap room opens to the public at 12 and we got there around half past, it was already filling up fast and you could tell that it was a really popular hangout for both tourists and locals. I was a little disappointed to find out that the brewery operated a token policy instead of a cash bar, you could buy a single token for five dollars or five tokens for twenty dollars. Most beers were a single token but some of the special, stronger offerings were two and considering that servings were only 12 fluid ounces (just over half a pint) that meant that it was pretty expensive. However this is New York City so overheads will be high and as I said at the start of this post breweries have the basic right to make a decent profit especially when they are making beer this good.

Unlike most breweries I've visited in the States Brooklyn don't offer tasting flights but the bar staff are happy to pour you a little taste to help you make up your mind. As I was with my Dad we decided to taste beers in tandem and work our way through the 10 beers they had on draught, I won't bore you with an in depth description of every single beer as we will be here all day and I have a tendency to waffle on which, as you can see, I'm doing right now. We decided to throw caution to the wind and try the big beers first as these were the ones we were most keen to try, Blast double IPA and Mary's Maple Porter. Blast is still the best beer I have had on this holiday and by now I've had quite a few, it is a 9% ABV hop monster but it is so dangerously quaffable that you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's not as strong as advertised. It contains ten, yes TEN varieties of hops, half of them are from the UK which are used for bittering and the other half are from the US which are used for aroma. I never thought I would wax lyrical about a love for a beer that contains Fuggles hops (I've got nothing against them I just think British hops in general are a bit bland and earthy tasting), but the balance of the bitterness from the hop varieties chosen is near perfect. 

The aroma is huge, its a fruit punch battering ram of lemon, grapefruit, mango and pineapple giving your face a big bear hug, the flavor is beautiful, big but not overwhelming. Double IPAs often have an overly resinous, syrupy mouth fell but Blast is all elegance and slips down beautifully, starting with those citrus flavours and then getting a little more tropical and all the time the malts keeping them in check without every really announcing their presence too much. The finish is actually quite crisp and pithy and this is what makes Blast so drinkable, it's a champion beer for sure and I hope we see it in the UK soon. This whole experience shows why IPAs need to be drank when they are as fresh as possible as this is not only when they still have the most hop flavour but still have all those big flavours at the levels which the brewer intended. I'll be honest, I had never held Brooklyn in the same regard as some other US craft brewers, but this changed my mind, they are without doubt one of the best in the business.

The intriguing Marys Maple Porter
Mary's Maple Porter is part of the Brewmasters Reserve series and as the name would suggest it is a British style porter but with a large addition of Maple Syrup added in the kettle. From this information, you'd expect it to be overly sweet but its anything but. It's a wonderfully crafted beer that really takes your palate through the motions and begs you to break out some really strong Cheddar cheese, the aroma is of freshly ground coffee, crushed almonds and hazelnuts with just a hint of maple syrup. The flavour starts where the aroma leaves you, coffee beans and ground nuts with a little bit of sweetness which gradually becomes smokey almost like mesquite and just when you think it has had it's way with you on comes a beautiful barrage of bitter grapefruit from dry hopping which keeps all that maple sweetness in check. Beer this complex is not an everyday beer, it's a super special beer with lots of twists and turns, I for one am extremely glad I had the opportunity to try it.

We spent the rest of around four hours working our way through the other beers on offer, highlights included the Brooklyner Weisse hefeweizen, Ama Bionta which was an easy drinking Belgian blonde ale and the Dry Irish Stout which we got to try on both keg (lovely, creamy and full of character) and on cask (warm and flat). The last two beers I tried (before going back for another Blast) were the two I'd had before on many occasions, the lager which I've always enjoyed and the EIPA which historically I've found a little lacking compared to other American IPAs. There was nothing lacking on this occasion, so fresh was the EIPA that it was pure zingy wonderment, grapefruit flavours combining with a bread malt character. The lager was a revelation, it was so bursting with hops and malt (and we were half cut) so when we forgot which one was which it took us ages to figure out which was the lager and which one was the IPA, simply superb and I'll say it again without hesitation that it's the finest lager I've ever had.

Brooklyn Brewery is not just a haven for beer geeks, it's a New York City tourist attraction in its own right whether you love beer or not. The atmosphere is buzzing and the beer never stops flowing but one thing I will advise is get there early as by 3pm people were queueing out of the door waiting for people to leave so that they could get in!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Drinking in New York

I've visited the United States a few times now, and when I say I've visited the US I mean I've been to rural Colorado and this being such a massive country that doesn't count for much. When my Sister said that she wanted to gather together all of the family in New York City for her birthday I was excited to say the least. Not just because it meant that after visiting NYC I could spend some time at my Dads place in Fort Collins and drink lots of beer but I could also take some legendary sights such as the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, The American Museum of Natural History and drink lots of beer. Craft beer now has over a 5% market share (by volume) in the US beer market which might not sound like much but in recent years that is actually a pretty big increase, craft beer is cool and this means that it's so very easy to find.

A bad beer is hard to find in New York City
In fact it's so easy to find that shortly after my girlfriend, Dianne and I had checked into our hotel just off Times Square I was enjoying a fantastic Southern Tier IPA in Shake Shack, an upmarket fast food joint that was so popular that people were queueing out the door waiting for burgers and shakes. Southern Tier beers are revered with hushed brilliance in the UK, if you can actually find them, so I felt a little awestruck that it had taken me less than half an hour in New York to locate something this good. That evening we fought the jet lag and headed out to see a popular beat combo from New Zealand called the Naked and Famous at a venue called Terminal 5 that is not dissimilar to something like the Islington Academy in London. One thing I hate about going to venues in the UK is that your beer choice is pretty much limited to swill A or swill B depending on who sponsors the venue and sure, Terminal 5 had Coors, Miller, Bud all the usual suspects however they also had Sierra Nevada Torpedo, one of the most reliable and solid IPAs on the market, you can't really go wrong with a Sierra Nevada brew. This just goes to show how much craft beer has become part of modern American culture and why I love it here so damn much. 

Without really looking I had already found two great brews in a fast food joint and a live music venue and so this trend was set to continue. Whether you're in a restaurant or a supermarket you can be sure that amongst the big brands there is plenty of local and some not so local craft beer, it has become so much a part of the US drinking scene that is simply expected to be there and you shouldn't have to look hard to find it. Sure you can pick up brews such as Thornbridge Jaipur and Brewdog Punk IPA in the supermarkets now, but that's if they don't sell out before you get there. The UK is definitely catching up but we still have to actively seek out craft beer and not just expect it to be present on every street corner like it is in America. For example I went to pick up a couple of six packs in a branch of Duane Reade, the New York equivalent of a Tesco Express and Boots rolled into one and was spoilt for choice. I grabbed some Smuttynose IPA, the best bottled beer I drank during my New York trip and some Rogue Dead Guy Ale, which didn't appeal to my palate at all as it was incredibly sweet and I couldn't detect any hops in this brew at all. I didn't mind that I didn't like it because I was happy that I got the chance to try it and not pay the over inflated prices we pay in the UK for imported craft beer.

I got to try a plethora of fantastic beers while I was in New York which were almost as good as some of the sights that I got to see for the very first time, these highlights included Ballast Point Big Eye IPA, Sixpoint Righteous (a Rye PA) and the very interesting Heartland Cherry Blossom IPA (which is brewed with actual cherry blossoms) but without a doubt the highlight of the entire stay in New York was a visit to the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg. So good in fact that I'm going to save it for a blog post of it's very own but I will tell you that I was blown away about how good Brooklyn Lager tastes when it is super fresh, it is the BEST lager in the world and I will say that without regard for the consequences and Blast was not just one of the best double IPAs that I've ever had but one of the best beers I've ever had.

Sadly after a few short days my New York City break had come to an end but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing as my next destination was Fort Collins, Colorado where there was plenty more good beer waiting to be drank.

Sunday 1 April 2012

No Booze 'til Brooklyn

I’ve been off the booze for over a week now and it’s not been easy as I’ve been stockpiling beers that I had planned to review and have also missed out on the chance to be involved in last nights #impoff online imperial stout tasting event. My cupboard currently contains such beauties as Epic Mayhem, Hitachino Nest Nipponia, Durham Temptation and a couple of the new Brewdog IPA is Dead packs but since falling victim to a stomach ulcer I’ve been subjected to a barrage of antibiotics and so have been sworn off the booze under doctors orders.

As a result I don’t really have much to write about today but for the sake of momentum I feel it’s important to keep writing, especially as I will have lots to write about over the next two weeks. Tuesday is brew day, it’s the day I’m allowed to have a drink and believe me I cannot wait to get some hops down my throat but it’s the day after that has got me even more excited.

This Wednesday morning I will be flying out to New York City for four days and then I’m off to stay with my Dad in Fort Collins, Colorado which has become my holiday destination of choice since I first visited back in the Summer of 2010. It’ll be my first trip to the States as an active beer blogger so I’m going to attempt to document as much of the beery fun as possible.

A lot of beer nonsense like this is about to occur
I don’t have many beer plans in New York or much time to do a lot of beer tourism as it’s my first ever visit to NYC so I plan on taking in a lot of the regular tourist sites as well. However I have penciled in a visit to Brooklyn Brewery next Saturday lunchtime so am looking forward to tasting some of their brews that aren’t Brooklyn Lager or EIPA (however I’ll try them just to gauge how well the stuff we get here travels) and will be endeavoring to sample as much local stuff as possible during visits to bars and restaurants. I’ve already had Sixpoint brewery highly recommended to me but if anyone out their reading this has any other recommendations for me then please leave a comment below.

After the hustle and bustle of New York I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing break in idyllic Colorado and have lots of beer tourism planned while I’m there. Fort Collins is now home to ten (at last count) microbreweries and one thing my Dad and I like to do is ride from tap room to tap room and work our way through a tasting tray at each stop. We usually start at Funkwerks for a Saison before our palate gets too clouded and then head into town to visit places such as Pateros Creek, Equinox and we usually finish at our favourite, Odell Brewing Co. I also plan to visit the epic Wilburs Total Beverage and pick up a couple of six packs of some hard to find IPA’s so again I’d love some recommendations!

I also have planned to make my first visit to Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont which is about an hours drive from Fort Collins and if I have time I’d like to do the super fun tour of New Belgium Brewing Again. New Belgiums operation is the third largest (in terms of craft beer producers) in the States but I haven’t been on the tour since my first visit two years ago, it involves a slide, I love slides.

So next time you tune in I’ll be blogging from the good ol’ US of A and I’ll probably be drunk, cheers!