Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Trinity has arrived!

Well, almost!

Last night Erik Boles (Beer Tap TV) and I attended a pre-party at Trinity Brewing Company. It was a combination private party for their friends and family, and a dry run for the employees... all in lieu of their grand opening tomorrow (Friday, August 29) at 11:00 AM MST.

When Erik and I first walked into the joint it was a maelstrom of sound and activity. Almost immediately we pitched in to (minimally) help Alex and Owen (two of the construction guys who built the place) put bar stools together, set them around the place (the bar and normal bar height tables are up in front, while several couches are in the back next to the roll up warehouse door for an intimate ), and "roughed up" the cool stainless steel tables. All that last second prepping... and the place is absolutely dazzling!

Here are two video clips Erik shot and streamed to Qik that will give you the briefest of ideas on what to expect:

The beer selection is probably the best in town. Oh sure, Old Chicago's has more, but the world class beers on tap at Trinity flat out destroys anything else. This is not only a brewery, but a first-rate beer bar. New Belgium La Folie, Delirium Tremmens, Russian River Damnation and Pliny the Elder, several selections from Stone Brewing (i.e., Arrogant Bastard, 8.08.08) -- and several other beers of world class caliber are on tap right next to Trinity's own meaty batch of brew. I sampled Soul, Awaken, and Flo. All were exceptional. And the food served here is not your typical pup grub. Not by a longshot. This will be the first establishment in the Springs that pairs the food with the beer every day, not just on special "beer dinner" nights. Nothing about this place is typical.

Myself along with the guys from Beer Tap TV will be on site tomorrow (between 1:00 - 2:00 PM MST) doing a live shoot (and streaming to the Internet), getting thoughts and impressions from guests as well as interviewing the masterminds behind Trinity, Jason Yester and Todd Walton. So keep you browser locked and loaded to Beer Tap TV for this very special event!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ultimate Beer Run

On Sunday afternoon my good buddy Erik Boles (from BeerTapTV) and I drove up to Daveco Liquors in Thornton, CO, where we met fellow beer geek, beer blogger and Beer Examiner, "Chipper" Dave Butler.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Daveco is the largest liquor store in all the world. After experiencing first hand the grandeur (and beer selection) that is Daveco we can resoundingly say it was the biggest one any of us had ever seen. Think the Costco of liquor stores. We all weeped with joy as we walked the isles. Heck, I think this place would even make Baby Jesus weep. We were literally like kids in a candy store.

Here's one clip of video Erik streamed via Qik (check out the other clip on Qik, as well as the tornado we saw touch down just south of Denver -- one in which we weren't more than half a mile from) while we stood before the Gates of Heaven (the Imported Singles section), which included beers from six of the world's seven Trappist monasteries (minus Westvleteren).

Needless to say, we all dropped several hundred dollars (each) on what amounted to "The Ultimate Beer Run." Here's what I got (Chipper and Erik, chime in with what you guys purchased!):

Stay tuned for musings and follow ups (not reviews) on each of these beers as I've never had any of them. There will be some gooooooood drinking in the very near future!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Send me your beers!

Friends, Brewers, Cerevisaphiles, send me your brews; I come to drink your beers not to pour them out. The evil that unclean vessels can do lives on in the beer, and the good is oft interred with the wort; so let it be with bad beer. The noble Brewer hath told us he was ambitious. If it were so… HE’D SEND ME SOME!

Blah blah blah… that ancient tongue is tough. I can only do so much with it!

By now you know I'm not a shy guy. I like beer and I like trying a lot of different beer. So I'm sending out a call: Brewmeisters... I want your beer in my belly! Send me your delish brew and it will get written about/reviewed/referred to (or shunned if it's nasty) by moi -- The Mad Beer Man -- here on this blog as well as on the handful of other sites I perform my own "stylish" personal brand of commentary for.

Shameless self promotion from a shameless self promoter! Wooohooo!

That's right, I'm pimpin' out my beer belly!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You know you're a Beer Geek when...

I like to watch me some TV and movies. Over the last year or so I've found myself obsessed with trying to identify the brand of beer people are drinking in my favorite celluloidal presentation.

Have you ever found yourself doing this?

Take for instance the movie Smart People with Ellen Page (Juno), Dennis Quaid,Thomas Haden Church and Sarah Jessica Parker. If you liked Juno you'll like this movie too. However, beer makes an appearance in this flick a few times and I couldn't ID them. I thought one was a Rolling Rock, but there was another green bottle with a metallic label of some kind. Can anyone from the Pittsburgh area (that's where the movie was set) tell me what the hell that beer was? Geneesee maybe?

Ya know... this would be a good little niche project/website for some diehard movie watching beer geek. Complie a list of every movie that's had beer in it... and what the beer was! BRILLIANT! So... who's game?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Septembeer is almost here!

Septembeer means only one thing... OKTOBERFEST!!!

I know... it makes no sense. Why call it "Oktoberfest" when it starts in September? Blame it on those silly Germans. Those silly, wonderful, beer making, beer guzzling, life loving Germans. Aaaaah...

I won't bore you with the details about the why. Check out my rant from last year that describes in detail the history (and fun) of the original Oktoberfest. I will remind you that 2 years from now Fran and I will be hopping a big ole jet plane to attend the 2010 Oktoberfest in Munich. Wanna come? Contact me for more info! (Yes, you will have to pay your own damn way!)

So... back to this year's spates of Oktoberfests. We may not be going to Munich, but we are definitely going to Denver's Oktoberfest on Larimer Street. Big. Loud. Germany. Lederhoseny. Beery. Fun. This big, bad boy of festivus' runs two consecutive weekends: September 19 - 21 and again on September 26 - 28. Wanna come? Contact me for more info! (Yes, you will have to pay your own damn way!)

We're also going to try and hit the Breckenridge Oktoberfest on September 13 -14. We've been to this one before and it's a hoot. Plus, the location (Main Street, downtown Breck) is to die for! Wanna come? Contact me for more info! (Yes, you will have to pay your own damn way!)

Let the Beer Games Begin!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dundee does Beer!

No, not the short, funny Aussie crocodile dude from the movies. This is a whole nutha Dundee.

So it's mid-August here in Colorado and the weather has taken a decidedly wintry turn. The months of June and July encompassed record heat and record lack of rain.

Well, that's all changed. We've had substantial, measurable rainfall for something like 12 days in a row now. It's been hovering below 60 degrees for the better part of the last two days. It even snowed on top of Pikes Peak today! In the middle of August! It feels like winter... and that means only one thing: Stout and Porter weather!

Yes, I'm a seasonal beer drinker. Warm weather is all about the hefes, wheats and other "lighter" brews. But the second it's cold enough to crack out thick, heavy jackets then it's time to crack open thick, heavy beers as well.

Last night I had a porter from Dundee Brewing Company that was very tasty. Living my whole life on the left side of the United States Dundee is new to me. I first had one of their Honey Brown's a few weeks ago on a trip to California and absolutely loved it. Thankfully they're selling their brews (in 12-pack craft cases, 2 of all 6 different beers) at my local store here in Colorado.
The Honey Brown is great. The Porter is sumptuous. The Pale Bock is very sessionable. The Pale Ale is OK, and the IPA is too hoppy for my taste (but Fran liked it). Being a hefe and wheat guy I was looking forward to downing their Wheat Beer. Sadly, it wasn't my favorite... not sure I'd actually want to drink it again. But my Hefe loving brother thought it was very good.

After doing some research I found out that although Dundee may be new to me, it's been around a while. Dundee is part of High Falls Brewing Company, which was founded way back in 1878 as the Genesee Brewing Company. Genesee I know... their Cream Ale is really good. High Falls is based in Rochester, New York, and apparently one of the largest (7th to be exact) and oldest continually operating breweries in the U.S. Back in May they refreshed their image with all know logos, branding and publicity push. That's probably why I've never heard of them until now.

Gotta love finding some tasty new beers and learning a little bit of "beerstory" (beer history) as well! Now if Summer would just roll back in for a few more months...

Until next time... Zivjeli!

UPDATE (4:02 PM): Just got back from a beer run and picked up: Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Smith's Winter Ale, Left Hand Milk Stout and Young's Double Chocolate Stout. OH YA!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How now Brau Frau

Believe it or not women like beer too. If you're such a woman... one who likes her some hops, then you too are a Cervisaphile. And if you're as geeky as some of us beer swillin' men, well... then you need some beer bling to show off your beerlicious loving ways.

Enter Michelle Venzke's Brau Frau Designs. If the last name sounds familiar -- and it should, it's because her hubby Matt won Wynkoop's prestigious Beer Drinker of the Year award back in February.

And guys... if you're lucky enough to have yourself a gal (in the first place) who loves the brew, then Michelle's warez make the perfect gift!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What a Wonderful World

Everyone knows that famous song by Louis Armstrong. If you don't, check it out here:

To those of you who have been inquiring about my whereabouts... aside from the lack of "free" time I've had of late (talked about in previous posts), there's a bigger reason. I've mentioned my wife Frances here dozens of times. Well, her father Rolf passed away on July 24. The last year has been especially hard on Rolf, but the man possessed an internal fortitude rarely seen. Here's his obituary as it ran in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. It was written by Fran's sister, Kathy:

WANKEL, Rolf Beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend. Six-time cancer survivor, Rolf Wankel passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on July 24, 2008 at the age of 83. He is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Karin Wankel, his three children and two grandchildren. Included are; daughter Katherine Love and husband Greg of Lake Oswego, OR; son Richard Wankel of Santa Rosa; daughter Frances Shayotovich and husband Eli of Colorado Springs, CO; grandson Jason Hernandez and wife Adrian of Manteca, CA; and grand daughter Krystle Hernandez of Los Angeles. Survivors also include his 92 year old sister Marianne Schlink, sister Carola Schneider, 86 and brother Klaus Wankel, 82-all living in Germany. Sister Ursula Achenbach preceded him in death. Rolf's family wishes to thank all his loving friends for their support. Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Mass which will be held Tuesday, July 29 at 11:00 a.m. at Star of the Valley Church, 545 White Oak Dr, Santa Rosa. A lunch will follow at Parish Hall. If desired, a memorial donation may be made to the American Cancer Society, Memorial Program, Redwood Empire Region, 1451 Guerneville Rd, Ste 220, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

What the obit doesn't convey is what a great man Rolf was and how much he impacted people's lives. Eighty five people showed up at the memorial service. Eighty five. And that didn't include any of his family from Germany. These were all local friends and family who came to pay respects to a man whom they came to call a "friend." Jason (Fran's son) put together a magnificent slide show featuring the above mentioned song by Louis Armstrong. When it played, there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

Rolf was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and wisdom. What he and his wife Karin have seen and lived through in their lives are things you only read about in fictional novels. As Kathy said, he loved life and lived it intensely. For him... this was truly a wonderful world.

So the next time you're enjoying life with a cold (German) beer, do me a favor and raise a toast to a man this world will sorely miss.

To you Rolf... it was an honor and a privilege.