Tag Archives: craft beer

My Top Beers of 2015

As I was looking through my Facebook feed today, I noticed this list of the top beers enjoyed in 2015. Of the 50 beers on the list I had the pleasure of trying some of them. As much of the beer I consumed in 2015 came from small breweries along the Front Range, there were a lot that I enjoyed that never would have made the list. So that got me to thinking, “What were the best beers I enjoyed in 2015?” So I jumped over to UnTappd and looked it up. Without further ado, here were my top 10 beers in 2015 as determined by my ratings on UnTappd. I rated all of these beers as 4.5 or higher with the top three all earning ratings of 5 from me.

  1. HopSavant Sour IPA by Crooked Stave Brewing in Denver
  2. Swingin Udders Milk Stout by Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver
  3. Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic Brewing
  4. Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island Brewing, Chicago
  5. Runoff Red IPA by Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
  6. Holiday Cheer Winter Ale, Caution Brewing, Lakewood, CO
  7. Samuel Adams Adams Octoberfest, Boston Beer Company
  8. Odell IPA, Odell Brewing Fort Collins, CO
  9. High Noon Chili Pepper Ale, Freedom’s Edge Brewing in Cheyenne
  10. St. Lupulin Pale Ale, Odell Brewing in Fort Collins
  11. Brainless on Cherries, Epic Brewing in Denver
  12. Brainless on Raspberries, Epic Brewing, Denver
  13. False Alarm Jalapeno Cream Ale, Firehouse Brewing, Rapid City, SD
  14. Speed Goat Blonde Ale, Ten Sleep Brewing, Ten Sleep, WY
  15. Scuba Steve IPA, Black Bottle Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
  16. Belligerent Ass Nut Brown, Portneuf Brewing, Pocatello, ID
  17. Dale’s Pale Ale Blood Orange, Oskar Blues Longmont, CO
  18. Saranac Octoberfest, FX Matt Brewing in Utica
  19. Blueberry Wheat, High Hops Brewing, Windsor, CO
  20. Big LeBEERski Imperial Stout, Barrels and Bottles Brewing, Golden, CO
  21. Amidon Blonde Ale, Henneberg Brewing, Cazenovia, NY

That’s quite a list, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of beers I enjoyed this year. It’s kind of neat to look at how it breaks down, 5 IPA’s 2 Blonde Ales, 2 Marzens, 3 Full disclaimer, many of these were enjoyed in taster flights and then a follow up pint as my favorite in the selection. What were your favorite beers of 2015? Share them with us in the comments, and as always, reach out to me on Untappd.

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What Happened?

I’ll start this out with an apology. I’ve been derelict in writing this blog for about 5 months now. In fact I’ve put it totally on the back burner since Cheyenne Frontier Days. I’m not sure what happened, other than work has been incredibly busy and my time to update things has gotten small.  Taking up backpacking became a passion of mine this summer and that led to less time for writing too.

So, what have I been up to? I’ve added a few more breweries to the brew log. From Eagle Colorado to Rapid City, SD I’ve been hitting sports throughout the west and drinking a lot of great beer.

The smoker has been on high all summer long. I smoked a couple of Cornish game hens last weekend, I’ve smoked jerky, ribs, chicken and pork. I enjoy the smoker more than the grill in a lot of cases.

I took up backpacking and enjoyed the wonders of freeze dried meals at 10,000 feet overlooking alpine lakes and staring up at more stars than you can count.

I do feel its time to get back on the blog band wagon. Dry January is going to happen again and we will chronicle the trials and tribulations that come with that. I’ve got a lot of photos and stories from the summer. I want to redesign the blog and make a few changes to the look and feel and there is a new name in the works as well, so stay tuned over the next few weeks as we get this rolling again.

Beer Review: Copper Kettle Brewing’s Swinging Udders Milk Stout

(Update: Yes, I know how to spell udder. I went off the Untappd spelling of this beer and it was spelled utters. You just never know what play on words a brewery is trying to go for when it names a beer!)

I find it interesting how a palate changes over time. I remember when I used to drink primarily wine, I transitioned from big dry reds to the crisp dry whites. I still enjoy both, but beer has taken the top shelf in refrigerator, and my palate for that is continually evolving. There was a time where Molson Canadian was the best beer ever which was slowly replaced by craft amber lagers and ales. Eventually I became super hop crazy and tried to murder my taste buds with the hoppiest and biggest beers I could find. Stouts? Porters? Nope. I drink my coffee in the morning and not with my beer. That’s starting to change again.

Last week I had some time to kill before picking up Loriana at the airport in Denver, so I stopped by Copper Kettle Brewing off of South Valentia Street. Copper Kettle is in a little strip mall type building and has a small tasting room along with an outdoor patio .A food truck was saddled up on the sidewalk and it being a Friday afternoon, the tasting room was bustling.

nitro milk stoutI grabbed a two top and ordered up a Basil Cherry Blonde and took in the atmosphere. As the first beer drew down I decided I needed to try their milk stout. I’ve been taking a liking more and more to stouts, and when I saw they had theirs on nitro it convinced me even more that I needed to try it.

I don’t rate many beers as a five on Untappd, but this one made the list. First off, nitro beers are the best. The creamy mouth feel and smoothness makes for a fantastic mouth experience. Milk Stouts are usually already fairly smooth thanks to the brewing process with the lactose, add nitro to it and you’ve got smooth beyond your wildest imagination. Pair that smoothness with deep dark chocolate flavors and it is one of the best things you can put in a glass. Now I couldn’t drink four or five of these, but as a punctuation on a visit to a great tasting room, it was perfect.

The great thing about an expanding palate is the change in attitude while looking at a beer list. My stop in to Copper Kettle a year ago would have meant trying the IPA and Pale Ale. This time I went fruit and then stout. I’m glad I did.

Friday Favs: Al Dente

Starting today we will be highlighting some of our favorite things on Fridays. Many of you know that my roots are back in Upstate NY, that’s why from time to time you’ll see NY stuff on this High Plains Blog. I’m a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and one of my fellow alums, Jared Paventi has what I consider to be the best food blog in the Syracuse region, Al Dente: an Eater’s Journey.

aldenteIf you want to keep up on what is happening in the Syracuse food scene, Al Dente is a must read. From beers to food trucks, recipes to restaurants, Jared covers it all, with personal story telling and good writing. Jump on over and check it out, even if you are not in the Central NY area, I’m sure you will find something of interest in the world of food.