One Sexy Thing in Colorado, Beer…

Eric, Jeffrey and I at FinCon Denver!

Alright, I’m willing to admit, I found a couple things in Denver, Colorado that were pretty awesome.  Beer being one of them. A few years ago, Eric and I were at the second annual Financial Bloggers Conference in Denver.  It was a blast!  Not only did I get to meet up with some great colleagues in my sphere of work, but I got to taste a lot of good beers made in Colorado. For starters, I finally made it to Great Divide.  I’ve been a fan of this brewery for years, but at SXSW I was able to meet their “Word Nerd” (or social media lady) Hannah.  Did you know Hannah and I grew up in the same town in Oregon?  This is pretty much the only reason I’m willing to admit Denver might have some good beers.  Her parents are barley farmers for Rogue, a great brewery in Oregon.  

I was able to tag along on a beer tour of Great Divide and learned some interesting facts about Great Divide.  For starters, the building they are currently in was built in the 1920s during Prohibition (funny, huh?)  When the founder, Brian Dunn, was trying to secure the building with a loan, over 10 different banks denied him!  He eventually went to the City of Denver (who had just started building Coors Field down the street) and was able to get a loan from them.  Talk about persistence!  Another fun fact: their Samurai beer in available in Japan. We had a pre-FinCon meet up at Great Divide. Eric, Jeffrey, Adam, and I tried all 15 beers on tap.  Alright, Jeffrey and I did, but Adam gets credit for taking the photo above.  It was a blast, I have to say I’m a big fan of their Yeti beer, and love how they play with various forms of it. Later that night, Eric talked me into trying a Colorado Native Lager, which is produced by Coors.  It was terrible.  Seriously, Colorado, you are loosing points with me already.  Good thing Eric redeemed himself during our FinCon beer tour.  We checked out another brewery called Wynkoop Brewing Co; which had two notable beers.  First was the Patty’s Chile Beer, which actually tasted like a chile, pretty impressive, but I’m not sure I could drink a full pint of it.  It doesn’t come close to Burnside Brewing’s Sweet Heat in PDX.

Second, Cowtown Milk Stout, which was delicious.  I’m not a big fan of stouts, but this was super creamy and delicious.  Guess, I’m on a mission to find a Stout in Portland, that I like now. Ultimately, my hands down, favorite, Colorado redeeming beer, didn’t actually come from Denver (sorry, Eric) but from Boulder, CO.  The Tree Hugger Organic Amber from Asher Brewing Company, was the best thing I had during my stay in Denver.  Delicious, balanced, perfect beer.  Would highly suggest anyone going to Denver / Boulder to check them out.  They definitely made my wish list of breweries to travel too.  It pretty much rivaled my love for Hopwork Urban Brewery’s Organic Lager, which is saying something.

Ever been to Denver (or Colorado)?  What did you do?  What beers did you try?

Welcome to Beertown (Why Oregon Beer is Sexy)

Best friends for 10 years, professional drinkers for 7!

Hey Everyone – I’m working on reposting a bunch of old blog content from an old blog I used to run with my buddy, Eric.  Looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on Oregon beer and why it’s the best.

I know Eric will argue that Denver is the beer capital of the world.  But like I said before, he’s wrong.   You don’t hear Denver being called Beervana or Brewtopia, do you? Here are 10 reasons why Oregon is better than Denver when it comes to beer:

  1.  There are currently 115 brewing companies, operating 151 brewing

    facilities in 58 cities in Oregon.

  2. There are 51 breweries operating in Portland (my hometown), more than any other city in the world (ha – take that, Eric).
  3. The Portland metro area is the largest craft brewing market in the US with the most number of brewers at 64.  (Denver might produce more beer, but we produce more, better beer).
  4. Want to know where Oregon ranks in breweries per capita?  #2 (Vermont is #1, Colorado #4)
  5. Oregon’s brewing companies employ 5,650 full and part-time employees (I think having a job is pretty sexy.  Working at a brewery?  Be still my heart).
  6. Oregon’s breweries donated an estimated $1,500,000 in product or money to non-profits in 2011.  (Pretty sexy).
  7. Total economic impact from the beer industry on Oregon’s economy is $2.44 billion (check that BILLION)
  8. Oregonians consumer 2.711 million barrels of beer in 2011 of that 431,000 barrels (or 15.9%) was made in Oregon in 2011.  (We’re pretty proud of how tasty our beer is).
  9. Oregon is the number two hop growing state in the country with a 2010 crop value of $31,200,000.
  10. Oregon is top 3 in the US in the following categories: Number of breweries, breweries per capita, craft beer production, craft beer consumption, percentage of draft beer consumed.

Most of these facts are from 2011, but did you know in 1888 a local brewer named Henry Weinhard volunteered to pump beer from his brewery into the newly dedicated Skidmore Fountain.  Needless to say, Oregon has a very long history when it comes to beer.  More recently, our abundance of microbreweries dates back to the 1980s when state law was changed to allow consumption of beer on brewery premises.  Plus, we’ve got a lot of local ingredients, two-row barley (compared to six-row barley – trust me there is a difference), over a dozen varieties of hops and pure, soft (also important) water from the Bull Run Watershed.

The thing, I personally, love the most about Oregon beer is how easily accessible it is and how involved the breweries are in my community.  From where I live, I can walk to two great breweries (Hopworks Urban Brewery).  Another local brewery supports my rock climbing gym (Migration Brewing Co.).  While another supports, a charity I was involved with last year (Deschutes Brewing).  Plus, when playing beer tour guide, there are a whole host of breweries within walking distance of downtown (Bridgeport Brewery, Rogue Ales, etc).

What about you?  Ever been to Oregon?  Been to any Oregon breweries?  Tried an Oregon beer?  Want to know more about a particular beer or brewery?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Beer Songs

Need a soundtrack for a good beer-drinking session?  Here are some classics beer songs:

“Beer for Breakfast,” The Replacements

“40-oz. to Freedom,” Sublime

“Chug-a-Lug,” Roger Miller

“Rudie Can’t Fail,” The Clash

“Factory,” Samiam

“Fancy Beer,” The Two Man Gentleman Band

“In Heaven There Is No Beer,” Soggy Bottom Boys

“John Barleycorn,” Traffic

“Give Me a Red Hot Mama and an Ice Cold Beer,” Smiley Maxedon

What is your favorite beer inspired song?  I know Brewtal Truth had some good recommendations.

Kampot Cider – Cambodia [Cider Review]

Cambodia may not be famous for its cider, but it does have a secret! Kampot Cider is actually made in Sihanoukville but it is still Cambodian Cider.  I’ve tried to find more information about this cidery but haven’t been able to dig anything up.  The only other hard cider I have been able to find here in Cambodia is Hops’ Mango Cider, which Beckie can attest to is amazing!  Everything else I have seen has been imported from Australia or Europe.  I have had a few Kampot Ciders and I can tell you it is lovely, sparkling and refreshing on the tropically hot days here in Cambodia.

Kampot Cider is made with Cider with Champagne Yeast which gives it a beautiful sparkle, I have been told it carries on fermenting in the bottles so the strength could be higher than what is on the label.  It’s also got the classic hard cider gunk at the bottom of the bottle so you know it’s really local.

Know of any other cider shops in Cambodia?  Please let me know, I’d love to check them out.

Riel Brewing and Distilling – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Just when you think you know about all the breweries in Phnom Penh, Cambodia surprises you.  Bullet and I went to a dog meet up here in Phnom Penh and Riel Brewing was pouring craft beer at the event.  I was fascinated to find another brewery here in Cambodia.  I did some more research on this brewery and this is what I found:

It all started in July 2013, when the founders were relaxing in their apartment in Toul Kork, Phnom Penh. In love with Phnom Penh and Cambodia, there was only one thing they missed – great beer!  The founders had brewed for many years in the past, but a lust for adventure had put an unfortunate end to that.
And so a plan was put in action. Returning to their home countries of America and Australia, they began building funds and putting together resources.

Returning to Phnom Penh in 2015, they set to work building their dream brewery. Finally able to bring the beer they missed so much, to the country that stole their hearts.  Their head brewer also happens to be a software engineer and so was able to custom-build our entire brewing and fermentation system. These systems allow for any style of beer you can imagine and all at the press of a button!  Well, maybe a few buttons.

While at the dog meet up, I tried their newly released Smash Cream Ale.  I’m really looking forward to trying a few more of their beers the next time I’m near their brewery in Toul Tom Poung in Phnom Penh.  Here are a few of the other beers they make:

  • Toasted Coconut Brown Ale – This smooth brown ale was made with both dark and non-dark beer drinkers in mind. With its light roasted malt flavors blended perfectly with toasted coconut flesh for a fresh, mild, easy-drinking brown ale. Even if you’re not a fan of dark beers, you’ll love this one.
  • India Pale Ale – For those familiar with IPAs you already know what this is all about: hops, big beer. We use varieties of hops from around the globe, and we use a lot of them! Along with a hefty malt bill to give a great body and smooth taste.
  • Grapefruit Pale Ale – This refreshing pale ale is created using varieties of hops all the way from New Zealand. We add fresh grapefruit zest to give the perfect zesty compliment to the specially selected hop varieties. We then match this with a carefully chosen malt bill to give this ale it’s refreshing, easy drinking flavor that just begs for another sip!
  • Summer Session Ale – A lighter beer than our other selections, this refreshing and smooth ale is crisp and clean tasting. It is a very drinkable beer while still being aromatic, with a fresh malt character. Perfect for a hot Cambodian summers eve!

Ever been to Cambodia?  What was your favorite brewery there?