2014 was an amazing year for Brewtally Insane. We sampled 100’s of new beers, attended more than 40 beer festivals, added 2 excellent beer geek writers to the Team, and loved every minute of it. Our great year was fueled by the tremendous support and enthusiasm we receive from all of you, our awesome readers. So Thank You all for supporting what we’re doing. Honestly, without you guys, we’re nothing and we appreciate you. Let’s do it again in 2015.
But before we say farewell to 2014, here’s one last look back at the Year in Beer. Just like our 2013 Best of List, these are our personal favorites in terms of breweries, beers, and festivals. And trust me, we were by no means able to cover every event, sample every beer, or visit every brewery we would have liked. We tried. Believe me, we did our best and have plenty to look forward to in 2015.
Also, we’d love to hear from you. What were your favorites from 2014? Feel free to comment on our Facebook page, or send us an e-mail – email@example.com.
Don’t miss Mrs. Insane’s 2014 Photo Recap HERE. Thanks and hope you enjoy.
Favorite New Breweries of 2014
Comrade Brewing, Denver, CO – Owner David Lin and Brewer Marks Lanham seem to have this whole craft beer thing figured out, as they nailed it right out of the gate. Comrade opened their doors in May with half a dozen fantastic beers, a spacious tasting room, and a beautiful 15 BBL American-made brew system. In just a few months, they’ve finally given Colorado a legit IPA (Thank God!), along with a steady stream of tasty, well-made seasonal brews, ranging from a spicy Jalapeño Blonde to a rich, decadent Russian Imperial Stout. Welkome to the Party!
Casey Brewing & Blending, Glenwood Springs, CO – Troy Casey struck out on his own and opened Casey Brewing & Blending in sleepy Glenwood Springs. After surrounding himself with a breathtaking view, and a variety of great ingredients, he’s opened his doors every month to a growing crowd of devotees eagerly awaiting his small batch releases of Saisons and Fruit Stand blends. Every single release has impressed us and kept us coming back for more, regardless of the drive time.
Station 26 Brewing Co., Denver, CO – Maybe a bit of a stretch for “New” brewery, as Station 26 opened more than a year ago, but we’re comfortable overlooking that minor detail, given how good their beers have become. Occupying a former firehouse and working off a 15 BBL system, Station 26 offers up everything from hoppy IPA’s to sweet Stouts. Over the past year, owner Justin Baccary has turned his brewery into one of our favorite places to sit and play a board game while enjoying a cold brew. Don’t miss out on their monthly firkin tappings, Bluegrass Brunch, food pairings or special releases.
Favorite Beers of 2014
The Legend of the Liquid Brain, Bull & Bush Brewery, Denver, CO – The rest of the country has no idea how fortunate we are to have one of the best kept secrets when it comes to Barrel-Aged Stouts. This annual release from Bull & Bush sneaks up on the Front Range and ambushes local beer drinkers in the know, liquefying one brain at a time. Liquid Brain looks beautiful in the glass, pouring the darkest of dark browns, with a tan head for a crown. The aroma screams booze, but when you sip it, you get dark chocolate, roasted malt and what can only be described as magic. Follow this with a lingering long chocolate finish and you’ve found that perfect beer to sip on during a snowy Colorado day.
Saison, Casey Brewing & Blending, Glenwood Springs, CO – This Rustic Saison undergoes open fermentation with Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and Saison yeast, before being transferred to barrels for aging. The beer is eventually blended and bottled when ready to share. Casey’s Saison is tart, dry, and complex, yet extremely drinkable at just 5.5% ABV. Unreal.
Superpower IPA, Comrade Brewing, Denver, CO – Heads up East Coast & West Coast: Hoard your Heady, Preserve your Pliny, Colorado’s finally got an IPA. Superpower is here! This glorious 7.5% ABV IPA serves up dank citrus, pine, and plenty of hops. We drank a liquid ton of Superpower in 2014 and it quickly became our “go-to” beer when visiting area beer bars and tap houses. *While we try to limit our “Best of” list to canned / bottled offerings, Superpower just couldn’t be ignored. It’s been a game changer for local hop heads.
Signature Series Double Coffee Porter, Dry Dock Brewing Company, Aurora, CO – From the opening salvo of the Barrel Aged Imperial Stout to the battleship sinking blow of this year’s Bligh’s Barleywine, Dry Dock has proven their dominance of the seas with their amazing Signature Series beers. This version of their naked porter blended with coffee and aged for 10 months in whiskey barrels is our personal pick of the fleet and highly recommended. It pours darker than midnight and gives off an aroma of freshly brewed coffee and rich chocolate with a taste and finish to back it up. A great beer that goes down far to easily for its 9.3% ABV.
Other Favorites: AC Golden – Peach Colorambic, Avery – Tweak, Backcountry – Double IPA, Cannonball Creek – Mindbender IPA, Coda – Sleepyhead Passion Fruit Kolsch, Comrade Brewing – Koffee Kream, Copper Kettle – Snowed In, Crooked Stave – Batch #100, Dry Dock – Signature Series Imperial Stout, Former Future – Putin on the Fritz, Gravity – BA Tsar Bomba, Mountain Sun – Imperial Milk Chocolate Stout, New Belgium – Snapshot Wheat, Odd13 – Chainsaw Prince of Karate, Oskar Blues / Shamrock – Death By Coconut, Our Mutual Friend – American Wild Ale, Paradox – Skully No. 14 Peach Sour, Trinity – Easy Swinger, and TRVE – Scorn.
Favorite Fests of 2014
Chef & Brew – As chefs continue to explore the pairing possibilities presented by craft beer, year after year, this festival continues to grow and improve. Come hungry (and thirsty), leave happy. There’s something on the menu for everyone, from raw oysters to steak to deserts and more, all served up by some of the area’s best chefs and paired with craft beer.
Vail Big Beers – The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival, held every January in Vail, is the perfect way to usher in a fresh new year of craft beer. The world-class festival attracts breweries from around the globe and offers a full weekend of educational seminars, tastings, pairings, and more. Somewhat low-key, but first class all the way.
What The Funk!? – Denver was blessed with two rounds of WTF!? in 2014, coinciding with April’s Craft Brewers Conference and October’s Great American Beer Festival. WTF!? serves up more than a hundred of the very best barrel-aged and wild ale offerings from around the globe. This is an amazing experience that’s not to be missed. Cross your fingers for more WTF!? fun in 2015.
Favorite Beer Bars of 2014
Let’s be honest, our craft beer bars and tap houses are doing it right. They’re all bringing in great beers and offering unique events and experiences. It’s up to you to determine what you’re in the mood for, whether it’s a noisy bar vibe, a quiet dinner for two, or a place to watch the big game.
So while we’re not going to run through our favorites this year, I’ll just say that The Old Mine in Erie is not to be missed. They regularly host tap takeovers, offer a spectacular cellar menu, and in addition to having an assortment of excellent draft beers, they make their own (delicious) hard cider. It’s well worth the trip up for a visit.
There’s much to look forward to in 2015 and we’re already planning out some of the events and festivities we’ll be covering in the coming months. Look for us around town and let’s share a beer together soon.
Cheers and Thank You!
By: Mark Robinson and Greg Nelson