Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Summer's Gone...Let's get our Brew On!

The summer's finally crawling to a close and boy has it been a great one. Over the last couple of months we have mixed in some marrying, some phishing, some traveling, and most importantly some brewing! I'll start off with some of the random thoughts of these happenings and somehow try to relate them back to beer...seeing that this IS a beer blog after all. Time to get on with the summer recap in true Brewing With Friends style!

Brewmaster Blake and Kristin finally tied the knot up on beautiful Mackinac Island. The wedding was pretty outrageous and to those of you who were out on the porch for the cocktail reception - did you try that fantastic Bell's Big Porch Ale? A classic Amber Ale, malty, sweet, and well balanced. Pretty cool to see that they were serving the beer that was named after the very porch we were enjoying them on. Some serious style points for Brewmaster Blake - especially seeing that Bell's is one of Blake and my favorite breweries.
The label from Bell's depicting the exact porch I was standing on while drinking it...cool right?

The view off the Big Porch. The ceremony was down below by the fountain in the garden...what a beautiful day!  

Amazing sunset off the dock of the cottage the night before the wedding...good vibes! 

After the wedding I went out to Denver to see my favorite band play and visit some great friends. Phish was awesome, Boulder was awesome, and of course - the beer was awesome. In between the Phish concerts, climbing mountains, bike riding,  and meeting up with all the cool people in Boulder I managed to squeak in a couple of brewery visits. The first brewery we visited was Boulder Beer Company. Not sure words can describe how delicious my cask style Hazed and Infused was after a long day of hiking the Flat Irons with Stewart, Katie, and friends. After Boulder Beer, we headed over to Avery Brewing Company and had a couple delicious pints of beer that is only sold in their tap-room. I had a special variety IPA and also a fantastic bourbon barrel aged Amber. The beer at both breweries were so good - no wonder they are both so successful.

The sun setting over the Rockies? What better way to prepare for a 3 hour Phish shred fest?

Pre Boulder Brewery visits...working up the thirst with Katie and Sarah!

Without sounding too cliche - all good things must come to an end and unfortunately my trip to Boulder fell victim to this tried and true saying. After Colorado, Santa Monica was next on the list for the summer travels. I wasn't really expecting any kind of fantastic brewery visits, beer happenings, or brewing stories but alas, when you least expect it life grabs you by the hops and dips them in the kettle! While roaming the streets of Santa Monica, Lauren mentioned a cool craft beer store we could stop by to grab some crafties to go along with our fabulous dinner. I spent about 10-15 minutes peering into the never-ending freezer boxes searching for the dankest beer possible at which point I had a flashback..suddenly I felt like I was an 8 year old boy peering through the front window of Toys-R-Us 3 days before Christmas and catching a glimpse of the brand new, shiny, blue, 4-wheel, dual battery, 1/2 horsepower V-0 monster truck...I had to have it! Flashback to real life - blink...blink...rub the eyes...rub them again...is that....no it couldn't be....is that.....PLINY??!! And sure enough the coyly hidden green bottles of Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing were delicately placed in the bottom right corner of the freezer batting their eyelashes at me begging to be taken home and enjoyed. Pliny is the highest rated IPA on sites such as ratebeer.com and beeradvocate.com Not only does it score perfect 10's by all who drink it but it is also one of the most sought after IPA's in the United States. Russian River intentionally caps production on this beer to keep demand exorbitantly high making this score even more epic!

...and they are as delicious as advertised! 

Santa Monica Sunset - beautiful.

Okay enough with the pretty pictures, stories, and somewhat unrelated beer stories from the summer...I mean this blog is about Brewing with Friends after all...however, I have run out of time to go into our most recent and definitely most radical brewing happenings. Stay tuned for our next entry...some really great developments for Blake and I regarding our ultimate goal of teaching and educating people about brewing really great ales and lagers!

-Assistant Brewmaster