"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Colorado Brewers Guild and Bridgewater Grill Busted My Gut

Despite the impression one might get from my blog wherein I wax authoritative on beer and constantly berate other states for not being as good as Colorado, I am actually a fairly modest guy.  I realize that I’m not the first or only person with a beer blog and I realize I’m probably not the best, either.  Nonetheless, I write because I love to write and I drink beer because I love to drink beer and I write about drinking beer because I love to write about drinking beer.  The size of my audience has never been a factor; I’d keep writing for Beer in Colorado (and Examiner.com and Denver off the Wagon) even if I was the only person reading.  However, it instills in me a nugget of warm pride knowing that people other than my mom are reading what I’m writing.  It is especially pleasing when those other people are involved in the industry on which I’ve based my passion.

Last Monday, I received an e-mail from Steve Kurowski, the marketing manager for the Colorado Brewers Guild, who first mentioned that he reads my Examiner reviews and then asked if I, as a beer blogger, would like to attend the inaugural Colorado Beer Tour in which Colorado breweries team-up with the chefs of Bridgewater Grill—located in The Golden Hotel—and pair gourmet dishes with the appropriate beer.  The event is to become a monthly occurrence with a different brewery represented each time.  Steve was wondering if I could, via my various web-based writing outlets, muster up as much public interest as possible.  So, the Guild knows about my writing and wants to utilize my skills to promote their events?  Forget this modesty crap; I’m a badass and my blog is better than your blog.

Nicole and I arrived at The Golden Hotel, made our way to the Bridgewater lounge where we met Steve, Jeremy Friedman—the hotel’s director of food and beverage, and Adrienne Rinaldi who you may know as the Beer Snob Chick. 

We schmoozed around a bit, talked about the upcoming Beer Bloggers Conference in Indianapolis (still debating if I’ll go), and eventually found our way to the appetizer table.  February’s brewery of the month was Golden City Brewery so we were greeted with Legendary Red Ale paired with corn beef and cabbage rolls on a whole grain bun with mustard and pickled onions along with BBQ shrimp and Andouille sausage skewers.  I think the reason this beer and these apps were combined is because Legendary is an altbier (or a German amber brewed with Munich malts and German hops) while the pickled onions tasted like sauerkraut and the mustard reminded me of giant, soft pretzels so, when all’s combined, it’s like Oktoberfest in your mouth.  I’m not sure how the skewers fit into this ensemble; I guess they were just there because they tasted good. 

Legendary Red with roll and skewer
Up until this point everybody was just milling about the lounge like leaves floating in a puddle but, when it came down to the actual meal, we had ourselves a seat.  Word of warning to anybody thinking they’ll be having an intimate dining experience with their sweetie—you won’t get any of that here.  Instead, attendees sit at a long table like heroes of Heorot merrily drinking grog, hyperbolizing past accomplishments, and causing a general stir.  Nicole and I were seated next to a couple that moved to Golden just a year ago as well as some local restaurant personalities.  Throughout the night I heard stories of running a kitchen and tales of Newcastle-fueled antics in England while I, in turn, chewed everybody’s ear off with my travels and experiences in Colorado craft beer.

Our first course was Mad Molly's Brown Ale with five onion soup made with a gallon of Mad Molly mixed in.  This was a hearty spread; the thick, bready, cheesy goodness of the soup complemented the velvety mouthfeel of Mad Molly effectively filling my gut in a matter of sips.  The rustic nature of both the beer and the soup made me feel like a frontiersman hunkered down for a winter storm.

Mad Molly with soup
The second course was Evolution IPA paired with short ribs braised in said IPA with Boursin mashed potatoes, pickled red onions, and sautéed beets.  When speaking of the food portion of this course, one cannot effectively describe the flavor without repeatedly using the word “rich.”  Oh, the creaminess of the cheese, the succulent nature of the meat, the sweetness of the sauce!  So rich was the meal it could probably buy a private island.  So rich, indeed, that it would have been difficult to finish had it not been paired with the citrusy, grapefruit-like Evolution which acted as an expert palate cleanser. 

Evolution with short ribs
By the time the final course came around I was already feeling as stuffed as an over-zealous taxidermist’s mount but the food and beer was so good I was determined to see it through to the end: Lookout Stout paired with an oatmeal cookie bite, cherry cheesecake, and Breckenridge Bourbon ice cream.  This was probably the easiest pairing for the hosts to put together.  Of course a big, roasted, chocolate-y stout would be served with dessert; it’s not hard to conceive.  Plus, an oatmeal stout and an oatmeal cookie?  Hand-in-hand, my friend.  The final course was the epitome of decadence and was intended to be a knock-out punch that would put attendees in a food coma post-consumption.  It did what it was designed to do.

Lookout Stout with cookie and cheesecake
Nicole and I made it through and left a wee bit heavier and completely sated.  Before we left, we chatted a little more with our fellow beer geeks including the Golden City rep who told me some interesting anecdotes about how a small brewery runs; perhaps I’ll be able to use that information in future endeavors.

Great work, everybody (i.e. Colorado Brewers Guild, Bridgewater, and Golden City).  It was a delicious and informative occasion and I have faith that there will be many more Colorado Beer Tours in the future.  As a matter of fact, the next one is on March 7th.  Reserve your spot now; you will not regret it.



When Chris told me about the dinner, I was expecting small plates: food samples and some taster-sized glasses of beer. When we walked into the Bridgewater Grill there was a table set up with about 25 seats. I didn’t realize that was for the Brewers Guild dinner until we had already sampled the appetizers and critiqued the first beer. As the dinner began, Chris and I found ourselves sitting next to the owner, general manager, and one of the chefs of Willow Creek, a restaurant in Evergreen. We will have to plan a dinner there in the summer so that we can sit on the patio that overlooks the lake.                
The first course of the meal was a five onion soup that was baked in a crock. Paired with the Mad Molly’s Brown Ale, the soup made for a nice start to the meal. Despite its delicious taste, I didn’t want to fill up on the soup knowing there were two more courses to come.
The second course included beef short ribs that marinated in the Evolution IPA for about 14 hours. The short ribs rested on a fluffy mountain of Boursin mashed potatoes and was encircled by sautéed yellow beets. I didn’t recognize the Boursin name at first, but after looking at the website, I realized that I have tried this cheese before. I found a recipe on the Boursin website that I want to try the next time I make mashed potatoes.  The ribs were very tender but rich. I only ate a little bit which probably looked like I didn’t like it. In reality, it was something I would order again (and you can too because it is a special item on the menu at the Bridgewater Grill for the rest of the month). Knowing that there was an oatmeal cookie and ice cream being served next, I had to prioritize.  

The oatmeal cookie, Breckenridge Bourbon ice cream and dark cherry cheesecake were served with the Lookout Stout. Of the four beers that were showcased, this was my favorite. It was a perfect match with the dessert on a cold, wintery night. I am tempted to pick up a bottle to enjoy by the fireplace. My favorite part of the dessert was the bourbon ice cream made with bourbon from the Breckenridge Distillery in Breckenridge. This is something that I want to try to make. Just like Chris, who enjoys making creative beers, I enjoy experimenting with ice cream. I found a recipe, now I just need to buy some Breckenridge Bourbon and support Colorado’s economy.

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