Beer here, hear?

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This past Wednesday evening, Brewer's Republic hosted a Colorado Springs Tap Takeover as somewhat of a sneak peek and lead-up to Colorado Springs Craft Week (CSCW), coming late next month. 

Here's a look at the tap list:
Let it never be said that Colorado Springs alone could satiate your beer drinking needs with ample variety and quality. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Let it never be said that Colorado Springs alone could satiate your beer drinking needs with ample variety and quality.


Inviting the wrath of the bartenders, I worked my way through a sampler flight during their rush — actually Josh Adamski and crew humored me quite graciously — sampling 1- to 2-ounce pours of around half of the offerings, as well as trading sips off of friends' beers. 

My favorite flavor came at the hands of Paradox Beer Company and its spiced saison aged in tequila barrels. As described to me by Paradox representative Carol White, the brew went into a wet tequila barrel around a year ago to age, gaining its spice character with some red sea salt, black pepper and dried lime peels. The result is a 7.5-ABV brew with a light body and big, boozy tequila aroma, plus a deep, earthy, almost smoky flavor that hits like an añejo minus the hot alcohol burn. Pretty brilliant, and a crowd favorite based on buzz I overheard, minus one friend of mine who screwed her face up after a taste as if I'd just handed her a glass of bitter grapefruit juice or something ... proof that everything's subjective and we should all just drink what we like. 

Next up, I quite liked Pikes Peak Brewing Co.'s offerings, put forth this evening by owner Chris Wright and assistant brewer Alyson Hartwig, who is spearheading the aforementioned CSCW: an imperial tequila IPA and a coffee porter. The former was much less tequila-y than Paradox's and more balanced within the hop profile, just a damn good IPA. The latter was absolutely huge with coffee aroma and flavor — Wright explained to me that he used 15 pounds of coarse ground beans roasted by Switchback Coffee Roasters for 20 barrels of brew, allowing it to cold-steep for around 48 hours, leading to tons of coffee flavor minus the astringency. The crew has high hopes for that beer, which it entered into the World Beer Cup. Winners there will be announced soon. 

Lastly, a quick round of call-outs, first to Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. for its Cracked Fox, a lovely 5.5-ABV Belgian beer made with a trio of flowers: chamomile, passionflower and tilia (linden), which gift the nose a honey-like quality and likely act as a bit of an extra chill-out tonic for the drinker — that's my own presumption. Next to Bristol Brewing Co. for its excellent English-style Old Ale, which hits like a more mature brown ale to me, and Trinity Brewing Company for its awesome Farmoya Melange, made with cherimoya fruit and four different peppercorns. 

Keep an eye on CSCW's website and social media pages for event updates, and pick up our April 23 edition of the Indy, which will include a preview of the week, as the Indy is the media sponsor. 

A bartender's view of a busy tap takover. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A bartender's view of a busy tap takover.
While on the topic of beer, though, a few more items to note:

• Catch a much smaller tap takeover, featuring Lofty Brewing Company at Old Chicago's Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard location all day on Friday, April 4, in benefit of TESSA.  

• Great Storm Brewing is hosting a homebrew competition in late May; here's what you need to know:

We will be accepting entries from May 21st thru May 24th from 5 to 8pm. Any beer style is OK, and in the true spirit of GSB, beers need not adhere to BJCP style guidelines, but we’d like an idea of what style you think it generally fits. Keep in mind we are a small brewery and ingredients should be readily available from our suppliers. When you drop off your beer, you’ll need to list the ingredients so that we can be sure we can obtain them if yours is the winning brew. The judging results and prizes will be announced Wednesday May 28th here in the taproom at 7pm.
The winner will get the opportunity to brew a 1 barrel batch of his/her beer here on our system with the help of our brewers. We’ll buy the ingredients and put your beer on tap for as long as it lasts. While the winning brew is on tap the winner will receive free beer and big-time bragging rights. Judges will be the GSB staff. Our decision will be entirely subjective and final!
We’re excited to see what you’ve got home brewers, so BRING IT!
• Lastly, the Brewers Association is calling for help before this upcoming Monday, appealing to the Food and Drug Administration on the topic of spent grain. The deets:


It is now time to begin submitting your comments and comments from the farmers who use your spent grain to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA is in the process of proposing rules and accepting comments until March 31 on Animal Feed proposed rules. The current rules proposal is a large problem for brewers. The proposed rules would require that spent grain for animal feed be dried and prepackaged onsite in a manner that does not touch human hands. There is no evidence that breweries’ spent grains as currently handled are causing any hazards to animals or humans, yet the proposed rules create a burdensome set of regulations to solve a problem that doesn't exist. The proposed rules would also be onerous to farmers who receive spent grain from brewers. The farmers appreciate the "wet" state of the grains because it helps provide hydration for the animals.

We ask that you take action now:

1. Communicate with your farmers that we will be looking for them to submit comments to FDA based on the sample farmer comments below. Farmer comments should focus on the impact of the proposed rules on their business, the preference to receive grains "wet" from brewers, the lack of problems with receiving spent grains as currently in practice and the environmental issues related to a change in current practice.

2. Prepare your own set of comments to FDA based on the sample brewer comments below, with an emphasis on how the current proposed rules will impact your business, as well as any thoughts on how landfilling grains may not fit with sustainability efforts.

3. Sign up for the March 27 Power Hour, The Food Safety Modernization Act: What Every Brewer Needs to Know, and tune in. If you have not sent in your comments before this Power Hour, please use this event as a trigger to write your comments and send them to FDA by the March 31 deadline.

Brewers Association staff has prepared the following sample comments for both brewers and farmers to customize as desired and submit. You have the option to enter your comments directly or attach a document as your comment submission. It is up to you as to which method to use; if you attach a document, we request that it be on brewery or farm business letterhead.

Enter comments online. Upload a letter or document by selecting the “Choose File” option or copy your comment from your word processing program and paste it into the space provided. Add your name in the box below the comment and under the space for “Category” choose “Private Industry C0003.” You do not have to check either of the boxes concerning third party submissions or your personal contact information.

Again, all comments must be submitted by Monday, March 31, 2014.

Thanks for your participation in weighing in on this extremely important issue.

Paul Gatza, Director
Brewers Association 

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