There used to be a time when I would sit down at the end of the day and write out a blog post, no matter what the time. Lately I’ve been so busy with working that writing a post feels like a luxury.
Plenty of that is my fault, for sure. Those industry nights at a local speakeasy where they give us free dinner could be passed up in exchange for a post, but why would I give up free food? That’s just crazy talk. Here’s a quick little recap of what’s been going on in my life as a workaholic.
Doing beer sales at Black Bottle Brewery where they recently released the Count Chocula beer that created headlines internationally.
Selling beer into a place with over 50 pinball machines. We were given three free games, so of course we had to stay for a bit after sampling. I learned something very important about myself there – I suck at pinball.
Beanies came in!
So did hoodies! I’ve worn both of these items way too often, but I can’t help it! I’m so proud to be part of this brewery.
My best friend got married at a beautiful golf course down in Littleton.
Rehearsal dinner dress. Thank God for girdles!
As soon as I returned from the dinner I threw on my preferred outfit – sweats, sweatshirt, flip flops and paired it with a glass of Malbec.
The bride’s beautiful hairstyle for the big day. I was that girl in the salon telling her, “If you change your mind, I’ve got my car right outside. We can just go!” I don’t think she appreciated my humor at this point.
Waterfall braid and curls for me! My groomsman partner and I Thriller-danced into the reception dinner afterwards. I was too busy enjoying my friend’s happiness and dancing to take any pics at the actual wedding.
Immediately after I went out and got my hair hot pink, purple and teal-ified. Cuz I can still get away with it.
I decided to get healthy after the wedding and began making mason jar layer salads.
The healthy kick didn’t last very long. A new food truck came in with Chicago-style hot dogs topped with mac ‘n cheese and bacon bits. I need to do a quality check with every food truck, obviously. It’s just part of this tough job I have.
Halloween came and went. I worked the taproom and then binged for the next two days on leftover candy.
And this morning we had our first snowflakes! The brew dogs weren’t too pleased about it…
That’s my crazy life lately! Now for another one of those free dinner industry nights…
Are you ready for the snow?
Last week I received a generous invite from owner Jeff at The Laboratory to join them for their first ever beer pairing dinner with New Belgium. Beer and food pairing? Of course I said yes! I’ve been dying to try out The Laboratory since before they opened and this was the perfect excuse to get a head start on my first day off in over 60 days. I feel like I’d earned it.
The menu looked absolutely divine and I couldn’t wait to try everything and see how differently pairings are done in Colorado since my last one was one that I actually hosted in Studio City.
I walked into the spacious restaurant which is located in a walk-in basement-style space decorated with beakers, science experimental displays and glass garage doors.
After securing my seat at a table (allll byyyy myyyyseeeeelf) I was immediately greeted by the owners Angela, Dave and Jeff. We chatted for a bit about the concept of The Laboratory as well as the build out, and then I ordered a sample of the New Belgium Garage Series they had on tap.
LOVE the little beakers they served the beer in!
Chef Don Braddy and New Belgium brewer Tamar Banner introduced the food and the beer and explained exactly why each pairing was created and what to look for with each bite and sip. The first course was a mixture of appetizers – Vegetable ceviche served in a cucumber shell, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar on a soft slice of baguette, buffalo sausage and peach compote with spicy red peppers on a soft slice of baguette and oysters on the half shell drizzled with Sriracha, all paired with Blue Paddle Pilsner. This was the second oyster I’ve ever eaten and while I was landlocked in Colorado and slightly fearful of eating seafood so far inland, it was absolutely fresh and sweet with a hint of ocean water and zip of spice. The Czech-style Pilsner quickly calmed the burn from the wide variety of peppers and was a perfect palate cleanser for what was to come.
My absolute favorite dish of the night – Coffeed butternut cup stuffed with duck confit and walnuts, fresh thyme and butter paired with 1554 Black Lager. Perfectly tender butternut squash and the delicate duck confit melted together with each bite while the black lager cut through the richness of the dish and accentuated the hint of coffee. Surprisingly enough, this dish brought out the notes of dark fruit in the beer that I’d never noticed before. Need. More. Now.
Seared scallop, grilled avocado, crab and cream cheese crouton and mango relish paired with La Terroir dry hopped sour. The most interesting pairing in my opinion – while I thought the sour beer would overwhelm the delicateness of the perfectly cooked scallop, it married wonderfully when mixed with the mango relish and cut through the smoky avocado and robust blend of fresh crab and cream cheese. The accent of fried herbs added an earthy, buttery finish to the dish.
Roasted pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin served with chestnut polenta and spinach, drizzled with pear-cherry gastrique and paired with Trippel. The one pairing I didn’t think worked out quite as well as it could have – tender pork wrapped in crispy pancetta and topped with the sweet gastrique was slightly too robust for the gentle Trippel, or likely should have been plated before the intensity of the La Terroir. No matter, this dish was cooked perfectly and I loved every aspect of it. I boxed half of it since I was about to explode and needed to save space for the dessert.
DESSERT. Salted caramel ice cream served in a chocolate and BACON coated waffle cone topped with brandy and stout sauce and cashew crumbles, paired with Salted Chocolate Belgian Stout. Heaven. The ice cream had a just hint of salt to balance out the sweetness without being overwhelming and the crispy waffle cone was generously coated with candied bacon and sweet caramel sauce and made the focus of the Salted Chocolate Belgian Stout more towards the rich roasty notes rather than the intense sweetness I’d experienced before.
I rolled home stuffed and happy with a handful of leftovers, and can’t wait to head back to The Laboratory for a regular meal and see what other delicious creativity the chef, Don Braddy, can roll out of the kitchen.
We did it! We survived Great American Beer Festival week! And the Oktoberfest week before that, and the week before that…
I’ve been kind of buried in work and haven’t had a chance to update, so I’ll do a little picture purge to recap the last few weeks for you. Dave and I visited Pateros Creek to show our support for Stevetoberfest and wish brewer Steve a happy birthday. We left our mark as is expected.
As everyone knows, Oktoberfests should be celebrated whilst wearing traditional German dirndls. My parental unit just got back from Germany and brought my sis-in-law and myself these so we could celebrate accordingly.
Keg deliveries were made in said dirndl, as is also required when running a startup business.
We went to the second youngest brewery, Zwei Bruder, in southern Fort Collins to try their wares, as well as to say hello to my old brew system from Wolf Creek Brewery which made its way to this new brewery last year!
A Colorado Avalanche preseason game was attended. Not while wearing a dirndl…
I was able to sneak out of the taproom for an hour one day and made it all the way down the street to New Belgium!Snowbank Brewing had TONS of special releases prepared for GABF week. Chocolate Porter with the cacao husks and nibs from our friends over at Nuance Chocolate which just had their first day of operation yesterday!
Coffee Pale – my very own creation that I might be slightly proud of.
The wonderful Susan over at Cranknstein was kind enough to model for our Coffee Pale press release picture.
Green Chile Pale infused with roasted pueblo chiles. Intense chile aroma and a slight heat that hit your throat about a minute after sipping.
We have a lot more collaboration beers coming up that I’m beyond excited about. The local companies we’ve been connected with through this wonderful brewery have become incredible friends.
Last Friday morning I left the brewery in the capable hands of Broox and headed down to Denver for the Samuel Adams Longshot brunch at Marlowe’s. Pumpkin challah french toast, crab cakes, sausages made with elk, rabbit and buffalo, biscuits and gravy…
And of course, beer! We were the first of the public to try Samuel Adam’s new double IPA – Rebel Rouser – a west coast style IIPA that clocks in at 8.4% ABV.
I sat with the crew of The Brew Happy Show out of Portland, who I’d happened to meet up at Snowbank the night before!
After brunch I headed back up to Fort Collins to meet with my wonderful bestie craft beer girl from California.
The beautiful Janelle! She was child-free this time around so she, her hubby Andrew and I hit up the town.
First up was Funkwerks where I had a (GABF gold medal winning!) Raspberry Provencal.
Odell Brewing for tacos and brews.
And of course I had to introduce them to my latest hangout – Social. On all the nights where we close extremely late, we can always count on Social to have their delicious menu waiting for us.
The next morning was GABF! The Snowbank crew filed into the Bellco theatre for the awards ceremony and sat amongst an ocean of Coloradoan breweries with full glasses of beer.
Colorado’s cheers for every win were only one-upped by the Texans sitting a level up. I’ve never been so proud to be a resident of this wonderful state!
After the ceremony we filed into the convention hall and started the important part – drinking great beers and visiting with our friends, both old and new. We even ran into a few Snowbank Brewing t-shirts in the wild! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing those shirts on someone else around town.
And now I must bid you adieu as I venture out on my first day of sales outside the taproom! I GET TO GO OUTSIDE! Like, where the sun is! I might be excited…
This post brought to you by Glass Is Life. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Bites ‘n Brews.
Glass and beer go hand in hand together.
Growlers are my standard, especially working in a brewery as of late. There’s nothing better than going to the local brewery and getting 64 ounces of the freshest craft around. The dark glass that encases the precious liquid naturally protects the taste and integrity of the brew from skunking immediately in the sun and also seals in the carbonation, while looking cool and hefty. I know brewers are passionate about their beer, and glass ensures that their brew is delivered to me with the same flavor and quality that they intend. While it’s simple to run into the local liquor store and pick up a six pack with those same protective brown bottles, I prefer to go straight to the source, and growlers are a great deal both financially as well as economically.
No matter how the beer finds its way to my home, however, it’s always decanted into a glass.
My favorite style is the tulip or globe – The bulbous base of the tulip allows for the necessary swirling to release the aromatics of the precious brew while the narrowing to the top of the glass forces the head of the beer together and supports it, creating not just a beautiful clarity to the beer, but a lasting and effervescent head.
This year, O-I is a participating sponsor of the Great American Beer Festival which takes place in Denver from October 2-4, 2014. You can Follow Glass is Life on Facebook as well as Follow Glass is Life on Twitter. I’ll be attending GABF and can’t wait to connect with this company as well as see all of my old friends from California breweries, and my new Colorado craft beer cohorts for another amazing festival.
The Glass Is Life™ community is a group of people committed to getting more glass back into our lives. We believe glass is pure, healthy and natural, the kind of packaging that’s better for food and drink, better for us and better for the environment.
Glass Is Life™ is brought to you by O-I, the century old leader in glass packaging. That’s one hundred years of making what we believe is the most beautiful, sustainable and innovative packaging on earth. So when you reach for the lightest weight wine bottle in the world, you’ll know we’re behind it. We’re behind the brands that shine in glass and the partnerships around the world that deliver delicious products in unique experiences of glass.
Snowbank Brewing has been open for 19 days today! I’m on 21 days of work straight and I couldn’t be happier!
In addition to managing the taproom an social media, I also get to be the brewery photographer – something that I’ve always loved doing since I began working with Enegren Brewing.
Every morning I post our specials/pairings/events of the day on the brewery Facebook. When this includes food trucks, I need to have samples to ensure that the food and beer I’ve chosen pair well together.
Umami rolled out a new special for us to pair with our Colorado Red – sweet chili pulled pork sliders topped with sweet chili slaw and Sriracha raita. Drool. I’d just had a huge brunch but I ate this anyway. It’s a difficult job, but I’m willing to sacrifice my waistline to do it.
We had the Silver Seed vegan truck set up outside this past weekend and got to enjoy some of the most flavorful and delicious vegan food I’ve ever had. Definitely the most adorable food truck I’ve ever seen in my life!
I could be vegan if everything tasted as good as this. No joke. And if someone were to make it for me. That too.
The Good Life – portobello and cremini mushrooms, arugula, fresh tomato, red onions and some kind of tangy, magical vegan aioli wrapped in ridiculously pillowy focaccia bread, paired with Moon Arete Wheat.
Barbecue squash tacos with fresh avocado and red cabbage paired with our Silent Snow White IPA. Heaven.
We also had Chaulkboard Gourmet Express up from Loveland for Friday night. Billy brought out these beef and chicken tacos for us to sample and I ended up getting an order of them. AFTER I ordered and ate an entire green chili Philly cheesesteak.
Not the prettiest, but definitely the most delicious.
If there aren’t food trucks available, I normally bring in something from the grocery store. California rolls and Bike Trail Pale Ale.
When I’m not gorging myself silly, I actually do end up getting work done around the taproom. Weekdays are relatively quiet here so I can get all of my office work, spreadsheets and emails done.
I’ve got custody of this kid for a few weeks. I don’t think he’s quite comfortable being the brewery dog yet…
He much prefers a soft couch and fluffy blanket to the cold floor of the taproom.
On Sundays and Mondays we close at 6pm, so for the next month I’ll be able to enjoy the last rays of sun before the season shifts and it starts getting dark early.
Nothing pairs with a fiery sunset like a Colorado Red.
I initiated The SnowBANK – our buy a friend a beer board! I did one of these for Enegren Brewing in California and it was a hit (John from the Chive ended up buying 40 people pints through that one!), so I was dying to finally start this. Pay it forward!
We’ve had tons of industry folk swing through our little brewery, and they always bring presents. Hop Zealot IPA from Justin at Twisted Pine Brewing.
AND Twisted Wit from Twisted Pine. Ridiculously generous. After a long day at the brewery, our team of four heads over to someone’s house to sample the wares and make a family style dinner.
One of my blog readers-turned-friend, Aaron C., brought this Blackberry Dark Origins on one of our first days. Soooo delicious! I had dreams about this beer that very night.
Eric H. came from California and brought this gem. Thank you so much, Eric! “Contains alcohol”. That’s an understatement. At 19.2%ABV, this delectable beauty packs a wallop. All four of us were in bliss. And I was very grateful to everyone in my group for being willing to share it with me. So selfless.
And now I need to go on a full body cleanse thanks to all of the delicious food trucks that have been stopping by.
Do you have a favorite food truck in your town?
I don’t think I remember what it’s like to feel rested.
Snowbank Brewing’s grand opening was this past weekend and it was absolutely insane in the best way.
I got to the taproom early on Friday to set everything up.
Pictures were taken so we could remember what it looked like way back when it was pristine and unused.
Ahh, my beautiful taproom.
Around 10:30am a gorgeous bouquet arrived from the brewer’s grandparents congratulating the brewery on making it all the way to a brand new beginning!
One of Fort Collins’ most popular food trucks, Umami, pulled into the lot and started setting up.
I put my order in for lunch about three hours early after reading this sign. The sweet caramelized onions and roasted beef paired perfectly with our Pawnee Porter, if I do say so myself.
And then the people started flowing through the doors in waves. I shoved my face at any free second, which were few and far between. Within an hour, we were at capacity.
Our first full dishwashing load! A customer begged me to take a selfie in front of it. I happily obliged.
The night wore on with the flow of people never stopping. I don’t think my staff, Broox and Stacy, got any chance to breathe except for the half hour I forced them to go grab lunch from Umami. They absolutely rocked it! We finally closed shop around 11:00pm once the crowds had dwindled (we technically close at 9pm), wiped down tables, swept and mopped. I fell into bed around 1am after throwing our rags in the washer to prep for the next day.
Saturday was quite similar to Friday, except I actually had a few seconds to sip some beer! I spent some quality time with my laptop and BeerAdvocate, Untappd, Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook updating all of our location information, claiming our brewery and editing all of the extra beers people had added in. (C’mon people, I added those beers into Untappd last week for easy check-ins!)
Bottlecap BBQ out of Loveland made their way up and served some of the best bread pudding I’ve had in a while. Brioche soaked in our Pawnee Porter, studded with raisins and cinnamon swirls and served hot with whipped cream. And the sliders! 1/2 beef 1/2 bacon sliders from The Boar and Bull in Loveland, topped with pulled pork. I inhaled that slider and remembered I needed a picture only after I looked down at the crumbs. I could’ve died happy.
Plenty of brew tours were given over the span of the weekend. My bro redesigned our brewery control touch screen to welcome us every brew morning.
So freaking cool!
Sunday marked the 1 year anniversary of my crossing the state line to live in Colorado! The Snowbank Brewing crew and I headed next door to Gravity 1020 for a bloody mary celebration.
Ghost Marys, amazing friends and a brand new brewery with some of the kindest, coolest, most eccentric customers I’ve ever met and delicious craft beer.
This is going to be great.
How did you spend your weekend?
I definitely should be heading out to the restaurant supply store right now to pick up things for the brewery. And I will as soon as I hit “post”, but first I wanted to give you guys a quick update since I may never ever have a chance to blog again ever. Ever. (I’m kind of kidding…)
The brewery I work at (which I will affectionately refer to as “my brewery” from now on) is having our grand opening on FRIDAY!!! We’ll be open from 12-9pm and Umami will be there all day! See our newspaper article here.
We started off with a whirlwind of releases to our favorite spots. Here I am with my rats’ nest hair writing our beers up on the board at Cranknstein last Thursday!
And may I introduce Snowbank Brewing’s owner and brewer – Dave Rosso.
We brought three kegs with us: Bike Trail Pale, Moon Arete Wheat and Pawnee Porter, and tapped them at 6pm and watched as the crowds grew. (For those who were there, our beer names have been updated. Take note!)
I seated myself on the comfy couches for a lot of the night to be “social” all by myself updating our social media outlets on the happenings. Snowbank Brewing Facebook, Snowbank Brewing Twitter and Snowbank Brewing Instagram. (That’s a *hint hint* for all of you to follow us).
The Liquid Poets Society homebrew club members began to filter in. Dave has been a member of LP for years, from which many a brewery has been created.
About an hour in, the first keg blew. Two hours in, the second. We were beyond ecstatic. It was about 9:30pm when we decided we should depart and seek out some food. My bro went to lift the kegs in back and told me there was only a few pints left of porter, so I decided to order one final beer to speed the process.
We killed ALL THREE KEGS! Massive amounts of cheering throughout the crowds ensued and we went for a celebratory dinner at Coopersmith’s down the road before heading home to pass out from exhaustion.
The next day all of the really fun stuff began. I mopped all of our walls to rid them of the construction dust, vacuumed and mopped the entire taproom and washed our windows.
I also took one of our kegs of Colorado Red on a road trip to Matador’s – a delicious burrito joint that we are obsessed with. If you want to try some more of our beer before we open on Friday, head to Matador’s ASAP! They think they’ll kill the keg by lunch!
I took a break from jeans, tank tops and construction dust to attend my bestie’s bridal shower. We spent Sunday afternoon down in Denver celebrating the pending nuptials of this beautiful woman.
Best friends since age 7, and here we are twenty years later. Holy crap, 20 years??? I feel old now…
Jeans went back on and I headed back to my new home, the brewery, for photography, cleaning and mass amounts of social media. I’ve never had so many emails in my entire life!
Luckily, there’s always time at the end of the day to take a deep breath, enjoy the gorgeous Fort Collins summer sunset and thank God for how blessed I truly am.
Who’s coming on Friday? We’re open from noon to 9pm!!