Oct 4, 2015

Greeley OktoBREWfest 2015 Review

I had the pleasure of attending the Oktobrewfest celebration in Greeley Colorado once again this year, and as usual had a great time.  While there is always plenty of German fare and lots of great beer flowing from various microbreweries, I opt to get the VIP beer tasting pass every year. 

VIP pass holders receive a commemorative tasting glass, 2 beer tokens for use in the General Area ($10 value), samples of reserve and specialty beers exclusive to the VIP Tasting, cheese samples from MouCo Cheese Co., food provided by Stuft Burger paired specifically with the beers, and a meet-and-greet with professional brewers.

There was a lot of great polka and German music playing, but there were also other activities going on, like some live action role playing by local theatrical troupe "Blades of Moria".  It was pretty fun to watch, especially once they broke out the big steel swords and started swinging them around at each other!

Now.. on to the beer!  There were lots of great beers I sampled over the course of my four hour VIP session, and I made sure to take notes on every brew I consumed.  Listed below are my absolute top three favorite brews from the festival.

#3.)  Cherry Gose
by Weldwerks Brewing

I've noticed that Gose's seem to be the current up and coming microbrew phenomenon in Colorado as of late.  A Gose (pronounced Go-suh) is a type of unfiltered wheat beer that is super tangy with low hop bitterness.  Lactic acid added to the boil, adds sourness to this beer that can definitely challenge your palate (and I like that)

Weldwerk's Gose had an incredible smell and taste of sour cherries.  The lactic sourness seemed pretty mild, maybe balanced out a bit by the grain and fruit.  This was a dry and tasty Gose that I will definitely go out of my way to drink again very soon.

#2) Blood Orange Carousel Gose 
by Wiley Roots Brewing

A wheaty and waaaay sour Gose that had some nice accents of coriander, sea salt, and lemon.  Pure Blood Orange Juice is added after fermentation, and gives this beer an incredible acidic kick and orange taste!  I was way stoked that this beer was 3.4% ABV, as I enjoyed more than a couple of these bad boys!

#1.)  Raspberry Sour Brown Ale 
by Grand Lake Brewing

This Raspberry Sour Brown is exactly what you would expect it to be.  It was an incredibly good Nut Brown Ale, that combines a bit of sweetness alongside a hefty tartness.  Hints of coffee, caramel and toffee, tie it all up into a nice complex package.  With an IBU of 4, this beer was obviously hopped very lightly, and I'm not sure it would work as good as it does if it were anymore bitter.

Wow, judging by my top three favorites of this festival, you'd think I was attending a sour beer fest.  But what can I say?  These three sour beers just struck my fancy, and were my absolute favorites of the day.  

Honorable mention (not a sour)
 Blackberry Hefeweizen by Weldwerks Brewing

This was an incredibly refreshing fruit wheat beer.  There was a tad bit of sweetness to it, but it stemmed from the malt used rather than the fruit.  Fresh blackberries were added to Weldwerk's award winning Hefeweizen to create this crisp, tart, and fruity masterpiece.

As for the food provided, I immensely enjoyed the sliders made by STUFT Burger.  The slider pictured above and to the left, was a "Cream Cheese Jalapeno Slider" that sported freshly made cream cheese, crisp jalapeno slices, and green chile peppers.  The slider on the right was their "Bourbon Bacon Slider" with fresh blue cheese crumbles, crispy pita strips, Jim Beam bacon relish, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh spinach.  The patties were made from fresh USDA ground beef, tasted incredible, and were being grilled to perfection in front of our very eyes.


I was also very happy to see MouCo Cheese Co. back again this year, providing us with unlimited samples of their great artisan cheeses.  In my humble opinion, cheese pairs way better with beer than wine.  The two just seem like they were made for each other.  Case in point.. Beer Cheese Soup!  I may be out of the loop, but I've yet to hear the masses raving about delicious "Wine Cheese Soup".  The cheeses you see above from left to right are as follows..

"Ashley" is MoCou's award winning soft ripened cheese covered with a thin layer of vegetable ash on its edible rind.  This cheese is incredibly creamy and flavorful, with a very subtle hint of sweetness on the finish.  

"Colorouge" is a reddish-orange natural rind cheese.  I like to think of this cheese as a creamy muenster of sorts.  This cheese is wrapped in a special foil from Europe that allows it to breathe oxygen, keeping the cheese alive and fresh during its entire life.

"Camambert" is a soft ripened cheese that's totally hand made with no artificial coloring, preservatives, or additives.  Leonardo Di Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication".  This cheese embodies that great quote, and paired incredibly well with many different types of beers.

All in all, Greeley Oktobrewfest was once again an amazing success from my point of view.  It's truly one of the hidden gems of brew fests on the northern front range of Colorado.  I have been to a lot of VIP Beer tasting events over the years, but this is one of the few where you really do feel like a big shot VIP!


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