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Featured Microbreweries

The Great Divide Brewing Co.

Great Divide Brewing Company, an award-winning downtown Denver microbrewery, was founded in 1993 by avid homebrewer Brian Dunn. After completing his master’s degree in environmental policy and being discouraged by a job search, Dunn decided to create his own job and fill a niche in the Denver beer market.

At the time, there were four brewpubs in Denver, but no microbreweries. Dunn decided that opening Denver’s first microbrewery might be the perfect way to turn his homebrews into craft-brewed reality. Before this could happen, though, there was lots of work to be done.

Dunn went out and conducted a marketing study by calling bars, restaurants and liquor stores in Denver. Then he did financial projections, which were positive, and put together a business plan. With his business plan in hand he was able to raise money from a group of investors, and soon only one piece was missing: a place to house the brewery. That piece fell into place when he found a vacant building that housed a dairy in the 1930s, located just four blocks from Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team). With everything in place, Dunn could get down to doing to what he does best.

On May 30, 1994, the starting team of Brian and his wife Tara brewed the first batch of Arapahoe Amber and Great Divide Brewing was officially up and running. The hours were long for Brian and Tara back in those days, but now with 10 full-time employees, things are a little easier.

In addition to growing their staff, Brian and Tara have increased their production. Over the years the brewery has grown from 900 barrels per year to a capacity of 12,000. The quick growth was no doubt helped by the fact that Great Divide has won so many awards, including a Gold Medal for their Denver Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival this year. For more information about the brewery and tours, call (303)-296-9460 or check our their website in at www.greatdivide.com. Email address: info@greatdivide.com. This brewery is one of the few that we’ve ever featured more than once in the 7 years we’ve operated the club and there’s a reason for it. They make Great Beer! Enjoy!

Denver Pale Ale

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F

Original Gravity: NA

Final Gravity: NA

Int’l Bittering Units: 40

Alcohol by Volume: 5.6 %

The Great Divide Denver Pale Ale is the best selling and most award-winning beer in their line, taking 3 medals at the Great American Beer festival over the years. In fact, it most recently took the Gold at the 18th annual GABF last year! It’s a classic English-style Pale Ale and we found it nicely balanced offering a moderate-to-full bitterness and a definite emphasis on hop flavor and aroma. It’s dry-hopped, as you’ll soon find out in the big hop profile. Look for a highly floral moderately spicy nose. Note great head retention in this light copper-colored, medium-bodied filtered ale. We found a pleasant pale maltiness up front and a big floral/spicy hop flavor in the body. Overall, a classic representation of the style. We loved it!

Arapahoe Amber Ale

Serving Temperature: 40-45 F

Original Gravity: NA

Final Gravity: NA

Int’l Bittering Units: 28

Alcohol by Volume: 6.0 %

The Great Divide Arapahoe Amber is misnamed. By style definition, it’s a Scottish Ale. Another award winner, Arapahoe took the bronze at the 1996 GABF. We found it very complex and smooth. Look for a big malty nose up front with a very mild hop character true to style. Unlike the Denver Pale Ale, you won’t find a big bitter hop profile in this copper-colored, filtered Ale. Note a pleasant malty sweetness and some definite nutty tones in the body. We found Arapahoe to have a big and full mouth feel. It ends as you might suspect, malty and sweet. Overall, another great beer from a superb brewery. If you get a chance, try Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale. It’s their Winter Seasonal. We featured it a few years back and think that it’s in contention for the best beer we’ve ever featured!

Sweetwater Brewing Company
How do three friends with a shared passion for great beer set out to make it on their own? Well, they move halfway across the country from Colorado to Atlanta with a plan to raise over a million dollars to open a new brewery.
Why would three good friends make such a sacrifice? Well, the answer is two-fold. First, Colorado continues to be the top market in the country for microbrewed beers. It leads the country in many brewing categories, including most breweries per capita, most number of individual beers available for sale and most barrels of beer produced annually. For someone looking to open a new brewery, a state with a few less breweries would certainly be a safer investment.
That’s where Georgia comes in to the picture. Georgia is presently ranked 48th in the nation for breweries per capita, which leaves plenty of room for a new guy. When you’ve got a million dollars on the line, sometimes you have to make a few sacrifices!
The Sweetwater Brewery officially opened on February 17th, 1997 and quickly began winning over the taste buds of beer lovers all over Georgia. For anyone in the brewing industry, this came as no surprise.
Fredrick Bensch, Sweetwater’s master brewer, had repeatedly proven himself at
the Oasis Brewery, Rockies Brewery, Mile High Brewing Company and at the Marin Brewing Company. If you aren’t familiar with these breweries, they are some of the more respected breweries in the country. Marin holds literally dozens of Gold Medals from the Great American Beer Festival.
Kevin McNerney, Sweetwater’s head brewer, had already turned heads brewing for Rockies Brewery, Avery Brewing Company and Mammoth Brewing Company. And Matt Patterson, the final piece in the puzzle, had helped put Breckenridge Brewery on the map as their Western Regional Sales Manager.
With their combined knowledge of the brewing industry, this was a brewery bound for greatness. Being the second most decorated brewery in the world at the 1998 World Beer Cup certainly proves that they have achieved that goal.
For those who reside in or are planning to visit the Atlanta area, The Sweetwater Brewery opens its doors on Monday afternoons at 4:20PM to the public. Stop by and meet the guys, have a beer, and take a tour of the brewery.

Sweetwater Exodus Porter

Serving Temperature: 38-42 F

Original Gravity: 13.5 Plato

Final Gravity: 3.2 Plato

Int’l Bittering Units: 30

Alcohol by Volume: 5.6 %

Sweetwater Exodus Porter is brewed with a combination of 2-row pale, crystal, munich, and chocolate malts as well as a touch of malted wheat to add to the beer’s head retention. The lads hop it op with both Centennial and Goldings hops. Despite being dark in color, the Sweetwater Exodus Porter has a medium body and a distinct chocolate character. It is a very drinkable beer that should be consumed at a warmer temperature than normal.

Sweetwater India Pale Ale

Serving Temperature: 38-42 F

Original Gravity: 13.5 Plato

Final Gravity: 2.5 Plato

Int’l Bittering Units: 57!

Alcohol by Volume: 5.9 %

Sweetwater’s IPA is concocted with a combination of 2 row wheat, crystal, and munich, malts. Here Kevin uses both Columbus and Goldings hops to give this IPA a hop profile sure to please any hophead! The Sweetwater IPA is all about hops! For this reason, we strongly recommend pouring this beer into a glass so that you can capture the intense hop aroma. It is a well-balanced beer that finishes with an aggressive, yet pleasant, hop bitterness.

Ask Murl

Dear Murl,

I just received my 1st shipment of brew and am looking forward to each month’s delivery. I am however, offended by your crude reference to my friend Rush Limbaugh's weight. You are obviously unaware of the new and improved Rush that has lost over 50 pounds through sheer willpower. In the future would you please refrain from political commentary or at a minimum use a realistic example such as Ted Kennedy? Thank you in advance for the many tasty brews I will be receiving from your company.


Fred Smith

Heeeeeeeey Fred!

(To be spoken in Barney Rubble’s Voice!)

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on our subtle commentary in our food recipe last month. For those that missed the slap on the Rushter, we noted that the food recipe would feed roughly 12 Europeans, 8 Americans or 2 large dogs or Rush Limbaugh. I’ve been told by our public relations department to go easy on you with my response as you’re still a relatively new customer and might not be aware of or prepared for my somewhat less than subtle approach to my column!

True, I haven’t been logging a weight chart on the big guy and wasn’t aware that he pulled an "Oprah". I must question, however, your apparent knowledge that he lost the poundage through "Sheer Willpower". Are you sure? How do you know there wasn’t some liposuction involved? He might have a tapeworm. Or have you considered the possibility that he’s now on the new and improved Jenny Craig (did I spell that right?) weight loss program as it is now strongly endorsed by Monica Lewdinski. Maybe, they use some kind of funny camera lens when they take his picture to make him look skinnier. You can’t just blindly rule these things out just because the National Inquirer ran and article on Rush’s new "Willpower" diet.

Now Kennedy, Whoa boy! I literally can’t get into that guy with the amount of space I have left! Gonna have to try and weave some slams on that naughty boy in a future column to try and win you back over! I’m glad you’re diggin’ the brews Freddy ma man! Try not to take me too seriously. We do sell beer for a living here and try not to take ourselves too seriously. I got a piece of rawhide stashed under the couch that’s calling me. Woof! Murl.

Food For Thought...

Gorgonzola Ale Soup

2 lb peeled red potatoes (1 kg)
3/4 lb peeled and diced yellow onions (375 g)
4 cups chicken stock (1 L)
1 pint Arapahoe Amber Ale
3/4 lb Gorgonzola cheese (375 g)
1 pint heavy cream (500 ml)
1 tbsp salt (15 ml)
2 tsp ground white pepper (10 ml)
4 tsp cornstarch (20 ml)

Boil the potatoes and onions in water until the potatoes become slightly mushy and then drain, saving the water. Puree the potatoes and onions, adding potato water as necessary until the mixture becomes smooth. In the meantime, bring the chicken stock and Arapahoe Amber Ale to a boil in a large pot, reduce the heat and gradually add the Gorgonzola cheese, whipping with a whisk to make the mixture smooth. Next, add the cream, and, gradually, the potato mixture, again whipping to make the mixture smooth. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer before adding the salt and pepper. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little water and slowly add it to the soup, whisking gently. Simmer for at least 10 minutes prior to serving. Feeds 8-10 people, 3 Water buffalo, or…..Ted Kennedy (if served with a bottle of Absolute!).

True Brew Facts

THE REAL BEER PAGE (realbeer. com) - Tsingtao to buy 3-5 breweries by year end. Tsingtao Brewery Co. of China plans to purchase three to five breweries by the end of the year to extend its distribution network and increase production. Chinese breweries are trying to boost output as the Chinese beer drinking market expands and competition increases. Foreign brands brewed in China, such as Budweiser and Asahi, have put more pressure on domestic brewers in the tough premium beer market. Tsingtao purchased Nanjizhou Brewery Group, Rongcheng Brewery and Anqiu Brewery earlier this year. (italics: At exactly what point did Budweiser enter the PREMIUM beer market?)

BEER NOTES - World beer production in 1999 increased 1.6% from a year earlier to about 133 million kiloliters, up for the 14th consecutive year. The biggest five producing countries are the United States (up .05%), China up 5.3%), Germany (down 2.7%), Brazil (down 0.3%) and Japan (up 0.5%). Russia, eighth in output, showed the biggest growth rate of 24.6% thanks to increases in consumption among women and young people. Increases in areas such as China, Taiwan and Japan reflect growth of U.S. domestic brands such as Budweiser (perhaps the world's largest contract brewer) and international brands like Heineken that are brewed under contract license by beer manufacturers in those countries. (Italics: Great…Now we’re gonna have to re-educate the entire world about good beer!)

THE CELEBRATOR BEER NEWS - Although official statistics reported German beer sales were down another 2.6% in the first half of 1999, breweries indicated they are not

particularly concerned. They said hot weather in July sent people flocking to the beer gardens and that they don't expect the slide to continue. German beer consumption has declined steadily in recent years. Still per capita consumption is 127 liters per year, with only Czech beer drinkers consuming more per capita. Erich Dederichs, spokesman for the Federation of German Brewers, said brewers are trying to woo back drinkers by offering specialties such as beer/lemonade mixtures and more outlandish concoctions such as beers brewed under a full moon. (Italics: Erich needs to strongly reconsider her approach on the beer/lemonade thang!)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN BEER NOTES - An Australian pub owner has been fined $20,000 (Australian) as a result of a drinking competition in his pub that caused the death of the winner. Allan Taylor, a 33-year-old computer technician, died after drinking 34 glasses of beer, four bourbons and 17 tequilas in 100 minutes in a Sydney bar in 1997. The courts learned that Taylor died within hours of the competition. A post-mortem revealed a level of 0.353 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, compared to the legal limit for driving of 0.05. The court fined Brian Whelan of the Strathfield Hotel because he failed to exercise his license in the public interest when his staff failed to stop Taylor from drinking. (Italics: Wow. I’m at a loss for words. That’s a lot of booze.)

Norm’s Corner ...

As spoken by Cheer’s Norm

Sam: What’d you like, Normie?

Norm: A reason to live. Gimme a beer Sammy.

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