Monthly Archives: April 2010

Fort Collins Brewery (Fort Collins, CO)

Last Visit: June 17, 2009

No tours here but there is a small taproom with a knowledgeable staff.  You will need to get some samplers at this place because the beers here are so edgy and out there. The Fort Collins Brewers love to experiment.  The pomegranate wheat beer was interesting if a little sweet for my taste (Sarah was  a big fan!).  They make a very good Rauchbier which is a traditional German style smoked beer.  The smoked beer gets its flavor from drying the malt over an open flame.  It’s definitely a unique flavor profile, and it’s a style that is not in vogue in the United States. 

I got a half pint of “The Fix” which the brewers describe as a “dry-hopped double IPA”.  I may be a bit old school in my definition of IPAs, in that I don’t like to have much malt character.   I also expect a Double IPA to be bursting with hop flavors but there really wasn’t much to it.  It had a decent head and some interesting malt characters but wasn’t quite what I would look for in a double IPA.  Make the trip to the Fort Collins Brewing Co.  to try some styles and infusions that you won’t find at many other breweries.

http://www.fortcollinsbrewery.com/

***Brewery Visits are a biweekly post about our favorite tours and taprooms all over the U.S..  Check back to see where we are going next!

Abbaye de Orval (Orval, Belgium)

 

Deep in the countryside of southwestern Belgium, life continues at the monastery of Orval more or less the same as it has for hundreds of years.  However, the brewery has  only been around since the 1930’s.  For this reason, Orval produces a beer unlike any of the other Trappists or really any brewery in continental Europe.  The Orval brew actually would fit in quite while in any British Pub.  This brew is nice and light with a beautifully hoppy aroma and a clean, crisp, slightly bitter taste.  This is really a nice change from the sometimes cloyingly sweet of most Belgian Ales. 

I was lucky enough to spend the summer of 2007 in Belgium and made the trip to Orval.  Visiting Orval can be a truly cathartic experience on a summer afternoon.  The brewery and most of the monastery is not open to the public.  However, there is an visitor center/shop and cafe.  For about an 8 Euro entrance fee, visitors can wander around the ruins of the original monastery.  A great deal of the walls are still intact and nature has reclaimed part of this area.  There is something inexplicably cool about standing in the middle of a chapel with a grass floor, no ceiling and surrounded by stone walls. 

 After I walked the ruins, I sat down at the Cafe to enjoy the Orval patersbier and some of the famous Orval cheese.  This cafe is one of the only places to get the Orval patersbier which is a lower alcohol beer made for the consumption of the monks.

Road to Orval (Cafe on the Left)

Even though this trip is light on the beer and brewing, this was definitely one of my coolest experiences in beer touring.  To be on such hallowed brewing ground is really a treat.  If you make it to Belgium, a visit to Orval should be high on your list.

Orval Ruins Rose Window

http://www.orval.be/an/FS_an.html

O’Dell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO)

 

Last Visit: June 17, 2009

No tour here but there is a pretty nice size taproomwith a large deck on the front.  Sarah and I spent an enjoyable hour around noon tasting some beer and enjoying the beautiful Colorado summer.  O’Dell brews a large variety of beers and  many are accurate style examples, but lacked some originality.  The samplers are shown in the picture. 

I tried a full pint of the St. Lupulin Summer Ale which was  quite good. This is a nice lower alcohol alternative to an IPA that is a great brew for summer sessions.   The St. Lupulin pours with a good head that sticks around and an aroma that hits you with a lot of Cascade  hops and also some piney aroma most likely coming from an Amarillo/Chinook type hop variety.  Amarillo/Chinook hops tend to be very bitter but often leave a slightly harsh piney flavor lending a slightly bitter aftertaste to a very clean and crisp beer.  Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the Fort Collins area.

 http://odellbrewing.com/

***Brewery Visits are a biweekly post about our favorite tours and taprooms all over the U.S..  Check back to see where we are going next!