Friday, May 27, 2011

This is your weekend, Durango

Memorial Day weekend is a big one in Durango, with 2,500 bicyclists coming for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, a grueling 40-mile climb to Silverton.

Motorcyclists come, too, as does every other stripe of tourist. Fortunately, our local brewers have several events on tap this weekend. The studies say beer is good for recovery after exertion:

* Steamworks Brewing Co. continues its Firkin Fridays today, tapping the beer cocktail “Skip and Go Naked” at 3 p.m.

“Unlike the quick and dirty fraternity house versions, Steamworks’ Skip and Go Naked firkin uses our Colorado K├Âlsch as a base, and in the brew process we’ve added fresh lemon juice and zest with a peach simple syrup,” Ken Martin, Steamworks head brewer, said in a news release. “This is another fresh and delicious cocktail, perfect for savoring on Steamworks’ back deck as the days get warmer.”

Steamworks initiated its Firkin Fridays to introduce a range of specialty craft beers not suited to large draft production. Each month one of these beers is tapped, coordinated with the season or holidays.

“Serving a firkin beer requires a special tap and it’s gravity-poured,” said Spencer Roper, Steamworks assistant brewer. “Folks also need to remember that a firkin is served at about 55 degrees - cool but not cold. Because it contains no preservatives, it’s also designed to be consumed after tapping. We expect the Skip and Go Naked to be especially popular.”

* Steamworks and Ska Brewing Co. release Face Plant Ale at 6 p.m. Friday (tonight). It's an amber hefeweizen that's been brewed for 16 years in what's got to be one of the oldest and most durable brewery collaborations around. Incidentally, it's quite tasty, if memory serves.

Bicyclists can meet at Ska at 5 p.m. and pedal to Steamworks, if you want to work extra hard for your beer. I'll just stroll the six blocks from my place. Winning, as Charlie Sheen would say.

* Less momentous, but worth a note: Carver Brewing Co. has a great lineup right now. A new IPA is on tap, brewed with Cascades and Centennials. The Dandelion Saison is almost gone, but it's much improved from last year. Erik Maxson, Carver's head brewer, said they dialed back on the dandelion a bit this year and added a nice herb mix. The result is a very well-balanced and smooth saison. I quite like it this year. Also, the fine Power House Porter is back after a long absence. As always, the Cascade Canyon IPA on cask is a good bet.

* Finally, Oskar Blues Old Chub, a beautiful Scottish-style ale, is on tap at The Irish Embassy. It's 8 percent ABV, so please fasten your kilt.

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