Goodbye, Oregon; Hello, Colorado

The logo was designed by Denver-based Cultivator Advertising and Design, which has also done work for Breckenridge Brewery, Great Divide and New Belgium Brewing.

Recently I moved from Portland, Oregon, one of the hippest cities in America, to yet another up-and-coming city, Denver, Colorado.

While Colorado is not as well known for its wine industry, it has an amazing beer industry that is worth delving into.  With the craft beer industry having a $1.15 billion impact on the state’s economy, it’s no wonder that CNN named Denver the best beer city in America in 2015.   It has also become a mecca for millennials, and the number of people moving here is astounding.

Did you know that brewers started showing up in Colorado back in 1858 when gold was discovered in Colorado–yes, in Colorado, too, not just California! It started out being made in small batches that were then sold to the miners. Rocky Mountain Brewery, founded in 1859, is arguably the first craft brewery in Colorado, and soon after, in 1873, Adolf Coors came to the state with his recipe for Czech Pilsner. However, it wasn’t until 1959 that the first can of Coors was made.  Today, there are over 300 craft beers made across Colorado, and the number is growing.

It may come as no surprise that I will start blogging about Colorado beer, given that Colorado is home to six of the 50 largest breweries in the U.S. and produces nearly 1.7 million barrels of craft brew in the nation according to the Brewers Association.

I hope you’ll join me in my adventures in craft beer, just as you have in wine and cider over the years.  Cheers!

To learn more about Colorado beer, click here.

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Drinking Now: 2012 Cornerstone Oakville Station Napa Merlot

Color: Dark garnet color

Nose: Spice, tobacco, dark berries, touch of ripe strawberry at the end

Palate: Cedar, plum and that whisper of fresh strawberry making this smooth deep wine finish on a lighter note.

Medium acidity, easy drinking, smooth and balanced.

Alcohol:14.5%

This is Cornerstone’s first release under their new Napa Valley single vineyard program. Made from one of their Oakville Station Vineyard blocks in To Kalon. This 100% Merlot is complex and smooth yet the acidity shines though Velvety and opulent it still remains light on its feet as there is more than ample acidity to carry the amazing depth and power of this wine. While generous, this full-bodied Merlot is still a wine for the cellar and will reward five or more years of patience with a truly stunning wine. Just 97 cases were produced.

Resolution: No More Maligning Merlot

I am also not generally a huge Merlot fan but as of late have come to enjoy them for their fruit-forward nature. Perhaps this article by my friend Jeff, the Drunken Cyclist, will bring you over to the dark (red) side.

the drunken cyclist

For years, I would not touch Merlot, not because a certain movie told me that it was rather un-cool, but rather because I found most Merlots rather, well, blah. For me, it was the quintessential “tweener” variety: it was neither as structured and rich as Cabernet Sauvignon, as fruity and fun as Zinfandel, or as ethereal and complex as Pinot Noir. So I really did not see the point. Then, this past Spring, I was visiting a winegrower friend in Dry Creek Valley (he grows Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon), who, up to that point, had not made any wine of his own from his vineyard—he would sell off all the fruit. Well, during the 2014 vintage, he decided to take a half a ton of the fruit and asked Erik Miller of Kokomo Winery to make him a barrel of wine.

It was a Merlot.

I cringed.

I immediately wondered why…

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