Big news from AZ Beer Week

Time flies when you’re drinking suds. Today marks the halfway point for Arizona Beer Week, and the events thus far have not disappointed. The other night I had a great chat with Doug Odell, founder of Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo. While sipping on a few pints of the brewery’s dry-hopped Red on cask at Papago Brewing (a divine drink in a stellar beer bar, I should add) Doug let loose a few tidbits of information that should have fans pretty excited. As many of you might already know, Friek, a blend of a kriek and a frambroise, just released last week, and is starting to make the rounds. This bold brew employs a combo of lactobacillus and pediococcus yeasts, 3,500 pounds of sweet and tart cherries, and handpicked raspberries from a local farm. If you haven’t tried it, make sure you get a bottle before it’s gone. Here’s what else Odell has slated for the near future:

* Myrcenary Double IPA is popping up at various events during AZ Beer Week, but the official release party is Feb. 26 at the brewery. This beer’s name is a nod to Myrcene, a compound found in the essential oil of hops. Clocking in at 9.3% ABV, this is a definite hop bomb worth seeking out. Expect to see these packaged in four packs of 12-ounce bottles.

* Woodcut! The brewery’s next installment of its Woodcut Series is scheduled for release sometime in May. This year we’ll be treated to a barrel-aged Belgian-style quad. Make sure to clear some room in your cellar.

* Mountain Standard Double Black IPA. Tired of finding someone to share that 750mL bottle of delicious black IPA? Good news! Although the timing is a bit hazy, the brewery plans revamp this beer’s packaging, making it available in 12-ounce bottles as a year-round addition to its line-up. That makes me very happy.

Bonus News!

* In separate but not unrelated news, I sat in on a presentation from Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman at Taste of Tops (another stellar beer bar). The big news? Expect to see Sierra Nevada beers available in cans starting next year. I suppose that officially elevates canning craft beer from a “trend” to just a “thing they do.”

Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011