River Brew Review: Colorado Kolsch German-Style Ale

Colorado Kolsch I’ve had this beer for a couple weeks and have been meaning to review it that whole time, but I got sick in there and I am crushed at work (if you have retirement plan questions or would like to start a retirement plan please email mike@tasty-takes.com) so it just kept slipping through the cracks. Tonight, though, it’s happening.

I ended up with this beer because the local liquor store where I shop has a woefully small selection of micro brews and most of those are IPAs that I dislike reviewing since I don’t enjoy them much. Given their selection one of the few non-IPAs that I hadn’t tried yet was the Colorado Kolsch. Continue reading

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News: Backcountry Beer is getting better and better!

We all love beer and nothing tastes better than a nice, ice cold beer in the backcountry. But having that nice cold beer is rarely easy and perhaps that’s part of the appeal. Now, thanks to these two new inventions backcountry beer is getting easier by the second.

The first invention is beer from gel packs. Check out this review of gel pack beer by GearJunkie. Pat’s Backcountry Beverages has developed a portable beverage carbonator, couple that with some gel flavor packets and presto changeo you have cold crisp refreshing beer in the backcountry without having to lug that bomber or six pack around til you get thirsty. Aimee and I are planning a hike over to Aspen at some point this fall, I might have to give one of these babies a test ride!

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The second invention has less of an application to the hiking backcountry, but is perfect for those backcountry float trips. The Itinerant Angler breaks down the use of a stainless steel mini keg and your local growler bar to bring your favorite micro brew on any float trip. I think growler bars are rad and this new mini keg is supposed to keep beer bubbly for up to a week, not that it will last that long!

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Gear Review: Fishpond Lumbar Packs

I am really reviewing the Crooked Island Guide Pack, but since they don’t make it anymore I am going to just go with a generic review of their lumbar packs. Nah, I’m reviewing the Crooked Island Guide Pack, but most of the features are found in several of the Fishpond Lumbar packs so…. here we go!

Owyhee Brown with Handlebar

Boy does my pack look new in this picture! Must be from a while ago.

I have had this pack for almost 10 years? That can’t be right can it? I think it is and the whole time it has been fantastic. Has the pack been through the ringer? Yes. Is it time for a new one? Yes. But let me tell you why I love this pack and why my next fishing pack will also be a Fishpond Lumbar pack.

I originally purchased the pack when I was guiding and the reason I was really attracted to the Fishpond Lumbar Packs was the fold down fly bench. On the lumbar packs it is huge. Anyone who knows me knows that I am kind of a mess. My desk for work is a mess, my bookshelves are a mess, my fly-tying desk – holy cow, serious mess, and I am the same way with my fishing pack. I know several good fishermen and good friends who are incredibly anal and incredibly organized, for them everything has its place: each dry fly, nymph and streamer goes in a specific place. That is definitely not how I roll. Fly organization is not one of my strengths, which is one of the many reasons why I love the fold down fly bench. It keeps everything that I have used during a day of fishing in one spot, and throughout a day of fishing it becomes a glorious mess! Droppers, streamers, dries, some with a bit of tippet attached, some still connected with tippet. I can put them all on the fold down fly bench and not have to take the time to put them back where they belong.

You can see the mess I keep on the fold down fly bench.

You can see the mess I keep on the fold down fly bench.

The fold down fly bench is also amazing if you are prone to dropping things, Continue reading

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Gear Review: Umpqua UPG Fly Boxes

UPG Boxes side by sideAs per the norm I wait until I’ve seriously put something through the ringer before I’m willing to review it. Since Aimee and I bought a few of these boxes about a year ago I figure its about time I did a gear review.

The Umpqua UPG Fly Boxes were touted by Umpqua as the next step in the evolution of the fly box. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I’ve never spent as much on a fly box as I did for the UPG boxes. They are expensive, heavy and pretty bulky. They are also totally worth the money, weight and size. These boxes rule.

We bought three of these guys, I got the Magnum Midge and Magnum Dry and Aimee went with the Weekender. These boxes hold a ton of flies. I used to carry five or six boxes at all times, now because I can fit so many flies in each of these boxes I carry two. Sure they are each much heavier than the prior fly boxes that I used, but since there are less of them my pack is actually lighter now.

Magnum Midge 2

Beyond the capacity of these boxes, I also love that the super high quality foam is slotted. In the past I have used foam boxes that were not slotted and after a year or two of heavy use the foam has shredded resulting in flies falling out everywhere. Not awesome. The foam on the UPG boxes is very resilient and holds flies securely. Rather than needing to be careful every time I open a box, since flies could be loose and pouring out anywhere, I am confident that all the flies are in place and that I won’t drop them into the drink as soon as I open the box. The photos below are of the foam after a year of hard use, it still looks brand new. Awesome.

UPG Foam Close UpUPG Big Dry Close Up

Aimee and I like to quote our friend Cam who once said, “My life changed the day that I saw Tom McCall’s midge box.” For those of you who fish in the Rockies having a fully stocked midge box is a must. They work year round, they work when nothing else will and they pretty much always work. My midge box used to be a huge mess, it was a pain to put the flies in the foam, or if I was using a plastic box they would all get tangled up or skip from compartment to compartment so they were never where I expected. Basically having a super badass midge box was hard for me. No longer. In addition to the snug slitted foam, which holds midges really well, UPG added magnetic panels for ultra small midges. The magnets are strong enough that the midges don’t go flying all over the place and big enough that you can fit a ton of midges on it while still being able to tell them apart and find the ones that you want. Awesome.

UPG Midge Magnets

The other feature that I really like is the watertight seal. Those of you that have fished with me, or followed Tasty Takes for a while, know that I will to try to cross pretty much every river I fish. When wearing a hip pack this can be problematic – I often partially submerge, and sometimes fully submerge, my pack. Since I’m too cheap to spring for a fully waterproof pack that means that I dunk everything in my pack fairly often. With my old fly boxes I would have to remember when I got home to open all the boxes and dry them out in an attempt to avoid mildew and rust on all my precious flies. Since I picked up the UPG boxes this is no longer a worry. They seal super tight and I haven’t had any water in a fly box since I got them. Awesome.

Magnum Midge 1Magnum Dry - small driesMagnum Dry - Big Dries

Unfortunately, there may be a durability issue with the closures of the boxes. After about 6 months I broke one of the latches that keeps the Magnum Midge box closed. Not awesome. The other side still closes tightly and is completely waterproof, but the broken side no longer has that water tight seal. Because it’s tucked into in my pack it doesn’t flop open all the time and even if it did it wouldn’t matter since the flies are all held so well, but I do now have to worry about drying the box out after deep wading. To be fair I was fishing in sub-freezing temps when it broke so its possible that if you are 1. more careful than I am or 2. don’t fish in freezing cold weather you might not have a problem at all.

Overall I really like these fly boxes and am very happy with our purchases.

5 out of a Six Pack Scale ©

5 out of a Six Pack Scale ©

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Frozen Pints! I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Frozen PintsWho doesn’t love beer? Who doesn’t love ice cream? Frozen Pints, has put those two together to make craft beer ice cream. They currently have 7 different flavors that range from 1.0% to 3.2% ABV. I’ll be honest, flavors like Pumpkin Ale, Brown Ale Chip and Malted Milk Chocolate Stout sound incredible!

I tried to find out where I could get some but either their store finder page doesn’t work or I live too far out in the boonies to actually get my hands on this stuff. I will look into this further and hopefully I can get a pint to review. Stay tuned…

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Video: Giant Rainbow on the Taylor River

Check out this video of Crested Butte local Lu Warner landing a massive Rainbow on the Wilder section of the Taylor River. Make sure to read his write up about sighting the fish, trying for him several times over a few weeks and eventually succeeding. This is a HUGE TROUT!

When Lu isn’t working as the head guide for Wilder on the Taylor, he is busy running his lodge, Valle Bonito Lodge, in Chile. Check it out here at http://www.vallebonitochile.com/.

Sometimes You Get Lucky …Fly-Fishing the Taylor River CO from Wilder on the Taylor on Vimeo.

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Gink and Gasoline – The best fishing blog on the internet

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This blog is kind of hit or miss. Maybe we’ll post, maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll post fluff, maybe we’ll post something worthwhile, you never really know. I do know that my mom loves all the posts, which is amazing since I know that at least one person is reading the blog and loving it.

If you want to check out a fishing blog that gets it right check out Gink and Gasoline. They post daily articles that range from gear reviews to techniques and tips to general fishing info and discussions. I check several fishing blogs daily and I read more of the Gink and Gasoline stuff than I do of any other blog hands down. Their articles are topical, well written and can actually teach you things.

If you love fishing and you want to stay up to date with the latest and greatest or learn techniques you’ve never thought of before check out Gink and Gasoline, it won’t blow your mind, but it will make you a better fisherman.

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River Brew Review: Kannah Creek Brewing Company Lands End Amber Ale

I am trying to get back into reviewing a beer a week, so last weekend I stopped by the liquor store and picked up the first beer that caught my eye – Kannah Creek Brewing Company Lands End Amber Ale. They describe this as a German-Style Altbier that balances specialty malts and three different types of hops.

Lands End on the Gunnison

However they describe it, the Lands End Amber Ale is a nice beer. Not unbelievable, but fairly tasty. I brought these out for a couple of days on the Gunnison and they were perfect for kicking back while the boy ate some food or played on his blanket.

George ChillinBrown3_Aug16

The Kannah Creek Brewery is over in Grand Junction and I’ll be sure to stop by there the next time I swing through town. Check out the label pics below – these guys are clearly having fun in the outdoors, and I can definitely get behind a company with that type of culture.

Lands End Amber Ale Label 1Lands End Amber Ale Label 2

Lands End Amber Ale Pour
Appearance: Clear amber with lots of bubbles. Huge foamy head, cream colored, erupted out of the top of the glass a bit. Thick lacing down the glass as you drink.

Smell: Sweet and clean, floral hints, not very aromatic.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Malty up front with a very round sweet middle. Has a hoppy dry finish.

Overall: Good. Not my favorite beer ever, but I’m glad I picked it up. Drinkable and balanced definitely worth trying, especially if you are a fan of Ambers.

3 out of a Six Pack ©

3 out of a Six Pack ©

Stats:
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 28
Brewery: Kannah Creek Brewery, Grand Junction, CO

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In the Ditch

In the Ditch from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

There’s a good mix of big and small water around Crested Butte. Some of it is right there in front of you, and some of it takes a hot walk down a dusty road through tall grass and down an embankment to reach. We’ve been playing around with video, and this short piece is from a day-trip to one of the latter. Let us know what you think.

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The World’s Strongest Beers

So you felt like a tough guy when you drank that 10% ABV beer last weekend, huh? I don’t think so. Let’s talk after you try one of the beers in this article. They range from 20% to 60% ABV. No, that is not a typo, there is a beer that is 120 proof. And yes, there is also a beer that comes in a bottle covered in a roadkill coozy.
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Luckily most of them are exorbitantly expensive so us mere mortals won’t ever get (have) to try them.

Enjoy!

coolmaterial.com/roundup/the-worlds-strongest-beers/

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