Double golds, Led Zep reincarnate and the 70s

Double golds, Led Zep reincarnate and the 70s

Fresh off Telluride Blues and Brews, Denver's Dragondeer opens for Atomga at the ACT on Friday night.

Chris Aaland - 09/27/2018

After being shut out at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, Durango craft brewers stood atop the podium again in 2018. At last weekend’s drunkfest in Denver, Ska won gold for its Oktoberfest in the Vienna-Style Lager category, and Steamworks did the same with its Colorado Ko?lsch in the German-Style Ko?lsch category.

Ska listed their newly released Oktoberfest when filling out the original festival entry form, but were caught off-guard when it came time to ship the competition beers and they had none. “The beer was so popular that we sold through it before we had a chance to hold any back to ship,” Kristen Muraro, Ska’s sales and marketing director, said. “I had to run to the liquor store to buy one of the last six-packs in Durango to ship to the competition.”

Oktoberfest remains on tap at Ska’s World Headquarters in Bodo Park and will return again next fall. Hopefully they’ll brew more next year, because I was limited to just one six-pack before stores ran out. It’s crafted with 100 percent German-sourced Munich and Vienna malts that impart the obvious nutty, toasty flavors one seeks in an Oktoberfest, balanced with Noble hops.

Colorado Ko?lsch continued its impressive run at major beer festivals by earning its first gold. It previously had earned GABF silvers in 2007 and 2010, adding a silver at the 2008 World Beer Cup and a silver (2009) and bronze (2008) at the Australian International Beer Competition.

“It’s a light, crisp ale with a hint of sweetness, and it’s very refreshing,” Steamworks co-founder Brian McEachron said. “The credit for the Ko?lsch and all our award-winning beers definitely goes to our master brewers Ken Martin and Spencer Roper.”

“The Colorado Ko?lsch continues to build an impressive reputation across the state, and earning this award confirms that it is true to its style and can stand side-by-side with any Ko?lsch out of Germany,” added Steamworks co-founder Kris Oyler.

The best part of Durango’s recent plundering of the GABF booty? You can still stock your fridge with the winners. Ko?lsch is available year ’round, while Oktoberfest is available in any number of grab-and-go refillable containers at Ska’s World Headquarters.

Congratulations are also in order for Durango Craft Spirits, which won a silver at the North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition in New Orleans for its Cinder Dick Colorado Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Though he’s a newcomer (the first barrels were tapped last December), Dick had already scored silver at the American Distilling Institute’s 2018 event and bronze at the Denver International Spirits Competition.

If you missed Robert Plant’s epic set at Telluride Blues & Brews a few weeks ago (I streamed KOTO’s radio broadcast), you can still Get the Led Out at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Community Concert Hall. From the bombastic and epic to the folksy and mystical, GTLO captures the essence of the recorded music of Led Zeppelin and brings it to the concert stage. The Philly-based group, comprised of six accomplished musicians (Led Zep only had four, of course), covers all eras of the legendary band, from the mind blowing early years to long-lost acoustic favorites to progressive, late-era gems. The dance floor will be open.

My Telegraph colleague and pop culture aficionado Lainie Maxson calls Vanilla Pop “the greatest wedding band in the world,” which is high praise for someone who keeps GNR’s “Appetite for Destruction,” the Sex Pistols’ “Never Mind the Bollocks,” Skid Row’s eponymous debut and Cat Stevens’ “Mona Bone Jakon” in heavy rotation on her record player. Such accolades are rare from Lainie. Vanilla Pop plays the Animas City Theatre on Saturday night, with doors opening at 8. The duo, which consists of Al Dente and Lester Moore, is a Vegas-style lounge act that’s part satire and all fun. Everything from ’40s standards to disco hits, and ’80s classics to TV themes is fair game, with a few rap numbers thrown in for good measure. They’re one of the most sought-after bands in the entire Land of Enchantment.

The ACT welcomes a pair of bands from vastly different genres Friday night when Atomga and Dragondeer perform. The headliners, Atomga, won the Best Multi-Genre Band at the 303 Awards this year, blending Afrobeat and Afrofunk. With 10 musicians – including a three-person horn section and a trio of percussionists – Atomga can also tackle rock, jazz, hip-hop and classical. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Femi Kuti & the Positive Force and Sean Kuti & Egypt 80. Dragondeer is a Denver-based psychedelic blues outfit that’s garnered huge response at Telluride Blues & Brews recently. They’ve played with a diverse group of artists including Drive-By Truckers, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Leon Russell and many others.

Then at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, hip-hop takes center stage at the ACT with Frameworks, plus an undercard of Koresma, Feverkin and the Monogahela. Frameworks is led by UK-based performer and producer Matthew James Brewer.

Happy 70th birthday to local guitar hero Larry Carver! He and his buddy, former Pine Needle Mountaineering owner Keith Roush, celebrate their 70ths at Roush-CarverFest 70 from 1-6 p.m. Sunday at Ska. The event is an all-day, pro-musician jam featuring the likes of Carver’s band, Black Velvet, plus contemporaries like Kirk James and Ben Gibson.

Lawn Chair King Erik Nordstrom continues his Erik & Friends series from 5-7 p.m. Sunday at Mancos Brewing Co. when Melinda Lutz joins him. “I met Melinda years ago through the Pagosa festival scene and have always been impressed with her,” said Nordstrom. Lutz is a flat-picking acoustic guitarist and vocalist who played in Bluegrass Cadillac for six years. She’s recently been spotted in various Americana duos and trios in Pagosa Springs.

Of note: the Garrett Young Collective plays the Wild Horse Saloon at 8 p.m. Friday; and Wild Country gets crazy at the Wild Horse at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The best thing I heard this week is the 68th album from national treasure Willie Nelson, “My Way.” It’s a collection of Willie’s interpretations of Frank Sinatra classics. Sound crazy? Many argue that 1978’s jazzy “Stardust” was the finest record of the Red Headed Stranger’s career.

Fill my heart with song? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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