Craft Beers

Last Friday one of the guys dropped off some stuff at Breckenridge and saw that they were bottling the winter warmer beers.  Not being one to waste an opportunity he picked up a case for the office. I couldn’t resist opening one up and trying a beer that was less than a day old. 
Before you tell me it is to early for winter warmers we had snow on Mount Evans last night and it got down to the low forties at my house.  It is fall at 8000’ ft elevation!
Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery (Fall 2014)
This one pours out a clear amber with a nice off white head that dissipated quickly leaving thin but well defined rings.  It had notes of allspice, brown sugar, apple, orange, and caramel.  It had a big mouth feel, with a fair amount of carbonation and a slightly bitter finish.  The alcohol came through with a somewhat aggressive bite, but it is a winter warmer after all.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, and will be pleased to try the other bottle (pictured) on another cold and snowy day.  I think this one will be a hit this fall.  As a seasonal it drops into the category of an old, but welcome friend of a brew, come back for a visit.
Winter Warmer | 7.40% ABV

Last Friday one of the guys dropped off some stuff at Breckenridge and saw that they were bottling the winter warmer beers.  Not being one to waste an opportunity he picked up a case for the office. I couldn’t resist opening one up and trying a beer that was less than a day old. 

Before you tell me it is to early for winter warmers we had snow on Mount Evans last night and it got down to the low forties at my house.  It is fall at 8000’ ft elevation!

Christmas Ale - Breckenridge Brewery (Fall 2014)

This one pours out a clear amber with a nice off white head that dissipated quickly leaving thin but well defined rings.  It had notes of allspice, brown sugar, apple, orange, and caramel.  It had a big mouth feel, with a fair amount of carbonation and a slightly bitter finish.  The alcohol came through with a somewhat aggressive bite, but it is a winter warmer after all.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, and will be pleased to try the other bottle (pictured) on another cold and snowy day.  I think this one will be a hit this fall.  As a seasonal it drops into the category of an old, but welcome friend of a brew, come back for a visit.

Winter Warmer | 7.40% ABV

I love porters and plenty of the people I work with (both in and out of the company) know that.  Most of them have spent time and perused the bottle collection filling the shelves in my office.  So when our account rep had a chance to get an interesting porter (that he knew he hadn’t seen) while at a customer’s brewery - he made sure some showed up on my desk!
Shake Chocolate Porter - Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
This one pours out a velvety black with a tremendous amount of carbonation, it looks like a nitro when it hits the glass.  it had a tall tan head that dissipated quickly leaving thin lacing rings.  It has notes of chocolate, vanilla, cream, coffee, and hazelnut.  It has a medium mouth feel,with a thin velvety sweet finish.  The name totally nails it. This tastes like a chocolate shake.  It is very heavy handed with the chocolate, vanilla, and cream, but “wow” is this different.
My wife was totally intrigued and suggested we make a float with the last bottle.  A plan I intend to make a reality when we next hit the grocery store and can get double vanilla bean ice cream. 
If you like dessert beers, cream stouts, or any of the chocolate stouts/porter you will probably love this.  I’m afraid that I will have to add another brew to my “I should get some of that” list.
American Porter | 5.90% ABV

I love porters and plenty of the people I work with (both in and out of the company) know that.  Most of them have spent time and perused the bottle collection filling the shelves in my office.  So when our account rep had a chance to get an interesting porter (that he knew he hadn’t seen) while at a customer’s brewery - he made sure some showed up on my desk!

Shake Chocolate Porter - Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub

This one pours out a velvety black with a tremendous amount of carbonation, it looks like a nitro when it hits the glass.  it had a tall tan head that dissipated quickly leaving thin lacing rings.  It has notes of chocolate, vanilla, cream, coffee, and hazelnut.  It has a medium mouth feel,with a thin velvety sweet finish.  The name totally nails it. This tastes like a chocolate shake.  It is very heavy handed with the chocolate, vanilla, and cream, but “wow” is this different.

My wife was totally intrigued and suggested we make a float with the last bottle.  A plan I intend to make a reality when we next hit the grocery store and can get double vanilla bean ice cream. 

If you like dessert beers, cream stouts, or any of the chocolate stouts/porter you will probably love this.  I’m afraid that I will have to add another brew to my “I should get some of that” list.

American Porter | 5.90% ABV

My wife stopped by and filled up a growler at Upslope (have I mentioned that I have the best wife ever?).  When she called and asked what I wanted I told her to get something I hadn’t had before.  I can’t say I am unhappy with what she got and I am sure it tastes better in the Upslope glass.
Thai IPA - Upslope Brewing Company
This one pours out a hazy golden yellow with a short white head that dissipated quickly leaving very spotty lacing.  It has notes of lemon grass, grapefruit, basil, biscuit, ginger, and lavender. It has medium mouth feel with fairly light carbonation and a citrusy, clean, sweet finish.  The lemon and sweet malts pop on this one and the hop is clearly present, but not over powering.
If you are a hop head you will not be happy with this choice (if you are expecting an IPA).  If someone had asked me to guess what this beer was I would have said it was a Belgium Style Pale Ale, possibly an American Brett. Naming conventions aside, it is quite tasty and absolutely rockin’ with my spicy green curry. Fresh mint, basil, and hot peppers - whew!
I would have this again, and paired with the right foods it is an excellent choice.  I do love seeing the smaller local breweries try new things, and this is certainly different, and good.
Belgian IPA | 6.50% ABV

My wife stopped by and filled up a growler at Upslope (have I mentioned that I have the best wife ever?).  When she called and asked what I wanted I told her to get something I hadn’t had before.  I can’t say I am unhappy with what she got and I am sure it tastes better in the Upslope glass.

Thai IPA - Upslope Brewing Company

This one pours out a hazy golden yellow with a short white head that dissipated quickly leaving very spotty lacing.  It has notes of lemon grass, grapefruit, basil, biscuit, ginger, and lavender. It has medium mouth feel with fairly light carbonation and a citrusy, clean, sweet finish.  The lemon and sweet malts pop on this one and the hop is clearly present, but not over powering.

If you are a hop head you will not be happy with this choice (if you are expecting an IPA).  If someone had asked me to guess what this beer was I would have said it was a Belgium Style Pale Ale, possibly an American Brett. Naming conventions aside, it is quite tasty and absolutely rockin’ with my spicy green curry. Fresh mint, basil, and hot peppers - whew!

I would have this again, and paired with the right foods it is an excellent choice.  I do love seeing the smaller local breweries try new things, and this is certainly different, and good.

Belgian IPA | 6.50% ABV

Okay, I know we are all about beer and it’s many variations, but there are times when for whatever reason you can’t (rare I know, but it does happen).  I usually don’t go with soda, but the other day this one caught my eye and I had to try it.  It was pretty darned good.  It turns out this is a hand crafted soda, by a small local company…  Who knew?  Turns out that hand crafting is good for more then just beer.  FYI. The touch of pepper rocks. Here is the companies description:
GOLDEN GINGER BEER
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SODA CO     Handcrafted Soda Pop

Golden Ginger Beer was started as an homage to our hometown of Golden, Colorado. It quickly turned into one of our signature sodas. We wanted to create a real ginger beer with bite. Something that is refreshing, yet powerful enough to stand up to the strongest mule kicks. We infused the final product with natural lime extract and a touch of pepper for an unmistakable heat. It will definitely set your party on fire. We hope you enjoy this potent ginger beer for its unique characteristics as well as its many creative cocktail applications.

Okay, I know we are all about beer and it’s many variations, but there are times when for whatever reason you can’t (rare I know, but it does happen).  I usually don’t go with soda, but the other day this one caught my eye and I had to try it.  It was pretty darned good.  It turns out this is a hand crafted soda, by a small local company…  Who knew?  Turns out that hand crafting is good for more then just beer.  FYI. The touch of pepper rocks. Here is the companies description:

GOLDEN GINGER BEER

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SODA CO     Handcrafted Soda Pop

Golden Ginger Beer was started as an homage to our hometown of Golden, Colorado. It quickly turned into one of our signature sodas. We wanted to create a real ginger beer with bite. Something that is refreshing, yet powerful enough to stand up to the strongest mule kicks. We infused the final product with natural lime extract and a touch of pepper for an unmistakable heat. It will definitely set your party on fire. We hope you enjoy this potent ginger beer for its unique characteristics as well as its many creative cocktail applications.

One of the guys was over at Avery and the warehouse manager (a totally righteous dude) handed him a bottle and told him to make sure I got it.  The Reverend and I share the same first name and hopefully a lot of his other good qualities.  That kind of proselyting deserves a trip down the beer road to Damascus.  I got down this evening for some serious work with the Reverend.  I have to admit he is a bit heavy handed at times, but he is truly pure at heart.
The Reverend - Avery Brewing Company
This one pours out a clear brown/red with a very tall creamy white head that left very defined lacing.  It has notes of caramel, spice, tropical fruit (pineapple and mango), banana, clove, spruce, and malt.  It has a big mouth feel with a fair amount of carbonation and a sweet, almost sticky finish.  The alcohol comes out at the end as does the malt and caramel.
I am not normally a fan of Quads - they are to much Belgium for me, but I was very impressed by both the drink-ability and the big beer aspect of this one.  I hear from some folks that Americans can’t make a true Belgium beer, I would invite those folks to try this and tell me that.
Quadrupel (Quad) | 10.00% ABV

One of the guys was over at Avery and the warehouse manager (a totally righteous dude) handed him a bottle and told him to make sure I got it.  The Reverend and I share the same first name and hopefully a lot of his other good qualities.  That kind of proselyting deserves a trip down the beer road to Damascus.  I got down this evening for some serious work with the Reverend.  I have to admit he is a bit heavy handed at times, but he is truly pure at heart.

The Reverend - Avery Brewing Company

This one pours out a clear brown/red with a very tall creamy white head that left very defined lacing.  It has notes of caramel, spice, tropical fruit (pineapple and mango), banana, clove, spruce, and malt.  It has a big mouth feel with a fair amount of carbonation and a sweet, almost sticky finish.  The alcohol comes out at the end as does the malt and caramel.

I am not normally a fan of Quads - they are to much Belgium for me, but I was very impressed by both the drink-ability and the big beer aspect of this one.  I hear from some folks that Americans can’t make a true Belgium beer, I would invite those folks to try this and tell me that.

Quadrupel (Quad) | 10.00% ABV

I know it doesn’t seem like it but winter is coming.  I spent the day outside with the chainsaw getting a jump on wood for winter.  I (obviously) can’t drink beer while I am operating power tools, but I felt like treating myself afterwards so I had a bottle of something from last fall that was in the fridge (for just this kind of occasion).  I have to say that I loved the picture so much that I took that instead of the title portion of the label…
The Fear - Flying Dog Brewery
This one pours out a dark brown with hints of amber and red.  It has a tall off white head that left spotty lacing.  This one has notes of pumpkin, spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger), fig, sweet cherry, caramel, malt, and biscuit.  It has a medium mouth feel, with moderate carbonation and a somewhat bitter finish.  Not to sweet and not to spicy this is a delightful seasonal pumpkin beer.  A little bit heavy handed on the alcohol, but it it is a great big beer.
Clearly I thought enough of it to save a bottle for  quiet evening in the the late summer.
Imperial Pumpkin Ale | 9.00% ABV

I know it doesn’t seem like it but winter is coming.  I spent the day outside with the chainsaw getting a jump on wood for winter.  I (obviously) can’t drink beer while I am operating power tools, but I felt like treating myself afterwards so I had a bottle of something from last fall that was in the fridge (for just this kind of occasion).  I have to say that I loved the picture so much that I took that instead of the title portion of the label…

The Fear - Flying Dog Brewery

This one pours out a dark brown with hints of amber and red.  It has a tall off white head that left spotty lacing.  This one has notes of pumpkin, spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger), fig, sweet cherry, caramel, malt, and biscuit.  It has a medium mouth feel, with moderate carbonation and a somewhat bitter finish.  Not to sweet and not to spicy this is a delightful seasonal pumpkin beer.  A little bit heavy handed on the alcohol, but it it is a great big beer.

Clearly I thought enough of it to save a bottle for  quiet evening in the the late summer.

Imperial Pumpkin Ale | 9.00% ABV

As part of the beers that came up to me from Florida I ended up with a number from Cigar City.  The name was interesting and the summer weather has been crying out for IPA drinking.  Who am I to cross the wishes of maiden summer!
Jai Alai IPA - Cigar City Brewing
This one pours out a clear coppery/amber with a large off white head and very good lacing.  Has notes of pine, grapefruit, tropical fruit, resin, spruce, and biscuit. Has a big mouth feel with lots of carbonation and a long somewhat bitter finish from the aggressive hop profile.  There was more malt character and texture in it then I expected and it was a pleasant addition.  If you are a hop head you are going to love this one! My wife on the other hand took a taste and made a face like she a bitten into a lemon (she is NOT a hop head).
This is a great example of an American IPA.  Well worth a try and well worth your time.
American IPA | 7.50% ABV

As part of the beers that came up to me from Florida I ended up with a number from Cigar City.  The name was interesting and the summer weather has been crying out for IPA drinking.  Who am I to cross the wishes of maiden summer!

Jai Alai IPA - Cigar City Brewing

This one pours out a clear coppery/amber with a large off white head and very good lacing.  Has notes of pine, grapefruit, tropical fruit, resin, spruce, and biscuit. Has a big mouth feel with lots of carbonation and a long somewhat bitter finish from the aggressive hop profile.  There was more malt character and texture in it then I expected and it was a pleasant addition.  If you are a hop head you are going to love this one! My wife on the other hand took a taste and made a face like she a bitten into a lemon (she is NOT a hop head).

This is a great example of an American IPA.  Well worth a try and well worth your time.

American IPA | 7.50% ABV