BruceQ Beer Blog

Welcome to my adventure in locally brewed beer! I admit it, I spent all of my adult life drinking mass-produced beer. Mostly Budweiser, when I felt like something special, Heineken. In recent years, I've become aware of—and very concerned by—the dominance of the huge corporations in our lives, and the damage that is doing to our communities.

Part of my personal little revolution against this corporate oligarchy is to buy only locally produced beer! Now, my definition of "locally produced" is fairly relaxed, and not necessarily geographic. I like, and feel good about buying, beer from quite a few states, the criteria is more about the size and culture of the company that makes it. That being said, I live in Colorado, the home of some of the finest "craft" breweries in the world, so most of the beer I drink truly is locally produced.

Currently: 207 beers from 68 different breweries in 18 different states, including 120 beers from 37 Colorado breweries.

Amber Ale
12-3-2016
Crazy Mountain Brewery - Edwards, CO
ABV: 5.25% IBUs: 25 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Crazy Mountain Amber Ale was named after a mountain on the Selvy Family's ranch in Central Colorado. "Loco Mountain" translates from Spanish to "Crazy Mountain," and this beer is crazy good. This delightfully floral American style Amber Ale displays a wonderful balance while still maintaining a profound hoppy goodness. We load this beer with a ridiculous and obscene amount of West Coast hops that are added late in the boil, resulting in a hoppy beer without any bitterness.
my review...
New label, and I think new formulation too, either that or my tastes have changed. I liked it a lot the first time I had it, but not so much this time. Seems mixed up and less cohesive.
Brooklyn Lager
12-3-2016
Pre-prohibition Style
Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn, NY
ABV: 5.2% Type: Lager
from the brewer...
In the late 1800's Brooklyn was one of the largest brewing centers in the country, home to more than 45 breweries. Lager beer in the "Vienna" style was one of the local favorites. Brooklyn Lager is amber-gold in color and displays a firm malt center supported by a refreshing bitterness and floral hop aroma. Caramel malts show in the finish. The aromatic qualities of the beer are enhanced by "dry-hopping", the centuries-old practice of steeping the beer with fresh hops as it undergoes a long, cold maturation. The result is a wonderfully flavorful beer, smooth, refreshing and very versatile with food. Dry-hopping is largely a British technique, which we've used in a Viennese-style beer to create an American original.
my review...
Was in New York last week so I bought a six-pack of Brooklyn Lager. This is a good lager, it's a craft beer, but still a good quality drinking experience. Lots of great taste and a solid lager base.
New Memphis Gold
10-25-2016
Chili Beer
Rockyard Brewing Company - Castle Rock, CO
ABV: 5.0% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Our first batch of beer brewed in the BackYard brewery. This medium bodied Golden Ale is steeped with a medley of seven roasted chilies. Settle in, the heat is on!
my review...
Outstanding! I've seen chili beers before, but never tried one. This is very good! There's plenty of chili heat, but it doesn't overpower the great beer taste. And it goes well with lots of different food, not just Mexican.

This is my first from Rockyard, I'm impressed!
Docktoberfest
10-22-2016
Dry Dock Brewing Co. - Aurora, CO
ABV: % Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
No mention of this beer on their website.
my review...
You know, I'm growing more and more disappointed in Dry Dock Brewing. The website is atrocious, and to be honest, this isn't a great beer. Marzen/Oktoberfest is one of my favorite seasonal styles, and this really isn't it.

It's not bad beer, don't get me wrong, it's just not good beer.
8 Second
10-19-2016
Kolsch Style Ale
Elevation Beer Co. - Poncha Springs, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 15 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Head Brewer Christian Koch fell in love with this style of beer while visiting Cologne, Germany. Our 8 Second Kölsch is brewed to be a true representation of this easy drinking crisp ale. First brewed as a special beer for our local rodeo, it quickly became a hit. Now a staple in our core brand, 8 Second is perfect for an everyday craft beer.
my review...
Another new Colorado brewery! Looks like they make some interesting beers, too, so looking forward to trying some more.

This is a great version of a great style. Some interesting not-quite-floral high notes, a solid Kolsch-style base, and a great almost lagerish crispness. Altogether a great beer!
Palm Tree
10-16-2016
Caribbean-style Lager
Odyssey Beerwerks - Arvada, CO
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 40 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
An Homage to the Islands, with a flourish of spicy hops and a continental malt backbone. A traditional German Pilsner, Palm Tree is brewed with copious quantities of Saaz and Tettnang hops to drive delightful Noble Hop aroma, and an addition of malted rye to the imported German malt bill adds a subtle spiciness to the beer. Palm Tree is lagered for weeks to achieve the essential flavor profile of a Pilsner – a balance of malt depth, floral hop aroma, and a clean, approachable finish. At home in the islands, the mountains, or the living room, Palm Tree Caribbean Lager will please your palette and ease your worries.
my review...
This is quite good. It's just about the palest beer I've ever seen, but it's surprisingly flavorful, and really quite good. All that about spiciness and Caribbean style sounded like a bunch of hooey to me, but it works.

There is, in fact, a sort of spicy note, and lots of well selected and blended hops, and it's all combined into this light, pale lager that goes well with food or just sittin' and sippin'. Fairly low ABV too, so you can have a few of them.
Priscilla
8-6-2016
White Wit Wheat
Oskar Blues Brewery - Longmont, CO
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 20 Type: Wheat
from the brewer...
This AmeriCAN take on the Belgian Classic Wit, featuring orange peel and coriander spice emanated from the basement blues music legacy Dave McIntyre (Oskar Blusologist) built at the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons, CO. On draft for over a decade, Priscilla's zesty citrus and light fresh baked bread aromas mix with spicy, fruity fermentation. Light bodied with a subtle savory spice accent and a dry, lightly tart finish you can nearly feel the flicker of the neon and sounds of the King.
my review...
Well, that's what I get for not taking my glasses to the beer store. I could make out the Oskar Blues logo, so I took a chance, ended up buying another crappy wheat beer.

'Course, that's just me. I imagine as Belgian Wit beers go, this is quite good. I just dislike the whole type. Just tastes like citrusy ginger ale to me.
French Ale
8-1-2016
Diebolt Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 25 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A clean, refreshing French Ale with a light malt and fruity arome, crisp malt saveur that makes its way to a slightly earthy, hop bitterness and bready malt fin.
my review...
Always fun to add a new Colorado brewery to the list, and especially fun to discover a new brewery about 3 blocks from my house.

The beer is okay. I think a little too much going on to be a drink-with-dinner kind of beer, but might be fine as a sittin' and sippin' beer. Several really interesting tastes right at the start, but then it seemed to get bogged down in attempts at reaching that "next level".
Townie Ale
11-27-2015
Post Brewing Co. - Lafayette, CO
ABV: 6.2% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Brewed to 6.2% ABV with American Malt and loads of American hops, Townie balances the rough and the smooth with an attitude that is never out of place. This beer delivers an amazing, complex hop aroma and flavor with a smooth malt backbone that will leave you wanting more.
Howdy Beer
11-25-2015
All-American Pilsener
Post Brewing Co. - Lafayette, CO
ABV: 4.5% Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
With Howdy Beer, we've taken the notion of the American Pilsener and have refreshed and renewed it as a gloriously drinkable celebration of our unique American brewing heritage and amazing American ingredients. This smooth, drinkable pils features a lovely American hop flavor and aroma which gives way to a delicate malt flavor that finishes crisp and clean.
my review...
A very nice pilsner! It's clean and crisp, with a surprisingly interesting and nuanced taste and smooth feel. Another great Colorado brewery, and another great Colorado beer! I also like that it's a bit low in the ABV department.
Pinedrops IPA
10-7-2015
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 70 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Hints of pine and spruce. Clean malt and a crisp finish.
my review...
Excellent! Deschutes continues to impress. It's not as good, I think, as the Alaskan beer with the spruce tips, but really very good. It's got an interesting mix of flavors, and a strong, almost lager base.

It's an IPA, no doubt, but quite tasty!
Blonde Ale
10-5-2015
New Planet Beer Co. - Boulder, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 15 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Light and refreshing, our Blonde Ale offers bright notes of honey and a subtle floral aroma with a crisp, clean finish.
my review...
Yuck. I do like finding another Colorado beer and brewery, but when it sucks, it sucks. I don't know enough about beer to adequately describe, but the impression I get is ginger ale, and not really good ginger ale.

Might be the "gluten free" thing, I don't really know what that means, but nothing here makes me want to.
Black Butte Porter
9-28-2015
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 30 Type: Porter
from the brewer...
Notes of rich chocolate and coffee, a luscious creaminess and a roasted finish.
my review...
This is a double, I already have this in the list, but they changed the label and it's such a great beer I've added it twice. It really is great, too. This is what a porter should be!
Goose Oktober Fest
9-12-2015
Goose Island Beer Co. - Chicago, IL
ABV: 6.4% IBUs: 17 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Brewed in the traditional Märzen style, our Oktoberfest pours a brilliant copper over rose color with a bone white head. Notes of toffee and burnt sugar in the aroma and flavors of sweet dried apricots are delivered in a dry malty body with the mild earthy bitterness that is the hallmark of Hallertau hops.
my review...
Good. Not the best Marzen I've had, but quite good. Maybe just a bit more malty (bready) than I really like. Great color and great head.
Oktoberfest
8-29-2015
Marzen Style Lager
Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.1% Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
There's plenty to celebrate when fall arrives in Colorado. The warm days grow shorter, the cool shadows grow longer, and the aspens put on their golden, grand finale. Brewed with biscuity sweet Munich malts and spicy, herbal noble hops, our Oktoberfest is a reminder to stop and enjoy the show.
my review...
Excellent! Always been a fan of the Marzen, or Oktoberfest style, and this one is a great example of the type. Clean and crisp like all good lagers, with a unique and quite tasty flavor.
Long Table
7-24-2015
Farmhouse Ale
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 20 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This season, our new Long Table Farmhouse Ale is the best excuse to pull up a chair with your closest companions for a few rounds. An ode to the bucolic, table-friendly Belgian saison, we've added a delightfully new hoppy spin to the style, creating a sip that whisks a taste of the tropics into the Old World. Traditional grains of Munich, pale malt and rye lend a wash of toasty, spicy bread, while exotic Nelson Sauvin and citrusy Chinook hops buoy the juicy fruit flavors of our Belgian yeast. So gather around and get ready to hoist this spritz complex farmhouse ale amongst the company of friends.
my review...
This is quite good. A little fruitier than I generally like, but I'm not sure there's actually any fruit juice added. That may all come from the hops they used.

At first, it seemed a bit of a mish-mash of tastes, with a slight bitter underpining, but it got better as dinner went on. Be interesting to see how it goes down tomorrow.
Summerfest 2015
4-21-2015
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 28 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Since their invention in the 1840s, Pilsener-style beers have become the world's most popular style. With a nod toward the original Czech tradition, Summerfest is brewed to feature the best of Bohemian nature. Crisp, golden, dry and incredibly drinkable, Summerfest has a delicate and complex malt flavor and spicy and floral hop character—the perfect warm weather beer.
my review...
Nice! One of my all-time favorite summer seasonals. It's clean, crisp and light, perfect all year 'round.
Fearless Youth
4-5-2015
Dunkel Lager
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse - Loveland, CO
ABV: 5.8% IBUs: 22 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Once upon a time in the land of Bavaria, a darkness fell upon the beer in the town of Munich. But have not fear this darkness was born of a toasted malt that produces a bready chocolate flavor. This full bodied brew is now known as Munich Dunkel. Our Dunkel is made with just enough hoppy bitterness to scare away and overt sweetness. Then it is carefully lagered to produce a cleaness that Fearless Youth is a Munich Dunkel (Doon-kel) lager. Dunkel translates to "dark" in German. The Dunkel style originated in Bavaria at a time when it was difficult to create a pale lager because the technology to do so was not yet available (having to do with malting and drying barley). In addition, the water in the Bavarian area made it possible to create a very dark malty beer lending to the style.
my review...
Excellent! The only thing better than finding a new Colorado brewery, is finding a really good new Colorado brewery.

This is a great beer. Like its close cousin, one of my favorite types, swartzbier, it combines all the best qualities of a good dark ale with a lager.
Beer Camp
3-25-2015
Hoppy Lager
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 7.0% IBUs: 55 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Beer Camp is the ultimate brewing experience. We bring beer fans into our brewery nearly every week to create their own beer with us—the more daring the better—and each spring we'll highlight one of the small-batch standouts. Last year, Beer Camp worked overtime. Along with our fan brews, we made 12 additional beers with 12 exceptional breweries. Choosing one for an encore wasn't easy. Ever drawn to hops, we decided to reimagine our hoppy lager collaboration with Ballast Point.
my review...
Very good! It's hoppy for sure, but not overly bitter and really quite tasty. There's a solid blonde lager under there that balances nicely with the hops.
Nooner
2-6-2015
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 38 Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
A midday go-to, Nooner is our take on the classic German-style pilsner—one of the original session beers. Nooner is easy drinking yet packed with the big flavor of spicy and floral whole-cone hops. Its brilliant golden color begs you to take a sip and sink your taste buds into an extremely welcoming beer, full of flavor and balanced by a crisp, dry finish.
my review...
This is a good beer. Definitely not a great beer, but good. To be honest, the trend towards "hoppy" is starting to bother me. A really well crafted pale ale, or even an IPA, can be a true joy, but just randomly throwing a bunch of hops in the tank and calling it something new, that's bullshit.

They call this a "hoppy pilsner," and it is. So what. Make a really great pilsner, then we'd have something to talk about.
Portage
1-17-2015
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 38 Type: Porter [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A great porter just feels right in your hand. And carrying a glass of Portage Porter is no different. An opaque, brown pour, this beer presents with coffee and chocolate aromas, with hints of toast and smoked almonds. The taste follows suit, adding an upfront sweetness and a slight, roasty bitterness to back it up. Creamy and wonderful, this porter sips a medium body and finishes dry and delightful. Portage Porter carts itself towards perfection. Just tip your glass and keep smiling. Available January 2015.
my review...
A very good porter! Not dense and heavy as some porters can be. Lots of great smoky and nutty flavors, super-smooth on the tongue, and a nice clean American style finish. I like it a lot!
Graham Cracker Porter
12-7-2014
Denver Beer Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.6% Type: Porter
from the brewer...
Like a campfire in a glass, this robust beauty has seductive notes of vanilla, smoked cedar, and mulling spices. A dark pour with mild lacing, she is a rollercoaster of lush chocolate diving into a semi-dry finish of roasted malt and biscuit.
my review...
Intersting beer. At first, I didn't like it, there was graham crackers and chocolate and then this bitter hops on top. But it got better as I drank it. Still don't think I'll buy it again, but it's interesting.

Also, I've always really liked the name Denver Beer Company. Glad to see they're doing some canning now.
Dunkel
12-4-2014
Prost Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.9% IBUs: 25 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
This is a dark amber lager made in the world famous brewing area around Bamberg, Germany. They are characterized by their smooth malty flavor. The Franconian version differs from the dark lagers of Bavaria by being slightly stronger and drier. Dunkels have a distinctive malty flavor that comes from a special brewing technique called decoction mashing. We are reviving the Altfränkisches Dunkel Bier from the Hümmer Brauerei in Breitengüßbach, the brewery whose brewhouse now resides in Denver, Colorado at Prost Brewing.
my review...
Very good. I get the sense that Prost is still kind of getting its feet under it. All great ideas, but so far no really great beers. Very good, just not great.

I'll keep buying their beers when I see them. I think they might make it to great.
Farmhouse Red
12-1-2014
Hall Brewing Co. - Parker, CO
ABV: 4.0% IBUs: 30 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Our Farmhouse Red brings malt and caramel goodness without end. The definition of easy drinking, this beer provides waves of rich barley flavor and a tantalizing finish with nutty notes. Let your bog pony rest, put down that turnwrest plough, and sink in.
my review...
Good beer, and always happy to see a new Colorado brewery show up in the store, but I have to say, I don't really get the "incredibly smooth" and "creamy smoothness" I see in some reviews.

It's quite malty, and definitely smoother than some. There's a pronounced hops bitterness that you don't find in most Red Ales, which sort of works, but I can't quite get over thinking it's another case of "throw a bunch of hops in there, they'll buy it" bullshit.

I'll try some more of their beers, maybe they're for real.
Jubelale
11-6-2014
Winter Ale
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.7% IBUs: 60 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Warm spiciness and tradition grace this bold winter ale. Intriguing, layered flavors unfold to reveal chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a hoppy kick to finish. The deep garnet color pairs perfectly with holiday celebrations.

his year's label by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer features original fiber artwork showing two people sledding in a playful winter landscape. The twins' artwork was created through their unique method of layering and overstitching with fabrics. During their artistic process, they exchange the pieces, allowing the imagery to emerge spontaneously. The fracturing of shape and saturation of color occur layer by layer – allowing the texture of the fiber to build the imagery as they've responded to each other's work. The final piece was meant to capture the essence of the lifestyle we all enjoy here in Central Oregon.
my review...
Great beer! Not happy that it's winter, or the holiday season again, but always glad to see the new Jubelale on the shelf!

A fine brew this year. Very layered and well thought out, lots of interesting flavors, but still goes exceptionally well with food.
India Red Ale
11-4-2014
Black Shirt Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 7.0% IBUs: 85 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
This is our take on the beloved IPA—an American birthright. This beer is our most ho-forward, though these hops are utilized in a manner known as hop-bursting (meaning late-hopped, whirlpool-hopped, and dry-hopped). This method creates an intensely aromatic beer without being overly bitter.
my review...
This is very good! Perhaps just a bit over done for my taste, but the complex layering of fruity/piney/citrusy flavors is really quite intriguing. Then it finishes crisp and clean and all just great American Red Ale. I like it a lot.

And as IPAs go, probably the best I've had!
Screaming Eagle
10-13-2014
ESB
Bonfire Brewing - Eagle, CO
ABV: 4.8% IBUs: 38 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This Extra Special Ale is the result of a collaboration with the Eagle Chamber of Commerce. The result is a deep amber beer that's not too bitter and not too sweet, with a nice balance of 38 IBUs worth of hop-tastiness.
my review...
Not bad. Nothing really special about it, but not bad. Fairly bitter, and not overly flavorful in other ways.

Also, may be just me, but the Screaming Eagles are the 101st Airborne Division, I don't think you get to name your beer that.
Prost Marzen
10-9-2014
Prost Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.8% IBUs: 24 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Prost Märzen is a deep orange, malty lager. Originally, it was brewed in March (Maerz). In the days before refrigeration, this was the last month to brew before the weather was too warm. Later, the Oktoberfest celebration was the perfect event to drink the last of the Maerz beer and start brewing again. Starting in the 1970's the Munich brewers started making paler versions of the Oktoberfest biers. The beer now is a kicked up Helles bier brewed to a slightly higher gravity. At Prost we make a more traditional Märzenbier. Our Märzenbier is orange in color, with a rich malt profile from the abundant use of Vienna and Munich malts.
my review...
Excellent beer! I've always been a fan of the Marzen type, and this is a fine example thereof. It's got an interesting nutty high note that really works quite well.
Tour de Fall
8-25-2014
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 38 Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
New Belgium's love for beer, bikes and benefits is best described by being at Tour de Fat. Our love for Cascade and Amarillo hops is best tasted in our Tour de Fall Pale Ale. We're cruising both across the country during our favorite time of year. Hop on and find Tour de Fall Pale Ale in fall 2014.
my review...
Meh, pale ale. It's not a bad pale ale, but it doesn't make the category of good pale ale either.
5:00 Afternoon Ale
8-18-2014
Renegade Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 25 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Feel free to leave work early for this one, it's always 5:00. This session beer hits the spot after mowing the lawn, or while you're lounging in the park. Low on bitterness but big on flavor, the 5:00 is your go-to beer. Afternoon Ale is a style coined by Renegade. It is a pilsner recipe made with an ale yeast.
my review...
Another new Denver brewery, nice! And a really good beer, too.
Mile High Pale Ale
8-12-2014
Wynkoop Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 60 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Our intense, sticky, Denver-style India pale ale is a hop head's dream. Muscular but balanced, it delivers a lush hop aroma thanks to a post-boil addition of whole-leaf hops in our Hopinator hopback. These verdant gifts meld with more hop flavors and bite paired with deep pale-malt goodness. Revered by our fans of extra strong and extra hoppy beers. Draft only.
my review...
Very good—to be clear, very hoppy—but very good beer! Wynkoop continues to impress. This is hoppy and bitter as all get-out, but it is a Pale Ale, and it does still have a ton of really great beer flavor. No hiding bad beer behind the hops here.
Island Mesa
7-21-2014
Blonde Ale
Kannah Creek Brewing Co. - Grand Junction, CO
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 25 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Our Blonde is a traditional English ale. A light golden hue, subtle hoppy flavor, and dry crisp finish make the Island Mesa Blonde our lightest beer in color and taste. This is a great choice for people new to craft brewed beer.
my review...
Very nice. It's light in both color and taste, but still quite flavorful and very smooth and drinkable.

Another really excellent beer from Kannah Creek!
Prost Pils
7-19-2014
Prost Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 4.6% IBUs: 37 Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
Prost Pils is pale gold in color and capped with a thick, brilliantly white, dense collar of foam. With the first sip spicy hop flavors come to the forefront. As the hop begins to fade, the wonderfully soft imported pilsner malt is revealed. The finish, with its herbal, counterpoint, demands another taste.
my review...
Interesting. I bought a six-pack of this over by my buddy's house yesterday. We drank a couple straight from the bottle, and didn't much like it. But I brought one home with me and had it with a burger tonight. Liked that a lot better. Not sure if it was pouring it into a glass or what, but it really wasn't great yesterday, and it is pretty great today!

A little more bitter than I expect from a pilsner, but very tasty. And it's got that great lager finish.
Summer Helles
7-14-2014
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 31 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Light, bright and easy drinking, now is your chance to drink in the festival season. First brewed to celebrate 40 years of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, it has since become Planet Bluegrass' signature New Belgium offering (under the name Summer Bliss). This Summer Helles pours a brilliant gold, with soft, white foam. The aroma is fresh grains and honey with a spicy-herbal twang. This danceable lager carries the pleasant sweetness of pale and German Pils malts, and levels off with the light and noble bitterness of Hallertau and Tettnang hops. Summer Helles finishes crisp and dry, and is sure to refresh even the thirstiest reveler. Grab your banjo, crack a bottle and let the pickin' shine.
my review...
I do enjoy a nice lager, and this was fairly good. It is clean and crisp, not too bitter, and flavorful but not overpowering.

I'm not sure I'd spend another $11 on it, myself, but it's worth trying. I will say this, it's a hell of a lot better than the weak, fruity, wheat beers that are so prevalent during the summer months.
Broken Oar
6-16-2014
IPA
Kannah Creek Brewing Co. - Grand Junction, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 100 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Modeled after the traditional British India Pale Ale, our Broken Oar IPA is deep golden in color with big malt flavors balanced with a strong hop finish. We dry-hop this beer with Cascade and Centennial hops to provide a noticeable floral aroma.
my review...
Not generally a fan of IPAs, but I bought this because I've had a couple very good beers from Kannah Creek Brewing. Then I made the mistake of looking at some reviews before dinner. So, I was kinda primed to not like this. I didn't actually hate it.

It's plenty bitter, as comes with the IPA label, and a little high in ABV, but it's drinkable. A very average IPA. Disappointing, in light of the other very good beers I've had from Kannah, but I'm not going to pour it down the drain.
Loose Leaf
6-13-2014
American Session Ale
Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 4.5% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
You know those epic days that start with an idea, turn into a dare and end with a great story to tell? This is the beer for those days. Crisp and refreshing like any respectable session ale, but a bit more hop-forward and flavorful than some. Perfect for going with the flow.
my review...
So apparently, session ale means relatively low ABV. The theory being low alcohol means longer "session." Lots of people scoff at the idea, but I kind of like it. I drink beer with dinner. Every once in a while without food, but mostly with dinner. I like the taste and I like how it enhances food. If I can have 2 or 3 beers with dinner, without getting drunk, I'm down with that.

And this is a very good beer. It's clean and crisp, loaded with flavor but not too heavy, and it goes well with food! I like it a lot.
Mexican Logger
6-2-2014
Ska Brewing - Durango, CO
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 16 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
The perfect Mexican Lager. Light and refreshing, it really hits the spot after a long day of brutal chainsaw work.

If you are a closet Pacifico drinker during the warmer weather then seek this one out. It is a far better brew, my friends. SAAZ hops are the star in this amazingly delicious lager.
my review...
This is an excellent brew! It's nice and crisp, flavorful but not overly flavored, and just generally hits on all cylinders. It's also clean and refreshing and not too heavy on the alcohol, making it a great summer beer... without all the citrus fruit you so often get in so-called summer beers.
Colorado Red Ale
5-19-2014
Black Shirt Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 6.4% IBUs: 46 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Notes of caramel, toffee, and dark chocolate on the body with citrusy and fruity undertones, and floral overtones. This beer is slightly malty, delicately hoppy, and an absolute celebration of our great state.
my review...
Nice! A bit complex for my tastes, but really quite enjoyable. Not sure I really get the toffee and chocolate flavors, but it blends nicely into a surprisingly well-balanced brew.

Relative newcomers to the Denver craft brewing scene, these guys seem to be taking it seriously. A brand to watch.
Colorado Freedom Memorial Blonde Ale
5-16-2014
Dry Dock Brewing Co. - Aurora, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 18 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Colorado Freedom Memorial Blonde Ale will be available on tap at Dry Dock, as well as on tap and in 22-ounce bombers around the state while supplies last. The beer is 5.5% ABV with 18 IBUs. It's slightly sweet with just a touch of bitterness, and a floral aroma from the addition of Challenger hops.
my review...
This is very cool for reasons way beyond the beer. The beer, however, happens to be quite good!

It's a very good American Blonde Ale, with just a touch of both bitterness and sweetness.
Hardtail Lager
4-11-2014
Hardtail Brewing - Johnstown, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 17 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Hardtail Lager is an Amber American Lager with a moderate caramel sweetness coming from the generous use of munich and caramel malts, and balanced with moderate use of European noble hops for flavor and bitterness.
Hardtail is fermented cold and lagered for 30 day thus providing the active hardtail consumer a crisp full body drinkable beer, not too heavy, not too light, just right.
my review...
Quite good! Everything I like about lagers, clean and dry, goes well with food, etc. Plus enough hops and other goodness to make it stand out above the mass-produced stuff.
Oaked Butt Head Bock
3-17-2014
Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO
ABV: 8.1% IBUs: 33 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This award winning doppelbock (8.1% alcohol by volume) lager is brewed with a generous supply of Munich, carapils, caramel and chocolate malts and is fermented with a Bavarian lager yeast.The resulting caramel sweetness and rich mouth feel are complimented by a mild hop bitterness.
my review...
This is pretty good. It's got a lot of what I like about dark lagers. It's got strongish oak, smoke, and roasty flavors, and still the fairly clean and dry finish of a lager. Not bad.
Fresh Squeezed
3-14-2014
IPA
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.4% IBUs: 60 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops.
my review...
Not bad. It's an IPA, but it's really quite tasty. The hops, though present in strength, are nicely blended and make for an overall highly drinkable beer. Deschutes continues to impress.
Pale Ale
3-3-2014
Upslope Brewing Co. - Boulder, CO
ABV: 5.8% IBUs: 36 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
This clear, crisp, dry Pale Ale is our signature beer–the one that started it all! It's refreshing characteristics, and signature dry finish, blend smooth malt flavors with a unique spicy hop bitterness. Sure to be the "go-to" beer on any camping trip, fishing excursion or music festival.
my review...
Excellent! Upslope Brewing continues to impress. This is what pale ales can be. It's clean, crisp and dry, and loaded with great beer flavor. I like it a lot.

And I really like that they don't waste any effort on cutesy names for their beers, all their efforts and energy go into making great beer. It shows.
Koko Brown
2-27-2014
Nut Brown Ale
Kona Brewing Co. - Kailua-Kona, HI
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 27 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko Brown, brewed with real toasted coconut, and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste.
my review...
This is good. Just maybe a little too sweet for my taste, but might be better tomorrow. This is probably more of a sittin' and sippin' beer than one to go with dinner.
Loose Cannon
2-26-2014
Heavy Seas - Halethorpe, MD
ABV: 7.2% IBUs: 45 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Our flagship beer, Loose Cannon wins people over at first smell. The carefully cultivated interplay of Simcoe, Palisade, and Centennial creates a most fragrant IPA—its nose bursts with notes of grapefruit, herbs, and pine. Bitterness is somewhat subdued by the floral quality that pervades the taste. The color is burnished gold, and the mouthfeel is creamy. A strong malt backbone balances out the triple-hopped beer.
my review...
I was in Baltimore last week, so I tried a couple Maryland beers.

Had a Loose Cannon with my calzone at a great Italian place called Slyce Pizza. It's an example of IPA done right. Plenty of hops bitterness, but nicely balanced by the other flavors. Liked it a lot.
Snapshot
2-10-2014
Wheat Beer
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 13 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Snap! You just captured an unfiltered wheat beer full of refreshment and a flash of tart at the finish. Smile-inducing aromas of citrus hops jump from the nose, accompanied by the sweetness of coriander and grains of paradise. Brewed with wheat and pale malt, Snapshot pours a hazy, lemon-yellow with bright-white lacing. But the real enticement is the snap of tart. New Belgium's affinity for sour beers led to the in-process blending of lactobacillus to pucker up Snapshot's base. An extra step to acidify and beautify and get this beer ready for its close up.
my review...
Okay, that's it, not buying wheat beer anymore. This sucks, but I don't really have a problem with that, what pisses me off is it's exactly like every other sucky wheat beer I've ever tasted. C'mon guys, go ahead and brew piss beer, but do it with a little care!
Loser
2-6-2014
Pale Ale
Elysian Brewing - Seattle, WA
ABV: 7.0% IBUs: 57 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Light tropical flavors balanced with a crisp malt-hop finish. Celebrating over 20 years of Sub Pop Records with beer.
my review...
What can I say? Any beer that says "Corporate beer still sucks" on the label is bound to come home with me. Even if it is a pale ale.

This one, I'm sad to say, seems to fall into the category of let's throw a ton of cheap hops in so they won't notice the beer isn't great. It's not terrible. I imagine if you were an extra-bitter pale ale kind of person, you might like this a lot. I, however, am not, so I don't.
Runoff
2-3-2014
Red IPA
Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 50 Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This time of year in the Rockies, one day can span all four seasons. Morning snow gives way to afternoon sun, sending fresh snowmelt into our rivers and into our mash tun. With a complex malt backbone dry hopped for notes of citrus and pine, it's almost as surprising as the season itself.
my review...
This is why I keep buying IPAs even though I don't much like the type. This is a very good beer. It's quite heavily hopped, as one might expect, but it's chock full of flavor and it finishes nice and clean—almost like a lager.

It also goes especially well with pizza! Probably other foods, too...
Happy Camper IPA
1-31-2014
Santa Fe Brewing Co. - Santa Fe, NM
ABV: 6.6% IBUs: 44 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
A classic beer for those beer lovers who love their hops, Happy Camper IPA will take the Pepsi Challenge (or IPA challenge, as we say in New Mexico) against any other pretenders to the throne. Was it divine providence that made this beer the king of the IPA world? Was it a tireless pursuit of glory? No, this IPA has a top-secret recipe to thank for its success, and this meticulously formulated combination of several different hops combined with a very specific brewing process give Happy Camper IPA a spicy, citric, and floral infusion of hop character, which is masterfully counterbalanced with the full-bodied maltiness characteristic of the Santa Fe Brewing Company's distinctive beers.
my review...
This is good. It's an IPA, so loads o' hops, but really quite good. I get the sense that care was taken, and it isn't just a case of dumping in hops to cover cheap beer.

My first from Santa Fe, but they've got some great looking beers.
90 Shilling Ale
1-27-2014
Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 27 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
For a while, we'd been wondering what would happen if we lightened up the traditional Scottish ale? The result is an irresistibly smooth and delicious medium-bodied amber ale. The name 90 Shilling comes from the Scottish method of taxing beer. Only the highest quality beers were taxed 90 Shillings. A shilling was a British coin used from 1549 to 1982. We think you'll find this original ale brilliantly refreshing, and worth every shilling.
my review...
Excellent! This is just real good beer. Totally unpretentious, doesn't try to be something it's not, just really great beer.

It is, just like the brewers said, very much like a slightly lighter version of Scottish Ale, which is a favorite type of mine.
Spring Blonde
1-24-2014
Belgian Style Ale
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 48 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Brewed with pale and Munich malts, this golden ale pours bright copper and holds a strong, white head aloft. A nose of lemon peel, pepper, and fresh baked bread entice a sipping. Spring Blonde drinks malty, sweet and wonderful. And the easy Nugget hopping pedals towards a dry, lightly bitter finish. Shed that coat, grab some bikes, and crack some beers.
my review...
Meh, not impressed. Kind of weak tasting, a little heavier on the citrus fruit flavors than I like, overall rather disappointing. I'm starting to think Belgian style means bleh.
Alaskan ESB
1-20-2014
Extra Special Bitter Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co. - Juneau, AK
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 42 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Alaskan ESB is darker and hoppier and is brewed and fermented at different temperatures than our Alt-style Amber. It has an exquisite copper color derived from Crystal malt that also gives the beer roasted overtones. ESB has a crisp finish resulting from the use of premium Northwest hops.
my review...
Very good. Nothing really special, but quite good. Funny thing about the term ESB. It's used a lot in beers, but it stands for several different things. In this case, the beer is basically their Amber Ale with a bit more alcohol, maybe a bit more bitterness. Again, good, but does it deserve a special name and label?

I do like the DeHavilland though, very cool plane!
Psycho Penguin
1-16-2014
Vanilla Porter
Odyssey Beerwerks - Arvada, CO
ABV: 5.5% Type: Porter
from the brewer...
Dark, silky maltiness will slide down the throat but not before the nose and tongue have picked up the smooth and smoky flavor of Mexican vanilla beans lurking within. It's an easy drinker and hard to put down.
my review...
Mmm, nice! I've had vanilla porters that don't quite deliver on the promise of the type. This one does! It's a dark, smooth, malty porter, with well-chosen vanilla flavors expertly blended in to make for a wonderfully cohesive brew.

Odyssey is only a couple years old, and I gather their canning line is even younger. I look forward to following their exploits!
Bikini Blonde Lager
1-13-2014
Maui Brewing Company - Lahaina, HI
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 18 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Our filtered Munich Helles Lager brewed with floral hops and Pilsner and Munich malts. This is the closest thing to an American Lager from Maui Brewing Co., but not skimpy of flavor. Bold, smooth and refreshing!
my review...
This is a really excellent lager! Nothing strange, nothing fancy, just lager done right. It's dry and crisp, smooth and refreshing, nice color and a great head.

This is a new brewery for me, the second from Hawaii. I'm looking forward to exploring their offerings.
White Wing
1-11-2014
Belgian White
Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 15 Type: Wheat
from the brewer...
Brewed with authentic Belgian yeast and hints of coriander and orange peel, White Wing has all the spice and citrus aroma of a true-to-style Belgian Wheat Ale. Slightly sweet and highly drinkable, it's a delightfully odd bird.
my review...
I'm tempted to go easy here, because my dislike of wheat beer is a personal thing, and I know lots of people don't share it. But what the heck, it's my blog...

Piss-colored, cloudy, headless, weak, tasteless, and loaded down with citrus fruit. That's what I think of wheat beers in general, and this one fits the description perfectly.

Blech.
Lasso
1-7-2014
India Pale Ale
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.0% Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
LASSO is the new frontier of India Pale Ale. Brewed with a robust roundup of Columbus, Centennial and Cascade hops, its sessionable simplicity proves bigger isn't always better. But make no mistake – the Wild West hasn't gone mild. That same untamed IPA spirit thrives, and we reckon this'll go down mighty fine.
my review...
Meh, just another IPA. It's not bad, just very average. I'm not a big fan of IPAs, and this one did nothing to change that opinion.

It does have nice color and a decent head.
Session Premium
1-4-2014
Full Sail Brewing Co. - Hood River, OR
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 18 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Original Session, with the bright red label, is a classic all-malt pre-Prohibition style lager that reminds us of what American lagers used to taste like. It's flavorful, refreshing, and has a touch of that import-style taste. (Which, once upon a time, you didn't have to buy an "import" to get.) Oh, and it comes in a stubby, 11-oz bottle like your grandpa used to buy. So after your next session (surf, jam, gab, whatever), crack open a Session and drink to the good old new days.
my review...
This is good. It's a fairly simple lager, with great taste and all the cool things about lagers.

And... this one goes to eleven.
Sawtooth Nitro
12-31-2013
American Style ESB
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 4.75% IBUs: 27 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Two years ago, Left Hand released the first nitrogenated bottled craft beer without a widget – Milk Stout Nitro. Last night on the opening evening of the Great American Beer Festival, the brewery debuted the next generation in the Left Hand Nitro series: Sawtooth Nitro and Wake Up Dead Nitro.

Similar to the classic CO2 original, Sawtooth Nitro portrays nutty malt flavors balanced by herbal hops.
my review...
I have to say, I'm really not impressed with the whole "nitro" thing these guys seem to be pushing so hard. Okay, the head lasts a bit longer, but I don't get all the creamy mouthfeel stuff. Maybe I just haven't had a good nitro beer.

At any rate, I mostly liked Sawtooth, but Sawtooth Nitro isn't as good.

And, as the fireworks signal the end of the year, that makes 150 different beers in 2013. Not a one of them from the big corporate breweries! Happy 2014!
Crazy Mountain Amber Ale
12-29-2013
Crazy Mountain Brewery - Edwards, CO
ABV: 5.25% IBUs: 25 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Crazy Mountain Amber Ale was named after a mountain on the Selvy Family's ranch in Central Colorado. "Loco Mountain" translates from Spanish to "Crazy Mountain," and this beer is crazy good. This delightfully floral American style Amber Ale displays a wonderful balance while still maintaining a profound hoppy goodness. We load this beer with a ridiculous and obscene amount of West Coast hops that are added late in the boil, resulting in a hoppy beer without any bitterness.
my review...
Excellent! I like this a lot! This is my second from Crazy Mountain, and both have been excellent.

This is a great American Amber Ale. Loaded with hops, but curiously not very bitter. There are some interesting high notes, though I'd be reluctant to call them "floral" really. Definitely interesting, and quite good, in any case.
Independence Pass Ale
12-26-2013
Aspen Brewing Company - Aspen, CO
ABV: 7.0% IBUs: 62 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Independence Pass Ale is our super-hopped high altitude rendition of the classic India Pale Ale style. We couldn't help but name our high-hop beer after Aspen's eastern boundary and 12,095ft. high-elevation pass—maybe due to the delirious effect, or maybe because the initials just worked out well. You decide.
my review...
Well, I was very concerned when I got home (and put on my glasses) and read the label. All that about a "super-hopped IPA" made me think I had chosen badly. I'm happy to report that it's not the case!

This beer is quite heavily hopped, that's certainly true, but they actually seem to have taken care and created a very good beer. I've been starting to feel that many brewers just pile in the hops to hide the flaws. That may still be true, but Aspen Brewing seems to have made both a highly hopped beer, and a very well crafted beer at the same time! I'm impressed!
Foreign Style Stout
12-23-2013
Upslope Brewing Co. - Boulder, CO
ABV: 6.9% IBUs: 30 Type: Stout [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Full bodied, black, roasted, and exceptionally smooth. This was our first anniversary beer and our first limited can release. Finishes neither sweet nor dry, it is a wonderfully balanced stout perfect for stout lovers and stout newbies.
my review...
This is a great stout, I like it a lot! It's big, dark and roasty, and oh so smooth. The finish is clean and well balanced. If you like dark European ales, with a noticeable American twist, you'll like this one a lot.
California Route
12-20-2013
Organic Lager
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.5% Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Leading the way in environmental responsibility and innovative outdoor gear since 1973 is worth toasting - and we have just the beer. In celebration of Patagonia's 40th anniversary, New Belgium brewed an organic California Common lager with Patagonia. Boasting a California lager yeast with subtle fruity esters and a refreshing and light lager finish, California Route is canned for adventure. Crack one and inhale an aromatic blast of citrusy Cascade hops and heavy dose of Nobel Hallertau. The addition of organic Munich specialty malt will build complexity with hints of freshly baked bread.
my review...
This is a very good lager. It's dry and crisp as good lagers generally are, and it's loaded with great malt flavors and nicely hopped.

This was a limited edition production, so I consider myself lucky to have found a six-pack.
Brush Creek
12-17-2013
Blonde Ale
Bonfire Brewing - Eagle, CO
ABV: 4.8% IBUs: 19 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
100% of the water in all Bonfire beer comes from Eagle's Brush Creek, fed by springs and snow-melt high in the Sawatch Mountains. With nugget hops, along with munich and white wheat malts, the Brush Creek is our lightest, smoothest offering.
my review...
Oh, excellent! This is what blonde ale should taste like! It's light and crisp, it's smooth on the tongue, and it's packed with great flavors, including expertly chosen and blended hops.

I'm always psyched to add a new Colorado brewery to the list, especially when it's a truly excellent beer! It's going to be fun trying more from this brewer, they make a schwarzbier, and a vanilla porter...
Eye of the Hawk
12-10-2013
American-style Strong Ale
Mendocino Brewing Co. - Ukiah, CA
ABV: 8.0% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Eye of the Hawk is an excellent, rich bodied ale that is brewed to perfection. "Eye" is coppery reddish-amber in color and its unique taste is the result of a judicious mix of caramel and pale malted barley, balanced with Cluster, Cascade and Saaz hops. This gives the Eye its luxurious flavor, substantial mouth-feel and that slightly dry finish. Eye of the Hawk has garnered a cult following that is enviable.
my review...
This is very good. Plenty of malty flavor, with just enough hops to give it nice crisp finish. At 8%, it's about twice as much alcohol as I really like in a beer, but at least it still tastes like beer.
Fat Tire
12-7-2013
Amber Ale
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 19 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Named in honor of our co-founder's bike trip through Europe, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer's home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Together with co-founder Kim Jordan, they traveled around sampling their homebrews to the public. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness. Fat Tire: Pairs well with people.
my review...
Excellent! Fat Tire was one of the first bottled craft beers produced in Colorado, and it remains one of the best.

Great malty goodness balanced perfectly by fresh hops. Great craft beer doesn't get much greater.

Beautiful fiery color, topped by a nice fluffy head.
Winterhook
12-4-2013
Redhook Brewery - Woodinville, WA
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 45 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Winterhook is the perfect beer to keep warm during cold months after shoveling snow, shredding some powder, or playing hooky to catch the game. Since it was first brewed, Redhook's Winterhook has changed slightly each year to celebrate the season and keep everyone on their toes. After all, no one likes getting the same gift twice. The 29th version of Winterhook brewed for this year offers a rich caramel body that balances a big malt backbone with the aggressively dry hopped brew, making this year's winter ale slightly naughty and very nice.
my review...
Another very good winter ale! This one has all the malty goodness I've come to expect in a winter ale, balanced by a fairly strong dose of hops. A nice blend!

It's got a dark amber, slightly cloudy color, a slight but persistent head, and major lacing action.

Redhook was an early entry in the craft brewing explosion, getting started in the early eighties. They have an interesting lineup, I hope to get the chance to taste more of them!
Winter Warlock
12-1-2013
Oatmeal Stout
Bristol Brewing Company - Colorado Springs, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 25 Type: Stout [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Chock full of highly roasted barley malt and 100 lbs. of flaked oatmeal, the Warlock is a dark and satisfying winter elixir. Smooth, rich and exceptionally comforting. An annually-awaited winter seasonal, and one of our award winners.
my review...
This is a very good oatmeal stout. I like it a lot. Very dark and smoky tasting, almost no hops bitterness, and smoooooth. Now I know what they're talking about with the oatmeal, this is like velvet on the tongue!

I'm growing more and more impressed with Bristol Brewing in Colorado Springs. This is my fifth beer of theirs, and all have been excellent!
Bristlecone
11-27-2013
Brown Ale
Uinta Brewing Co. - Salt Lake City, UT
ABV: 4.0% IBUs: 25 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Malty in character, this brown ale has a smooth body and a clean, well-rounded finish.
my review...
Very nice! Like all good brown ales, this is big and malty, with touches of mocha and nuts, but the strong hops component and dry finish make it really stand out. This is a great American brown ale!

Nice color, short but nicely lacey head, and super smooth feel. A great beer!
Winter Soulstiz
11-25-2013
Robust Red Ale
Kannah Creek Brewing Co. - Grand Junction, CO
ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 40 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A robust red ale balanced with a light hop bitterness. It will warm you inside when it's cold outside.
my review...
Awesome! This is an excellent beer. As they say, a robust red ale balanced with a light hop bitterness. Not only is that the perfect description, but it says something great about a brewery that doesn't waste energy tooting their own horn, they just go about brewing the best beer they can. I like that.

I will definitely be watching for more beers from this Colorado brewery!
Accumulation
11-22-2013
White IPA
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 70 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This winter, IBUs start accumulating like snow in Colorado with our new Accumulation White IPA. Brewing a white IPA was not only a way to salute the white beauty falling from the sky, but a direct revolt to the longstanding tradition of brewing dark beers for winter. At least that's what our rebellious brewer Grady Hull likes to claim as he shovels in plenty of new hop varietals and a bit of wheat for a smooth mouthfeel. Stack up a few cases of Accumulation White IPA to keep your long nights glowing blizzard white.
my review...
Nice. Take my two least favorite beer types, and blend them together to bring out the worst qualities of each. No sir, I don't like it.

I don't like wheat beer because it's cloudy and piss colored, has a very weak head, is tasteless and loaded down with citrus fruit. I don't like IPAs because they're just over-hopped for the sake of hoppiness. And just to top it off, jack up the alcohol content for no other reason than it's a "winter seasonal."

Bah. Here's an idea, why don't you brew something because it's great beer, as opposed to this hot mess which was brewed to make some kind of statement.
Christmas Ale
11-19-2013
Anchor Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA
ABV: 5.5% Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Every year since 1975 the brewers of Anchor Steam® Beer have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is available from early November to mid-January. The Ale's recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2013 is the California White Fir. It was hand drawn by local artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels for us since 1975.
my review...
Outstanding! Truly excellent beer! This is a Christmas ale that's just about enough to make the holiday season worthwhile.

It's rich, malty and full of interesting flavors. It finishes clean and dry, it's got a beautiful dark amber color and a big fluffy head. And there's a "special" ingredient that tastes suspiciously like those spruce tips that surprised me so much in the Alaskan Winter a couple weeks ago.

Another superb beer from Anchor Brewing. These guys rock!
Backcountry Amber
11-16-2013
Backcountry Brewery - Frisco, CO
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 28 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Formerly known as "Switchback Amber," it is reminiscent of a German Oktoberfest-Style brew with a deep copper color, smooth malty flavor and pleasantly noble hop aroma and bitterness from German hops. Prost!
my review...
I don't really like this one at all. It sort of has the beginings of an amber ale, but it stops short and then there's just a weird, unpleasant, bitter taste that lingers a bit past the finish.

Also, as is becoming a pattern for Backcountry beers, no head, no matter how agressive the pour.

Sorry, I like to support Colorado breweries, but when they suck, they suck.
This Season's Blonde
11-13-2013
Aspen Brewing Company - Aspen, CO
ABV: 5.6% IBUs: 24 Type: Wheat
from the brewer...
A classic English style pale ale with wheat and honey malt flavor paired with bright floral and citrus hop flavors. Aspen Brewing Company's first "seasonal" offering was our Spring Blonde Wheat Ale in 2008. It was such a hit we kept brewing This Season's Blonde through that summer and year-round.
my review...
Wow, that's good! They call this a wheat ale, and it does have the smooth feel, so I'm putting it in the wheat category. But oh, my, that's good!

It's got the smooth feel of a good honey-wheat ale, but it's also got the dry, crisp taste and perfect finish of a great pilsner. There are hints of floral and citrus that sit perfectly on top of a solid, well crafted ale.

Awesome, I needed that after that nasty vodka-tasting winter seasonal I suffered through the last 6 days. I found a great new Colorado brewery, and a great beer!
Old Jubilation
11-8-2013
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 8.3% IBUs: 45 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Our winter strong ale has a gorgeous mahogany hue, a hint of hazelnuts, and a finish reminiscent of mocha and toffee. No spices, just a perfect blend of five specialty malts.
my review...
Hmmm, I don't know about this one. The high alcohol content is not covered or mellowed at all, by anything. In truth, it tastes a lot like drinking a glass of vodka.

The specialty malt blend is there, and quite tasty, you just have to get past the alcohol blast. This would have been much better with about half the ABV.

11-13-2013 Okay, I'm sure. This was just nasty. Like drinking a glass of vodka. I actually poured one down the drain. I've never done that before.
Dead Guy Ale
11-5-2013
German Maibock
Rogue Brewery - Newport, OR
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 40 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day) for Casa U Betcha in Portland, Oregon. The Dead Guy design proved so popular with consumers and especially Grateful Dead fans, that we made it the label for our Maierbock ale. Even though the association with the Grateful Dead band is pure coincidence, we have gratefully dedicated Dead Guy Ale to the Rogue in each of us.
my review...
This is very good. Not really outstanding in any way, but it makes up for that by being very good in pretty much every way.

It's a good malty German style ale. Nice, smooth mouthfeel, good hops flavors but not too bitter, slightly cloudy but nice color and head. I like it!
Brown Shugga'
10-29-2013
Lagunitas Brewing Company - Petaluma, CA
ABV: 9.9% IBUs: 52 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Originally a failed attempt at our 1997 batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale resulting in an all-new-beer-style we like to call...Irresponsible.
my review...
This is very good. It's a good roasty ale with a sweet brown sugar top note. The sweetness is rather nicely balanced by a strongish hops component. Really quite enjoyable. Major alcohol content, though. Don't let the sweetness fool you!
Cocoa Porter
10-25-2013
Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO
ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 18 Type: Porter [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A uncommonly smooth traditional dark brown ale with a multitude of complex light chocolate and coffee flavors. A light addition of domestic Perle and Willimette hops balances the complexity of this beer. The addition of pure cocoa powder and Colorado honey enhances the roasted malt used in this special winter ale. The overall balance of this beer makes it a very drinkable session porter.
my review...
I don't know. I'm going to have to drink a few more of these before I have an opinion. On first try, it's not outstanding. It's not bad, just not great.

It's funny, I like chocolate, honey, coffee, and beer of course, you'd think this would be a great beer. Unfortunately, not so much.

I'll update this if my opinion changes in the next couple days.
Oatmeal Stout
10-22-2013
Breckenridge Brewery - Denver, CO
ABV: 4.9% IBUs: 36 Type: Stout
from the brewer...
It's a bold, smooth-bodied concoction that oozes dark-roasted coffee aromas and flavors of espresso and semi-sweet chocolate. We round out these heady pleasures with a dose of flaked oatmeal for a creamy body and a semi-dry finish. Unforgettable.
my review...
This is a good oatmeal stout, but honestly, not great. I find it very light on the coffee/espresso/chocolate flavors, and heavy on the hops.

It's also disappointingly devoid of any head at all, and, for a stout, surprisingly light in ABV.
Oktoberfest
10-18-2013
Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 18 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This festive Marzen-style seasonal has a deep amber color and slightly toasted flavor. The initial rich malty aroma and sweetness fades to a moderately dry, hoppy finish.
my review...
This is a very good Oktoberfest, or Marzen-style beer. Marzen is a malty German lager, so you get the great roasty maltiness of a European ale, but the crisp, dry finish of a good lager. A nice blend.

Another solid offering from Shiner, one of those old regional breweries that found themselves labelled "craft" breweries when that label was invented in the late 80's.
Hibernation Ale
10-15-2013
English Style Old Ale
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 8.7% Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
HIBERNATION ALE has been our celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character.
my review...
This is very good. To be honest, though, I don't really like this much alcohol in my beer. I like to drink a beer or two with a meal, and a little buzz enhances the food, but getting looped is not the goal. Not really even desired. I know higher ABV is standard for winter seasonals, and that's fine, but it's the middle of October, and I haven't been working in the snow all day. Ya' know what I mean?

All that aside, this really is very good beer. It's rich and malty, but with an interesting hops counter-punch that finishes remarkably dry.
Winter Ale
10-12-2013
Alaskan Brewing Co. - Juneau, AK
ABV: 6.4% IBUs: 22 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol.
my review...
Wow, that's good! Really good! Spruce tips, who'd o' thunk it? Alaskan Brewing continues to impress. This is a good solid ale, with smooth, rich malt, crisp hops, and the truly unique taste of spruce tips!

I know, it just sounds weird, but I'm here to tell you, it totally works!
Pipeline Porter
10-9-2013
Kona Brewing Co. - Kailua-Kona, HI
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 23 Type: Porter [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii's Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew.
my review...
Excellent Porter. These guys don't make a lot of beers, but they make really great beers! This is dark, smoky, roasty, coffee-y, and just wonderfully beery. Great near-black color, nice fluffy tan head, rich and smooth... ain't nothing wrong with this beer at all!
Pivo
10-6-2013
Hoppy Pilsner
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles, CA
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 40 Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
Everything we love about classic German Pilsner with a hoppy Bohemian twist. Pivo is a bright straw colored lager beer with playful carbonation topped with beautiful white foam lace. Delicate lightly toasted malt flavors underscore noble German hop character. Hallertau-grown Magnum hops deliver the lupulin foundation while generous amounts of Spalter Select hops bring floral aromatic and spicy herbal notes. As a twist on the traditional Pils, we dry hop with German Saphir for a touch of bergamot zest and lemongrass. A refreshing, light-bodied and hop-driven Pils.
my review...
Not terribly impressed. I'll try it with some other foods (I had a burrito tonight), but as of now, not really liking this much. It's not bad, just not very good.

They talk about 3 different hops, and spicy, herbal, floral, fruity, hoppy... Frankly, it just tastes like a badly conceived and/or badly executed experiment in strange taste combinations. Might appeal to some. Not me.
Lands End
10-3-2013
Amber Ale
Kannah Creek Brewing Co. - Grand Junction, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 28 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Deep copper in color, this German-Style Altbier has a medium hop flavor and moderate alcohol content. Specialty malts enhance the light body and malt character. Lands End Amber is a remarkable beer with a crisp clean finish.
my review...
Two new Colorado breweries in a row, I sure like it when that happens! And, unlike the Eddyline brew a few days ago, this one is excellent! There's a real solid American Amber Ale foundation, a very interesting and tasty mid-tone, that might be the "specialty malts" they mention, and a nice smooth and crisp finish. Like this beer a lot!

It's also got a beautiful reddish copper color, and a big fluffy head. Awesome!
Boater Beer
9-30-2013
American Premium Lager
Eddyline Brewing - Buena Vista, CO
ABV: 4.5% IBUs: 10 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Hot summer days and cool river waters is what this beer was designed for. A light 4.5% ABV session pilsner made with enough maltiness for a solid initial mouthfeel but a crisp finish. This beer is lightly dry-hopped to give it a nice summery floral hoppiness. This beer was made for a simple, no-thought required, refreshing enjoyment!
my review...
Well, it's always fun to add another Colorado brewery to my list. Unfortunately, this isn't a great beer. I might have just gotten a bad batch, or an old sixpack, but this was flat, un-interesting, and finished with an unpleasant, lingering bitter aftertaste.

Oh well, they can't all be great... I guess.
Jubelale
9-27-2013
Winter Ale
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.7% IBUs: 60 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping. Jubelale pours deep garnet in color, medium bodied, with notes of chicory, earth, spice and fruit. To beer lovers, it's like Yule fire and family.
my review...
Really cold today, think it might freeze tonight. A good day for my first 2013 winter seasonal! And the 2013 Jubelale was in the store tonight!

This is really good winter ale. Deeply layered with all sorts of interesting flavors, including a nice hops component and a rich, smooth malty finish. I like it a lot!

Interesting, this has a 60 IBUs rating, just like the super-bitter IPA I had earlier in the week, but the sweet, malty undertone seems to balance it almost out of the picture.
Flipside
9-23-2013
Red IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 60 Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Just when it feels like the dog days will never end, suddenly, the switch is flipped, the air gets cooler and it's clear that autumn is on the way. Featuring a ruby-red hue and abundant tropical fruit and citrus hop flavors, Flipside Red IPA is the perfect beer for the final flash of summer.
my review...
Whoa, "hop forward" doesn't quite say it, this beer is about hoppy enough to curl your toes. A bit over the top, in my book, but if you're into hoppy beers, you'll like this one.

I suppose there's a nice red ale under there somewhere, but all I get is hops. I think that's an unfortunately common trend in American craft brewing.
Autumn Ale
9-20-2013
Breckenridge Brewery - Denver, CO
ABV: 6.7% IBUs: 21 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Our fall seasonal combines the malty goodness of a German lager with the clean crispness of an American ale. Brewed with Munich malts and a delicate blend of Bavarian hops, it's a full-bodied treat with a nutty-sweet middle, a warming alcohol level and notes of toasted grains. A pre-winter winner.
my review...
Good beer. Not really exceptional in any way, just very good beer. Which, I'm coming to realize, is one of the admirable qualities of Breckenridge Brewery. They stick with fairly traditional types, they keep things simple, and they brew good, solid, straightforward beer. I can respect that! Being located about 6 blocks from my house, that's just gravy!

Their autumn seasonal is what I would classify as an American Red Ale. Subtle but not absent hoppiness, on a smooth malty ale base. Very good!
Face Down
9-17-2013
Brown Ale
Telluride Brewing Co. - Telluride, CO
ABV: 5.7% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A beautiful hybrid of an English and American style Brown that explodes with toffee, chocolate, and nut flavors... don't be afraid to get down with the best Brown around!
my review...
Very nice! This is a great Brown Ale. It's got a nice, rich, smooth taste that's just loaded with interesting "brown" flavors. A little chocolate, some nutty flavors, maybe a little smoky wood... all over a great almost-English dark ale base. I like this beer a lot!

Another new Colorado brewery... and another great beer!
Rail Yard Ale
9-15-2013
American Amber Ale
Wynkoop Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 16 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Our flagship brew is a smooth, amber beer that combines the malty goodness of an Octoberfest lager with the slight fruitiness of an ale. Hearty but refreshing.
my review...
Oh, that's good! This is very nearly perfect beer. It's got all the craft and pure love for beer you could want from a dedicated craft brewery or brewpub. Notably absent is the cheap trick of overpowering hops that so many of today's craft brewers fall into.

It is rich and malty, has a load of great hops flavors, yet is light and refreshing, smooth and drinkable, and finishes clean and crisp. I like this a lot!
Hazed and Infused
9-11-2013
Dry Hopped Ale
Boulder Beer Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 5.0% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
This unfiltered amber ale is "Hazed" in its natural state and "Infused" during dry-hopping with Crystal and Centennial hops, creating a flavorful, aromatic brew unlike any before it. Tapping into the creative spirit that launched Colorado's First Microbrewery, the brewers at Boulder Beer Company have blended together four different hop varieties to give Hazed a unique aroma, with just enough yeast for a full mouth feel and a smooth, easy finish. So sit back, relax and get hazed.
my review...
This is good. Nicely balanced hops and malts, the full body of a good ale, and the clean finish of a good lager.

Boulder is a strange city, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that Boulder Beer is a strange brewery. They make some very good beers, and some very average beers.
Backcountry Porter
9-8-2013
Backcountry Brewery - Frisco, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 35 Type: Porter
from the brewer...
Formerly known as "Peak One Porter," it is a complex recipe utilizing 6 Malts, and 2 varieties of hops to create a dark, creamy and most importantly, balanced flavored "Robust Porter". A local favorite!
my review...
Good porter! This is my second beer from Backcountry, both have been excellent.

It is dark and rich, and packed with great hops and malt flavors.
Joe's
9-4-2013
Premium American Pilsner
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 50 Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
A contemporary rendition of a classic style, Joe's is hopped with purpose: beautifully bitter and dry with an abundance of floral, Noble German hops.
my review...
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! From what I've been reading, pilsner is a tough style to get right. The long, cold lagering, the extra pale malts, and some other factors I don't entirely understand. I've had a couple that weren't really outstanding, this one tastes like they got it right!

It's solidly hopped, but not just all-out, knock you down hops like some pale ales. This pilsner is carefully crafted to feature the hops profile within a context of nicely malted barley.

It is very light colored, has a thick white head, and finishes dry and clean like the best lagers.
Third Eye
9-1-2013
Pale Ale
Steamworks Brewing Co. - Durango, CO
ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 65 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
A pale ale with a strong malt backbone to balance a large hop bill which lends to spicy/citrus qualities.
my review...
Bleh, not impressed. Just plain old pale ale. Super hoppy and bitter, the usual citrusy smell, nothing interesting here at all.
Boohai
8-30-2013
Red Ale
Crazy Mountain Brewery - Edwards, CO
ABV: 6.0% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
We bring in the hops for this brew from New Zealand, where locals use the term "Boohai" to describe being thoroughly lost in a remote or non-existant place far from civilization. To us, that sounded like a pretty good place to be. These unique hops present a noticeable aroma of blackberries, Sauvignon Blanc grapes and pine which come together nicely with a complex blend of Belgian malts to make a deep, yet sublimely pleasant beer.
my review...
There's a real strong fruity smell as soon as you crack the can. Not citrus, maybe blackberry, maybe grapes. Then the hops come right in when you sip it, and it's all very good beer from there!

Very, very good beer! Great, full-bodied ale, with all the smooth mouthfeel and sweet maltiness of an American Red Ale, and all the complex flavors and big hops of a good pale ale. Then finishes off just as smooth and dry as you could want.
Old Chub
8-26-2013
Scotch Ale
Oskar Blues Brewery - Longmont, CO
ABV: 8.0% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
This jaw-dropping Scottish strong ale (8% ABV) is brewed with bodacious amounts of malted barley and specialty grains, and a dash of beechwood-smoked malt. Old Chub features semi-sweet flavors of cocoa and coffee, and a kiss of smoke. A head-turning treat for malt heads and folks who think they don't dig dark beer.
my review...
Oh, nice! Scottish Style Ale... I may have to re-think my placement of schwartzbier at the top of my favorite styles list. This is so good!

Dark, cola colored, with a nice tan head, great woody, chocolatey, coffee-ey mid-tones, a touch of sweet smoke, and the smoothest, creamiest finish I've ever tasted.

Choice quality stuff! I'll definitely be trying some more from Oskar Blues.
B3K
8-25-2013
Black Lager
Wynkoop Brewing Company - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 19 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Our German-style schwarzbier features roasted flavors, understated hops and a hint of smoke. A 2008 GABF gold medal winner, it's a thirst-quenching version of dark beer that's scintillating and sessionable.
my review...
Oh man, another black lager! This may be the perfect beer. All the great things about lagers, the crisp, dry taste, the clean finish, with the great taste of an expertly brewed ale. I love it!

This is my first from Wynkoop, which was pretty much the grandaddy of the American brewpub movement, opened in 1988.
Torpedo
8-22-2013
Extra IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 7.2% IBUs: 65 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Sierra Nevada and hops go hand in hand. What began as a crazy idea scribbled in a pub eventually became our newest year-round hop bomb, Torpedo Extra IPA. The first beer to feature our "Hop Torpedo"—a revolutionary dry-hopping device that controls how much hop aroma is imparted into beer without adding additional bitterness. Torpedo Extra IPA is an aggressive yet balanced beer with massive hop aromas of citrus, pine and tropical fruit.
my review...
Very good beer, as I've come to expect from Sierra Nevada. It's an IPA, so it's hoppy and bitter, but there's obviously a lot of craft and care put into this beer. The fruity/piney flavors of the hops varieties balance out the bitterness quite nicely.
Amber Ale
8-20-2013
Dry Dock Brewing Co. - Aurora, CO
ABV: 5.8% IBUs: 49 Type: Ale
my review...
This is a fairly average Amber Ale. It's got an interesting taste, but it's kind of muddy colored, cloudy, and headless. I'm not that impressed.

Dry Dock is aligned with the Colorado Freedom Memorial, and made a Freedom Memorial Ale a while back, so that's cool. Have to say, though, pretty lame wordpress website.
Oktoberfest
8-15-2013
Marzen Lager
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 6.6% IBUs: 24 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Biscuity, malty goodness dominates upfront while the noble pedigree hops lend a properly spicy, dry finish. Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi. Time to roast your chicken and upend your stein before the air gets crisp, the leaves flame and fall and the skies fade to black. Auf geht's!
my review...
This is a very good, straightforward lager with lots of taste and a great dry finish. I like it a lot!

Very little head, though, which is always a little disappointing. I'm sure this beer is fresh from the brewer, too.
Rumble
8-12-2013
Oak aged India Pale Ale
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 7.1% Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
RUMBLE IPA is an American IPA with subtle nuance. Brewed with heavy handed additions of Pacific Northwest hops, this beer is gently aged on French and American oak resulting in a wonderful balance of bitterness, caramel sweetness, vanilla, and undertones of pine and citrus. Very inspiring.
my review...
This is good. It's another IPA, of course, so it's hoppy, bitter and high in ABV, but they've come up with a nice balance in this beer, it's quite tasty.

The pine and citrus undertones work nicely with the slightly caramely malts and big hops punch to make a very drinkable brew. I like it a lot!
Indian Brown Ale
8-9-2013
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Milton, DE
ABV: 7.2% IBUs: 50 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Forget about the car companies, this is the original hybrid. A cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown, Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time (It's magical!).

The beer has characteristics of each style that inspired it: the color of an American Brown, the caramel notes of a Scotch Ale, and the hopping regimen of an India Pale Ale. We dry-hop the Indian Brown Ale in a similar fashion to our 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA. This beer is brewed with Aromatic barley and organic brown sugar.
my review...
Very interesting! Well-hopped, and malty at the same time, just like they said. Also like they said, it tastes like a cross between India Pale Ale, Scotch Ale, and American Brown. Almost, in fact, like a straight mix of those three types. A very good brew, in any case.

Makes me want to track down some of their other beers. Which might even be possible, their's is one of the very few "beer finder" apps I've seen that actually works!
Tumbler
8-7-2013
Autumn Brown Ale
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 37 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
As the leaves on the Valley Oaks begin to tumble and fall, we reach for a beer with depth. Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale is our take on the classic brown ale, featuring roasted malt with full, complex toasted aromas and nutty flavor with the slightest hint of smoke. Sit back with a glass and watch as autumn's yearly dance unfolds.
my review...
Ah, much better! I was on a serious pale ale jag there, needed something dark and rich! This is a really great Brown Ale. It's all roasty, malty, toasty and smoky, and then it finishes up with a great, slightly dry and slightly chocolatey outro. Love it!

This is what fall seasonals should be. Who likes pumpkin flavored beer?
Sweetgrass
8-5-2013
American Pale Ale
Grand Teton Brewing Co. - Victor, ID
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 60 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Sweetgrass APA is a Pale Ale of distinction! 2009 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal winner in the American Pale Ale category, this crisp and fragrant beer is hopped and dry-hopped. Try it with any bold, flavorful food to complement its citrusy, resinous spiciness.
my review...
This is one unabashedly hoppy beer. If you like that kind of thing, you'll like this beer. As you're probably getting tired of hearing me say, I'm not a big fan of hoppy pale ales. This does have some redeeming qualities, though, it's rather nicely balanced, it finishes dry, and I have to say, it goes really nicely with my frozen pizza!

It's a bit cloudy, but a huge head and nice lacing.
India Pale Ale
8-3-2013
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 69 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
In the 1700s one crafty brewer discovered that a healthy dose of hops and an increased alcohol content preserved his ales during the long voyage to India (as depicted in our label) to quench the thirst of British troops. Today, we tip our hat to that historic innovation by brewing Colorado's hoppiest pale ale. Avery IPA demands to be poured into your favorite glass to truly appreciate the citrusy, floral bouquet and the rich, malty finish.
my review...
Good IPA. Not my favorite kind of beer, but good nonetheless. It's very hoppy, as IPAs usually are, but nicely balanced and very flavorful.

I made fetucine alfredo, because I saw that as a recommended food pairing, and it was quite good together.
Freeride
8-1-2013
American Pale Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co. - Juneau, AK
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 40 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Alaskan Freeride APA features a lush, green, almost tropical hop aroma paired with the unique taste combination of these three, distinctive hop varieties, making it both full in flavor and crisply thirst-quenching.
my review...
Another excellent beer from Alaskan Brewing! I really like that they don't try to get all "crafty" with their beers, just take a basic style, and do it perfectly.

This is American Pale Ale, done perfectly. Loads of great hops flavors, and as dry and crisp as you could want.
Longboard
7-30-2013
Island Lager
Kona Brewing Co. - Kailua-Kona, HI
ABV: 4.6% IBUs: 20 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Longboard Island Lager is a smooth refreshing lager fermented and aged for weeks at cold temperatures to yield its exceptionally smooth flavor. A delicate, slightly spicy hop aroma complements the malty body of this beer.
my review...
This is an excellent lager, and I do love my lager! It's dry and crisp, it's got loads of great flavor, and an impressively clean finish.

Once again, Kona Brewing knocks it out of the park!
Maple Nut Brown
7-28-2013
Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO
ABV: 4.5% IBUs: 20 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A delicate amount of Maple Syrup is added to each barrel of our award winning Maple Nut Brown Ale to impart a roasted sweetness. This addition balances the nut flavor produced by Munich, caramel and chocolate malts used in the brewhouse, producing a drinkable brown ale with a relatively low alcohol content.
my review...
This is my 100th different beer since the first of the year! I thought about doing something special, but in the end just decided to make it a Colorado beer. As it turned out, there were several new fall seasonals to choose from, but the only one from Colorado was Pumpkin flavored, and I couldn't do that. So I chose an interesting looking beer from Tommyknocker.

This is good. There really isn't any maple flavor that I can taste, which might be a good thing, but it's a good, solid brown ale. Plenty of nutty malt, respectable hops balance, nothing to write home about, but good brown ale.
India Pale Ale
7-25-2013
Goose Island Beer Co. - Chicago, IL
ABV: 5.9% IBUs: 55 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Our India Pale Ale recalls a time when ales shipped from England to India were highly hopped to preserve their distinct taste during the long journey. The result is a hop lover's dream with a fruity aroma, set off by a dry malt middle, and long hop finish.
my review...
Oh, nice! This is an IPA that I could like a lot. There's a solid hops element, as you would expect of an IPA, but there's this nice fruity overtone that holds the whole thing together and provides a great clean finish, without overpowering anything else. Very drinkable!

Nice color, outstanding head, nice lacing, this is a beer lover's beer. I'm so going to enjoy this with my pizza tomorrow. And Saturday (cue drum roll) will be beer number 100!
Milk Stout Nitro
7-23-2013
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 25 Type: Stout
from the brewer...
Pouring hard out of the bottle, Milk Stout Nitro cascades beautifully, building a tight, thick head like hard whipped cream. The aroma is of brown sugar and vanilla cream, with hints of roasted coffee. The pillowy head coats your upper lip and its creaminess entices your palate. Initial roasty, mocha flavors rise up, with slight hop & roast bitterness in the finish. The rest is pure bliss of milk chocolate fullness.
my review...
I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed. I passed this beer up several times thinking milk stout sounded too weird. Then I looked it up a couple days ago and found it was made with milk sugars, and thought it sounded good. Then I read the blurb at the Left Hand website and thought it sounded really good. All that about the tight creamy head, brown sugar, vanilla, coffee, etc.

In reality, no real head at all, fairly bitter, and no sign of brown sugar, vanilla, coffee or anything very good at all.

Sorry guys, that's a fail.
Fire Rock
7-21-2013
Pale Ale
Kona Brewing Co. - Kailua-Kona, HI
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 35 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Fire Rock Pale Ale is crisp, refreshing "Hawaiian-style" pale ale. Its signature copper color results from the unique blend of specialty roasted malts. The pronounced citrus-floral hop aroma comes from the liberal amount of hops added to each brew.
my review...
This is a very good pale ale. In fact, it's a very good beer. I'm more impressed by Kona Brewing every beer of their's I try.

They call this a pale ale, which isn't really my favorite type of beer (current fave: black lager), but this just really shines as a great American beer, all categories aside. It's crisp and refreshing, it's got great color and a great head, and it's loaded with great beer flavor.
Good Juju
7-19-2013
Brewed with ginger
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 4.5% IBUs: 20 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Fresh ginger kisses the lithe malty body, copulating with the hop in this pale ale ancestor.
my review...
Well, that's interesting. Wasn't sure this was going to be drinkable, to be honest. Beer brewed with ginger. Didn't sound great, but I was feeling adventurous, and it turned out to be not bad!

It's got ginger in it for sure, and fairly pronounced, but surprisingly, it works! The ginger gives it an interesting and unique refreshing quality. I like it!
Wailua Ale
7-17-2013
Kona Brewing Co. - Kailua-Kona, HI
ABV: 5.4% IBUs: 15 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Swimming in a fresh water pool at the base of a cascading waterfall is what we all imagine we would find in paradise. On Maui, follow the old Hana Highway and you will find such a place – Wailua Falls. This plunging cascade of clear water is the inspiration for our Aloha Series seasonal release Wailua Ale. This golden, sun colored ale has a bright, citrus flavor that comes from the tropical passion fruit we brew into each batch. Sit back, relax and enjoy paradise anytime.
my review...
Very nice! There's a summer ale done right. They talk about passion fruit on the label, but really the fruit component is very subdued. This is just good, crisp, refreshing beer!

This is my second from Kona Brewery, both outstanding. Looking forward to trying their Longboard Lager.
Vanilla Porter
7-15-2013
Breckenridge Brewery - Denver, CO
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 16 Type: Porter
from the brewer...
Deep in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and Madagascar grows the perfect ingredient for an extraordinary Porter brewed in Colorado. Breckenridge Brewery's Vanilla Porter. An ale that has all the chocolate and roasted nut flavor of a classic Porter, with an enigmatic surprise thrown in for good measure.
my review...
Oh, that's nice. This had the potential to go way too sweet for my tastes, but, in the end, didn't. There's a definite chocolate/vanilla thing going on, but it's just restrained enough to remain a good Beer. I've always liked the chocolatey overtones of a good porter, the vanilla beans adds an interesting top note. Very good.

This is more of a sittin' and drinkin' beer than something to go with dinner, but it's really not bad with food. Again, just the right amount of restraint...
Kidd
7-13-2013
Black Lager
Fort Collins Brewery - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 24 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Schwarzbier was crafted to taste much lighter than it looks. Chocolate malt lends Kidd its color while German Tettnang hops create the minimal bitterness of this brew. We've added a dash of smoked malt to make our Schwarzbier slightly more complex.
my review...
Mmmm, another Black Lager. I really like this type of beer, and this is a very good example of the category. It's dark and smoky, loaded with great malty flavors, and yet it's a lager, with all the great things about lager.

The only negative I would say, is it has no real head to speak of.
Hop Strike Black
7-11-2013
Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 78 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
HOP STRIKE is a dry hopped black rye IPA. The beer is characterized by an intermingling of spicy citrus hops and chocolate malt. HOP STRIKES substantial 78 IBUS are balanced by roasted rye resulting in a nice depth of malt character and deep color.
my review...
Nice! Solid IPA hops profile, but mellowed with a nice caramely rye malt. Really nice combination.

This is my favorite from Tommyknocker, by far. Great not-quite-black color, creamy tan head, and smooooth.

I'm closing in on 100 beers!
Shiner Bock
7-9-2013
Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
ABV: 4.4% IBUs: 13 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Bock reflects the tradition of genuine Bavarian beers as a brew only a craftsman like Kosmos Spoetzl, trained in the "Old Country," could bring to life. With its deep amber color, distinctive rich flavor and full body, Shiner Bock demonstrates the care of a handcrafted brewing process to bring forth a mellow taste free of the bitter aftertaste found in many micro, specialty and imported beers. Just think of it as Shiner smooth.
my review...
Another good Shiner beer. It's interesting, when I first tried this beer, about a year ago, I was very impressed, now I have to say I find it a bit bland. My taste in beer has changed from trying so many different beers. That's a good thing, I guess.

Anyway, this is very good, just a bit less adventurous than I'm growing used to.
IPA
7-7-2013
Stone Brewing Co. - Escondito, CA
ABV: 5.4% IBUs: 41 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Stone Pale Ale is our Southern California take on the classic British ale. Deep amber in color, this beer is a robust and full-flavored interpretation of the traditional style. Its bold malt character is perfectly complemented by a judicious amount of hops, lending it a subtly enticing aroma. This is an ale for those who have learned to appreciate distinctive flavors and have a thirst for something out of the ordinary.
my review...
This is very good. Again, IPA, not favorite kind of beer, but I like this one. There's a fairly serious hops punch, good and bitter for you IPA drinkers, but a few other things going on as well. There's a rather pronounced, maybe floral, thing right before it hits your tongue, but it's fleeting and sort of interesting.

Not bad, a good entry in the IPA category.
Pistil
7-5-2013
Dandelion Ale
Magic Hat Brewing Company - South Burlington, VT
ABV: 4.5% IBUs: 20 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A refreshing, sun-inspired spring ale. A subtle floral spiciness from Apollo and Northern Brewer hops is balanced by earthy notes from dandelion leaves, while acidulated malts provide a smooth, slightly sour malt body.
my review...
Yuck, that's nasty. Okay, these guys officially suck. That label is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. I studied it pretty hard trying to figure what it was, then went ahead and bought it anyway. Big mistake. It does say dandelion ale on it, but it's unreadable, at least to my old eyes.

Dandelion Ale? The hell were they thinking? That doesn't even sound good. Doesn't taste good either.

Major fail, put me off the whole company.
Craft Lager
7-3-2013
Upslope Brewing Co. - Boulder, CO
ABV: 4.8% IBUs: 15 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Our Craft Lager is a premium American lager brewed entirely of malted barley. Snowmelt-infused and river-ready, this Colorado-style session beer stands side-by-side with our family of premium ales to bring you a clean, easy, light-bodied lager for the ages.
my review...
Nice. Just good, clean, fresh lager. I like it! Upslope is another one of those cans only brewers, but that's okay. They seem to make some good beer. I like this, and their other offerings look good, too.

This is just straight-ahead Craft Lager, just like the label says. I respect that!
Big Wave
7-1-2013
Golden Ale
Kona Brewing Co. - Kailua-Kona, HI
ABV: 4.4% IBUs: 21 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Our brewers wanted to make a beer that went down easy after a day out on the water. Big Wave Golden Ale is just the ticket. Big Wave is a lighter bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor – a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and our special blend of hops provides bright quenching finish.
my review...
Oh, cool! I like this a lot. They don't mention it on the website, but I swear there's pineapple in this beer. And, even more interestingly, it's good!

I'm not usually a big fan of fruity beer, and I never would have guessed I'd like pineapple, but somehow this works. There's plenty of great beer flavor, with just a suggestion of pineapple.

Another brewer, another state added...
Buffalo Gold
6-29-2013
Golden Ale
Boulder Beer Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 4.8% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A Colorado favorite since 1989, Buffalo Gold is the definitive golden ale. The mild maltiness gives way to a unique floral character generated by a perfect balance of Cascade hops. Our lightest beer in flavor, it's an easy-drinking beer that still packs a stampede of flavor!
my review...
This is good, simple, but not untasty beer. There is even an interesting floral nose that I wouldn't have thought would appeal, but does!

These guys are Boulder, through and through. Some of their other beers are called Hazed and Infused, Flashback, and Mojo. Gotta love 'em.
Fade To Black
6-27-2013
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 64 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
That time of year when the light fades away. Brewed for the darkness, Fade to Black speaks in volumes. Welcome to Volume 4, the Beer pours pitch black with an off white head. Citrus (bergamot) and roast dominates the nose. Slight sweet malt gets pushed back by initial citrusy hops followed by powerful Italian Amaro, gentian and hop bitterness. Finishing with a pleasant duality of dry roasted malts and hop bitterness.
my review...
Good beer! I like this a lot. From what I can tell, this is last winter's seasonal, but it goes down fine on a hot summer evening.

It's very much a roasty, rich black ale, with some interesting high notes.
Moose Drool
6-25-2013
Brown Ale
Big Sky Brewing Co. - Missoula, MT
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 26 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Lame, non-functional wordpress website.
my review...
This is very good beer. It's dark and malty, with just the right amount of hops. And, seriously, how can you not like a beer called Moose Drool?

They're in bad need of a good web developer, though. I've seen a lot of crappy wordpress sites, theirs is one of the worst.
Obsidian Stout
6-23-2013
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.4% IBUs: 55 Type: Stout
from the brewer...
Deep, robust and richly rewarding, this is beer to linger over. Obsidian has distinct notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted malt and black barley, with just enough hop bite to cut the sweetness.
my review...
Holy crap, that's good! Just layer upon layer of sweets and bitters, and all manner of thing, and it all comes together to make a superb drinking experience.

To think, I spent most of my life thinking I didn't like stout! Wow, that's good!

And what an interesting pour. It comes out all black and opague, and builds this big chocolate brown head.
Steam Engine Lager
6-22-2013
Steamworks Brewing Co. - Durango, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 22 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Brewed in the California Common style, this is an American classic noted for its malt sweetness and hop spice with a smooth, dry finish.
my review...
Very good example of the American Lager category. I like this beer a lot. It's fairly simple, but not at all plain. Lots of great hops and malt flavors, nothing overpowering, and a nice clean finish.

As far as I can tell from their rather lame website, these guys only can a few of their beers, but they make things like Prescribed Burn "A house beer featuring Habañero, Poblano, and Hatch Green Chiles." Next time I'm in Durango...
Bitch Creek
6-19-2013
Extra Special Brown
Grand Teton Brewing Co. - Victor, ID
ABV: 6.0% IBUs: 54 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Bitch Creek perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor for a full bodied, satisfying mahogany ale. Like the stream for which it is named, our Bitch Creek ESB is full of character... not for the timid.
my review...
Mmm, that's good! Loads o' hops bitterness, nicely balanced by loads o' sweet malts. End result is perfect drinkability. This one's a winner.

New beer store, new brewery, new state... a good day!
Twilight Summer Ale
6-17-2013
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 35 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A lighter, yet full-flavored, aromatic Ale for the long days of summer. Twilight's solid malt foundation pairs with distinctive Amarillo hops for flavors every bit as intriguing as bigger, heavier ales. A back porch, lingering sunset wonder.
my review...
Very good! I don't believe I've had a beer from Deschutes that hasn't been at least very good.

This is hoppy and flavorful, yet light and refreshing. The perfect Summer Seasonal. You can keep all those crappy wheat beers everybody passes off as their summer beers.
Marble IPA
6-15-2013
Marble Brewery - Albuquerque, NM
ABV: 6.8% Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Columbus, Amarillo and Centennial hops lend a fragrant citrus aroma and snappy hop character to our flagship beer.
my review...
This is good. Not great, but definitely good. It's good, straightforward IPA. I'm just not a big fan of IPAs. Too much hops for my taste.

It's also cloudy and headless. That's not a deal-breaker for me, but it is a bit disappointing.
Backcountry Pilsner
6-13-2013
Backcountry Brewery - Frisco, CO
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 42 Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
Formerly "Ptarmigan Pilsner," it is a GABF Silver Medal Winner. A traditional European Style Pilsner with a light hop aroma, smooth malt flavor and a distinctively clean finish.
my review...
Nice! I gather from their website that they just added a bottling facility at the brewery, but they've been brewing for quite a while. It tastes like it.

This is a very good pilsner. It's light and refreshing, lots of great beer taste, and just a hint of interesting overtones. They show 42 IBUs, but it's really quite accessible.
Black IPA
6-11-2013
Mendocino Brewing Co. - Ukiah, CA
ABV: 6.0% Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This is a particularly perfect spring seasonal India Pale Ale! Our Black IPA takes its taste synergy from all the good that heralds spring. It commences with a totally tantalizingly twist on an utterly unique style. In contrast to spring green hues that are resplendently displayed by nature, this ale sports a seductive ebony hue entwined with an aroma that is bold, full of fresh floral and citrus hops, with a mischievous pinch of pine.
my review...
Oh, I like this beer! Two really great beers in a row from the same brewery. I sure like it when that happens.

They call it an IPA, and I guess there's that in there, but it's rich and malty, almost like a porter, but not heavy at all. Really great beer.
Red Tail Ale
6-9-2013
Mendocino Brewing Co. - Ukiah, CA
ABV: 6.1% IBUs: 28 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Red Tail Ale is our flagship brand. It is brewed in the traditional "old world" manner, using premium two-row malted barley, hops and our own special proprietary yeast strain. It is an amber ale with a rich complex refreshing flavor and a crisp dry finish. Like good wine, Red Tail Ale is a perfect complement to fine dining.
my review...
I like it! American Amber Ale, doesn't get much better than this. It's hoppy and flavorful, nice color, great head, and a great clean finish.

I'm surprised I've never heard of this brewer. They've got two breweries, one in CA and one in Saratoga Springs, NY, and they make a lot of beer! They've got an extensive menu, also, which looks like a lot of fun exploring.
Sum'r
6-7-2013
Uinta Brewing Co. - Salt Lake City, UT
ABV: 4.0% IBUs: 17 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Citrusy and thirst-quenching, this refreshing golden ale is highlighted by the use of unique hops.
my review...
Okay, not my favorite kind of beer, being a bit fruity, but I like it. It's good summer ale, it's fairly light in the ABV category, it's got some citrusy flavors, so fairly thirst-quenching, it'd be good if you're having a BBQ or something. If, you know, you're into that kind of thing.
Mama's Little Yella Pils
6-5-2013
Oskar Blues Brewery - Longmont, CO
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 35 Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
Oskar Blues' Mama's Little Yella Pills is an uncompromising, small-batch version of the beer that made Pilsen, Czech Republic famous. Unlike mass market "pilsners" diluted with corn & rice, Mama's is built with 100% pale malt, German specialty malts, and Saaz hops. While it's rich with Czeched-out flavor, its gentle hopping (35 IBUs) and low ABV (just 5.3%) make it a luxurious but low-dose (by Oskar Blues standards) refresher.
my review...
Good pilsner. I like this beer a lot. I've had it in a couple bars, this is the first time I've tried it at home. Great taste, a bit of a hops bite, but mellow and nice overall flavor.

Another Colorado brewery on the list!
Nomad
6-3-2013
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.4% Type: Pilsner
from the brewer...
NOMAD is our spin on the classic Bohemian Pilsner style. The journey starts with German malts and Saaz hops that offer a lively floral nose and crispness, while a full 5 weeks of lagering time ensures that Nomad is eminently balanced. This Nomad may wander, but it's got some serious roots.
my review...
This tastes a lot like pale ale. I imagine the brewers would take exception to that, and it might just be my unsophisticated palette, but that's how I see it.

It is good, though. It's got a great head, nice color, and it goes nicely with food.
Liberty Ale
6-1-2013
Anchor Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA
ABV: 5.9% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
The champagne-like bubbles, distinctive hop bouquet, and balanced character of Liberty Ale® revives centuries-old ale brewing traditions that are now more relevant than ever. First introduced in 1975, Liberty Ale® is brewed strictly according to traditional brewing methods, and uses only natural ingredients — pale malted barley, fresh whole-cone Cascade hops and a special top-fermenting yeast, and water.
my review...
Wow, that's good! They call it an IPA on their website, and it does have the strong hops profile, but wow, that's the best IPA I've ever had!

Maybe it's the "dry-hopping," or maybe it's the "special top-fermenting yeast." There's a freshness and balance to this beer I've never quite tasted before.

This is my second beer from Anchor Brewing. Two at-bats and two home runs. Bravo! Unfortunately, of the three beer stores near my house, only one has Anchor beers, and only these two. Might have to widen the net a bit...
Baba
5-30-2013
Black Lager
Uinta Brewing Co. - Salt Lake City, UT
ABV: 4.0% IBUs: 32 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Robust and smooth, this full-flavored lager is exceptionably drinkable and pitch black in color.
my review...
Mmm, black lager, I think I've got a new favorite kind of beer. It's dark and smoky and full of all kinds of mysterious and intriguing flavors. I like this a lot!

Also, always fun to add a new brewery to the database. Salt Lake City, who'd'a thunk it?

One thing though, no ABV on the label, or the website for that matter. I would have thought that was required by law? I found the 4% number on a couple review sites.
Anchor Steam Beer
5-28-2013
Anchor Brewing Co. - San Francisco, CA
ABV: 4.9% Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a brewing process like none other.

It is a process that combines deep respect for brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.
my review...
Man, I love it when that happens! Took a chance, could not tell anything about this beer from the label, but took a shot. And it's great!

It's crisp and refreshing, and has a completely unique, yet solidly traditional taste. You can almost taste 19th Century San Francisco.

I like the interesting and different shape of the bottle, too. I'll be watching eagerly for more from Anchor Brewing!
Colorado Kölsch
5-25-2013
German Style Ale
Steamworks Brewing Co. - Durango, CO
ABV: 4.8% IBUs: 16 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A derivative of German Kölsch's that were created in response to the popularity of Pilsners being created in the Czech Republic at the time. It is a light and crisp ale with a hint of fruitiness.
my review...
I'm getting to the point where it's increasingly difficult to find a beer I haven't tried in the store, so I'm starting on the breweries that only make cans. The up side is it opens up several more Colorado breweries!

This is very good. I've had a couple of these Kölsch beers now, and they're very good! Clean, crisp, and oh so tasty.
Avalanche
5-24-2013
Amber Style Ale
Breckenridge Brewery - Denver, CO
ABV: 4.4% IBUs: 19 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
That's what makes our Avalanche amber ale such a treat. We blend pale and caramel malts — and just a kiss of bittering hops — to create a refreshing-but-flavorful, anytime beer. Aromas of pale grains, a semi-sweet middle and a clean-as-Coloradosnow finish make this our best-selling beer.
my review...
I like this beer. It's simple and rather obviously designed to appeal to a "mass market," but it's completely comfortable with who it is, and goes about being itself with complete integrity.

Very little hops bitterness, so drinkers of mass-produced beer will like it, and quite a lot of fine beer crafting for the craft beer afficianados.
Double Barrel Ale
5-22-2013
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles, CA
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 30 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Our patented Firestone Union uniquely incorporates 60-gallon American oak barrels into the fermentation process that yields beers of extraordinary character and complexity. This system improves the fullness of the palate, balances hop character and lends a clean briskness to the finish. The influence of the toasted oak also imparts unique hints of smokiness and vanilla, as well as a subtle fruitiness to the flavor profile.
my review...
This is a good beer. Nothing really to write home about, but a good solid pale ale. I don't get the "unique hints of smokiness and vanilla," but I'm more than willing to drink a few more to see if I can find it!
Pinstripe
5-20-2013
Red Ale
Ska Brewing - Durango, CO
ABV: 5.15% IBUs: 42 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Sorry, all Flash website, not going to re-type their description...
my review...
This is my second beer from Ska Brewery. I wasn't overly impressed with the first one, not so much this one either. Again, it's not bad, just really nothing great about it.

I think maybe these guys put too much energy into image and style, and not enough into the craft of brewing beer.
Shiner Premium
5-18-2013
Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
ABV: 4.4% IBUs: 13 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
This crisp, bohemian-style lager was first brewed in Shiner way back in 1909. The early bottles of Premium proudly displayed a cotton ball on the label - a tribute to the hardworking Czech and German immigrants who farmed cotton around the region. After a long day in the fields these farmers often found a cold bottle of Shiner Premium waiting on a fence post, left there by our own Kosmos Spoetzl. It's no wonder that Premium soon became known as the local favorite, and now it's back. Reintroduce yourself to Shiner Premium - a beer that will take you back and treat you right. Prosit!
my review...
Hmm, I'm tempted to go easy here because Shiner makes some excellent beers, but, truth be told, this isn't really an excellent beer.

It's a good beer, don't get me wrong, I just don't see anything great about it. It's fairly weak, colorless, and not very tasty—and this isn't their light beer.

I'll stick with their Bock, or better yet, Bohemian Black!
Denver Pale Ale
5-16-2013
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.5% Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
DPA is a world-renowned, classic pale ale with a malty middle and an equally hearty complement of hop aroma, flavor and bitterness.
my review...
This is pretty good beer. Not as good as I wish it was, with Denver in the name and all, but pretty good. It's a pretty straightforward pale ale with some little hints of not-quite-citrusy high notes.

Good color, great head, it's a respectable beer, and well worth trying.
Summerbright
5-14-2013
Breckenridge Brewery - Denver, CO
ABV: 4.5% IBUs: 15 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Breck Brew's SummerBright is the result. The craftsman's touch combines white wheat, two row pale and munich malt with the pacific northwest's most intriguing hops to create a bright, clean ale ideal for picnicking, evenings on the screen porch and enjoying the whims of the summer breeze.
my review...
Meh, not impressed. I don't get it, so many brewers use their summer seasonal to make crappy wheat beer. I don't think this is technically wheat beer, but it's got all the same (crappy) attributes. It's weak, it's got almost no flavor, it's pale, it's loaded down with citrus fruit, it's cloudy and it's got no head.

Sorry guys, I like Breckenridge Brewery, I've had some great beers from them, but this is a fail in my book. Now that I think of it, Breck makes the one wheat beer I actually liked, Agave Wheat. Go figure.
Yellow Kite
5-12-2013
Summer Pils
Bristol Brewing Company - Colorado Springs, CO
ABV: 5.25% IBUs: 25 Type: Pilsner [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Our summer seasonal is not your father's pilsner. Bright gold in color, this pilsner harkens back to its true European origins with a flavor that's light and refreshing, yet absolutely memorable. Pilsen barley lends a traditional malt component, while fine Czech and German hops add a nice snap.
my review...
Very, VERY good beer! Man, I like this a lot! It's simplicity itself, fine hops, great barley malt, and real love for the craft.

It's crisp and light, and just wonderfully thirst-quenching. This is the perfect summer beer. Reckon I'm going to have to break my habit of always buying something different. I'd like to revisit this one before it goes out of season.
Pale 31
5-10-2013
California Pale Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles, CA
ABV: 4.9% IBUs: 38 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Pale 31 is an ode to our home California, the 31st state to be added to the union. Beer may not be associated with terroir the way wine is, but we believe that where we're from impacts how our beers taste. This dry-hopped California Pale Ale represents the bold yet approachable spirit that embodies our state.
my review...
Very good pale ale. Plenty of great pale ale bitterness, but light and crisp and oh so refreshing! There's a very interesting fruitish aroma and pre-taste, but it's all beer by the time it hits the tongue, then it finishes clean.

Great color, outstanding head, and lots of nice lacing.

This is my first beer from Firestone Walker in California, and this makes 29 different breweries since the first of the year.
Summerfest
5-8-2013
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 28 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Since their invention in the 1840s, Pilsener-style beers have become the world's most popular style. With a nod toward the original Czech tradition, Summerfest is brewed to feature the best of Bohemian nature. Crisp, golden, dry and incredibly drinkable, Summerfest has a delicate and complex malt flavor and spicy and floral hop character—the perfect warm weather beer.
my review...
The 2013 Summerfest is out! Man, that's really good beer! Solids hops, mellow malts, nothing strange, just pure drinking pleasure.

Sierra Nevada is the third largest American-owned brewery, now that Annheuser-Busch and MillerCoors are owned by foreign corporations. They are also the largest brewery that's likely to appear on this blog.
Red Banshee
5-6-2013
Fort Collins Brewery - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 33 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A striking ruby hue and spicy floral aroma punctuate the pleasant sweetness of this brew. Crystal malt coalesces with the earthy flavor of Willamette hops. A hauntingly beautiful combination.
my review...
Lots of stuff going on in this beer. They call it a "hauntingly beautiful combination," but I don't know, it might be a bit over the "too crafty" line for my taste. The "spicy floral aroma" is complex and unique, and includes an awful lot of non-beer flavors.

Great color and respectable head, though, so all in all, a rewarding and worthwhile brew.
Alaskan Summer
5-4-2013
Kölsch Style Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co. - Juneau, AK
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 18 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Brewed in our original brewhouse in 1997, this beer is part of our Rough Draft series and has met success with each limited edition release. The enthusiastic reception led the Brew Crew to bring it to the West Coast as a summer seasonal. A gold medal at the 2008 World Beer Cup and silver at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival have Alaskan Summer Ale fans wishing it was available in every season.
my review...
I like this a lot! It's fairly simple, in that there's not a lot of ornamentation, but it's got a solid base of classic Summer Ale. Light, crisp and refreshing, it's the perfect beer for after a day of whale watching. Or, you know, yardwork.
Karma
5-2-2013
Belgian Style Pale Ale
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 5.4% IBUs: 10 Type: Lager [seasonal]
from the brewer...
We believe in Karma. We suspect most of you do, too. It truly is a global concept: very simply put, "you get what you give." Inspired by this principle and the wonderful farmhouse and pale ales of Belgium, we've created Karma Ale, a decidedly fruity and estery ale, intricate in body and nose, all driven by a unique Belgian yeast strain. Remember, good things DO happen to good people. Here's to being good!
my review...
Wow, that's good! Another truly excellent seasonal from Avery Brewing in Boulder. Several interesting flavors, expertly layered over a solid beer base.

No bitterness at all (10 IBUs!), just pure drinking enjoyment. The only slightly negative thing I could say is there is virtually no head at all. That really doesn't detract from a beer, it's just a little disappointing when you carefully pour it into a glass, and get nothing.
Stone Pale Ale
4-29-2013
Stone Brewing Co. - Escondito, CA
ABV: 5.4% IBUs: 41 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Stone Pale Ale is our Southern California take on the classic British ale. Deep amber in color, this beer is a robust and full-flavored interpretation of the traditional style. Its bold malt character is perfectly complemented by a judicious amount of hops, lending it a subtly enticing aroma. This is an ale for those who have learned to appreciate distinctive flavors and have a thirst for something out of the ordinary.
my review...
This is a very good pale ale. If you like pale ales, I think you'd like this one. Personally, not a huge fan, but the good ones are worthwhile.

Still impressed with Stone Brewery's commitment to the craft. I'd like to try some of their other beers, but I'm not sure I'm ready for those silly 4-packs most of their other beers come in.

I do also like that they print their labels directly on the bottle. I'm sure their beer could be cheaper if they used paper labels, but it's a nice touch.
Levity
4-27-2013
Amber Ale
Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 24 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Levity is our lighter take on the amber ale. Munich and honey malts give it a full-bodied flavor and a happy-go-lucky personality. Then we let the finishing hops shine, for a beer that's crisp instead of bitter. Levity was named by our brewers partly for its light color – and partly for the way it just refuses to take itself too seriously. Hey, we could all use a little levity once in a while.
my review...
This is a very good amber ale. An interesting blend of malts and a solid hops base that doesn't linger and finishes clean.

A slight cloudiness, nice color, and a respectable head. I like it!
True Blonde Ale
4-25-2013
Ska Brewing - Durango, CO
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 39 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A crisp blonde ale. Golden in color, medium in body—she's brewed with the help and the honey of Durango's honeyville bees.
my review...
These poor guys, they're still lurching around with an all-Flash website that I'm sure sounded like a really good idea back in the 90's. Check it out, autoplay music, cheesy rollover sounds, the whole nine yards! Retro, I guess...

Now, to the beer. I have to say, I'm not impressed. I mean, it's good, it's just not really impressive in any way. The honey is an interesting twist, but there's just not a lot else going on. The color is a very anemic pale, and there's almost literally no head at all.

It might be a good choice if you have a few friends coming over, and some of them aren't very adventurous in their beer tastes.

It is, however, always fun to add a new Colorado brewer to the list!
Mission IPA
4-23-2013
American-Style India Pale Ale
Mission Brewery - San Diego, CA
ABV: 6.8% IBUs: 66 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
Fraught with hops complex, vigorous and virile. Endowed with a subtle malt character for a sturdy and balanced ale. Our Award-Winning interpretation of the popular style reflects both the history of the IPA and the distinctive and relatively modern American variation. Cascade and Centennial hops are employed generously and the result is an earthy ale that is most drinkable.
my review...
Good beer. It's quite bitter, aftertaste and all, but that comes with the IPA label. As an IPA, this is quite good. There's a lot of craft evident, as I've come to expect from Mission Brewery, as well as a strong focus on the basics.

This is an IPA, nothing added, nothing held back. If you like IPAs, you'll like this beer!
Little Sumpin'
4-21-2013
Lagunitas Brewing Company - Petaluma, CA
ABV: 7.5% IBUs: 64 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Way smooth and silky... With a nice wheatly-esque-ish-ness.
my review...
When I read the (lame) blurb on their (lame) website, I thought shit, suckered into another wheat beer by lack of disclosure on the label. I'm happy to report that not only is this not just another (lame) wheat beer, this isn't just another (lame) pale ale either!

I'd definitely put this in the category of pale ale, even though the brewer doesn't, quite. It's got the characteristic left-jab-right-cross hops bitterness of a PA, but there's a delightful fruit overtone that just blends perfectly and turns the brew into something unique and special.

If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know how I feel about fruit in my beer—and there's certainly a fruit component here—but this is fruit done right! First of all, the "fruit" isn't just lemon and/or lime. There's hints of apple, maybe banana, maybe even more exotic varieties. Secondly, it's not just squish, there's a lime in yer beer, sir. The fruity overtones sit lightly on top, wait patiently for their turn in the spotlight, then get the hell off the stage. Really excellent with a burger, chips, and onion dip!

Bravo, Lagunitas! Not only have you made me reconsider my hard stance on, shall we call them, beers with wheat in the recipe, you've also totally renewed my interest in pale ale!
Sawtooth Ale
4-19-2013
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 27 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
It's all you'll ever need. Sessionable. Unpretentious. Our original flagship. Proof that a beer can be both complex and balanced. Malty chewiness slowly transitioning over to herbal, earthy hops with a dry finish. Brewed to be enjoyed with friends and to stimulate serendipity.
my review...
This is a good beer, but, to be honest, it really doesn't stand out in any way. Not only doesn't it stand out amongst other craft ales, it really doesn't stand out against the pack of pale ales currently in circulation.

That might be unduly harsh. I reserve the right to adjust that opinion after drinking a few more.
Mission Blonde
4-17-2013
Kolsch-Style Ale
Mission Brewery - San Diego, CA
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 20 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
With the color of a pilsner and the character of an ale, our blonde settles into the realm of restorative. Endowed with an authentic Kolsch yeast strain for a peck of fruitiness that compliments the blend of noble hops. Lager-like with its delicate dryness, it really is redolent of ales from Koln, Germany.
my review...
My 50th beer! I've drank 50 different beers since the first of the year. I wonder if that's excessive. In my defense, I've saved one or two bottles from all 50 six-packs. But still, that's a fair amount of beer!

It's a really good beer, too! Another fine offering from Mission Brewery in San Diego. It's very light and not at all hopped up. It's got a nice, distinctive flavor without anything frivolous at all.

And look at that color! Crystal clear and all fiery golden! Or maybe it was just picking that up from the burritos I was making on the stove there. ;)

I'm growing to appreciate this brewer. They seem to focus on the traditional craft of brewing beer, as opposed to the brewing of craft beer.
Mirror Pond
4-15-2013
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 40 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
This is base camp, where any craft brew exploration begins. A distinct hop nose and hop-forward flavor make Mirror Pond the quintessential Pale Ale. It is aromatically complex, multi-layered, and unmistakably "right."
my review...
Ooh, that's good! Another great beer from Deschutes. It's called a pale ale, and it certainly has the hops bitterness pale ales are noted for, but there's a nice almost-fruit sweetness that makes it stand out above the rest. Truly excellent with food!
Fixed Gear
4-13-2013
American Red Ale
Lakefront Brewery - Milwaukee, WI
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 54 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Inspired by the energy and audacity of the fixed gear courier, Lakefront Brewery ran smack into this arresting creation. Fixed Gear is a big, bold American red ale. It pours a glaring crimson tone with a rocky white head and a brilliant floral-citrus aroma, thanks to an aggressive dry hopping. Its immodest, malty spine and intrepid caramel flavors blow in via gratuitous amounts of 2-row pale and dark caramel malts. A balanced citrus bite comes from Chinook and Cascade hops followed shortly by mild, fruity esters from the ale yeast. Weighing in at a mean 6.8% ABV and 54 IBU's, this one's got an attitude.
my review...
I like this a lot! There's a hefty hops bite, but mellowed a bit by the caramely malts and some vaguely citrusy notes way up in the upper registers.

This a very good American Red Ale. Lots of craft, not too "crafty."

I always like when I add a new brewery to the list, and in a brand new state, also!
Rolle Bolle
4-11-2013
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 30 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A delightful summer ale for easy sipping and a classic Belgian yard game for easy enjoyment, Rolle Bolle is how we roll. Brewed with monk fruit and soursop, this beer pours a brilliant blonde, with a fluffy, white head. Earthy and tropical tones carry the aroma and the taste follows accordingly. Rolle Bolle's hint of tartness is backed with the citrus bite of Cascade and Centennial hops. Oats add some creaminess to the mouthfeel, and it finishes dry and clean. Time to get in the yard, crack a bottle and start rolling.
my review...
Okay, I was a little concerned about all the talk of citrus and fruit on the website blub for this beer. Then I grew even more concerned when it poured out all pale and clear. But, happy to report, this ain't no wheat beer!

There are hints of citrus and other strange fruit, sure, but at heart this is a good, solid, American summer ale! It's got a nice mouthfeel, good head, nice lacing, and a clean refreshing finish.

This is a brand new addition to the line from New Belgium of Ft. Collins, Colorado, the third largest craft brewery in the country.
Mission Amber
4-9-2013
Dusseldorf-Style Altbier
Mission Brewery - San Diego, CA
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 43 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A covenant of light and dark, of refreshing and full-flavored, making for one majestic session beer. With a crisp lager-like spirit and a toasty character, the bitterness is bolstered yet balanced. The lingering sweet caramel taste is buttressed by the generous use of Munich, Vienna and Pilsner malts.
my review...
Okay, this is good beer. It's pretty plain, but that's not a bad thing. It was just a bit pricey, as these little beers go, so I guess I was expecting a little more... something.

It's good with food, though not great. It's got a nice color, though just a bit cloudy, and almost no head at all, which always makes me wonder about freshness.

Overall, though, good beer. I think it might grow on me.

4-11-2013 - It has, indeed, grown on me. After a couple meals with this beer, I've grown to appreciate the craft and passion behind it. Very good beer!
Mass Transit Ale
4-6-2013
Bristol Brewing Company - Colorado Springs, CO
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 21 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Like the bus on its label, Mass Transit has a mellow vibe and a fiercely loyal following of fans. Based on the amber style, this is a dependable session beer that simply delivers superb flavor. Crystal, Carapils, Victory and Vienna specialty malts give this ale its rich auburn color and easygoing nature.
my review...
Very good beer. I have to say not as good as their Red Rocket, but very good nonetheless. And I really don't get the VW bus. They had the opportunity to put a bus on their label, and they went with a VW bus? Seems like a mistake.

A nice blend of malts and hops gives it a good solid foundation, some interesting and unique highlights, and a crisp, clean finish. Nice color, good head, I give it two thumbs up!
Ellie's Brown Ale
4-4-2013
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 28 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
This beautiful, deep russet brew has the sweet and somewhat nutty character of Adam Avery's late (1992-2002) Chocolate Lab, for which it is named. Chocolate malt gives this beer a brown sugar maltiness with hints of vanilla and nuts, while subtle hopping gives it an overall drinkability that's second to none–just like Ellie!
my review...
Aaahh, much better! I went looking for something dark and rich to get the taste of that nasty wheat beer out of my mouth. This did the trick.

Wow, another really great dark ale from Avery. It's rich and chocolatey with loads of great beer flavor. The perfect antidote to psuedo-beer! I had three with my asian take-out.

American Brown Ale. Now that's what I'm talking about!
Heyday
4-2-2013
Belgian Style White Ale
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 5.2% Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
HEYDAY is an eminently pleasant Belgian-Style White Ale. Brewed with barley, oats and raw wheat, Heyday is uniquely flavorful for such an easy-drinking ale. With a slightly cloudy appearance and traditional yeast, it is a balanced, agreeable offering. Exuding mild hop bitterness and a nuanced body, this is the easiest decision you'll make all day.
my review...
Well, you know, they're pretty careful not to call this a wheat beer, but that's surely what it is. What do I know, maybe Belgian style white ale means wheat beer?

Anyway, meh, it's a wheat beer. It's actually pretty good, and it—and most wheat beers—has a surprisingly "thirst-quenching" quality to it. Much like lemonade, which is what I always think of with wheat beers.

It's good with most foods, and it might be good after a game or a walk. Hmm, also like lemonade. What can I say, not a fan of wheat beers.
Censored
3-31-2013
Rich Copper Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company - Petaluma, CA
ABV: 6.8% IBUs: 35 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Malty, roasty and deceptively smooth. It's an easy drinking malty Copper Ale that goes easy on the hops.
my review...
Nice. A unique and interesting flavor. I like this a lot. There's a strong hops profile, but it's very nicely mellowed out with a hefty malt over-layer. A very pretty beer, too, great color, nice head and great lacing. Very well done!

Lagunitas, cool, a whole new brewery to explore!
River Ale
3-29-2013
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 4.0% IBUs: 28 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Here's one that's clean and refreshing enough for the long haul, but fully graced with hop aroma, malt heft and clear craft passion. Sit back, relax, and let the subtle pleasures reveal.
my review...
Very, very good! I like this beer a lot! It's crisp, clean and refreshing. Lots of great hops flavor, well balanced with a variety of malts.

Another really great beer from Deschutes! You folks in the eastern half of the country are missing out!
Levitation
3-26-2013
Stone Brewing Co. - Escondito, CA
ABV: 4.4% IBUs: 45 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
It's been said that "Gravity Sucks." Simple enough. Well, we at Stone have identified gravitational forces in the beer world. And we have come to the conclusion that they, well, see above. So we avoid these less-than-desirable gravitational forces. We avoid dumbed-down flavor profiles and the vigorous pursuit of the lowest common denominator. We avoid big dollar marketing mentalities. We avoid additives, cheap adjuncts, stabilizers and chemical preservatives. So in the defiance of gravity we bring you Stone Levitation Ale. This deep amber ale has rich malt flavors, a big hoppy character, citrus overtones (courtesy of the hops and our special brewers yeast) and modest alcohol.
my review...
This is a very good beer! Much more in line with my tastes than the hefewiessen I had earlier in the week. This tastes like Beer, plain and simple. It's got a nice balance between the rich malt and the bitter hops.

Great color, too, a deep ruby with a nice creamy head and great lacing. I'm definitely going to watch out for more from Stone Brewing!
Kellerweiss
3-23-2013
Hefeweizen
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 4.8% IBUs: 15 Type: Wheat
from the brewer...
Inspired by traditional Bavarian techniques, Kellerweis is a true artisan experience. With Kellerweis, we brew in open fermentation tanks—a process rarely seen today—to let the ingredients truly shine. The result is a hazy wheat ale—untamed, raw and alive. With a full, fruity aroma and notes of spicy clove and banana bread, Kellerweis is a truly unique brew.
my review...
As you may have gathered by now, I'm not a big fan of wheat beer. They always taste a bit too fruity and a bit watered down. This is a very typical wheat beer. It's not bad, just not my favorite kind of beer.

Actually, as wheat beers go, this one is better than most. I don't get the bananas and cloves, though, but maybe that's just me.
Rampant
3-21-2013
Imperial IPA
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 8.5% IBUs: 85 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
A burly and bitter Imperial IPA, Rampant pours a pure copper and carries the sheen of a rightly hopped beer. The Mosaic and Calypso hops bring stonefruit to the front seat, and the addition of Centennials nod towards citrus for a well-rounded aroma.

The taste expands these hops with heavy peach tones and a profoundly bitter bite. There is some malt sweetness to stand this beer up, and Rampant's finish is bone-dry.
my review...
Well, that's interesting. It certainly lives up to its billing as "burly and bitter," and "profoundly bitter." Key word here is bitter. My tastes have developed considerably in the last couple years, I can appreciate a much wider range of beers, not sure I'm quite to the point of truly liking New Belgium's Rampant Imperial IPA.

It's good, and it's certainly interesting, but you have to really like a big round hops punch! I also find the fruity/flowery high notes a bit jangly.

I'll try it with my pizza tomorrow, that'll be interesting.
Amber Ale
3-19-2013
Boulevard Brewing Co. - Kansas City, MO
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 24 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Boulevard Amber Ale is an exceptionally well-balanced beer, complex yet thirst-quenching. American pale malt provides a firm foundation. English specialty malts impart a nutty sweetness, perfectly complemented by noble German hops. The deep coppery color holds the light, reflecting a ruddy glow, and the finish is clean, round, and delicious.
my review...
This is good beer. I'm impressed by the down-to-earth, straightforward nature of these Boulevard beers. This is a solid American ale, with lots of flavor, very little bitterness, and a crisp, clean finish.

I'm not sure if my beer store just started carrying Boulevard, or I just didn't notice it before, but they had four of them. Another thing I noticed is a passed "best by" date.
Black Butte Porter
3-17-2013
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 5.2% IBUs: 30 Type: Porter
from the brewer...
With a dark beer as our first and flagship brand, Black Butte defined Deschutes as a radical player. A slight hop bitterness up front enhances the distinctive chocolate and roasted finish. It's prized for its creamy mouthfeel and intense complex flavors.
my review...
A very good porter. Rich and malty, nothing extra, I like it a lot!

Deschutes makes a line of really good beers, I've had several and all have been excellent.
Serenity
3-15-2013
Amber Ale
Crabtree Brewing Company - Greeley, CO
ABV: 6.1% IBUs: 46 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Sweet & malty, slightly hoppy, our Colorado Amber Ale is no flavor for the unenlightened. Serenity is an American Ale with personality. Make time to enjoy this ale of unsurpassed tranquility. It will give you a piece of its mind and grant you peace of mind.
my review...
Sweet and malty, just like they said. I like it. This beer has a very interesting blend of flavors, a good hearty hoppiness balanced nicely by the sweet malt. Goes very well with pizza!

Interestingly, like the Claymore a couple days ago, there's hardly any head at all. Not sure what that means. It didn't taste particularly flat, just didn't foam up like some beers do.

Serenity comes from another small Colorado brewery in Greeley. I sense a lot of craft in this beer, definitely have to try some of their other offerings.
Claymore Scotch Ale
3-13-2013
Wee Heavy
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 7.7% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Named for a medieval Scottish sword, CLAYMORE SCOTCH ALE is our tribute to the legendary "Wee Heavy" beers of Scotland. This malty, deep-ruby beauty features lots of caramel sweetness, a reserved hop profile, and a subtle warming character. Unlike its namesake, this beer only requires one hand, but it'll still make you feel like nobility.
my review...
Very nice! Rich and heavy, this is very much a "European Style" ale. Reminds me a lot of Guiness, maybe a bit sweeter and mellower. If you like your beer dark and rich, you'll like this one.

Almost no head at all, though, so pour agressively. Or it might be good right from the bottle. Also goes very well with food. I had it with Mongolian Beef take-out, very nice combination.

Another top-notch beer from Great Divide. Starting to like them a lot!
Honker's Ale
3-11-2013
English Style Bitter
Goose Island Beer Co. - Chicago, IL
ABV: 4.2% IBUs: 30 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Inspired by visits to English country pubs, Honker's Ale combines a fruity hop aroma with a rich malt middle to create a perfectly balanced beer. Immensely drinkable, Honker's Ale is not only the beer you can trust but one you'll look forward to time and again.
my review...
Oh yeah, this I like! It's rich and flavorful, without any unnecessary additions. There's definitely a bitter component, but somehow it blends nicely into an overall excellent beer taste. And with food, wow.

I'll be trying more of Goose Island's beers. There's a lot of craft evident here, without the "craftiness" I see in some other small breweries.
LTD #04
3-9-2013
Pale Bock
Full Sail Brewing Co. - Hood River, OR
ABV: 7.0% IBUs: 45 Type: Bock [seasonal]
from the brewer...
This Pale Bock is a finely balanced single malt, single hop, lager that is pale-golden in color and brewed with just pale malt and pleasantly hopped with just Willamette hops.
my review...
Another Oregon brewery, Full Sail makes just a few beers, including a rotating Limited Edition line. This is LTD #4, a pale bock.

I need to learn more about beer, I don't really know what makes a bock, but my impression is it's a hearty German style of brewing.

This is a good beer, though I have to say, not great. The single malt and single hop makes for a rather refreshing simplicity, but there's a slightly unpleasant bitter overtone that I didn't really like.
Vienna Amber
3-7-2013
Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 33 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Amber with an Attitude! The brisk flavor, rich ruby color, and extra crisp finish create a sensation that will ripple the taste buds of the most discerning palate. VIENNA AMBER is brewed with a blend of the finest hops and gently roasted malts.
my review...
Added another Colorado brewery to the list with Tommyknocker, in Idaho Springs. Their Vienna Amber Lager is very good with an interesting blend of flavors. Maybe a little over orchestrated in the beginning, but it finishes clean. I like it.

They make quite a few beers, including several seasonals, which I'll certainly try. I have to say, though, this might be an example of "too crafty." Their menu, for example, includes Cocoa Porter and Hop Strike Black IPA with an IBU (bitterness) rating of 78. They sound good, and I'll try them if I have the chance, but it might be just a little over the top, you know?
Bohemian Black Lager
3-5-2013
Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
ABV: 4.9% IBUs: 18 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Bohemian Black Lager, crafted according to exacting old-world standards with imported Czech Saaz, Styrians Hops and selected roasted malts, is the darkest beer we brew. Initially added to the Shiner family as our 97 Anniversary Brew, the unique and complex flavor of this rare brew found such a following among our customers that we brought it back for good!
my review...
Rich, dark and smoky, just like I like it! This is a really great beer. Probably the darkest beer I've had yet, and as smooth and tasty as you could want.

I think I'm about two away from having tried all the Shiner beers, and every one of them has been excellent! One of the remaining ones, though, is their Hefeweizen. Well, okay, but I'm not putting fruit in it!
Hemp Ale
3-3-2013
Humboldt Brown
Nectar Ales - Paso Robles, CA
ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 32 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Affiliated with the Nectar Ales experience through shared origins at Humboldt Brewing Company, Hemp Ale is a one-of-a-kind brew that boasts an incredibly rich profile and unique herb-accented flavor that is attributable to the incorporation of hemp seeds into the brewing process.
my review...
What can I say? Hemp Ale. Two of my favorite things, combined into one fine beverage. And the best part? It happens to be really, really good beer! A really excellent American brown ale, with a most delightful twist.

It's rich and nutty, dark and heady, and let's face it, it's called Hemp Ale and it's got a cannabis leaf on the label! What's not to like?

It says on the website that this beer is only available in CA, because of legal issues with hemp seeds, but it's here in my new favorite beer store. I sure do love living in Colorado!
Under Dog
3-1-2013
Atlantic Lager
Flying Dog Brewery - Frederick, MD
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 28 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
UnderDog is light and refreshing with crisp hop character and pairs best with foods like simple salads, Provolone and Monterey Jack cheeses, seafood, and light proteins.
my review...
I discovered another liquor store within walking distance of my house, and they have a nice selection of small beers. There was a couple more beers from Marble Brewing, a couple Shiners I haven't seen before, and 3-4 more from Flying Dog!

Under Dog is a good, slightly hoppy lager. A bit more hops than I expect from a lager, but crisp and clean and goes really well with food.
Dig
2-26-2013
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.6% IBUs: 36 Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Sorachi Ace hops provides a fresh Spring zing with incredible lemon aroma. Nelson Sauvin is next in line with bursts of passion fruit, mango and peach. American favorites, Cascade and Centennial round out this crisp, clean Pale Ale.
my review...
This might be my favorite spring seasonal! We got a bunch of snow over the last few days, so the walk over to the beer store was a bit of an adventure, but seeing the 2013 Dig on the shelf made it worthwhile!

It's dark and hoppy, and deep with earthy and strangely spring-like flavors. I like this beer a lot, and it's different every time. Also great with a lot of foods, especially pizza!

They go on a lot about all the fruity flavors, on the website, but I don't get that. Sure, there's some slightly citrusy high notes, but it blends nicely into a classic pale ale chord. I don't generally like fruity beers, I like this beer a lot. Just sayin'.
FM 966
2-22-2013
Farmhouse Ale
Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 21 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A few centuries ago, during the cold winter months, farmhands in Europe brewed a 'seasonal provision' Farmhouse Ale to be enjoyed when springtime rolled around.

Our tribute to this style is FM966, Farmhouse Ale. Named after the farm to market road in Shiner, our incredibly refreshing Farmhouse Ale uses Golding, Sterling and Meridian hops for a sweet yet lightly spiced flavor.
my review...
Very good beer. Very light and refreshing, a finely crafted spring ale.

The brewery is called Spoetzl (you're on your own for pronunciation) but the beers are all called Shiner, after the town. I've enjoyed all of them that I've tasted!
Third Shift
2-21-2013
Amber Lager
Band of Brewers Co. - Fort Worth, TX
ABV: 5.3% Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Our Band of Brewers® developed this award winner; a smooth and easy drinking amber lager — well balanced with sweet maltiness, lightly toasted character, subtle hops and beautiful color.
my review...
A really great beer! No frills, nothing extra or unnecessary, just a good, rock solid lager. A real workingman's beer, not to buy too heavily into the marketing. It is on the low end of the range for these local beers, at around $8 for the six-pack.
Irish Ale
2-20-2013
Boulevard Brewing Co. - Kansas City, MO
ABV: 5.8% IBUs: 30 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Irish Ale, Boulevard's early spring seasonal beer, is our Midwestern tribute to the legendary red ales of old Ireland. Our recipe combines six kinds of pale and roasted barley malts to provide a rich, toasty flavor and tawny reddish hue.
my review...
I was in Kansas City early this week, so I tried the local brews! In three establishments where I asked what they had that was brewed locally, the only answer I ever got was Boulevard. So I tried a couple Boulevards! Didn't have my camera with me, so I took the images from their website.

In the hotel bar I had a chance to try their spring seasonal, Irish Ale. Very good! Nice and hearty base, strong but not too strong hops flavor, and an interesting spicy overtone. Excellent!

At the famous Jack Stack Barbeque restaurant, they didn't have the Irish Ale, so I tried their Unfiltered Wheat Beer. I have to say, somewhat less impressed. To be fair, the waiter squeezed a lime into it, unasked, which totally blew it for me, but I found it a bit weak and tasteless (except, of course, for the lime). Didn't really complement the excellent KC strip steak.

Note to waitstaff everywhere: If you want to pour it into a glass for me, okay, but do not dump fruit into my beer! What the hell were you thinking?!?
Red Ale
2-14-2013
Odell Brewing Company - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 50 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
The Rocky Mountain Goat is no ordinary goat. Just like Odell Red is no ordinary red. We took the American style red to a whole new level by adding a variety of aggressive American hops giving this ale a distinctive fresh hop aroma and flavor.
my review...
This is a good beer. Maybe not a great beer, but a good one. It's just a bit more hops-forward than I generally like, and it's fairly one-dimensional in that respect, but it's honest and committed to who it is, a good American Red Ale.

Great color and head, and beautiful lacing make it a good all-around beer drinking experience. This ale especially shines when paired with a nice lasagna!
Alaskan Amber
2-12-2013
Alt Style Beer
Alaskan Brewing Co. - Juneau, AK
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 18 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
The name of this beer style comes from the German word "alt" meaning "old". This refers to the aging that alts undergo since they ferment more slowly and at colder temperatures than most ales. Slow fermentation helps condition the flavors in Alaskan Amber, contributing to its overall balance and smoothness.
my review...
A very good beer. Not a lot of ornamentation, not too "crafty," just good honest beer!
Laughing Lab
2-9-2013
Scottish Ale
Bristol Brewing Company - Colorado Springs, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 19 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Nine scottish ale medals since 1994 make Laughing Lab the most decorated Colorado beer at the Great American Beer Festival.® A careful blend of specialty malts gives Lab a nutty, roasted flavor that's mildly sweet, but not too rich. Smooth and luscious!
my review...
This may be a first for me, two beers in a row from the same brewery! I really liked their Red Rocket. I like their Laughing Lab a lot, too.

It's called a scottish ale, which means it goes through a long boil in the kettle resulting in caramelized wort. This gives it a sweeter, maltier taste. This is a great beer, with a nice, spicy flavor, deep copper color, and great finish.

Bristol makes several other beers, all available in my favorite store. I plan on trying them all!
Red Rocket
2-6-2013
Bristol Brewing Company - Colorado Springs, CO
ABV: 5.25% IBUs: 28 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
The beer that started it all is lively and hoppy right up front, with just enough malt flavor to balance the crisp finish. Red Rocket's hop character comes from a blend of Perle, Willamette, Cascade, and Palisade hops. Dry-hopped with Cascade for a delectable aroma. An award winner.
my review...
Pale ales have gotten a bad rap, in my opinion. Sure, some of them fall into the "one-dimensional hops punch" trap, but some of them are really interesting brews. This is one of the good ones.

With its coppery-red color, respectable head, and very nice lacing, Red Rocket combines a complex but coherent blend of hops and malts to deliver a truly excellent beer. Obviously a product of experienced and passionate brewers.

I'm looking forward to more from Colorado Springs based Bristol Brewing.
Doggie Style
2-4-2013
Classic Pale Ale
Flying Dog Brewery - Frederick, MD
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 35 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
The alpha of the pack, Doggie Style complements a wide range of foods.
Flavor notes: Grassy, citrus, and slight perfume hop aromas with subtlety sweet malt body
Pairs with: Cheddar cheese, burgers, barbeque, Thai, Mexican
my review...
Classic pale ale. Says it right on the label, and that's what this beer is. It's got a nice, hoppy flavor, with very subtle but interesting fruity/spicy grace notes, and a dry, clean finish.

Located in Maryland these days, Flying Dog Brewery started in Denver and still has roots here in Colorado.

And anyway, you gotta' love a brewery with Ralph Steadman labels! I don't know exactly what the Hunter S. Thompson/Ralph Steadman connection is, but I get the sense that they come by it honestly.
Polestar Pilsner
2-1-2013
Left Hand Brewing Co. - Longmont, CO
ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 33 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Let Polestar guide you out of the wilderness, just as the North Star has guided explorers to their destinations and back home again. Light, crisp and elegant, pilsner is the true test of brewing prowess. Less is more.
my review...
Excellent, rock-solid lager beer! My first beer from Left Hand Brewing, and it's a winner. Completely straightforward, no frills or embelishments, no added flavors, just really great beer.

Light colored and crystal clear, with a respectable head, this beer may be the perfect beer. It will go well with virtually any foods, or all alone, and it's great straight out of the bottle!
Orabelle
1-29-2013
Belgian Style Tripel
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 8.3% Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
ORABELLE is brewed with barley, wheat, oats, and rye. This Belgian-Style Tripel is a golden beauty. Its two yeast strains, orange peel and dash of coriander impart surprising complexity and richness to this delicate ale. Don't let Orabelle's demure nature fool you; this is one flavorful pour. Watch out, she's a charmer – one sip and you'll be in love.
my review...
Awesome! This is my first 2013 seasonal, and it's very, very good! Once again, Great Divide delivers a beer with a truly unique blend of flavors—wheat, oats, rye, orange peel, coriander—in a remarkably cohesive and solid ale.

Orabelle has a cloudy amber color and fairly thin but persistent head, and a whopping 8.3% alchohol by volume. It would be good with a wide variety of foods, or just for sittin' and sippin'.
1900 Amber
1-28-2013
Smooth Satisfying Amber
Fort Collins Brewery - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 4.7% IBUs: 31 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
German Melanoiden and Munich malts blend with Willamette hops to create this incredibly refreshing and completely satisfying lager. Bright, refreshing and skillfully balanced — an all purpose après activity brew.
my review...
A very nice amber lager. There's an interesting hops punch, or more of a head-fake actually, right at the start. Then there's a subtle play of not-quite-citrusy tastes, then a nice, gentle lager beer finish. Most enjoyable!

With a clear, orange color and good head, this beer would go nicely on any table.
#9
1-28-2013
Not Quite Pale Ale
Magic Hat Brewing Company - South Burlington, VT
ABV: 5.1% IBUs: 20 Type: Pale Ale
from the brewer...
A beer cloaked in secrecy. An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. A sort of dry, crisp, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. #9 is really impossible to describe because there's never been anything else quite like it.
my review...
A "mysterious and unusual palate" indeed! All sorts o' tastes going on in this beer, and yet it all somehow comes together to make a cohesive and most enjoyable beverage.

I'm calling it a Pale Ale because they mention that in the blurb, but it really doesn't go in that category taste-wise. In truth, it's more of a lager with almost baroque ornamentation. Goes well with pizza and a little weed.

Magic Hat is in South Burlington, Vermont, where I made my first attempt at higher education at the University of Vermont, in 1976. Burlington is also the home of Phish. I'd like to try some more of their beers...
Jubelale
1-27-2013
A Festive Winter Ale
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.7% IBUs: 60 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A dark, malty celebration ale with layered flavors and beautifully balanced hopping. Jubelale pours deep garnet in color, medium bodied, with notes of chicory, earth, spice and fruit. To beer lovers, it's like Yule fire and family.
my review...
I'm finishing off a couple of 2012 Holiday seasonals. This is a very good example of that category. It is deeply layered with a most interesting—and somehow very "holiday" feeling—combination of flavors. I get hints of black cherry and other exotic, but non-citrus, fruits, earthy places, and uncommon spices. All coming together to make a deeply resonant chord that sounds out, then very neatly gets out of the way for the next bite of food.

I haven't had this beer before this year, but I gather from the label that they've been making it for quite a few years. From the taste, I can certainly believe they've been working on the recipe for a long time. Watch for it in late 2013, it's worth it!
Celebration
1-27-2013
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 6.8% IBUs: 65 Type: Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
The start of Celebration season is a festive event. We can't start brewing until the first fresh hops have arrived, but once they have the season is officially under way! First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.
my review...
Another fine example of the "Holiday Ale" genre. Somewhat less complex and deeply layered than Deschute's Jubelale, but no less worthy of anticipation and, well, celebration. It is, as the blurb from the brewery says, very "hop-forward" (I really like that term!) but not to the point of drowning out the subtle grace notes, as some IPAs can do.

I used to say there were two things I liked about the Christmas season: My sister's cookies, and the holiday lighting displays. Now there's a third, holiday seasonal beers! To think, I've gone my whole life not knowing such a thing existed...
Hoss
1-24-2013
Rye Lager
Great Divide Brewing Co. - Denver, CO
ABV: 6.2% Type: Lager
from the brewer...
HOSS is based on the Märzen lagers of Germany. Rich, layered malt notes, with hints of cherry and dark fruits, dominate, while the unique addition of rye imparts a slightly earthy, spicy character. Hoss finishes crisp and dry, and its brilliant red-orange color is a toast to the sunsets that make the perfect backdrop for this beer.
my review...
Everything I like in a beer! A good, solid lager beer foundation, with very minimal ornamentation. The unique combination of malts and hops give it a fresh taste with a crisp, dry finish. The rye adds a very subtle but always interesting twist.

This would go well with pretty much anything, there's no overbearing "hoppyness" or lingering aftertaste. The color is a nice rich red and it is crystal clear.

This is my first brew from Great Divide (this year) but there will be more! Not only are they another very local brewery, but I like how their beers don't go too "crafty."
Red Ale
1-23-2013
Marble Brewery - Albuquerque, NM
ABV: 6.5% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Brewed in small batches with caramel malts and balanced with a bold, bright blend of Crystal, Cascade, and Simcoe hops. We think you will agree that this is one rock solid beer.
my review...
This beer is so good! A really excellent blend of fresh, crisp flavors balanced nicely on a solid ale foundation. Perfect with virtually any food.

I wish I could find more of Marble's beers around here. They distribute only in New Mexico and Colorado, but mostly New Mexico. I'll have to make a pilgrimage to one of the big stores. Or better yet, Albuquerque!
Agave Wheat
1-21-2013
American Unfiltered Wheat Ale
Breckenridge Brewery - Denver, CO
ABV: 4.2% IBUs: 6 Type: Wheat
from the brewer...
Agave complements the refreshingly light quality of our wheat and adds a subtle note of flavor that expands this beer's uplifting taste profile. It is familiar, yet creative.
my review...
Very interesting beer. I'm not generally a big fan of wheat beer, but this is very good. It's very light and refreshing, and the agave nectar adds a nice twist.

Breckenridge Brewery is about 8 blocks from my house. It doesn't get much more local than this!

Nice light, golden color, but very cloudy (unfiltered) and it takes a pretty agressive pour to get any head at all.
Blue Paddle
1-16-2013
Pilsener Lager
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 4.8% IBUs: 33 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Our first foray into lagered beers, Blue Paddle Pilsener-Lager, is a Czech style pilsener with a refreshing crispness from noble hops and a rich, malty finish. 'Blue Paddle' refers to the implement our warehouse manager's Grandma once used to lovingly paddle his a** when she caught him stealing sips of her beer. With more body than a traditional Belgian pils, Blue Paddle is reflective of Europe's finest pilseners.
my review...
Okay, these guys make great beer, their Fat Tire is legendary around these parts. But their website absolutely sucks! First, they've got that stupid "enter your birthdate" thing that some breweries do, like you have to be 21 to look at pictures of beer, and like if you aren't you'll go away because they asked. Ridiculous. But then it doesn't work! It just sits there churning until you hit refresh. Sheesh, you'd think they could find a good web developer around here.

Anyway, enough ranting. Their lame website not withstanding, New Belgium makes some really good beer. Blue Paddle is a pilsener lager, which means it's pale and fermented for relatively long periods at cold temperatures. I had to google that, I know so little about beer.

It is very good. A little more bitter than I would have expected in a beer so light colored, but I liked it.

I was making a burrito for dinner, and was looking for something specifically for that. I have to say this wasn't quite perfect. It was good, and it didn't detract from the burrito, but it wasn't perfect. The search continues...
Singletrack
1-15-2013
Copper Ale
Boulder Beer Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 4.9% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
A refreshing, medium-bodied ale, Singletrack Copper Ale is brewed with toasted rye and caramel malt for a slight nutty flavor with a brilliant copper color. Reflecting a lifestyle adopted by many at our brewery and in Boulder, Singletrack is an homage to the two-wheeled athletes and weekend warriors pounding the narrow trails of our backyard mountains.
my review...
To be honest, I'm not that impressed. I drank it while enjoying a bowl of guacamole, which probably wasn't the best pairing, but it didn't really shine.

I'm discovering that porters, stouts, and ales don't work so well with spicy Mexican food. Maybe that's something that's well known? Like I said, total newbie. I'll try this again with pizza or baked ziti.
New World Porter
1-14-2013
A Pioneer Black IPA
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 6.7% IBUs: 48 Type: Porter [seasonal]
from the brewer...
A traditional black porter, with a surprise twist — it's dry-hopped! We've expanded the porter category a bit, adding a delightful, dry hop aroma to blend with the sweet caramel and chocolate characteristics of a Robust Porter.
my review...
Oh my, that's good! I don't know what dry-hopped means (sounds weirdly sexual) but I like it! The IPA hops punch is in there, but it's all mellowed out with the rich, chocolatey porter overtones. Really enjoyable, all by itself.

This is only my second beer from Avery, in Boulder, but I'm now eagerly looking forward to exploring their other offerings.
Ruthless Rye
1-11-2013
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA
ABV: 6.6% IBUs: 55 Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
Rugged and resilient, rye has been a staple grain for ages and its spicy black pepper-like flavor has been prized by distillers and brewers for centuries. Rye thrives in the harshest conditions and comes to life in Ruthless, a spicy and rugged IPA with fruity, citrus and herbal hop notes balanced with the dry spiciness of the rye, making the beer aggressive yet comforting to bolster against whatever the winter winds may bring.
my review...
One of Sierra Nevada's excellent seasonals, this beer is perfect for a snowy winter night like tonight. It's got a nice combination of IPA hoppiness, the body and heft of a good ale, and the dry, crisp, spiciness of a rye beer.

I poured this beer and took the picture, then sipped a bit while I started this review and waited for the pizza (it is, after all, Friday). It's a very good sittin-n-drinkin beer, but I didn't really get the "spicy black pepper-like flavor" mentioned in the brewery's blurb. Then the pizza arrived. Wow. Somehow the pizza (I can't wait to try it with other foods) not only mellowed the IPA bitterness, but really made the subtle rye flavors explode!

Fascinating! I always thought pizza and beer, the perfect combination, but I never had pizza with this beer!
Red Chair
1-9-2013
Northwest Pale Ale
Deschutes Brewery - Bend, OR
ABV: 6.2% IBUs: 60 Type: Pale Ale [seasonal]
from the brewer...
The citrus punch of a big IPA, minus the one-dimensional hop sledgehammer. Seven select European and domestic malts round out the edges for a complex, copper-colored brew. Like its namesake ski lift, it's an insider's ride to fresh thrills.
my review...
It's a pale ale, but I'm okay with that. Lots of interesting flavors, goes good with lots of foods. A good winter ale, I like it a lot.

Attractive coppery color with a nice head.

Not a Colorado brew, Deschutes is in Bend, Oregon, but they're small and community-minded and I feel good about spending my money with them. And they make some really good beer!
1554
1-7-2013
Enlightened Black Ale
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.6% IBUs: 21 Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale uses a lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.
my review...
This is a really great black ale. Plenty of roasted, hoppy flavors. Lots of piney bitterness, but it finishes dry and clean. Real good with Mexican food.

A very deep reddish, almost-black color with a full creamy head.

I like how this beer combines the best qualities of a good solid lager, with all of the richness and body of a quality ale.
Out Of Bounds Stout
1-4-2013
Avery Brewing Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 6.3% IBUs: 51 Type: Stout
from the brewer...
This big, roasty stout takes flavor to the extreme. We aren't afraid to use plenty of rich roasted barley and a mountain of hops to give this full-bodied stout that little extra something you've been looking for in a beer.
my review...
As advertised, a big, full-bodied stout. Lots of great roasted flavors and no extraneous notes. A very good, hearty winter beer with a deep black color and fairly thin, tan head.

It being Friday, I had this with pizza, and the combination was perfect. At the same time, I suspect this would be excellent with something like cajun shrimp.

Some bitterness, but well tempered with a smooth, chocolate finish.

1/6/2013 - Had Chubby's Mexican for dinner, didn't really like the stout. Tried the remaining Z Lager, much better.
Z
1-2-2013
Smoked Amber Lager
Fort Collins Brewery - Fort Collins, CO
ABV: 5.0% IBUs: 30 Type: Lager
from the brewer...
Rauchbier dates back to the 1500's in Bamberg, Germany when malt was often dried over the flames of a beechwood fire. Slight carmel undertones and a bright amber color compliment Z's prominent smoke flavors.
my review...
At heart, this is a very simple lager. It's clean, crisp and unobtrusive, with no lingering bitterness at all. But don't misunderstand simple for uninteresting—that it is not!

The smoked barley malt flavor is unique, well balanced and very pleasant, and goes especially well with Italian and Mexican food.

I liked this beer a lot. It's a good solid beer that your Bud-drinking friends will appreciate as much as your more adventurous ones.
Flashback
12-31-2012
India Brown Ale
Boulder Beer Company - Boulder, CO
ABV: 6.8% Type: Ale
from the brewer...
Brewed using five separate hop additions, Flashback India Brown Ale boasts a citrusy flavor with a prominent hop aroma. Flashback finishes crisp and dry, with dark roasted flavors from the biscuit and chocolate malts perfectly complementing the bountiful Cascade hops. Originally brewed to commemorate our milestone 30th Anniversary, Flashback India Brown Ale earned a spot in our year-round line-up. Flash back to 1979 and you'll find two professors at the University of Colorado in Boulder testing the entrepreneurial waters with a little project called a microbrewery. From the original Bitter, Porter and Stout recipes that founded our brewery, to our exciting new releases, Boulder Beer continues to uphold our tradition of innovation in brewing.
my review...
Another very good beer from Boulder Beer. Full of rich, dark, roasted hops flavors, with a smooth, dry finish.

The fruity grace notes are very subtle and don't intrude upon the food.
©2006-2017 Bruce Quackenbush, all rights reserved.
last update: 7/18/2013