Perhaps a C470 trail brewery bike tour on a 99-degree day wasn’t the wisest move. The trail is hot and exposed and has a couple of decent hills, although overall the ride isn’t that long – approx 7.5 miles. I’d recommend it as a good fall ride. Regardless, everyone survived and perhaps enjoyed the cold beers even more.
Our meeting point was Lone Tree Brewing across from Furniture Row right off C470 (exit Quebec and head east if driving). Their style is mostly what I’d call Colorado Brewery In A Box – taproom with lots of wood, exposed brew systems, patio. The key differences are the merch, which is definitely Highlands Ranch oriented (branded soaps and coasters), and the very-thoughtful “adults-only” section. I thought that was a nice and unique feature for people who may want a more peaceful drinking experience. As far as the beers, almost any beer-drinker, no matter how picky, will find something to his or her taste. Expect every major style to be represented along with more adventurous offerings like their Peach Pale Ale and a Dill Rye IPA. That’s not a typo Dill . . . Rye . . . IPA. Continue reading “Highlands Ranch Ride”
Although it’s an Indian/Nelpalese restaurant, Yak and Yeti’sDon’ Talk Bock is all German bock goodness. Bock is probably my favorite beer style and this nailed everything I like about it – perfect color, slightly thick with a full texture, and of course all the malty greatness that comes with a bock, plus just a hint of sweetness. It’s a seasonal so I’d recommend trying it sooner rather than later. Also, the food’s pretty darn good too. They have Indian standards like tandoori, saag, and curries along with a number of dishes I haven’t seen before and can only assume reflect the Nepalese influence. Some hot, some not.
I was a little worried when I stopped by Former Future and there were only four beers on tap. Not sure whether that’s a reflection on their limited production capacity, popularity of their beers, or some combination thereof. At any rate, I was very happy to see the old standby Salted Caramel Porter. The color was dark and the first taste brought out deep roasty flavors and even some subtle coffee notes. The beer was thick and syrupy and as I continued drinking the caramel kicked in and blended with the malt flavors. I didn’t really get much salt in there but perhaps it’s the mark of a good beer that it subtly contributed in the background without having to get in your face. The only disappointment was the slight bitter aftertaste, but certainly not a deal-breaker.
With so many breweries all along the Front Range, a free Sunday seemed like a good excuse to get out of town with some friends and try a tour of Colorado Springs breweries. We hit three starting with very old (in Colorado terms) – Bristol – to very new – Cogstone. The drive from Denver should only take about an hour (see traffic notes below) and between each brewery is only about 10 min or so driving.
Bristol is in a beautiful 100-year-old schoolhouse that houses boutique shops and eateries. Inside is hardwood and brick and outside is a wonderful patio – either one a great place to kill a couple hours. They have wide distribution in Denver so I tried to stick to the beers I hadn’t seen before. Most everything was tasty, but for me the standouts were the Mass Transit and the Kolsch. Mass Transit was a great balance between hops and malt, with the malt having a slight edge while the Kolsch had amazing crispness and German hop bite that seemed to go best with a 90-degree day.
I recently found myself at a friend’s BBQ with Bridgette from Lone Tree Brewing, who thoughtfully brought an assortment of their canned beers – Peach Pale Ale, Hoptree IPA, and Mountain Mama Helles. On that hot afternoon the Helles stood out as a BBQ-friendly, thin-bodied, and sessionable beer at 5.3% ABV. According to Bridgette, Lone Tree uses all-German hops but I still got more floral notes than many Helles’ I’ve tried. No complaints – just setting the expectation if floral hoppiness is or is not your thing. Mountain Mama was refreshing straight from the can, and I got the feeling that it would be even more refreshing in a cold glass straight from the tap, which probably gives me a good excuse to stop by the tasting room some day soon.
In the sun, St Patrick’s Strawberry Wheat almost looks like a Bloody Mary, with a distinctly red color. It appears thick and cloudy but when actually sipping the beer it’s much lighter-bodied. Flavor-wise it’s fruit-forward, with a heavy strawberry flavor capturing the sweet essences of the berry vs. the sometimes bitter elements that berry beers can pull out. I’m a huge fan of strawberries so it was perfect for me, but perhaps starting with a taster would be your best bet if you’re on the fence about strawberries. The icing on the cake is St Patrick’s awesome backyard located right on the Platte River Trail – definitely a place to combine into a future ride with other near-trail breweries. And a great way to spend a hot July 4th afternoon under the gazebo!