Weekend Beer Update

This weekend brings a whole lot of activity across the metro area and beyond, with multiple anniversaries, Day of Dorks, a new Beer Bus and other assorted fun & games. 

westfax-bar.jpgFriday 8 – Saturday 9: Celebrate three years on West Colfax with WestFax Brewing Company. Over the course of the weekend they’ll release seven new beers, treat beer-lovers to a concert, bring in food trucks, and have some other fun treats like anniversary glassware, beard trimming and axe throwing.

Friday 8 – Sunday 10: If you’re looking to take a field trip, Gilded Goat Brewing Company up in Ft. Collins marks their second anniversary with a weekend of fun. They’ll have special tappings and bottle releases along with birthday cake, a toast with the mayor, raffles, giveaways and a commemorative glass for the first 50 customers on Saturday.

Saturday 9: Anniversaries continue, with Zuni Street Brewing Co. marking two years with a full-on celebration in their parking lot offering up the usual food trucks and live music along with art from local artists, pottery painting, yard games, a photo booth, and topping it off with a bouncy house.

Saturday 9: Rounding out the anniversary celebrations, New Image Brewing Co. in Arvada brings on the special releases, live music, and new merchandise for year number three.

Saturday 9: The Beer Bus concept comes to southeast comrade-taps.jpgDenver, with busses running from 1 – 9 p.m. between Platt Park Brewing Co., Comrade Brewing Co., Grandma’s House and Copper Kettle Brewing Company. It costs just 5 bucks to ride all day and if you complete each brewery you get a coupon for a free beer. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 9: It’s finally time for Day of Dorks! Wynkoop Brewing Company’s celebration of geeky and quirky beers takes over the upstairs pool room from noon – 4 p.m. with over 30 breweries pouring their dorkiest stuff. Geek-wear is encouraged. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 10: The monthly incarnation of Bluegrass Brunch comes back to Station 26 Brewing Co. Starting at 11 a.m. they’ll bring in a food truck and bluegrass band for you to relax and recover from the weekend.

Lady JusticeSunday 10th: Join Lady Justice Brewing’s Big Fun Celebration at their shared space with Factotum Brewhouse. The party will celebrate two of Lady Justice’s Community-Supported Beer Membership grant recipients with music, a food truck, and of course beer!

Brewery Snapshot: Dos Luces Brewery

Born out a lifelong connection to Latin America and the traditional beer styles of Chicha and Pulque, Dos Luces Brewery on South Broadway aims to change the way that people think about beer, according to owner Judd Belstock. The brews are created from corn and maguey (in the agave family), ingredients20190118_174407_hdr.jpg available to indigenous peoples in the Americas, but brewed with modern methods. The result is a much different flavor profile and experience than your standard barley-based beer. Judd and his staff are happy to educate visitors on the history and production of their products, as well as to make the argument that these are just a different style of beer. It seems to me that these styles are pretty much love/hate types of brews, but it’s certainly worth it to stop by and experience them in person.

BEER LINEUP: First off, this is not a traditional brewery. The two flagship beers, chicha and pulque, are made with corn and maguey syrup, respectively, and use spices like cinnamon and clove in place of hops. As a result, their flavors have little in common  with barley-based brews and it’s worth describing them in more detail than usual. Both are served in opaque, eight-ounce ceramic vessels. The chicha is medium-bodied with a slightly sweet and un-complex flavor and a bit of cinnamon. The pulque is, as Belstock describes it “a reverse sour.” The initial taste of the frothy brew is mildly sour, fading off into a light sweetness with numerous spice notes along the way; in general, a very complex beverage. Dos Luces also constantly experiments on these flagships by adding spices, flowers and fruits to create completely different-tasting brews (see below). They serve several guest taps for the less-adventurous and chicha morada, a sweet, non-alcoholic traditional beverage made from blue corn. Note: Some people find the smaller pours a little pricey compared to other breweries.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom feels like the courtyard of a hacienda in Costa Rica, with rich, vibrant paintings, tropical plants and patio-style furniture. The crowd seemed a little older and more subdued than many South Broadway drinking establishments, with a mix of people hanging out to converse over drinks and those who stopped in to get a sampler of the unique beers. Overall the taproom had a more sophisticated vibe of discerning and/or curious drinkers.

SERVICE: On the night I visited there were an abundance of servers (bar service only) who were happy to discuss and educate customers on the unique chichas and pulques on offer.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The brewery is located at the edge of historic South Broadway and offers many options for walking to food, other breweries & bars, and even a little bit of shopping. Arrival by car or public transit is relatively easy, as it is near I25 & Broadway, and you can generally find metered parking within a few blocks. It would be a great inclusion on a brewery crawl.

STANDOUT BEER: The Azteca pulque is the result of one of the continual experiments that Dos Luces undertakes to combine ingredients in unique ways. In this case the inspiration was Mexican hot chocolate and the beer includes three kinds of chocolate plus cayenne peppers. The result is a light, frothy beverage with notes of rich, real chocolate kicked up with a hint of heat from the cayenne. It reminded me very much of some of the best hot chocolate I had in Oaxaca, Mexico. Beer? Perhaps. Tasty? You bet!

 

Beer of The Month: Altbier

March brings springtime and slightly warmer temps, but many days still have a nip in the air, which makes Altbier a great fit for this month’s beer. Altbier lightens things up from the thick, alcohol-heavy beers of winter and bridges the gap to lighter summer beers. While not a hard and fast rule, Alts were traditionally more often madeAltbier 2 in the winter and spring months so if there’s a season for it, now’s the time.

Historically, Altbier has come from Dusseldorf and the surrounding region of Germany.  It differentiates itself from other German lagers in that it uses top-fermenting yeast but still ferments at cool temperatures like bottom-fermenting lagers. The cooler temperatures result in a slower and longer fermentation. Alt means “old” in German and may refer to the longer time that it takes to make the beer or that the use of top-fermenting yeast is an older method of beer-making.

The longer fermenting and conditioning time produces a smooth, balanced beer with an amber to auburn color rarely straying into brown territory. The initial aroma should be clean and slightly malty with the potential for very light fruit esters or hop spiciness. The flavor stays true to the aroma with modest maltiness and possible hints of fruit, spice or herbs from Noble or Spalt hops. Body will be medium and alcohol will fall into the low/medium range and should not be noticeable.

Rarely, you may run across a stronger and more flavorful version called Sticke Alt. This variant has another percent or so of ABV and a more hops-forward taste.