After the upheaval and ouster of the brewer and Coda name and I was curious to see how things are shaping up at the rechristened Ursula Brewery. I’m happy to report that the beer menu seems to have increased, with the same focus on traditional styles complemented with experimental beers, many utilizing fruit in some fashion. The Scary Stories Porter, though not fruity, stood out with its heavy roasted malt flavors and a significant cholocolate component. The roasted malt even imparted somewhat of a coffee flavor. Definitely a big beer, made bigger by the 8.8% ABV – have too many of those that close to E Colfax and one can only imagine the types of scary stories that could ensue!
Although it’s an Indian/Nelpalese restaurant, Yak and Yeti’s Don’ 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.
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!
Finally, a DBC beer with full flavor! This has all the qualities of a normal, robust stout with the addition of Massachusetts oysters (not the Rocky Mountain variety like Wynkoop). The oyster adds something extra – perhaps an umami flavor – to give the beer added depth and a savory flavor. Even on a hot summer day this stout was so compelling that after a few samples I even chose it over the Hefeweizen, which at first seemed the more obvious choice.