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.
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!
We started out at Denver Beer Co and as usual I think the best description is “adequate”. Yep, they have beers; yes, eventually you will get service. Probably the most interesting thing about it is watching the Highland Hipster scene play out. However it was the appointed start for our ride so after a bland Hefeweizen I tried the Night at the Duxbury Oyster Stout and was very pleasantly surprised with a full-flavored beer (see Beer of the Week)
From there it was a short but circuitous ride along the Platte past broken bottles and bathing homeless to Mockery and a much more flavorful experience. I tried too many to list but overall the whole experience was fantastic. Continue reading “Bike Tour Highlands to Rino”
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.