Tag Archives: Colorado

Avery DuganA

Avery Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO
DuganA IPA

Avery is sort of the definitive hophead Colorado brewery – and DuganA is purportedly their masterpiece. The smell of alcohol wafts out of the bottle with the pop of the cap; the beer pours out with a gradually increasing, dense yellowed white head that rises to a solid inch and stays there. The beer itself is perfectly clear – honey amber with a trace of copper. Small bubbles travel slowly up the glass in perfect strands, stirring up some floating sediment from the bottle.

The nose has a lot of grapefruit, but it’s soft and powdery with a woodsy finish. The mouthfeel is, to say the least, full. The tightly packed head washes over first, barely prepping the tastebuds just in time for what’s to follow. There’s a whisper of malt on the sides of the tongue, and a slightly metallic tang when the hops hit. They are certainly strong, riding a wave of citrus and tobacco, but they are not palate-crushing. Alcohol kicks in, but it’s warmth is gentle and gradual especially considering the 8.5% ABV.

This beer is big, but doesn’t wipe out your sense of taste. This is what balance does in a well-brewed beer.


Boulder Cold Hop

Boulder Beer Co.
Boulder, CO
Cold Hop British-Style Ale

After a grand experience with Boulder’s Flashback, I have high expectations for the Cold Hop British-Style Ale. I like Ale, British style, and hops. I’m pretty much over the cold at this point, but three out of four ain’t bad.

From the get-go, this beer is promising – fine carbonation inflates a good half-inch of softly tawny head on top of a setting-sun orange with ruddy autumn blush.

Boulder Cold Hop

The nose is a mix of fresh grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, lavender, and some honey malt. The head has settled, but is still a dense, marshmallow soft quarter-inch.

The mouthfeel is good, with the fine bubbles providing a jittering environment for the flavor to emerge. After a slightly leafy jab, floral hops lead the charge. They are not as citric as the aroma augurs – the lavender remains however, along with a wash of chewy grain that shows its British heritage by minding its manners, allowing some peppery paperwhite to clean the palate.

The dirty-blonde froth leaves behind a series of furled-sail rings. This one is good from start to finish. Boulder has done it again – this brew’s style must be from Savile Row.

Boulder Flashback Ale

Boulder Beer Co.
Boulder, CO
Flashback India-Style Brown Ale

It may not be the right style (in fact, it’s a totally fabricated style) but I really wanted to use the new tulip glasses that my brother gave me for Christmas.

The color is a deep burgundy maple syrup color with some purplish bruise hues. A fine, light tan head doesn’t seen to stick around, though a frothy halo clings the inside edge of the glass.

Boulder Flashback

Boulder Beer Flashback India Brown

The nose is a fine mix of citrus and floral hops, emitting a perfumy odor that gets some foggy texture thanks to raisin bread crust and chocolate truffle maltaromas.

The mouthfeel is very good, heading towards great. Fine carbonation initiates some mild floral hops, followed by a wash of just mildly perceptible toasted dark bread with a faint hint of acrid char that head right in to the finish. That finish is all sparkling hops, with grapefruit and tart green grapes melding with a final milky smoothness as the malt tries its best to kick free again.

As a Colorado brew from the brewery that makes Hazed & Infused dry-hopped ale and Cold Hop, it’s not surprising that the hops get their name in lights, but I’m impressed with the subtlety with which Boulder introduces the roastiness. As the beer warms, more of the chocolate malt comes out, but the finish is still clean. This one is also a sneaky 6.8%. If I had another in the fridge, I’d drink it right now.

Avery Collaboration Not Litigation

Avery Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO
Collaboration, Not Litigation

This is a special kind of beer. Brewed by Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River alongside Adam Avery of Avery, at the Avery Brewery, it is essentially a combo of each brewer’s Salvation, Belgian-style ales. Rather than fighting it out over who got rights to the name Salvation, they just teamed up and created this, hence the name. This is Batch #3, bottled February of 2009.

The pour is less lively than I thought, and the head retention is low, but the color is wonderful. A rich mahogany comes through with great clarity, and there are very deep amber tones when held to the light.

The nose is sweet and prune-like, with hints of apricot, cinnamon, and maybe a touch of gingerbread.

The mouthfeel is excellent, filling all corners of the palate. The alcohol strength (8.97%) is not as aggressive as the stone fruits on the nose might lead you to believe. The initial sip gives you a surprisingly creamy feel. This soon opens up to a crisp breadiness, and then a nice mix of mildly tart pear and chewy caramel.

The malt in this beer is lovely, and the first calm sips are almost like an English Pale. What amazes me about this beer is how mellow and soft it is, despite being a shade under 9%. Having a year in-bottle probably helped cool it down, and also allowed it to plumb more complex depths than you might initially pick up on. Each sip yields something slightly different: cocoa, vanillin, fruits, and even pepper.

This is a bottle to find and store away for a bit and then to enjoy with friends. It would pair very well with lamb, or chocolate. Probably not both together.

Since I missed it in the original photo, here’s a gratuitous cap shot.

Oskar Blues Old Chub

Oskar Blues Brewing Co.
Lyons, CO
Old Chub Scottish Style Ale

The pour gives off a slow head that is reticent to puff up; it is grayish and recedes quickly. At first glance, the beer is deep brown and opaque, but when held to the light, there is clarity through the cola and amber colors. The nose is very malty with touches of smoke, chocolate, and molasses, as well as some rich plum and even a bit of peat.

The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, not overly full. Some slow, fine carbonation, but this is not a bubbly blonde. You immediately taste a smooth chocolate milk flavor which become increasingly rich, eventually showing more plum and cherry. The earthiness is that of fruits lying desiccated on wet loam, but it is a subtle notion of this as the beer is surprisingly smooth. This belies its 8% ABV which shows up at the very end of each sip as warm caramel notes.

It’s not a big beer, per se, but it does have muscle. There’s nothing here that will overwhelm you, but it has a stalwart malt character that packs a gut punch.

My gf had a can of this, too, and had some interesting notes. She described the color as being like maple syrup and the aroma as a bit like a weak “scotch and soda”. She felt the mouthfeel was disappointing, but that was more a result of the carbonation – she likes big bubbles, sort of like my three-year-old nephew. She described the overall appearance as both “very 80s” and “something your drunk fat uncle in a plaid shirt would drink.” I’m not entirely sure what any of that means, but try this beer and report back. Maybe you’ll have some insight. My uncles love beer, aren’t fat, and only sometimes wear plaid.

Steamworks Steam Engine Lager

Steamworks Brewing Co.
Durango, CO
Steam Engine Lager

The can (nice!) claims that this is “Arguably the Best American Style Amber Ale in the World.” Well, that’s a tough argument to make. Amber is basically an unofficial designation, so we’d be lumping in some heavy hitters like Brooklyn Lager, Blue Point Toasted Lager, and even Sam Adams, not to mention hundreds of smaller houses’ examples.

Even a slightly glugged pour elicits only about a quarter-inch of white head, but the effervescence is lively and leaves a delicate archipelago atop the surface of the beer.

The color is burnt orange and toffee (lighter than the photo), and a slight haze obfuscates some of the steady streams of carbonation around the back of the glass.

The nose has a lot of honey and toffee aromas, very sweet like burnt brown sugar and molasses. There is something rich to the smell, too, like over-ripe fruit. It smells like more than a 5.5% beer, and hopefully that means a big malt body with some nice complexity.

The mouthfeel is good. As the beer edges around the side of the tongue, the middle of the palate gets a bit left behind at first. The sip is smooth – sweet honey and some candied fruits become more evident as the beer warms up a bit. There is a bit of dryness from the hops that takes over towards the end, but really you are left with a fairly refreshing, though not quite balanced amber lager.

While I didn’t find much in the way of hops here – grassy, floral, citrus or other – it still isn’t quite overwhelmingly malty, which is a good thing. This beer teeters between too sweet for my liking and just right as a change of pace from IPAs and pilsners that tend to have a lot of bite.

I dig the can, and I might suggest this to all you non-hopheads out there but it is not my style. I tend to like crisper beers and this one, while not cloying, needs some more bittering. I am biased, however, and anyone who loves their beer malty should check this out.

Boulder Sweaty Betty

Boulder Beer Co.
Boulder, CO
Sweaty Betty Blonde

Even with a very soft, slow pour into a tilted glass, this beer puffed up with a billowy white head. The color was initially straw with very good clarity, but a final swirl of the bottle before finishing off the pour clouded it up. The head persists with over a half-inch of the stuff. The color is a very soft yellow – like a Labrador – and the heart of the glass has just a touch of sandy brown to it. This beer is very light though (lighter than my expert photo might indicate).

The nose starts off strong with overripe oranges, bananas, and apple cider, with a touch of spicy coriander in the back. A slight hint of esters from the still-present yeast promises some interesting flavors.

The mouthfeel is decent – not great, but not terrible. There is no full-on wheat assault that some beers with this aroma might launch. That said, a little bite would be nice. Yeah, that sentence could be misconstrued.

The start of the sip is slow, subtle, yielding flavors of cheap bubblegum, green apple, and a slightly earthy back that is a bit disappointing in that it finishes weakly, leaving you wondering where the rest of the beer is.

Certainly, this is not an off-putting brew. If you’re one of those beer drinkers who might not like wheats, whites, or blondes, this might be a good way to wade into the styles. I love the pale yet murky look of the brew, but Sweaty Betty’s brother, Hazed & Infused, was much more interesting than this. I’m going to revisit this in a few months to see if any further conditioning takes place.