Monday, June 6, 2016

Brewery Reviews for May 2016

Party Gremlin here to talk about some breweries.  This past May I was fortunate enough to make a trek out to Colorado, as part of that trek I got to sample some of work the locals are putting into their product.  Those in the know may appreciate this because Colorado is one of the best areas for micro / nano / whatever kind you want of brewing in the country - possibly only outstripped only by the Portland, Oregon in the USA.  In this post I will be reviewing two beer-hubs for the record.  That being said I am going to focus on the quality of the tour and the drinks, but I will attempt to stray too much into detail over specific beers.  The reason for that is twofold; first I cannot remember all of the names of the beers themselves and two because I want to try to discuss the breathe as well as depth (and there is only so much time).

Wynkoop, Denver, Colorado:

This was our first stop and coincidentally it was the first micro-brewery in the Denver area.  They do their work in the basement of their restaurant / pub, and do can and bottle their products for sale in the local area.  In my time sampling suds, I've been on a few tours of facilities.  This tour was one of the better tours as it gave a lot of history to the local area and ingredients that they use.  The importance here is everywhere you go the essential process is the same, but discussion of the history and ingredient list should and will be different.  On top of that a good tour should always provide samples, and guess what it does!

Now to the real business, now was their product?  I sampled approximately 6 different types.  Three beers really stuck out to me as being excellent.  The first is their imperial red ale; very strong in terms of taste and percentage.  Second is the milk stout; very smooth like a chocolate milk shake that would go down very well even on a hot summer day.  The third and final is their flagship IPA; it was not over hopped and the bitterness did jive very well with the other flavors of the beer.  These three represent the best of what I tried there.  I like a lot of different styles of beer, and its hard to find a place that does several well even if its a small sized operation.  I would recommend visiting here and give them a 4 out of 5 ranking.

New Belgium, Fort Collins, Colorado:

From time to time, people come across gems, they take them out of the ground polish them and they become either very valuable or priceless.  I can honestly say that the city of Fort Collins and their New Belgium Brewery (NBB) are one of those rare gems.  To start, the tour was excellent.  Their equipment is also not entirely regular equipment.  NBB has a very strongly automated process, allowing them to effectively make a lot of different types of beer and then age them for long periods of time.  The backbone of this clearly comes from ownership that is very science oriented, which as a person with a science and engineering background is great to see.

I've never been to a major macro-brewing facility, in fact this and Sam Adams in Boston years ago are the closest I've ever been.  However, the process at NBB is such that it will allow for them to create a whole lot of different though in smaller batches. This is because the initial stages of brewing for almost all beers is very similar.  As we speak they are aging and conditioning dozens of different types of beer in all sorts of containers.

Now onto the important parts.  The tour does have beer on it, making it good - but the tour itself is great.  I've never said that before, I usually just listen for histories, ingredients, and then wait for samples.  This was not that tour.  The beer here is also great.  I've had plenty of NBB before, and some of the bigger ones are just good (even the best place may make something that does not click with me, it happens), but their special seasonal, limited release, and aged beers are phenomenal.  My two favorites I tried were one of their sour beers and a blackberry barley-wine.  All of what they had was good, and I also must add this is one of the first places I've been where I noticed a difference in how the beer tastes due to its freshness when being served.

All in all, 5/5.  If you're in the area, it'd be a mistake to not head here.

Have you tried any new flavors recently?
- Gremlin

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