The eagle has landed

10 Oct

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After an early morning at PDX and a fairly uneventful flight with the brew staff from Ft. George joining us, we landed in Denver eager for some brewskies. I wish I could say the cab ride was also uneventful, but that dude nearly killed us a dozen times on the way to the hotel. Once we arrived, our friendly shuttle driver Bob, took us to the most iconic of Denver breweries: Wynkoop Brewing Company. The place smelled like boiling wort as we entered, which was a warm welcome to our first Denver brewery. Where to start on this expansive list of 15 beers? Taster glasses it is folks! We tried nine different beers and the notes that follow are a combination of all three of us talking it out:

Wixa Weiss: cloudy, with a pineapple juice look to it. Has a musty, Belgian smell to it, with a hint of spice. Has a fresh flavor with the banana showing through. A nice version of a Weiss.

St. Charles ESB: beautiful copper color. Nose has a clear aroma of strawberries! Really cool! Unfortunately, the flavor continues to be strawberry. Not what I would want, or expect, in a traditional ESB. No real bitterness comes through and there is a bit too much alcohol in the finish for a beer of this alcohol level (5.5 ABV). Reminded all of us of the Boneyard Girl Beer, only worse.

Belgorado Belgian-Style IPA: golden in color, smells of fresh hop flowers with just a little of the Belgian funk behind it. Taste is initially sweet, but is followed by a slight cracker flavor, and it finishes with a flowery hop punch. One of two beers we were all impressed with.

B3K Black Lager: a schwarzbier with a nice roast malt nose, not far from what my memory says a german schwarzbier is like. Taste, not a schwarzbier at all. This is a brown porter. Too much body and not nearly dry enough. Not a bad beer per say, just not what I want in a lager or rather, in my opinion, labeled correctly.

London Calling: a british IPA. Malt dominated the nose, but it was still balanced, and not overly sweet. A nice spicy bitterness, which is softened as it is cask conditioned. Together, the beer is nice, smooth and drinkable.

Colorojo: Imperial Red (ABV 8%). oh, fuck yeah, that’s good. Caramel malt and citrus hop aroma. Nice malt backbone, sweet finish but loaded with citrus hop that balance the malt with some bitterness. Reddish amber, slightly cloudy. Great beer. Real good for fall and winter.

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout (ABV 7.2%): medium to big bodied stout. Very black but the roasting characteristics actually aren’t very strong. Slightly sweet and finishes with a little bit of an alcohol warming. I would have hoped for a little bit of a brine like an oyster stout. But since they are RM Oysters there was more of meaty quality to it – maybe that is just because i know what is in it – but its kinda like umami and smells like soy sauce. It also has a soft, smoky bbq flavor.

Cowtown Milk Stout (ABV 4.8%): had a thick, creamy head that stuck around and a slight, roasted malt on the nose. It also smells like the wort process, like wet grains. A little thin for our preference, but it was a really smooth, clean, creamy stout with just a hint of the toasted malt.

Mile High IPA (ABV 6.5%): dry hopped with a bright citrus nose. Pretty bitter, strong hop that lingers, a little sharp, like you had a hop in your mouth. More of a spicy hop, unlike the citrus hop nose. Medium bodied. And there wasn’t enough malt or sweetness to balance it all out.

Overall impressions? Well…all the beers had some elements that we liked, but I think this brewery highlights a problem that the three of us notice on many of our travels outside of Oregon/Washington/No. California. The beers are almost all lacking in body and/or balance. The IPAs are hoppy, yes…but that’s all that is going on. There isn’t enough malt to balance out what they are throwing in that kettle during the boil. They say that they are a “hop head’s dream”, but the reality is that their Mile H.I.P.A. is no Boneyard RPM, which we consider nothing more than a middle-of-the-road NW IPA (but a damn fine one, to be sure). As for other beers, the Milk Stout was waaaayyyy too thin, the Black Lager was waaaayyy to thick, and don’t get me started on the ESB. All of this is not to say that some of the beers weren’t really good, because a few of them were super impressive. The Belgorado, Colorojo, and the Weiss were outstanding beers that we all got a glass of after. We want to stress that many of the problems associated with body and balance are also found in Oregon and the Pacific NW, but just not with this many beers on a particular menu. Wynkoop isn’t terrible, but I’m not sure it will be on any of our lists on a return visit.

Update: I forgot to mention the food. When pub food is good it should be mentioned. I had a meatloaf BLT with avocado and sprouts, Miranda had a fucking ginormous Dagwood sammie, and Michael went for the fried chicken. It was a 1/2 bird in four gorgeous fried pieces. Seriously huge. We might not have been able to speak well of all the beers, but you couldn’t go wrong with the food.

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One Response to “The eagle has landed”

  1. Chad October 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM #

    Nice start. Oh and When I’m Denver you must have elk. To me it’s the state meat.

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