I like beer. In fact, it’s my preferred adult beverage of choice these days. Sure, I enjoy all sorts of hard liquor and the occasional glass of wine, but beer is my go-to beverage.
I’m also picky about my beer. Life is far too short to drink the crappy beer. Sure, I’ll have a Corona now and then, but if it’s got “lite” in the name, I don’t want it. I’d rather have water than Bud Light; at least water doesn’t pretend to be beer.
Fortunately, Colorado offers a lot of excellent beer choices. In fact, in the past three months, I have only purchased Colorado-made beers to store in my fridge. It’s not that other beers are bad, or unworthy. I just prefer to drink local. You know, when in Rome and all that.
Some of the local beers are just plain old beer. I’ve tried Coor’s. It’s OK, but lacks the personality I prefer in beer. I like ’em on the darker side and strongly flavored. Quirky, even. So here are a few of the local breweries and their offerings:
Upslope Brewing Company
Upslope has some great beers, but can be hit and miss.
- Foreign Style Stout – really good. A poor man’s Guinness, but fresher. I don’t blame Guinness. It takes a while to ship beer across the pond. Foreign Style Stout is rich, creamy, and slightly nutty. If you like stouts, you’ll like this one.
- Brown Ale – not a big fan. Upslope kind of misses on this one. It’s very bitter, but without enough personality to back it up. I got one six-pack and it will be my last. It’s not bad as a base for chili, though.
- Craft Lager – great “every day” beer. This is a great lager with far more personality than the mass-produced stuff. (I’m looking at you, Budweiser.)
Wynkoop Brewing Company
I met a friend at their Brew Pub last year and sampled a few.
- Cowtown Milk Stout – Oh my $diety I am in love. Smooth. Creamy. Slightly sweet. Rich and delicious with chocolate overtones. Nicely balanced. I wish I could find it outside of restaurants.
- B3K Black Lager – Nicely balanced and very drinkable. Black lagers are hard to pull off well, but Wynkoop does a great job. If you can’t get your hands on Cowtown Milk Stout, this will help fill the void a little bit.
Oskar Blues Brewery
Oskar Blues is not a shy place. I’ve never been there, but the names of the beers alone are enough to let you know that this place is special. In the same way an insane asylum full of geniuses is special.
- Old Chub – My first taste of this was at a BBQ joint near-by. It’s bold and strong, very hoppy, and very brown. About as subtle as a kick to the nuts. Unlike a kick to the nuts, you’ll want another one when you’re done with the first. Bonus points for “So I Married an Axe Murderer” quotes on the can.
- Gubnah – Makes Old Chub seem subtle. This is one strong Imperial IPA. It’s strong in flavor but also kicks a helluva 10% ABV punch. It’s similar to Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, but better balanced. If you’re a beer beginner, stay away from this one. It’s PhD dissertation beer, not Beer 101.
The weird thing about every beer I’ve mentioned here (except Cowtown Milk Stout) is that they all come in cans. Cowtown Milk Stout is my favorite, but it’s only available on tap. As much as I like it, I’m not about to invest in the equipment necessary to get it at home. At least not yet.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the 12-ounce aluminum-wrapped flavor bombs mentioned above. I’m thrilled to live in a place where people are brewing beers with personality. I may not like them all, but I do respect them. Especially with good food.