Tuesday, June 14, 2016

South Denver Beer Fest

First off, it was raining and freezing cold. And here was the line to get into the park:

Why was there only one guy checking tickets?

I was on assignment for Brew Table as a special agent. At least that's what I told myself. In reality my beer buddy wanted someone to get him some pictures and beer reviews. And that I did. Let's begin.

I'm going to be focusing on the standouts. So we'll start with Juicy Bits from Weldwerks in Greeley. At first I was going to try it based solely on the fact that the name made me giggle. 

A fairly standard IPA, but with a solid malty backbone. 

Agamemnon British IPA caught my attention next, I suppose because I was in a hoppy mood. 
Mostly I wanted to show off my beard.

Another solid IPA with a malty backbone. I pondered the direction my tastes were taking me on that day and moved on to Copper Kettle, a brewery I was very familiar with. I tried to stay off the beaten path and try new things, but their Mexican Stout is just too good to stay away. During one brewfest (who can remember which one) one of the brewers told me they were more than just the Mexican Stout brewery. 

"That's nice," I replied. "Go ahead and pour me a Mexican Stout."

Absolutely delicious, as usual. Rich, roasty, chocolate and cinnamon with a slow burning heat that bites you right in the back of the mouth. Thanks Mexican Stout brewery. To even it out, I also tried their Berliner Weisse.

Which was, unsurprisingly, fantastic. I mean, if you can make a Mexican Stout like that, you can do just about anything. 

The runner-up for my best showing of the day had to be Loveland Aleworks. This is gonna be a big one, so strap in. 
It was so good I almost forgot to take a picture.
Let's start with the Chocolate Coconut Porter called Darkest Day. Which I felt was appropriate for the weather. Oh man, this was a solid showing. Smooth chocolate with a hint of creamy coconut and a stronger coconut nose. This was a rainy-day drinker. I wanted to just post up here and let it ride, but the wife wanted to try the next few, and I'm glad I did. 
Her: "Change up your pictures. Your hand is boring."
Me: "You got it."

I have a weakness for anything Belgian-style, and then you add in "aged in red wine barrels?" Sold, good sir. The Belgian yeast flavor wasn't as strong as I'd have liked, but the wine barrel gave it that chewy wood feel that I so love with a fruity backbone. 

"Ooo," I heard my wife mutter. I stopped enjoying my Belgian Tripel to look behind me and saw this:

Pecan pie beer, whaaaat? I had to give it a go. I love experimental beers, so I was sure I would like this one. And sure enough, I was right. I don't know how else to describe it other than it tasted like pecan pie. Well done, Blue Spruce Brewing

Now, chili beers are tricky. Most folks instantly turn away from them, but I absolutely adore chili beers. I make one myself, a serrano wheat in fact. So I gasped when I saw:

And it was fantastic. In fact, I can honestly say it tasted almost identical to mine. Is that braggy? It sounds braggy. I'm keeping it though. 

Last up is Destihl. And even though it was physically last on our rotation, it was fortuitous that they had the three best beers in the festival. 

They all sounded delightful, so I camped out there for a bit to work down the line. And first up was Here GOSE Nothin', a Leipzig style gose. 

I don't know the difference between a Leipzig gose or otherwise, but what I do know is that this was one of the tartest, saltiest gose's I've ever had. It was almost like seawater. Which sounds weird to describe a beer like that, but just go with me on this. I try gose every time I see one on tap, and this is probably the most unique one I've ever had. 

I smacked my lips and eagerly awaited my pour of their Flanders Red. 
That's the surprised look of "Holy cow this is sour."
I could smell the tartness before I even brought it to my nose. Nothing could have prepared me. Well, one thing. It tasted like one of those sour warhead candies. Like tastebud melting sour. The most sour beer I've ever had was from Crooked Stave, and this might have topped it. 

You don't often ask to wash your mouth out with a citrus IPA, but there we were:
I'm pretty sure the fill-line was about where my thumb was.

Yep, just look at it. You can tell it's a citrus flavorbomb just by the golden haze. Fruity, but not overpoweringly so. Most of the fruit came from the nose, which was full of citrus. 

So there you have it. My personal recommendations, backed by the Hop To No Good guarantee, which is I know you'll like it, but if you don't I'll be happy to drink it for you.