On our way back from our honeymoon in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, we took a page from our old playbook and searched google maps for any new breweries. Luckily, we found Lost Rhino Brewing Company, just a few minutes off our route. After trying several tasters and chatting up the bartender, the bartender asked if we would like to meet one of the brewers. Sure! The brewer, who had been in the business for 7 years and previously worked for Old Dominion, gave us a tour. This was a hands on experience as he asked us to throw some hop pellets into the tank and then gave us samples of two new styles directly from the holding tank. We tasted and India Pale Lager and a mango flavored ale. The IPL is a new style that not many places have tried. I would describe it as a clean crisp IPA with very strong hop. The mango beer surprised me since I haven’t been able to eat mangoes ever since our food poisoning incident in Fiji. I actually liked this beer!
Tag Archives: microbreweries
In two months, the 20th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival will come to the Coconino County Fairgrounds. The MITS Beer Tasting Festival is the annual fundraising event for Sun Sounds of Arizona. When I moved to Flagstaff in 2006 I got a job as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for Sun Sounds. The manage a radio station that broadcast news and information for people who can not read because of a disability (such as vision loss). It was Sun Sounds vision statement, “the inability to read print will no longer be considered a disabling condition” that inspired me to promote their services. I thought of a disability like vision loss as being something that would permanently close a lot of doors. But imagine if through technology and a redesign of how we get news and information, if we could open doors and make vision loss less of a disabling condition.
All of that is to say that you can feel good about buying your ticket to the Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival. I mean, I know you will feel good at the event tasting a wide variety of brews, but now you can start feeling good before the event as you purchase your ticket! Speaking of which, tickets are available ONLINE; general admission is $40 and VIP tickets are $80.
This year I am helping out by administering the Made in the Shade Facebook Page. I hope that you will like the page. I will be posting updates on which breweries are coming with which beers and of course keeping everyone up to date about all the details of the event. If you have attended the festival in the past, I encourage you to post a picture to our wall.
While riding in Sedona, Sharon and I thought it would be a good idea to visit the local brewery after our ride. I am glad I didn’t judge this brewery by its bottles. Going back a few months, I bought Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale in bottles and discovered that their bottling process is not good. Out of a six pack, two were flat and one tasted terrible. Thankfully the beer fresh out of the tap at the brewery is nothing like that experience.
Sharon really enjoyed trying there winter warmer which I also found tasty. It’s yet another high alcohol beer that does not taste boozy. I also enjoyed tasting their IPA, which was a great example of a beer conforming to a style well.
In the picture above I am enjoying the porter. This porter had great dark roast flavor with a strong coffee taste. Of course in the end we filled the growler with the crowd pleasing beer that put this brewery on the map, the Nut Brown Ale (pictured above in the glass on the table). It’s really terrific and I am so glad I didn’t let a few bad bottles put me off of it. (Yes, the bad bottle incidents happened with more than one six pack from more than one store). If you get the chance to have this beer out of a keg don’t miss it. I will still pass on bottles however.
The Nut Brown Ale from our growler was rich, smooth and offered a complex flavor.
On Tuesday we covered the breweries on the Front Range. Today we turn our attention to the Western Slope of Colorado and the breweries they have to offer. There’s isn’t as high of a concentration of people or breweries on the Western Slope, but we still managed to find plenty of great beer.
Amicas Pizza and Microbrewery, Salida
I really enjoyed our visit here. It would be very hard to go wrong with pizza and beer and this place gets it right. Delicious pizza and a nice range of beers. I was a little sad that they could not fill a growler due to some ongoing trouble with equipment. I wish I could remember all that we sampled as many of them were not the beers listed on their website. I do remember having a very good stout, a porter, as well as a good IPA. If you are going through Salida at lunch time, make time for Amicas.
A fairly new brewery, Horsefly is already very popular with the locals. We joined a couple of guys for drinks after our volunteer work on the pump track and were pleasantly surprised by the flavor of these brews. Sharon’s favorite was the Agave Brown Ale, in fact, she would rate it in the Top 5 Fall seasonals that we have tried.
Jay preferred the Highland Cycles Scottish Ale and the Extra Stout Ale, both strong flavorful beers that were well balanced and just plain delicious. Horsefly is a great happy hour spot to grab a drink and catch up with friends.
Palisade Colorado is known for wine and peaches, but their brewery is notable for having the most well-crafted beers in that part of the state. While we were there they had a High Desert Imperial Red on tap. We sat next to the brewmaster and he explained that with that red he was hoping to push the boundaries of what would be considered a red ale. This beer did exactly that with a great outcome, a very drinkable, strong flavorful ale.
For a beer that everyone can love, I would recommend the Paw Print Porter. It is a solid porter, well balanced and great for those cooler days. The brewmaster noted that Dirty Hippie is one of his signature beers. I though it was unique and appreciated the twist on a lager, but it was not my favorite. Palisade is primarily a tap room, but they do sell sandwiches which were quite good so it makes for a decent lunch stop.
Kannah Creek, Grand Junction
Kannah Creek is right by the Mesa State college campus and therefore caters to the college crowd with a large patio and big tvs inside to watch the game. Those students are lucky to have such a great selection of hand crafted beers to choose from.
They have a few seasonals that they rotate. We really enjoyed the Strong Ale, which was one of the seasonals on tap at the time. It was red in color, strong, but not boozy, with a geat balance of malt and hops.
Kannah Creek definitely seems to shine more when it comes to showcasing hops. They are actually starting to grow their own hops on the patio, which is exciting since their Fresh Hopped ESB was very well done. The Standing Wave Pale Ale is one of their award-winning beers and it deserves the praise. If you live locally I would recommend their growlers. They have the german styles that we have, but they have fancier fluted handles.
I wanted to like the Ouray brewery. They have these amazing swinging bar stools that are meant to look like a chair lift. Sitting at one in the bar is super fun. Unfortunately, Ouray is ready for the tourist crowd with overpriced samplers and a very small selection of their own brew. When we visited they had only four of their own on tap. However, we did hear that they are expanding production at a facility on the edge of town, so maybe a couple of years from now they would be worth a return visit.
For now, just stick with a pint of the IPA. It is really well done if you want hop flavor without a bitter aftertaste.
Durango was one of the best breweries in terms of a welcoming hangout for beer lovers. To start with, they are right near the urban trail and have plenty of bike parking. Jay and I felt comfortable riding here and locking our bikes up outside. It was great to come via bike because I could really enjoy their large selection of brews. I started with the sampler which comes on a hand carved tray.
It was here I found one of my favorite beers for those cold Durango days, Durango’s Winter Ale. It reminds me of the Great Divide Hibernation Ale, but with a lower alcohol content. It has that same dark red color, malty flavor, and warming effect.
Carver is the oldest brewery in Durango, open since 1988. It seems more focused on the restaurant side of their operation and is a popular pub right in the fun downtown part of Durango. If you are looking for dinner with a good selection of craft beer to pair with it, I would strongly recommend Carver.
My favorites were the Nut Brown Ale and the Amber Ale. They had a seasonal beer with coffee in it when we were there. Usually that is one of my favorites, but this one was not well balanced.
Ska was on our short list of breweries to visit on this trip. They distribute Ska in Virginia so we were already fans of the Steeltoe Stout, Cutthroat Porter, and Milk Stout. I was excited to see what else we would be able to taste at the taproom.
We were excited to get to taste and take home two beers from their local series, the Hoperation Ivy and the Sethvleteren 8. Hoperation Ivy is an IPA with fresh local hops. It is bursting with flavor and is not too bitter. The Sethvleteren 8 is a Belgian Dubbel that is the opposite of the Hoperation, with much greater emphasis on the malt and the yeast flavors. It is almost sweet and easy drinking. Our usual favorites were still great, however the Milk Stout on nitro was too milky. It literally tasted like someone had poured cream into a normal stout. A new beer to meet was the Buster Nut Brown, which I liked even more than the porter.
Ska is definitely worth a visit, but there are a few things to know before you go. First, it is a little hard to find, use a GPS or get really good directions from the brewery. Also, in the summer they have a taco cart outside, but the rest of the year you need to either bring your own food (which they allow) or eat ahead of time. The closest food was a tasty Texas barbeque joint where we had lunch afterwards and really enjoyed. You could pick up a BBQ sandwich to bring with you! If you are not looking for a meal, they do provide free popcorn to snack on while you sample what’s on tap. Ska is a fun brewery with great style. They sponsor the local roller derby team. You can dress like a roller derby girl with Ska merchandise.
Our experience at Steamworks wasn’t great. It was packed to the gills when we arrived and we couldn’t get a server to take our order, much less a bar stool to sit on. I had been told that all of their servers are Cicerone certified, but we couldn’t even get one to talk to us so I have no first hand knowledge of their qualifications. When Jay was finally able to order a flight, he came back with the beers with a handwritten list on a napkin of what they were by name. Unfortunately we didn’t have a menu, so the name didn’t do us much good. We were drinking blind. This is how I ended up having the worst beer sampler of my life. I took one sip and I felt like I had been attacked. My tongue was in acute pain and I had no idea what had happened. Well, it turned out this was the Prescribed Burn, a chili beer featuring Habenero, Poblano, and Hatch green chilis. Oww! East coast palates be warned!! Jay of course kind of likes this chili beer which is the hottest he has tried.
After that debacle I went straight to Backside Stout for some relief. It was nice and smooth but honestly I couldn’t taste much of anything after that chili beer. Jay liked the Conducter, and Imperial IPA. The other beer that I remember is the Slam Dunkel. This was one of the first dunkels we have tried since the McKinney Brewery in Texas. The McKinney Dunkel was AMAZING, so the fact that Steamwork’s Slam Dunkel didn’t measure up doesn’t say much. It had too much banana taste.
Colorado is the premier destination for a microbrewery enthusiast. It is truly overwhelming just how many breweries they have, with almost every small town having at least one brewery. We spent a month in Colorado and had the opportunity to visit a lot of different breweries. Today we bring you the Front Range breweries and on Thursday we will review the breweries on the Western Slope. This is by no means a comprehensive review of all of the breweries in this region. This post was co-written by Jay and Sharon.
Great Divide, Denver
Great Divide is not very old but is suprisingly large. We tasted nearly all of the beers here, starting with the Hibernation English style ale. This one was rich and malty with an 8% abv. It is Sharon’s new favorite winter beer. I started out by tasting the Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. This one is a full flavor beer with subtle oak and is not over powered by the oak. Most of their beers are high gravity (high alcohol content) and a sampler goes a long way towards getting you buzzed. Great Divide is notable for their ability to make beers that are over 8% ABV but are completely drinkable and not boozy. Really the only beer of theirs that we did not like was the Raspberry Ale, but we almost never enjoy fruit in beer.
We got to go on their tour. This brewery is hopping, lots of employees busily filling kegs and getting the beer out. They have plans for expanding their brewing capacity to double production over the next year or so. I look forward to seeing bottles of Great Divide available wherever we go.
Left Hand, Longmont
Perhaps best known for their elaborate label designs, Left Hand Brewing should also be known for being able to master several different styles of beer and having taproom that serves as a friendly local hangout. If you are ever in or near Longmont, Colorado (north of Boulder, south of Fort Collins), you should definitely drop by. They had more than 10 beers on tap, so we each did a different flight of four samples. One of the beers that stood out for me was the Polestar Pilsner. I never order a Pilsner, but crisp lighter beer, the Polestar is the one I would want. My favorite beer in the bottle, Fade to Black, is more complex fresh from the tap. The peppery side shows up more, which is interesting, but not my preference. The Black Jack Porter was better on tap and was a favorite of both Jay’s and mine.
It’s worth visiting the tap room to try their beers on cask or nitro. Jay ordered the Sawtooth Ale on cask and it was incredible. I tasted the Milk Stout on nitro, which is a really great way to present that brew. From what we could tell they often host events and feature specials at the taproom. Something to look for, they are now growing their own hops outside the taproom and may have some fresh hopped ales available in the future.
Oskar Blues , Longmont
I have always liked how this brewery puts all their beers into cans. I am a big fan of the can with its superior freshness consistency and convenience. Canning seems to always avoid all the problems bottling. This brewery is another relativly large one with a pretty big distribution. Unusual for a brewery that cans is that practically everything they make is high gravity, with over 8% abv. Since I had already tried most of their beers I just went for their limited release offering and the cask conditioned. The cask conditioned was good but it suffered from a common high gravity pit fall, it tasted a little boozy. The limited release was a thick stout that was strong in nearly every way. I felt like I should be sipping it out of a huge brandy snifter. It was good. It’s also worth noting that the tap room is called the Tasty Weasel and since we were there they have added a food truck called the Bone Wagon.
Yak and Yeti, Arvada
This brewery is truly unique, as it’s also an Indian restaurant. Apparently the brewery came first and when it went under the Indian family that bought it to start their restaurant decide to continue brewing beer. The food is what really stood out, as it was fantastic. The brews were also quite good. Naturally, they had a good India Pale Ale. Sharon had a Chai Milk Stout that was unique and surprisingly good.
The restaurant and brewery is housed in an old Victorian house which lends even more charm. It’s a great option for a date night.
Trinity Brewing, Colorado Springs
Trinity is an “eatery” and not just a tap room. They specialize in slow food and they even provide you with cheese to cleanse your palate in between tasting samples. We snacked on some lamb sliders that were quite good. The Nitro IPA stood out as did the Stout on nitro. This brewery also has many interesting Belgian Farmhouse Ale style creations which would be a fun reason to come back and taste new versions.
In addition to their own brews, Trinity has a large number of other microbrews on tap. Important note: you can only fill a growler with the Trinity beer.
Phantom Canyon, Colorado Springs
Phantom Canyon is in downtown Colorado Springs and has an old classic brewpub feel. One of the things we noticed right away was how professional the bartender was. She really new their beer and provided excellent service. The beer that stood out for me was the Ring of Fire Chili Ale. I (Sharon) can not handle hot, so usually I steer clear of a chili infused beer, but this one was Fire Roasted Mira Sol chilis that gave it a really interesting earthy flavor without the sting.
Another notable offering was the 1943 Burton Ale, which follows a recipe from World War Two when, “Due to wartime rationing, the alcohol content was reduced from a pre-war level of around 5.5% to a moderate 4.8%. There is a high proportion of oats in the grist as the government made them do so.” It is interesting that they would remake a beer that was a product of rationing, but it is actually quite good.
Our two favorites were probably the Railyard Ale and the Zebulon’s Peated Porter. Both were great examples of their styles.
New Belgium, Fort Collins
New Belgium is one of the biggest and most successful microbreweries around. Everyone has heard of the flagship Fat Tire beer now that it’s distributed far and wide. Most of the beers at the brewery are available off site in bottles with the exception of the Home Plate Stout. This stout was a classic style and seemed to be well balanced with nice roasted malts giving a chocolate flavor. It was actually the winner in a local home brewer competition and the prize is that New Belgium will then brew the beer and serve it at their tap room.
Our longtime favorites are 1554, Mothership Wit, and 2 Below. Unfortunately we found out that they will not be brewing 2 Below for a couple of years because they just released a new winter seasonal, Snow Day that will be taking its place. We tried Snow Day in bottles after it was released and unfortunately we prefer 2 Below. So hopefully they’ll get back to making 2 Below eventually.
The brewery is very impressive with lots of oddities with little stories behind them as well as neat technical innovations. This is simply the best tour out there because there is just so much to see. Note: the tour is 90 minutes long and requires reservations. We ended up having to change our route a little because the next available tour wasn’t for five days. So book early! And dress for the weather because you walk all around the campus, going in and out of different buildings to see all stages of the brewing and bottling.
One of the most interesting things on the tour was learning about sour beer, which is a Belgium style that is just starting to be brewed in the United States. New Belgium is leading this trend with the Lips of Faith series of sours. A sour beer sits in barrels to ferment and will change taste as it ages. New Belgium is actually blending two sours together to make their sour offerings. I tried the Clutch in the tap room and enjoyed it but then tried it again on the tour and hated it. I tried it a third time on tap at the Hot Tomato in Fruita and liked it again, so it definitely requires a little more understanding to appreciate a sour.
Odell, Fort Collins
Walking distance from New Belgium is Odell. This brewery just offers a tap room with no restaurant. They have a huge line up of tasty beers on tap. Some of the highlights were Town Pump Pale Ale, Bourbon Barrel Stout, Nitro Cutthroat Porter, and Myrcenary Double IPA. Every brewery has a small brewing system used for tests, typically this just aluminum half barrel kegs with a propane stove burner or some other primitive system. Odell had a top notch “pilot” system as they refer to it. It’s all stainless and looks like a scale model of a typical production brew line. This is why they have so many experimental and ever changing beers in their tap room.
Sharon and I were lucky enough to get a short private tour. Thanks Kelly! I was glad we got to see their pilot system. We also learned that centrifuges are for beer not bombs. Rather than using a filter, the beer runs through a centrifuge to separate out the solids.
Fort Collins, Fort Collins
Another brewery that can really get points for both food and beer! In fact, the night we were there, they were hosting a beer pairing dinner there which employees from Odell Brewing were headed over for. Bacon wrapped pretzels. Just try them.
One beer in particular stands out, the Common Ground, because it is the first time I have tasted a coffee infused beer that wasn’t dark. It is a well balanced amber ale infused with “Jackie’s Java”. Other great choices on tap, the double smoked Doppel Bock and the Chocolate Stout.
Upslope is new but they are off to a good start. They are located in the northern suburbs of Boulder and cater to a local crowd. They are starting canning and plan to only distribute through cans. Since cans are preprinted (unlike bottles which are labeled), this somewhat limits their diversity of distribution. So it’s worth coming into the tap room to see what their latest creation is.
Upslope had the only pumpkin beer of the season that I actually liked. They use fresh local pumpkins which is probably what makes the difference. One unique beer that did not win me over was the Cabernet aged IPA. They take a regular IPA and age it in wine barrels which completely removes the hoppy bitterness and replaces it with a fruity but oakey taste that does not fully resemble beer. I would just stick with their Brown Ale, it’s solid.
Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse, Nederland
If you are traveling the beautiful and famous Peak to Peak Highway south from Rocky Mountain National Park, make sure to plan a lunch stop in Nederland and check out the Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery. Delicious pulled pork and hand crafted beer, how can you go wrong?
They do not have a large selection, so I would recommend trying whatever their special is that week. I enjoyed a smooth oatmeal stout that was a great pairing for the smoked meat that drew us in.
Glenwood Springs, Glenwood Springs
We tried the sampler here which includes up to eight beers on tap. Since two of them were light and sweet, the Hanging Lake Honey Wheat and the Grizzly Creek Raspberry Wheat, it was a bit weak. Actually, I really liked the honey wheat as a smooth easy drinking choice. Their No Name Nut Brown Ale had a strong nut flavor, perhaps chestnuts. I know that the nuttiness comes only from the malt they use, but I could have sworn they dumped a package of nuts in their for good measure. The St. James Irish Red, Vapor Cave IPA, and Old Depot Porter were all decent and represented their styles well, but none of them stand out. It’s a good place for happy hour if your visiting this lovely tourist town, but not worth a special visit.
Well we have fallen behind in writing about breweries, but we have been visiting more than ever since we entered Colorado. This week we hit the milestone of visiting 50 different breweries in the past 9 months on this trip. Here are our picks for the top 3 in several categories. We’d love to hear your opinion and recommendations for the best breweries to visit in the United States and Canada. We are headed to Arizona and California next, so we are particularly interested in breweries in those states.
Best Brewpub (good food and good beer)
- Mad Fox Brewery, Falls Church, VA – Order a bacon cheeseburger or duck pizza, they make their own mustard, bake their own bread, and cure their own meats
- Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO – The bacon wrapped pretzel is an amazing starter! Fort Collins hosts beer and food pairing dinners which are worth the splurge.
- Trinity Brewing, Colorado Springs, CO – This is the only sampler I’ve ever had that comes with cheese to eat in between each brew. They are serious about their food here and even grow their own herbs to flavor with.
- Barrio Brewery, Tucson, AZ – $3 pints with at least 10 beers on tap and great affordable food, how can you ask for more?
- Left Hand, Longmont, CO – Left Hand is clearly a locals hangout and they are always hosting an event for the community, everything from art openings to concerts to political information nights.
- Yazoo Brewery, Nashville, TN – Unfortunately the taproom is only open on weekends, they are packed on Saturdays and deservedly so with great specials and a fun vibe.
- Odell, Fort Collins, CO – Odell is special because of its pilot system. While you may be familiar with the 90 Shilling or Cutthroat Porter I can guarantee you have not heard of half of the brew line up available at the tasting room. They are always experimenting with new styles and you can design your own flight to suit your interests. Be aware, they close early so get there for happy hour!
- Great Divide, Denver, CO – Best advice for this tasting room is to get a cab or come on your bike. Great Divide specializes in high gravity beers that are seriously drinkable and a basic sampler will put you down for the count (especially if you come in from sea level and are new to mile high elevation).
- Starr Hill, Charlottesville, VA – Dress for the weather – this tasting room is right next to their bottling line and it is not insulated. However, the beer and good company will keep you warm. This is a really fun place to hang out with a great staff.
- Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant, Afton, VA – Blue Mountain has just expanded an opened up an event space that is available for weddings. It is that pretty. Come in the fall for beautiful color, tasty pizza and delicious beers like the Dark and Evil.
- Jasper Brewery, Jasper, Alberta – Jasper and Banff Ave Breweries are owned by the same guy and are really unique that they are actually within National Parks. As such, they can not distribute their beer, so you will have to stop in during a vacation to the Canadian Rockies. I know you needed another excuse to go see one of the most beautiful places in North America. Highly recommend the porter.
- Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse, Nederland, CO – Located along the famous Peak to Peak highway in Colorado (south of Rocky Mountain National Park), this is a perfect lunch stop. The smoked meats are excellent and the beer is great too. I also particularly love their logo.
Best Spot for a Growler Fill
- Kettlehouse Brewery, Missoula, MT – Kettlehouse has a lane at the bar designated for growler fills. They also are the only brewery we’ve been to that sold Nalgene growlers made to withstand a river trip. In addition to growlers they fill party pigs and kegs.
- Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins, CO – Fort Collins is a small young brewery, but they have a nifty piece of equipment that makes them stand out for brewery fills. This automated filling machine is supposed to keep the beer fresher.
- Mad Fox, Falls Church, VA – Mad Fox is a fun place to bring your growler because they take a picture and often tweet those pictures on their twitter account, @MadFoxBrewing
Top 3 Brewery Tours
- New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO – New Belgium is the ultimate in brewery tours. They have a 90 minutes tour that requires reservations and includes 5 tasting samples. The entire brewery route is designed for tours with art and restrooms along the way!
- Yeungling Brewery, Pottsville, PA – Anyone that is interested in American craft beer needs to take a trip to Pottsville. Yeungling is oldest brewery in the United States and the tour takes you through history, seeing how Yeungling survived prohibition and how they have remained a family business and an institution in Pennsylvania.
- Franconia Brewery, McKinney, TX – If you’ve got questions about the science behind brewing, I encourage you to take a trip to McKinney and meet Dennis Wehrmann. He is the most knowledgeable brewmaster that we have met and he gives the tours himself on Saturdays.
Top 3 Towns for Breweries
- Fort Collins, Colorado – With 7 breweries in a town of 144,000, this is a city that requires more than one day to explore. Luckily, Fort Collins is also very bikeable, they even have a bicycle library that allows you to check out a bike and return it with a basic deposit.
- Flagstaff, Arizona – Flag (as locals refer to it) is really just a large town and it is home to 5 breweries. The newest addition, Mother Road is home to the Alpine Pedaler, a human powered bicycle tram that is available for rent for brewery crawls (particularly easy in Flag since all of the breweries are downtown near each other).
- Durango, Colorado – Durango has fewer breweries, only 4, but they have a longer history of brewing. Durango is also small enough that you can get around to all of the breweries without too much trouble.
While visiting our friend Kathy in Flagstaff, Sharon and I got a chance to visit a few of the five breweries in Flagstaff. Flagstaff has Beaver Street Brewery, Lumberyard Brewing Company (owned by Beaver St), Flagstaff Brewing Company, Sterling Springs Brewing Company / Cosmic distribution (which is now brewing in the space formerly known as Mogollon), and Mother Road Brewing Company (which will be opening its doors soon). This is a lot for a city of less than 60,000 residents. You can easily walk to every brewery in town. When we were at Mother Road, we overheard a local entrepreneur talking about bringing a bike trolley to Flagstaff that would offer drinkers a fun way to tour all of the breweries.
We were lucky that we got to do a tasting at the newest brewery, Mother Road, since they were open for tastings during the First Friday Art Walk. During First Friday Art Walk, we also got to taste Sterling Springs’ Red Ale and Dirty Blonde Ale. Sterling Springs was offering a tasting at Animas Beads, so we didn’t get any photos. The Red was very light in flavor and body and somewhat unremarkable. The Dirty Blonde Ale on the other hand was delightful. It had a nice cloudy color and was crisp and smooth. It was stronger than the typical blonde ale in every way.
Onto the Mother Road tasting …
Mother Road had three beers available for tasting, Twin Arrows Brown Ale, Roadside American Ale, and Gold Road Kolsch Ale. The Roadside American Ale was my favorite. It had a nice hop character with plenty of citrus and pine crispness, although it also had some strong hop bitterness, so it’s recommended for hop heads. The Twin Arrows Brown Ale was very smooth, but it was not a full flavorful rich brown. It was a very malt flavored beer with just a hint of sourness. The kolsch was a very typical kolsch, light character and smoothness, and a golden color. This is a great summer party beer as its light taste makes you think hmm I couldn’t really taste that… better have another one.
We did not get a chance to taste Flagstaff Brewing Company’s beer on this go around, but when we lived near it I drank a lot of their stouts and porters which were good. Sharon’s note, they also have the best tag line, “Beer like your mom used to make”.
Beaver and Lumberyard use the same recipe and probably even the same bath it seems for their Red Ale. This is their staple beer and the one that people keep coming back for. It’s one of those beers people drink so often that it’s taken for granted. I also liked the IPA as it was a solid classic IPA. The Lumberyard seemed to be struggling with a problem brewers, shop keepers and distribution companies alike face in Flagstaff, not enough beer. Seriously, the stuff just disappears! Out of the six or so beers on their list they were out of three. Luckily the Smoke and Bottle had the Lumberyard Belgian Tripel on hand in bottles so we picked some up there. The Smoke and Bottle is a great new beer seller in town so I have to give it a plug. The Belgian Tripel is a good one with quite a bit of citrus character and its a strong one even by any standard at 10.1% alcohol. It’s not boozy like a cheap champagne, the citrus character and sweetness come through.