Hoppy Boston goes to Denver

My lovely wife and I spent this past weekend in Denver for a friend’s wedding (not to see a certain football game, which is a good thing considering the outcome). Denver has an amazing craft beer scene. We stayed right in downtown Denver where there are multiple breweries within walking distance. My lovely wife and I decided to spend Friday afternoon exploring the city and checking out a few of the breweries. Here is a quick re-cap of what we tried, fortunately all of the breweries had tasting flights so I was able to sample a bunch of brews without overdoing it!

Stop #1: Wynkoop Brewing Company
Wynkoop is one of the oldest brewpubs in Denver. The two story brewpub features an extensive menu and a large selection of handmade craft beers. You can have a pint at the bar or grab some cans to go. We had a great lunch (try the pork-belly BLT made with thick cut bacon and beer-bread) and sampled a number of beers from the menu. Some of our favorites include:

Silverback Pale Ale: A hop-forward American pale ale, with a great aroma featuring citrus and pine. Nicely balanced flavor with some hoppy bitterness and malty backbone while still being lighter bodied and easy to drink.

Mile HIPA: Great take on the “West Coast” IPA style. Tons of hop character in the smell and flavor, like a burst of lemon, orange and grapefruit in your mouth. Pleasantly bitter but still easy to drink.

London Calling IPA: An English style IPA served on cask. Not overly bitter or hoppy compared to the American takes on the IPA style, but very drinkable and a solid example of a proper English IPA.

Stop #2: Breckenridge Brewing Company

Breckenridge Brewing Company has a brewpub in Downtown Denver, right across the street from Coors Field. They serve a full lineup of their own beers along with a number of other local favorites. The space is beautiful, lots of exposed brick and recovered hardwood, and tons of space to hang out with a group and have some beers before a game. We focused on Breckenridge beers for our tasting.

Nitro Vanilla Porter: Smooth and very easy to drink, nice subtle sweetness. The vanilla is present but not overdone. I could have put back multiple pints of this.

Lucky U IPA: Straight-forward hop-bomb American IPA. Your nose picks up on scents that are full of pine and citrus, followed by similar hop flavors and great bitterness.

Thunder Stout: A very dark ale, also served on nitro. A drier stout with a pronounced coffee flavor followed by some roasted and vanilla notes.

Stop #3: Great Divide Brewery

Our final stop was at Great Divide, one of the most well-known Denver breweries. Their tasting room was on the small side, and on the tour we found out that they are working on building a new brewery that can accommodate their expanding business. The tour was very informative and the giant, temperature controlled outdoor fermenters were impressive. Afterwards we tried a few pints of some of Great Divide’s newer brews.

Lasso IPA:  Lasso is a session IPA, weighing in at 5% ABV. While it is lower in alcohol than some of Great Divides other offerings, it is not short on flavor. Great American hop flavors and solid bitterness. Pretty much a perfect afternoon beer, full on flavor while still being lower in alcohol.

Colette Saison: Colette is a Belgian style saison, and at 7.3% ABV it is on the heavy side for that style. Despite the high alcohol it is very easy to drink, with great Belgian yeast notes of green apple, bubblegum and pepper in the aroma and flavor.

All three breweries were an easy walk, a great advantage to visitors in downtown Denver. So, even though many New England football fans might be a little bitter at a certain Denver football team, the city is a must-visit for any craft beer fan.

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