We are currently serving batch #324 at the taproom and that struck a chord with me. 324… 324 different batches of beer in the past 2 years have seen their time in tank, line, faucet, and glass here at Denver Beer Co. To be honest it blows my mind, what we’ve been able to brew and come up with in such a seemingly short period of time because trust me, time does fly when you’re having fun. From Colorado Wiess to Thin Mint Stout, Session Ale to barrel aged RIS, we’ve seen our fare share of flavors and thinking back I wanted to revel on my top 5 brews we’ve made at our lovely little empire on Platte St…
5. Belgian Chocolate Cherry Imperial Stout 10.3% ABV (Batch #60, 1/27/2012 collaboration with Upslope Brewing) – Our first collaboration turned out to leave quite the impression on me. From day of tapping, to 2 weeks in, last pour, then the heavenly barrel aging edition, this beer holds a special spot in my heart. This 10.3% Belgian Imperial stout was made with a heavy dose of tart cherry, and cocoa to give a massively complex yet silky drinking stout. At first tapping it was dry, bold with hop and cherry tones with that quintessential roasted malt backbone. After a few weeks though something happened, as time went on the beastly amount of chocolate that went into this brew showed it’s presence. The bright cherry tones had turned tart, reminding of seeing a jar of maraschino cherries still in jar with the soft liquid still touching the souring cherry. Yet further in the life of this brew the chocolate continued to dominate, cherry to finish the brew but that wasn’t all. A small portion of the beer was put into a spent red wine barrel that housed roasted coffee beans, this barrel sat for over a year before we got into it…. patience payed off. The barrel aged version brought even more depth and complexity to this monstrous brew, flavor ranging from tannic red wine, to soft vanilla and dried chocolate lingered on your palate for what seemed like hours. By far one of the most intriguing beers we’ve ever served.
4. Hopfenweiss 5.4% ABV (Batch #72, 3/1/2012) – To be honest I hadn’t indulged in too many beers of this unique German style but after Charlie’s excitement, I was hooked from the beginning. Many similar notes to its brother style Hefeweizen, this brew served in a traditional pilsner glass had a gorgeous blonde/burnt orange pour with a creamy white head. The nose had plenty of the usual suspects for a hefe hybrid: clove, cinnamon, banana, hefty dose of fresh wheat, but also had a plentiful serving of zesty hops as well. The drink was simple and balanced, not overly cloved or hopped, but both tones being dominant matched perfectly with each other. Drinking this beer outdoors in spring was an easy “A,” it became the crowd favorite in no time. For me, this brew really accentuated on our philosophy here at Denver Beer Co, season brews to match the unpredictable palate of thirsty patrons. Amidst a lineup of heavy stouts and higher alcohol brews, the Hopfenweiss stood up to the test and provided an easy drinking yet full flavored brew.
3. Summit Sunrise 7.3% ABV (Batch #75, 3/7/2012) – Red, malty, hoppy, hoppy…. Pretty much an always YES in my book. I’ve always been a fan of bold American Red Ales and this is no exception.. Brewed with a massive amount of Summit hops and wildflower honey, this spring release is still easily of my favorites. Bold roasted malt tones on the nose with a prominent hop back, off the bat you know that this is a serious brew. With how many brews we go through in a given batch life, it’s difficult to stick to just one beer, but I tried my damnedest to make it happen. Multiple times at the end of a spring day at Vail we’d all stop on the way home and sit in for a few. This brew seemed to get the attention of the “non-hoppy” beer drinker even though it was a bitter bomb. The heavy amount of malt not only gave a full body, but complimented the hop tones perfectly. It’s one of the few brews that we do rotate at the brewery so if you see it on the board, make sure to stock up on it, you can thank me later.
2. Hide the Rum 9.4% ABV (Batch #308, 02/18/2013) – Coming up with ideas for barrel aged beers may be one of the best parts of our jobs, working together planning out beers styles, into which barrel type, with what additions, and for how long to rest, it’s a hell of a fun gig. Sometimes though it just comes to you. Hide the Rum was one of those beers… It started off with a simple appreciation for brown sugar. An aged Belgian Quad has plenty of notable flavors and notes but I’ve always hunted for this subtle brown sugar note right on the mid palate. Thinking that Caribbean rum has plenty of molasses and sugar notes, it seemed like a match made in heaven. So… we brewed a hefty Belgian quad, and laid it to rest in spent rum barrels for over 6 months. The result was a dark pour with vanilla creme head. The nose is a field of sugarcane, spicy oak, and plum. On the drink there are notes of dried dates, fig, and glazed honey. After the initial sip the flavors change into a darker range, sun-dried cherries, sweet malt, and of course brown sugar take the lead which roll into a finish lingering of tart red wine and stewed raisins. As incredibly easy-drinking and enjoyable as this beer is the 9.4% does not seem to be so take your time with this one.
1. Graham Cracker Porter 5.6% ABV (Batch #3, 7/24/2011) – What to say… As our 3rd presence at GABF approaches I think of things to write about my favorite beers along the road, and I digress to the simplicity of drinking a memorable beer: after work, with friends, with food, camping, fishing, sitting on the roof, floating, riding, celebrating… The simple solace of enjoying a balanced, full flavored brew that brings a smile to our face and a raise of your glass every time… this to me, is the eternal expression of a favorite beer. There are a ton of great beers we’ve brewed and many more to explore in every part of the world but for me personally, there’s something about Graham Cracker Porter…. “a campfire in a glass..”
Next time you’re in make sure to take a long look at the board and think of your favorite brews of DBC over the years, tell us a story about them or recommend that we bring it back, who knows what brews you’ll think of and what we’ll have for you next time you’re in…