Monday, June 10, 2013
Colorado 2013: Day 2
Our second day in Colorado started off much more promising, albeit slightly rocky. We planned to have lunch at Bristol Brewing, a place that we had visited last time we were in Colorado Springs however upon arriving at the address listed on their website, there was no brewery to be found. Instead we found a vacated space which upon further inspection directed us a short distance away to the Ivywild School. It seemed odd but we followed directions and sure enough, arrived at a former school which is in the process of being renovated to house a variety of businesses, including Bristol.
The new taproom was much larger than its former self with windows overlooking the brewing space, some of which was currently being used and some of which was still being installed. They were out of a few of the beers listed on their menu but there were still plenty to try and enjoy. Tops for me was, surprisingly, Red Rocket Pale Ale. It's not a style I usually enjoy but Bristol's version was nicely hopped and full of flavor. Their Compass IPA was also enjoyable and available both "regular" and on nitro. As with other IPAs I've had on nitro, I didn't enjoy it as much as the hop bite I so enjoy gets muted.
Our next stop was Great Storm Brewing, housed in a small, unattractive strip mall in a fairly unattractive area of Colorado Springs. It wasn't however hard to find and once inside it was easy to forget the exterior surroundings.
In addition to full pours they also offered 8-oz and 4-oz pours, which I took advantage of with my first beer - Rum Raisin Stout. Generally I wouldn't start with an 8.1% oatmeal milk stout but my cohorts had already ordered "the usual suspects" and I wasn't overly interested in the remaining offerings. The beer was a meal in a glass - sweet, roasty and one that would be difficult to finish in full pint format. Through the course of subsequent orderings of 8-oz pours we made it through all the beers and were pleasantly surprised to find that Get Buzzed Honey Beer, a golden braggot, and Shine On, an oaked Belgian strong, were really great beers. Their styles are ones I'm not usually drawn to but both had sufficient sour characteristics that won me over.
The last stop, Trinity Brewing, was the one that I was most looking forward to due primarily to the release of their Berliner Weisse that afternoon. We arrived before the release and perused the beer menu. There were six of their own beers on tap, another 10+ 750ml bottles of their other beers and an assortment of guest taps. Our first round consisted of Sunna Wit, Soul Horkey Ale, an IPA and Slap Your Mammy double IPA. The IPA was the best we'd had on the trip, with a great stanky aroma and flavor.
Our waitress came around once the Berliner Weisse, Ten Minutes of Pleasure, was available and we promptly ordered a bottle. It was a delicious representation of the style and one that ranks right up there with ones being produced in Portland. After starting down the bottle road we proceeded to try Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta and TPS Report. As fans of "Office Space" we appreciated those references along with others in the beer names (Oh Face) and the artwork adorning one of the barrel-based outdoor tables. The TPS Report gave off huge coriander and citrus notes although those flavors were more muted in the flavor, likely due to the barrel aging. I will most certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for some of these bottles to hit Portland shelves in the coming months as the head brewer has family in Oregon and will be making a trip to Portland to introduce his beers to the market.
While we hit the same number of breweries as the first day, day two was far more successful and enjoyable. Day three was certainly going to have some big shoes to fill in order to equal it and giant sized ones to fill in order to exceed it.