Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mile High Brews: Twisted Pine

Sometimes finding breweries can be like going on a scavenger hunt. Some of them are tucked away in hidden locations that can make them difficult to find, others are easy to drive right by without even realizing what is inside. Inside a warehouse in Boulder on Walnut Street lies one of these hidden gems that I encourage you to stop at and enjoy a couple of pints. Here we have high quality award winning beers that are both traditional and highly experimental, but with a selection of fifteen different beers you are bound to find one worthwhile, here at Twisted Pine.
The outside of this brewery is a total warehouse, while there are some tables and an outdoor patio, the sign is surrounded by sheet metal but once you walk in you are entirely transformed. All of a sudden it feels as if you are in a mountain lodge relaxing after a long day in the cold weather. The furniture is all hand carved and only adds to the rustic, old school mountain lodge feel. The d├ęcor is so consistent it even went down to the tap handles which also look hand carved out of pine. Along the side wall is hand painted glass of the mountains and flat irons Boulder is so known for, and above the art are all the awards this brewery has won.
The lounge area itself is tiny, at most there are ten bar stools and eight tables all with great views into the production area going on behind the bar area. It is kind of hard to believe that such a small brewery can produce so many high quality ales but also be able to produce enough ales not only to meet the demand in Colorado but five other states, and they will soon be adding two states to their distribution area. With fifteen great beers available, to try the question is which one to try first? Something traditional? Experimental? Seasonal? No worries, because at Twisted Pine there is something for every pallet out there.
Typically when trying out a new brewery the rule of thumb is to try something light and work to the dark. At Twisted Pine that is no different and a great first beer to try is the blonde ale. A very simple German style pale ale, this beer has a subtle citrus flavor but a clean taste once all is said and done. This is a beer that does not have a prominent flavor. While the main flavor is wheat it is still quite subtle and the malts and hops are very hard to detect. The only presence of those ingredients is in the slightly bitter aftertaste. A very refreshing beer that would be great in summertime but is ultimately great anytime, the blonde ale is a great starter beer that is a must try for any fan of wheat ales.
Sometimes wheat beers can be kind of bland and the addition of extra flavor can be risky. With such a light beer adding the right flavor can be hard as it can take over the flavor of the entire beer. That is why citrus is the most common addition to add a subtle acidity to an ale. Twisted Pine did not go that route, instead they chose to add spice to a wheat ale. What kind of spice? Chili peppers, more specifically the addition of Anaheim, Fresno, Serrano, Jalapeno, and Habanero peppers make this hands down the hottest beer and one of the most unique beers I have tried, Billy’s Chilies. The aroma of chili peppers adds a great introduction to this beer and at first sip the taste of the peppers hits your tongue but does not overshadow the taste of the wheat ale. However, the aftertaste leaves you with a lingering heat in the back of the throat that keeps you sipping for more. A truly unique beer that is definitely not for everybody but one that everybody should try. Thankfully the brewery offers three ounce samples so you do not have to commit to a full pint.
When people think of Boulder, Colorado one place comes to mind, and that is Pearl Street. So it is only fitting that when in Boulder to drink a beer that was brewed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this unique town, and you will find that in the Pearl St. Porter. The first aspect of this beer that makes it different from other porters is that the Pearl St. is a Baltic style porter. A Baltic porter is a regular porter that has been fermented longer so it has a higher alcohol content, this particular one is 6.7 percent by volume. It still has the characteristics that are loved in porters, the malty and bitter flavor, plus a subtle chocolate flavor. But what differentiates Pearl St. Porter is its surprisingly light body which only makes it that much more refreshing. This special beer is only available during the winter so buy up when available because it will be a long year before it can be enjoyed again.
When a brewery decides to roast either its malts or barley it creates a very dark beer and the end result is typically a stout. Dark roasted malts can add a bitter flavor to a stout that mimics the bitterness associated with coffee. Add ground coffee to emphasize the flavor and the end result is a true coffee stout, and at Twisted Pine their Big Shot Espresso Stout is the true definition of what a high quality coffee stout is. Heavy body, bitterness, and a strong coffee flavor that does not overpower the qualities of a stout that are loved, but takes a traditional stout to a whole other level. The coffee flavor slightly enhances the bitterness but also adds a clean true coffee flavor. A very unique beer that has almost two different flavors, and one that is a must try.
Now if coffee isn’t a favorite flavor, but you still like stouts and are feeling adventurous the Razzy Xpress stout is so unique it has to be tried. Typically fruit in beers is reserved for wheat ales or a lighter beer, and more assertive flavors like chocolate are reserved for dark beers. But to go along with the uniqueness of this brewery they created a winter seasonal stout that combines both flavors, and the end result is a chocolate raspberry stout. This beer is so unique, balanced, and hearty that it has to be tried. There is not a single flavor that is dominant.  In each sip the flavors stand on their own and you can taste the raspberry, chocolate, and all the great qualities of a stout. This is a can’t miss beer during the coldest months of the year when it is available.
In a town like Boulder where the first microbrewery in Colorado opened, and now with eleven total it can be hard to stand out. Yet, despite all the competition, Twisted Pine has found a way to not only stay competitive but brew some of the most unique beers I have tried. Whether it be honey brown ales, fruit wheats, or even chili pepper beers they are all full on flavor and have the quality that keep you wanting more. After the first sip it becomes obvious just how passionate and committed this brewery is to crafting great beers. If looking just to pick up a six pack or whenever in Boulder, make Twisted Pine a brewery to try.
Like what you are reading? Have a brewery you want us to visit? Let us know at the official Mile High Brews Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mile-High-Brews/300062080014536

1 comment:

  1. Billy's Chilies was amazing in how they got that taste of the hot peppers to come through. A definitely beer experience to try at least once. Nice article. Twisted Pine is definitely a unique brewery.

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