Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wit's End

In life everybody has a dream. For Scott Witsoe an avid home brewer who moved to Denver from Seattle that dream quickly became to own a microbrewery, and become part of the thriving microbrew community Denver is so well known for. However this dream did not become a reality until Scott was laid off from his day job in 2011. It was after that where he and his wife decided to take the opportunity and open a brewery. The rest is history and off 2nd Avenue in Denver, Colorado you can enjoy all of his offerings, at Wits End Brewing.
First thing to realize though is Wits End is not a microbrewery; it is much smaller and classifies themselves as a nano brewery. They brew each beer in a one barrel system which only produces 31 gallons of beer at a time, allowing for higher quality of beers. The small production operation is visible in the back to the tap room. Bright blue walls surround the bar area, with a parking lot patio, and board games available for any of the guests to play. But in order to totally enjoy your experience at Wits End there has to be beer to enjoy, and thankfully there is plenty to choose from here, in a variety of styles where the traditional beers are anything but that.
Of all the breweries in Colorado there are still certain styles that are not as common, and one of those is the porter. At Wits End they took a basic porter, added a few extra ingredients, and created a very unique version of a classical beer in their Kitchen Sink Porter. Now this beer contains a laundry list of ingredients that are not limited to a wide variety of malts including a smoked variety, and dark roasted. Include the rye that is added in addition to the hops, barley and you have an extremely complex beer, but with so many ingredients what is the end result? A beer that is unique, complex, and balanced. The dark roasted malts add a subtle chocolate and coffee flavor. The rye adds a slight fruity and spicy taste, and the smoked malts adds a slight flavor that brings the beer together as a whole. Definitely a unique and multi dimensional porter and a great twist on a classic.
Now of course there are certain beers that are becoming more and more common at breweries, and one of those is the hefeweizen. That classic German wheat beer cloudy in appearance but packed full of banana flavor. Well at Wits End there version of this classic has all the classic flavors but it is more complex, and it is called the Banana Hammock. The main difference is the appearance. This beer is not cloudy, but instead clear and deep gold in color. That can be attributed to the malts and again the addition of rye. The yeast is the same used in a traditional hefeweizen, and between the combination of traditional yeast with untraditional malts the end beer is a banana foster in a glass. The classic banana flavor that one expects is the prominent flavor, but the addition of rye and malts adds a slight sweetness reminiscent of that classical dessert. A must try, and only available during the summer.
Other beers available are a classical Belgian wheat named after a action movie star from the country that has all the great citrus and spice notes that one loves in a Belgian beer. The Green Man is a beer inspired by Scott’s hometown of Seattle. A cross between an IPA and a red with hops directly from the northwest but with a more balanced and less hoppy/bitter flavor. Last is the Super FL IPA, a black IPA that creates more depth and a malty flavor than a traditional IPA. Throughout the ear the tap list will change depending on the season to include stouts, and brown ales as well.
Despite the growing brewery scene in Colorado there are still more and more opening up on a regular basis for a multitude of reasons. In the case of Wits End it was a person seizing and opportunity to take their dream and turn it into a reality. Despite being one of the smallest breweries in the state by production standards the quality of beer they are pouring out of their taps makes it evident the passion they put into each barrel. A small brewery in a hidden area, this brewery should be sought out and tried, the next time you are by downtown Denver.

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