Friday, October 12, 2012

Elevation Brewing

The massive growth of microbreweries over the past couple years in Colorado has been astonishing. It seems like every month a new microbrewery is open and it seems like every town you drive through has at least one. This is true even in the smallest of towns. Roughly three hours southwest of Denver along the Arkansas River is the small town of Poncha Springs, Colorado where the last recorded population was 742. Most people will drive through this town on there was somewhere else but right off Highway 50 lies a small brewery started by four friends who wanted to mix their passion of craft beer, with their love of the outdoors. The end result is Elevation Beer Co. opened in 2012.
One of the great benefits of enjoying a beer in Colorado is getting to sit and enjoy the scenery as well, and at Elevation the first thing you notice is the San Juan mountain range that lies behind it. Inside is a transformation to a rustic looking brewery. The bar stools with cast iron seats, barrels spread throughout the tap room, and wood surround the entire interior. The windows are large and spread all around the tap room so the scenery outside can be enjoyed even from the comforts of inside. Off to the side of the bar lies a large window that allows guests to view their production facility, where all the high quality ales are made. There are plenty of ales to choose from and a wide variety for every pallet in your group.
Go to any brewery in Colorado and there will be at least one IPA available, but at Elevation they took their IPA and took it to a whole new level in creating the First Cast IPA. Made with two different types of hops the bitterness and dryness is the primary flavor, but it is the other ingredients that make this beer stand out. First are the malts which are pilsner which add to the bitterness, and then there are caramel malts which cut the bitterness with a subtle sweetness and richness. But what ultimately makes this beer so unique is the addition of pine which adds to the aroma and carries through in the taste with a fresh flavor that cannot be matched. A must try beer for both IPA fans and for the experimental beer lover.
About an hour south of this brewery lies the San Luis Valley where farmers grow a lot of the ingredients to make beer (malts, barley, hops), and what better way to thank these farmers than to create a beer in their honor. Just beneath the famous Mount Blanca lies these farmers and put all these ingredients together and you have the Mount Blanca Saison, and rich farmhouse ale. This beer is light, crisp, refreshing, and great to sip as you enjoy the scenery around you. Made with all Colorado grown malts this beer does not disappoint on flavor at all. There is a subtle citrus flavor, but so rich that it can be enjoyed in any season. It just goes to prove that with local, fresh ingredients the end result will always taste better, and in the case of this saison that statement is more true than ever.
Now if a farmhouse ale is your flavor but you want something more complex then reach for a pint of the Signal de Botrange. Very similar to the Mount Blanca in the fact that it is a Belgian style ale but this beer has one huge difference, Not only was it the first beer this brewery oaked aged, but it was aged in chardonnay barrels. All the great characteristics of a Belgian beer (the spice, yeast, citrus) plus the acidic noted from the chardonnay. There is a heightened acidity and a subtle grape flavor from the barrels. A standard beer made very complex through a simple aging process. Also available in the tasting room is the Apis IV black Belgian Quadrupel. A black strong ale infused with honey where the brewery once again sources local ingredients to craft their beer. If something lighter is what you crave then depending on the season there is a Kolsch that is very true to the traditional beverage of choice from Cologne, Germany, and a smoked Dopplebock known as the Prostator which helps benefit research for prostate cancer.
If there was one was to describe this Elevation Beer Co. it would be, “Small town, but big beers.” With full flavor in all beers, and the unique process of oak aging some of them it is no wonder that this brewery has already acquired a nice following. However beers of this caliber and flavor should be ones enjoyed by the masses. While there are bombers available in certain areas in Denver there is nothing better than enjoying a pint fresh from the tap room. Despite the fact that it is a drive to Poncha Springs it is one that is worth it and won’t be regretted so long as Elevation Beer Company is included in your trip.

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