Friday, June 28, 2013

Our Mutual Friend

When it comes to microbreweries in the Denver area it is a well populated town with every area laying claim to a tap room. What started in the LoDo area has now expanded to all parts of the city, and that even includes the once avoidable area of five points in 2012. That was when a group sought out to create a community based microbrewery that sources all their barley from Colorado, and try to keep their hops and specialty ingredients just as local. The name of this small brewery could not be more fitting for their image, and that is Our Mutual Friend Malt and Brew on the corner of 28th and Larimer in Denver, Colorado.
Upon walking up to this white brick building with a painting of their shaking hands logo, the inside is a small, but welcoming environment. With dark grey and black walls adorned with art work this brewery has communal tables throughout the tap room that lead to a small outside patio with picnic tables. But the best feature of this brewery is what lies behind the small seven seat bar.  Surrounding the tap multi colored tap handles is a book shelf full of books, glassware, and all sorts of decorations that catch the eye. This is all capped off with a record player where great music is played on vinyl, and guests are allowed to bring in their own for the bartenders to spin. Of course a great environment has to be complimented with great beer, and with seven to choose from in all styles there is something for everyone.
When it comes to enjoying a light, refreshing beer out on the patio at this small brewery then the saison they offer is the perfect selection. A light, golden colored beer with a slightly cloudy appearance this beer started with a subtle aroma of citrus. The taste was just as refreshing as the aroma led it on to be. With a very light body, and strong effervescence this was a very light, but complex beer. There was again a subtle citrus flavor, but nothing strong and that was accented with a slight tartness that one would expect from this style. With a clean aftertaste to finish off this beer there can only be on word to describe it and that is refreshing. A beer that everyone would enjoy, especially on a warm day sitting on a patio and one that is a must try at this brewery.
Also available are a variety of more full bodied beers and that starts with the Brown Ale. A medium bodied ale that has a strong malt flavor with a subtle hint of the hops. Hints of chocolate and coffee are present in this beer but as an undertone flavor to create complexity and make this beer extremely well rounded. For a truly dark beer though at Our Mutual Friend there is none better to order than the Coffee Stout. A rich, full bodied stout that took the hint of coffee flavors naturally in this style and made it the primary flavor. From beginning to end this beer is pure coffee with a nice roasted flavor and a small note of chocolate that any stout fan is sure to love. Of course there are also beer to cater to the hop fans that Colorado has so many of and there are three options for you including a pale ale, IPA, and Double IPA each with a strong yet balanced hop flavor.
With seven very different varieties of beers to choose from that will appeal to any craft beer drinker it is no wonder why Our Mutual Friend already has a very established customer base. Mix that with the unique environment, friendly staff, and sourcing the majority of their ingredients locally it makes it pretty clear that this is one brewery that will stand the test of time. So when in the Denver area touring breweries make time to go a little out of the way and visit the building with the mural of hands shaking to give Our Mutual Friend Malts and Brew a try. With a five dollar taster tray you will not be disappointed at all, and might even find a new favorite place in the craft beer community.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

19 Great Years

With so many new craft breweries opening up in Denver and all throughout the state of Colorado most people find themselves celebrating a business’s first or second anniversary. Even to go to a place celebrating its fifth it seems like it is a place that has been around for a long time. But in the heart of LoDo in Denver, Colorado there is a brewery that has lasted the course of time and in their tenure this microbrewery has witnessed dozens of breweries open, and some close, but one thing has remained the same at this small tap room. They are still open, and serving high quality beers to more and more guests on a yearly basis, and now they are preparing to celebrate their 19th Anniversary at their small tap room on 22nd and Arapahoe. Who else but Great Divide Brewing Company?
So how does such a large and iconic microbrewery celebrate their anniversary? With a celebration that is similar to a beer festival featuring only their beers. On top of all the high quality beers Great Divide always offers there will be beers released specially for this day of celebration. On top of great beer there will be food trucks available as always outside the tap room along Arapahoe St as well as live music from A. Tom Collins, The Parlor Pickers, Confluence, and the Royal Aces. Now due to the popularity of this event not everyone will get to go to this block party, and to go along with the celebration party Great Divide releases a special Anniversary Ale every year, and number 19 in this series was classic strong ale that was brewed with Birch syrup, and aged on birch wood chips.
In short there is only one word to describe this beer and that is complex. The beer pours a rich amber color and leaves a thick, white head on top which leads into an aroma that gives off a hint of sweetness, caramel, and floral notes from the hops. The flavor however is similar to the aroma at times, but also totally different. The initial flavor is the strong taste of malts and for s moment you think this is beer is going to only have one flavor, and that there is no way any other taste will come through. Then suddenly there is a subtle bitter and floral flavor and the hops do come through in a very small way, just enough to give a hint of their flavor, but the most surprising part of this beer comes in the aftertaste. The birch syrup adds a nice sweetness that does not overpower the beer, but instead helps balance out the richness of the malts and it creates such complexities that there is no easy way to describe it. There is sweetness, a slight smoky flavor, and the wood chips this ale was aged with also shines through. The aftertaste lingers but only for a moment making this strong ale easy to sip and enjoy, even if it is 10.2 percent ABV.
After 19 years of serving high quality ales, lagers, and stouts it is hard to believe that Great Divide can still exceed the already high expectations and come out with something as well rounded and delicious as their Anniversary Ale. What is even more impressive is that with each passing year this small brewery continues to grow and their anniversary celebration becomes larger and greater with each passing year. So whether you will be celebrating at the tap room or enjoying a bomber of Anniversary Ale raise a glass to Great Divide Brewing Company, they have stood the test of time and paved the way for new breweries all over and wait in anticipation of what number 20 will bring in 2014.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Odyssey Beerwerks

With one brewpub and one microbrewery already established it only makes sense that another microbrewery move into the small suburb of Arvada and help enhance the growing craft beer community. So when two friends from the 1990s began home brewing then went their separate ways to work on their careers reunited during the holidays in 2011 it is a story many are familiar with. The love of craft beer was still there, the home brewing was still there, so the only step to take next was to open a brewery. The years of brewing, and hard work finally paid off in May of 2013 when the doors were opened for the masses to enjoy their offerings, at Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada, Colorado.
Tucked away in a warehouse along 56th Avenue this is a surprisingly large tap room that is complete with plenty of seating, and a small outdoor patio. A short wall separates the seating area from all the brewery equipment making the abundance of kegs, kettles, and tank all visible from anywhere in the brewery. The brightly colored walls are lined with rotating artwork available for sell from local artists, and this is all capped off by the small bar area and merchandise area underneath a large wood pergola. With so much going on in this tap room it’s a good thing there are also seven beers of all styles available to enjoy while guests walk and look around.
The first two beers that are must haves at this small microbrewery are the Brick Lane ESB, and Caber Tosser Scotch Ale. The Brick Lane is a rich copper color with a subtle malt flavor, and slightly stronger hop flavor but not so strong it overpowers the beer. With a subtle hint of citrus in aroma and taste this is a very well rounded lighter beer that is easily enjoyed. For something stronger but in a similar region there is the Caber Tosser more commonly known as a Wee Heavy. A rich, malty beer with very little hop presence and a higher abv than most beers. This beer comes with a sweetness to balance out the malt flavor but is a very rich beer with a deep flavor that while it is strong is very enjoyable. Whether a taster size or a full pour one that should be tried.
Whether you are a fan of hoppy beers, Belgian beers, or very unique beers Odyssey has one that will cater to fans of all three, and it is their Nebula Belgian Black Double IPA. With six different types of malts, four different hop varietals, and a Belgian yeast strain to top it all off this is a very unique and refreshing beer that you will not find at another brewery. While they hop flavor is the most present and dominating flavor in this beer it is balanced out by everything else going on. All the malts in this beer add a sweetness to balance out the beer, and the Belgian yeast adds a lightness and refreshing note that is much unexpected. With a fairly clean aftertaste to finish it off this is a great beer that everyone should try at least once to taste the complexities, and possibly find a new style they enjoy.
Last for a nice dark ale that is offered and that would be none other than the Psycho Penguin Vanilla Porter. A traditional porter with a fully body, roasted aroma, and subtle coffee flavor but with the addition of Mexican Vanilla beans. This adds a nice sweetness and floral note but it does not over power the beer and all the qualities of a traditional porter are still present. A very hearty beer that is full on flavor that will be easily enjoyed by the masses. Also available are the Helio’s Hefeweizen and Ghost Rider Pale Ale for guests enjoyment, as well as certain seasonal most recently including a milk stout with more to come.
With seven original beers on tap when they opened featuring styles from all around the globe it is no wonder that Odyssey Beerwerks has experienced success so early on. With more seasonal offerings to come plus the adventure club it is also easy to see why this brewery will establish a strong regular customer base as well as a growing base of new customers. Whatever style you prefer this brewery has something for all beer pallets to enjoy. Mix that with a friendly staff, large tap room, and nice outdoor patio it makes going to Arvada to try this brewery a very easy decision. You will not leave disappointed.

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