Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

FROG ALLEY BREWING CO.

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SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK

The centerpiece of downtown Schenectady’s refurbished and redesigned Mill Artisan District, FROG ALLEY BREWING COMPANY is a behemoth multifaceted pub and eatery established in 2018 and still under construction during my early Saturday afternoon jaunt, March ’19.

Though we quaff suds in a quaint white-walled backspace taproom, by the end of summer Frog Alley will be operating at full capacity. Expected to distribute 14,000 barrels of beer per year, its massive square footage will allow for a 40-draught U-shaped central bar with an overhead door extending its perimeter to a large outside deck when weather’s warm. There will be a viewable brew pit below the gargantuan bar-restaurant area where a beautiful warehoused keg room, canning line, pilot batch room and state-of-the-art quality lab exist.

Reclaimed wood furnishings and several large community tables will decorate the urethane-floored main bar. Plus, five plastic kiosks and a back classroom promote brewing and distilling for interested Schenectady Community College students.

Two veteran brewmasters were tapped to head Frog Alley’s zymurgy chores. Rich Michaels, a historic figure originally Founders Brewing’s first employee, worked at a Disney World brewery and Saranac before hooking up with Drew Schmidt (formerly of NYC’s defunct Zip City, Baltimore’s Oxford Brewing, and most recently, Van Dyck Lounge’s Mad Jack).

After Mr. Michaels takes me on a tour of the soon-completed facility, I get to sample eight prized jewels as the place fills up with local brethren.

For openers, stylishly robust Kikkey German Pilsner let lemondrop hops and oaty pilsner malts pick up mild herbal restraint at its lemon-candied finish.

Another Bavarian brew, tidy pre-Prohibition-styled 1903 Vienna Lager took raw-honeyed fig and apricot desiccation to leafy hop astringency, dewy fungi musk and sweet Vienna malting.

Honeyed caramel spicing and roasted chocolate malts lingered for Mc Carthy’s Red Tag Ale, leaving tingly orange-red fruit spicing on the tongue.

Engagingly sweet-tart cherry lusciousness gained grenadine syruping, floral niceties and sour lemon piquancy for cheerily fruitful Cherry Hweat, a sugary springtime sensation.

Straightforward Refresh IPA let lemony grapefruit-orange tanginess glide above piney hop earthiness, fennel herbage and juniper bittering.

Cedar-like Chinook hop dryness crowded FINA West Coast IPA alongside orange-peeled tangerine tang and earthen compost soiling, resulting in a bitter citrus-pined finish.

Juicy grapefruit tang brightened Mohop #5 – Mosaic New England IPA, leaving dry wood tones upon sweet peach-mango-orange subsidy.

Named after the ancient local Frog Alley baseball team captain, Captain Ellis Porter aligned black-malted dark chocolate bittering with Blackstrap molasses and day-old coffee tones.

frogalleybrewing.com

GREEN WOLF BREWING COMPANY

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MIDDLEBURGH, NEW YORK

In the heart of rural Middleburgh thru a welcoming side entrance lies one of Upstate New York’s friendliest l’il pubs, GREEN WOLF BREWING COMPANY. A one-room red brick side lot with laminated wood furnishings, timba-framed tiki bar and Edison lights, Green Wolf opened down the block in 2014, but during January ’19 expanded to its current centralized site (while leaving the brewing operations at the former space for now).

“A taste of Brooklyn in upstate New York,” explains brewmaster Justin Behan, whose soft-toned elixirs stay gentle on my mind. Indeed, Green Wolf’s airy studio groove, stark lighting atmosphere and front-walled comfy chairs are reminiscent of the artsy NYC borough.

The 12-seat U-shaped bar centers the dining room furnishings. An overhead door leads to a slate-floored covered patio with several benches. Neon-lit microbrew signs (Rolling Rock, Bud Dry, Fosters, Genesee and Miller) adorn the walls and a large blackboard lists today’s available brews.

On our Sunday afternoon March ’19 excursion, my wife and I sank seven brews and one fine ginger ale.

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First up, best selling flagship beer, Schoharie Pale Ale, proved completely accessible for easygoing minions. Its French bread crusting combined with melanoidin-kilned barley malting and picked up a sedate floral lemon twist as well as a desolate apple-peach-tangerine cluster.   

Next, soft-toned Disenchanterale Belgian Pale Ale brought candi-sugared dried fruiting to herbal fungi earthiness and wispy green grape esters.

Meanwhile, dark-honeyed Enchanterale BPA left mushroom-like umami earthiness upon spicy fig-raisin-date conflux and phenol hop vapors.

Buckwheat-honeyed oaken vanilla lent a dry side to Abbey Gargoyle Dubbel, picking up dark cherry, orange and peach illusions latently.

Dank hop-charred wood tones thickened against earthy black grape, fig and date illusions and black licorice plasticity for Ravens Black IPA.

Cocoa-dried dark chocolate malting punctuated the dewy earthiness of Farm To Stout, leaving rye-spiced fig snips on the back end.

Best bet: luscious Buffalo Trace bourbon-barreled Dire Wolf Whiskey Porter. Its exquisite bourbon vanilla pleasantries spread across coffee-burnt dark chocolate while dry burgundy, peated whiskey and rye tones gained strength.

For kicks, clover-honeyed Jamaican-styled Ginger Ale (non-alcoholic) retained a freshly-squeezed lemon sugaring to saddle its earthen ginger root appeal.

SERIOUS BREWING COMPANY

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HOWES CAVE, NEW YORK

Just down the slope from Howe Caverns inside a pale-yellowed roadside dive posing as a Wild West outpost in the foothills of Schoharie County, SERIOUS BREWING COMPANY opened up springtime 2016.

A proud farmhouse brewery utilizing local ingredients, Serious has a small covered deck leading to the entrance of the diminutive oak-walled pipe-exposed pub.

Robin Butts BBQ serves food to go alongside the handcrafted suds. Ciders, spirits, wines and original cocktails were also available.

Though I missed out on Merlot-barreled Anniversary 1 (also aged in whiskey barrels) and Anniversary 2, there were six stylishly modeled brews worthy of attention this March ’19 afternoon. Each beer is meant to showcase “New York places and events.”

Caramel-spiced toasted barley malts sprung from Running Coat Red Ale, picking up a small coffee nip at the fruity finish.

Sweet orange peel, grains of paradise and coriander settled atop Schoharie Burning Wheat Ale, leaving gooseberry-soured tartness and herbal fungi Belgian yeast funk upon its fragile white wheat base.

Sulfite-infused experimental beer, Amber Waves Of Grain, let sweet honey-grained mango receive a mild habanero burn, retaining a light pilsner mouthfeel that relegated its peppered mango heat.

Spicy citrus sweetness contrasted herbal-peppered Belgian yeast and ethyl alcohol burn for feisty Bine Of My Existence IPA, serenading juicy grapefruit, orange and tangerine tanginess with sugared pale malting.

Sweet brown chocolate and bitter Madagascar vanilla enriched delightful George The Inventor Winter Porter, allowing coconut, marshmallow and hazelnut illusions to permeate the sugared mocha continuance.

Black chocolate, mild coffee and raw molasses enveloped bittersweet ALCO Oatmeal Milk Stout, a smoothly milk-sugared dark ale with musty earthen hop resin.

seriousbrewingco.com

WOLF HOLLOW BREWING COMPANY

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GLENVILLE, NEW YORK

Inside a pale blue aluminum shed sidling a patio-furnished, bulb-lit gazebo, Glenville’s shanty-like WOLF HOLLOW BREWING COMPANY is tucked into the hilly Mohawk River-bound terrain that provides a perfectly rustic agrarian setting.

Despite its limited interior space, the cavernous ceiling and oak wood elegance give Wolf Hollow a temple-like prominence. Black aluminum furnishings, a wood portico and fire pit mark the slate-floored open air patio. Buzzards Bay Barbeque’s right side open kitchen serves terrific pub fare and a sixteen tap serving station slings suds for the local minions crowding the interior seating this sunny Saturday afternoon, March ’19.

My wife and I set up outside on the patio to sample eleven draughts with Roscoe the dog in tow.

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Cereal-grained flaked corn flanked light lager, Nun The Wiser, a bready easy drinker for mass consumption.

Musky straw grass astringency pervaded floral lemon perfuming of Czech-styled Foothills Pils, picking up grassy hemp-oiled hop herbage to close out its dry wet-grained finish.

Sweet orange-peeled coriander tartness regaled light-bodied White’s Wit, leaving herbal fungi salting at the back end to contrast its slowly fading citric-spiced sugaring.

Bruised banana, brown pear and apple rot dotted Dunkel On My Mind, a moderate caramel-spiced dunkelweizen with a tartly sweet ‘n sour split.

Syrupy pineapple-juiced orange peel and lemon zest guided District 6 West Coast IPA, allowing lightly pined hop resin and mild floral-spiced nuances to penetrate the tropical surface.

German-styled Lenten seasonal, Look Bock And Laugh, provided spicy sour fruiting for mossy dewiness and caramelized chocolate malting.

Sweet candi-sugared Belgian dubbel, Prior’s Conviction, brought banana bubblegum, green raisin, fig and spiciness to the fore.

Dry cocoa-powdered black malts injected robust Lock 9 Porter, maintaining a bitter ashen nuttiness and chewing tobacco snip.

Coffee and vanilla adjuncts redirect its fine offshoot, Lock 9 AM Porter, where smoky black peppering seems to subsume the dark-roast coffee, vanilla bean and cocoa influences.

Mildly creamed dark chocolatey black malting fortifies Campout Dry Irish Stout, a spunky dark ale with coffee-stained bittering and earthen hop char.

At 10.4% ABV, sensational David’s Goliath Imperial Saison gave a rum-soaked ethyl alcohol burn to sweet cantaloupe, melon and orange fruiting as well as musky cologne perfumed citrus conviction.

wolfhollowbrewing.com

S & S FARM BREWERY

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NASSAU, NEW YORK

A fifth generation agrarian, multifaceted entrepreneurial brewer, Matt Sanford, takes pride utilizing sustainable agricultural methods and local ingredients to craft traditional homemade fare under the familial handle, S & S FARM BREWERY. Open since spring 2016, the affable barnyard tap house deep in the rural Rensselaer County woods features a large umbrella-lined patio with two grain silos for extra seating.

Inside the cement-floored country store outpost, its wood-beamed lanterns and a few small café-styled community tables lead to the small serving station. Party lights line the entire wall.

On this pleasant Friday evening in March ’19, a tight folk-blues acoustic duo plays while my wife and I sample nine tapped beers.

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Sour lemondrop-candied raspberry tartness saddled charmingly light-bodied Raspberry Wheat, picking up raw grained rusticity and dry citrus licks for extra kicks.

A tidy Irish Red Ale, Rhode Island Red provided stylish caramelized barley roast, mild fruit spicing and iced tea-like splendor, leaving polite rye, toffee and bruised apple imprints upon the dainty finish.

Dewy Old 82, an ESB-like pre-Prohibition-styled golden ale, brought leafy hop moisture and crisp barley-roasted malts to the fore as dried fig nuances wavered.

Sly sour saison, S & S Farmhouse Ale, sneaks in pear, banana and quince tones as well as wispy clove spicing to counter the more pronounced straw-dried acidulated lactose malting.

Zesty citrus stormed tropical delight, Eternal Sunshine IPA, splashing lemony grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and sweet tangerine tanginess atop sugar-spiced pale malting.

Spackled red-orange-yellow fruits adorned Luna Red IPA, a modest rye-spiced, leafy-hopped welterweight.

Dry wood tones deepened the sharp grapefruit bittering and bright lemony orange sunshine of Lame Llama Imperial IPA, receiving a floral-herbed juniper nip to heighten its citric-pined hop pungency.

A light nut char came thru for blackened malt-induced Brown Chicken Brown Ale, contrasting its seared walnut thrash with molasses-sapped pecan, hazelnut and almond sweetener.

Treacly maple molasses draped toffee-sweet Maple Stout, contrasting its earthy hop-oiled nuttiness.

sandsbrewery.com

EMPORIUM FARM BREWERY

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RENSSELAER, NEW YORK

Inside a small mini-mall, savvy craft brewer, Roger Savoy, creates a goodly amount of finely attuned Brit Isle-styled brews for Rensselaer’s EMPORIUM FARM BREWERY. A small nano operation soon able to expand within its mall-bound confines, Emporium started as a homebrewing and winemaking store.

Featuring three windowed tables and a pristinely yellow-pined 20-stool L-shaped serving station, the low-ceilinged one room setting resembles a family kitchen more than a genuinely reliable brewpub.

Opened August ’18, the casually intimate farm brewery endears its local community with low key elegance. On my Friday evening visit in late March ’19, I sampled eight well-defined brews.

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Dewy peat malts, earthen leafy hops and truffle-like fungi guided many of these British-styled offerings, especially Wet-Hopped Harvest Ale, rye-spiced moderation with wispy apricot and fig nuances.

Mossy ESB also stayed dewy-soft and fungi-sidled, bringing a creamy cereal grained malt resilience to the fore.

Light and fluffy 80 Shilling Scottish Ale generated mild wood smoked pleasantries for raw-honeyed rye malts and mossy hop resin.

Dry earthen herbage seeped into proper English IPA, inducing a dried-fruited spicing out of the midst.

Going on hiatus from the Brit stylings, easygoing West Coast Session IPA brought desiccated grapefruit, tangerine and orange tones to wet-wooded Chinook hops and vegetal cucumber earthiness.

The other hop-centric Americanized brew, orange-dried Hoppy Amber let resinous hop oils lubricate its dry pale malt graining.

Chalky chocolate malts gained a scorched earth hop char for Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, a dryer black malted take on an oats-sugared dark ale.

My personal favourite, debonair Christmastime nightcap, Holiday Winter Warmer, blended brown-sugared Mexican chocolate with nutmeg holiday seasoning, sweet orange peel zest, fern-like evergreen minting and tingly cinnamon-cumin-clove spicing.

emporiumfarmbrewery.com

BROKEN COMPASS BREWING COMPANY

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BRECKENRIDGE, COLORADO

At the foothills of Breckenridge in the quaint tan-hued Quandry Center mini mall, BROKEN COMPASS BREWING COMPANY was founded in 2014. Serving wide-ranging homemade brews with lots of cool flavor designs and profile depth, this unassuming pub will please a varied array of brewhounds.

At the front-windowed TV, several rock videos play while I venture towards the eighteen-seat, L-shaped, white pine bar on a cold March ’19 evening. Railroad tie wood and corrugated aluminum furnish the casual one-room outpost. Four community tables provide extra seating and a colorful black-boarded menu offers today’s selections. Dried hops hang from the wood trellis bar top and a few Broken Compass insignias fill the walls. In the rear, large silver brew tanks provide the sassy suds.

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For starters, musky oats-dried lightweight, Czech Pilsner, brought spritzy lemon rot to biscuity pilsner malting.

Lemon-sugared ginger leaf guided Ginger Pale Ale as herbal ginger-rooted black tea dryness countered its sweet frontage.

Dewy peat mustiness seeped into caramel-spiced apple skin and brown pear for stylish moderation, Irish Red Ale. Its lovely barrel-aged version retained subtle bourbon-whiskey sweetness, subdued apple-bruised pear syruping and mild peaty dewiness to infiltrate its brown-sugared caramel spicing.

Mildly rye-spiced Red Hop Rye-Demption had a fig-dried granola likeness and tamped-down hop bittering.

Rummy Grand Marnier-like Scottish Wee Heavy went beyond its stylish intentions as bruised orange, caramelized raisin, apricot and cantaloupe cut across its dewy meadow.

Easygoing Azacca Smash IPA placed mango-skinned lemon zest and mandarin orange tartness alongside grassy hop astringency, relegating its dry pale malt spine.

Evergreen-fresh Snow Blind Double IPA let pineapple-juiced grapefruit, orange and tangerine tanginess receive honeyed floral sweetness and mild herbal nuances.

Hybridized peach liqueur barrel-aged Belgian Strong Ale received mildly sour green grape acidity to contrast its peachy sweetness.

Blackberry pureed Nitro Blackberry gained medicinal cherry coughdrop syruping to graze wispy blueberry-boysenberry tartness above peaty earthniess.

Though mellow on the tongue, daring Chili Pepper Pale Ale connected green chili, cerrano, pablano and habanero peppering to dry pale malts, leaving only a light burn.

Dry Tall Ship Foreign Export Stout let raw molasses drip into dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee tones above earthen nuttiness.

Mallomar bar-like Coconut Porter brought chocolate-coated marshmallow sweetness to toasted coconut sugaring, picking up latent almond, pecan and hazelnut illusions.

Aged for one year in bourbon barrels, Imperial Bourbon Brown Ale loaded creamy vanilla sweetness cocoa upon coconut-toasted macadamia, almond and pecan illusions.

www.brokencompassbrewing.com

ANGRY JAMES BREWERY

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SILVERTHORNE, COLORADO

At the foothills of Silverthorne inside a reasonably large freestanding building a mere three miles west of Bakers Brewery, highly respected ANGRY JAMES BREWERY opened for biz January 26, 2018. Residing in the nondescript semi-industrial area just off Route 70, this glorified cafe features modern wood-designed furnishings, a 12-seat concrete-lacquered bar and enclosed side deck with gas fire pit.

The partnered Cultivate Kitchen serves a limited smattering of  ‘off beet local eats’ from veggie lovers plates to bison chili dogs to complement the delightful homemade suds crafted by entrepreneurial couple  AJ and Darcy Brinckerhoff.  Two electronic blackboards list the beers currently on hand and two TV’s keep sports fans at bay.

My wife and I plus long-time friend Dennis take seats at one of the community tables near the side-decked overhead door to consume all ten brews on hand this sunny March ’19 afternoon.

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Easygoing sugary pale-malted opener, Jake’s Pils, gained a musky wet-grained herbal hop pungency to contrast its caramelized lager yeast setting.

Just a tad beyond typical German pale ale styling, efficiently light-bodied Bavarian Blonde utilized gooseberry-soured, tangerine-sweetened Mandarina hops to engage its dry cereal-grained bottom.

Candi-sugared Belgian blonde, Pali Wog Pale Ale, stayed dryer than stylistically expected as herbaceous white-peppered spicing saddled lemon meringue tartness, lemon rind bittering and lemon-candied sugaring, gaining tertiary banana, peach and green apple illusions as well as possible sage-thyme passages.

Sour lemon-drop candy draped phenol banana-clove soaping above creamed wheat flouring of moderate Alpen Weisse, a dryer stylistic take on a German-styled hefeweizen.

Dry Imperial Red Ale, The Emperor’s Red Robe, sufficed with its dewy moss sweetness contrasting resinous pine tones alongside sweet orange-spiced grape juicing before mild sarsaparilla bark adds tea-like residue.

Straight-ahead Terrifica Double IPA brought tangy citrus spicing to mild piney juniper bittering and sticky pine resin.

Briskly vibrant grapefruit-peeled orange juicing enlivened Tricentric IPA, bringing light caramel spicing to the fore as spritzy lemon, tangerine and tangelo undertones flutter.

Sinewy honeyed Scotch malts and dewy rye breading inundated Norwegian Farmhouse, an offbeat saison with mild green grape esters and orange-lemon liqueur enticement gaining a briny vodka snip.

Creamily soft-toned Two Tone Footer Stout – Nitro let cinnamon-toasted coconut sweetness and dark chocolate malting rub up against Graham Cracker-like wheat sugaring, changing the complexion of the richer, carbonated, coffee beaned Two Tone Footer.

At nearby competitor Bakers Brewery, sipped serene wheat wine, Gin-U-Wine, a unique ginger-spiced hybrid with mild juniper berry bittering skewing its lemon-peeled grains of paradise tartness and pine-needled lavender and rosehips illusions.

angryjamesbrewing.com

VAIL BREWING COMPANY

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VAIL, COLORADO

Right off Route 70 at a nondescript maroon-paneled mini-mall in the ski-bound town bearing its name, VAIL BREWING COMPANY opened its doors during 2014. Next door to a marijuana dispensary, this glorified cement-floored barn house features a small metal-furnished patio, garage-like overhead door, and L-shaped laminated wood bar.

Right side brew tanks serve a continuously changing beer selection, including a smattering of one-offs, seasonals, hybrids and wondrous India Pale Ales. Edison lights hover above the bar stools and the left-walled tie rod design adds serene Rocky Mountain rusticity. A sofa and chairs are arranged near the brick hearth and several community tables fill out the expansive one-room space.

After snowmobiling up a fabulous Vail-Breckenridge trail, my wife and I and friend Dennis stopped in for a few samplers. Each brew available this beautiful March ’19 afternoon had a completely accessible, easygoing temperament.

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Crisply clean light-bodied opener, Crystal Lite Kolsch, let sour lemon-candied tartness pick up peaty compost moisture, maize-dried pilsner malting and cucumber watered freshness.

Lemony floral-daubed Pete’s Stash Pale Ale caressed dried pale malt spicing with grassy hop astringency with sheer lucidity.

Tart light-bodied Raspberry Blonde let washed-out raspberry compost override mild fennel-rhubarb influence and soapy wheat-honeyed base.

Sharp woody hop bittering consumed dry ‘mellow citrus’ moderation, Hot Mess Blonde, leaving vegetal herbage in the distance.

Lemony cranberry, raspberry and blackberry tartness gained vinous green grape tannins for Jam Session Sour, where lightly salted oaken cherry dryness aided the mouth-puckering acidic sourness.

As for the amazingly varied IPA’s, brisk champagne yeast-affected Simultaneous Release Hazy Brut IPA brought Muscat grape tannins and grapefruit rind souring to barley-floured milled graining.

Similarly stylized Mosaic Brut IPA upped the champagne sparkle for its mandarin orange, yellow grapefruit and gooseberry tartness, gaining a slight metallic sheen.

Dry tropical hybrid, Deck Daze Wheat Ale with Passionfruit got infused with white tea herbage, picking up mild floral-perfumed sweetness to contrast its spritzy lemon-soured passionfruit tartness.

Vail’s year-round staple, Gore Creek IPA, pitted yellow grapefruit-peeled orange pith bittering plus bark-dried pine tones against less enthusiastic caramelized pale malt sugaring.

On the dark side, velvety Midnight Romance Porter loaded raspberry puree upon dry dark chocolate malts, musty cocoa powdering and dewy grains.

For midday dessert, local Breckenridge whiskey validated dry bourbon mocha-toned Barrel Aged Stout, rallying creamy chocolate resonance past tertiary rum, anise and molasses notions.  

vailbrewingco.com

 

BAKERS BREWERY

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SILVERTHORNE, COLORADO

Inside a freestanding blue-and-gold brick edifice just off Route 70, Silverthorne’s BAKERS BREWERY opened March 2015. Formerly the historic Village Inn, Bakers Brewery’s café-styled dining space at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains offers not only a friendly assortment of beers, but also homemade pub-styled dishes, creative cocktails and freshly baked goods.

Doing a fine job creating a ‘contemporary brewpub experience,’  Bakers Brewery centers around its stellar granite-marbled beetle wood bar (with rusted corrugated tin siding). An open kitchen serves the bistro-like tables and chairs sidling the bar while TV’s line all corners. Semi-private back seating’s available near the 15-barrel brewing system and a small outside patio offers further space.

Working at nearby Dillon Dam for 15 years prior, experienced brew master Corey Forster crafts a full range of popular local faves, everchanging one-offs and infused concoctions. During my relaxing two-hour afternoon perusal, March ’19, I sampled eight of Forster’s delightful potions while looking out at the snow-covered Colorado mountain range.

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First up, zestful Cotton Mouth Killer Session IPA laced lemony grapefruit-orange peel bittering with dainty floral herbage above caramelized pale malting.

Next, citrus-spiced dark fruiting engaged Belgian Rebellion Pale Ale, loading fig-apricot-plum niceties alongside lemony orange tanginess and peppery herbal hops atop caramelized rye malting.

Perhaps Bakers’ finest offering, durable Double Diamond Imperial Red Ale brought caramel-spiced honey nut sweetness to tropical citric hop fruiting and tertiary fig-prune notions.

Leathery red wine tannins pervaded Bourbon Barrel Sour Saison, a dry farmhouse ale forwarding vinous bourbon-aged burgundy tones to puckered lemon lime acidity.

Sharply dry Winter Is Coming Imperial Dark Saison placed plum, prune and date illusions beside its spruce-tipped chai tea spicing, picking up caramelized wheat sweetness over time.

Brown-breaded earthen grains consumed spot-on Barking Dog Brown Ale, an English-styled Mild Ale with lightly seared nuttiness and dark cocoa snips pervading brown-sugared molasses malts.

Merrily mocha-infused Tag-Along Sweet Stout allowed rich chocolate, cocoa and coffee tones to engage nutty pecan-almond notions slightly embittered by walnut-charred blackened hop oiling.

Lustrous Sumatra coffee beans detailed lovely French Silk Stout, a creamily mocha-heavy full body with smoky dark chocolate and powdery cocoa undertones gaining mild earth-scorched hop bitterness.

thebakersbrewery.com

WESTBOUND & DOWN BREWING COMPANY

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IDAHO SPRINGS, COLORADO

Preserving Colorado’s pioneering spirit while showing off sophisticated modern Industrial splendor in the olden Route 70 mill town of Idaho Springs, WESTBOUND & DOWN BREWING COMPANY came to fruition during December ’15.

Becoming Idaho Spring’s second brewpub more than a decade after Tommyknocker hit the scene just down the road, Westbound & Down serve a creative menu of rangy brews (leaning on the IPA side) to go alongside a fabulous pub menu by historic cohabitants, Buffalo Restaurant & Bar.

After passing by the famous wolf man, a locally popular canine rescuer with a leashed wolf, my wife and I enter the pub and grab the Mac & Cheese as well as a tzatziki-sauced falafel sandwich (with sun-dried tomato, roasted peppers and chickpeas).

Connecting the rustic pre-prohibition Old West era to nuevo-designed architecture, Westbound’s prominent left side features a sprawling buffalo stomp wall design, lively buffalo mural and trio of buffalo heads, retaining the entrepreneurial frontier tenor of the Centennial State (see below). An exquisite 1860-built, L-shaped wood bar with 18 tap handles centers a few community tables and a huge couch (with a rear 15-barrel brew system). An antique bronzed tin ceiling also captures the essence of yesteryear.

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Meanwhile, the mod-decked opposing space contains a square peg-wooded central bar (with exposed pipes and wood-paneled floor) serving several contemporary aluminum-wood tables. Multiple TV’s take up all corners of the cozily pristine expanse.

On a cool March ’19 Friday afternoon, general manager Josh Young plays host as I quaff eight samplers and purchase another six homemade brews for outside consumption.

Demure eggshell-headed moderation, Don’t Hassle The Hefe, let stylish banana-clove-bubblegum sweetness receive a tart lemon-soured spritz and dry plantain reminder.

Serene smoked helles lager, Kleine Keller Rauch Party, gently placed applewood-seared peat moss next to crisp pilsner graininess, leaving Band-aid-like astringency at the citric-snipped ‘green malt’ finish.

Dryly Belgian-styled table beer, Soberish Monk, allowed lemon-rotted orange desiccation to prosper alongside tart orange meringue piquancy, peppery herbs, floral flourishes and mild wood-toned Amarillo hop bittering.

Another stylistically sinister Belgian-designed elixir, Vers l’Ouest Tripel, coalesced candi-sugared lemon meringue tartness with black-peppered herbage and tingly pale malt spicing in a soft-toned manner.

On the sour side, bold Hiver Noir Dark Burgundy Sour sought to elevate its oaken Flanders Brown lactic vinegaring with green grape-derived Sauvignon Blanc barrel aging, picking up dry burgundy, oaken cherry and leathery barnyard nuances.

Softer thirsts should seek out mild sour ale alternative, The Curse of Lono Saison, a rustic farmhouse ale given vinous white grape tannins and salty lemon-limed bittering to contrast its sidled red wine sweetness.

Dry Seven Sisters Stout evoked espresso, dark chocolate and black cocoa bitterness contrasted by barley-sweet Maris Otter malts.

Heavenly Absence Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout brought sweet bourbon licks to syrupy dark chocolate malting and cinnamon-spiced coconut respite.

These were the six take-out crowlers quaffed in Breckenridge the next day:

Conformist Czech-styled lightweight, Den’var Pilsner, maintained brisk corn-husked dryness, peaty wet-grained musk, musty citric-spiced perfuming and herbal Saaz hop rusticity above biscuity pilsner malts. 

Pleasantly centrist Colorado Pale Ale placed easygoing orange-peeled grapefruit rind bittering alongside grassy hop astringency and sweet pale malts.

Easygoing candi-sugared citrus zest serenaded Trappist yeast-derived Belgian Pale Ale, where fig-dried lemon meringue tartness and bittersweet orange peel tanginess reached spicy pale malts.

Spruce-tipped tropical fruiting engaged Hop Blender, providing sunny zestfulness for dank piney hop oiling and earthen grain musk.

Bursting with tangerine goodness, approachable moderation The Other IPA picked up lemony grapefruit zest wrangled by aspirin-like hop astringency above bready pale malts.

Dry-wooded grapefruit rind bittering bum-rushed Double IPA, leaving tangerine, papaya, mango and pineapple tropicalia upon lightly pungent hops and biscuity malts.

westboundanddown.com

BREW PRACTITIONERS

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FLORENCE,
MASSACHUSETTS

In an olden red brick silk factory near the center of town in the Northampton village of Florence, BREW PRACTITIONERS landed in Western Mass during 2016.

A fortuitous trip to Munich beer gardens inspired its friendly proprietors to create ‘classic balanced’ beers stateside at this rustic pipe-exposed high ceiling edifice. An L-shaped wood bar with scrabble-handled draught taps serves a dozen or so generically-named homemade elixirs originating from the caged right side tanks. A cozy picnic-styled patio provides further seating outback.

During my March ’19 sojourn, an electric guitar duo plays on the makeshift side stage while college hoops play on the TV.

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To start, spiced yellow grapefruit sweetness picked up grassy-hopped pale malting and vegetal cucumber watering for light-bodied Blonde Ale.

Orange-dried lemon rot consumed Pale Ale, letting mild herbage spike its dry pale malt spine in simple fashion.

Lemony orange-dried tartness gained sweet pale malting for the equally straightforward Leaf Peeper Pale Ale.

Sweetly cereal-grained Amber Ale draped honey-malted maple molasses onto dusky chestnut, pecan and fig nuances.

Dewy pale malts moistened the citrus-juiced grassy hop astringency of IPA (a.k.a. Yellow Beer), leaving tangy grapefruit, orange and pineapple illusions in its lightly pined wake.

Summery Mellow Yellow New England IPA allowed juicy grapefruit, orange and peach tanginess to upstage its cardboard-bound pale malt sugaring.

Dried fruited rye breading consumed Copper Imperial IPA, reaching its honeyed pale malt spine with a hint of resinous hop pining for contrast.

Legume-dried Brown Ale pitched walnut and Brazil nut oiling against caramel-burnt dark chocolate chalking over earthen pale malts.

Nutty dark chocolate fudging supplied coffee-bound Stout, placing candied molasses walnut sweetness beneath the mocha-dried finish.

Burnt coffee overtones saddled Ebony Maple Irish Stout, an efficient black-malted dry body with chalky cocoa-chocolate residue.

Sugar rush came from citrus-candied soda pop alternative, Pink Lemonade Blonde, a ginger-backed sweetie that turned a tad cloy but probably satiated the kiddies.

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