After a long morning of hiking in Eldorado Canyon State Park, just outside of Boulder, my husband and I decided a well-deserved beer was in order. In my mission to visit as many craft breweries in Colorado as possible, we decided to head over to Boulder Beer Company.
The brewery is located on the eastern side of Boulder, just off Foothills Parkway and Valmont Road. It was founded back in 1979, by two physics professors from the University of Colorado and was the state’s first microbrewery. It became known for its line of bolder, darker beers, and today it has an extensive selection of innovative brews, and it continues to come up with new flavors and styles.
Since we had our dog with us, we opted for a table on the outdoor patio. During the summer, the brewery hosts live music on Thursdays and Saturdays, and it also features two bag sets for people to play. There was a good crowd of people outside, and I loved the ambiance—it definitely made me want to come back in the summer.
To try as many beers as possible, it’s always a good idea to order a flight. Then again, if you know what you want or have a favorite beer style, feel free to order a pint or two of that. If you are in the mood for some food, too, Boulder Beer’s menu features a nice selection of appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches…all of which include a beer that would pair nicely with that meal.
Boulder Beer served us a tray of brews, ranging from crisp white ales to rich dark stouts. Here was the rundown:
Emergent White IPA: Very much a white beer, as the name implies. With the first taste, it’s refreshing, but then the hops really do kick in, leaving a taste of bitterness you can always attribute to an IPA. I’m not a big IPA person, so this beer was perfect as a taster. A pint would have been too much for me, however, IPA fans would probably love this beer.
Cask Beer: This is a style of brewing where a beer is fermented and all naturally carbonated inside a special serving vessel called a Firkin. It’s reminiscent of traditional English-style pub beer. This variety was made with Boulder Beer’s Buffalo Gold beer, and it was infused with lime. We both really liked this beer, and would probably order it again. As much as it’s a crime against all craft breweries to say this, I got a little bit of a Corona taste when drinking it, and didn’t really get that English-style pub feel.
Shake Chocolate Porter: A non-seasonal beer, this beer has a dark color with rich dark chocolate aromatics and flavors, and subtle coffee like notes. Before I even brought the beer to my lips, I could smell the strong chocolate scent. As a chocolate lover, I knew I would love this one…and I was right. It was super smooth and delicious. Now, I will say that I would probably get too full off one pint to order another, but it’s a great sipping beer. I could even sip it while eating a piece of chocolate cake, and the flavors would not conflict.
Mojo Risin’: A fruity version of the Mojo IPA, this brew is a double IPA with a fruity, tart flavor. The fruit in the beer makes the hops less extreme, and therefore easier for me to drink as compared to some of the other IPAs. While I enjoyed it, I probably wouldn’t order it again, but definitely nice to try.
Mojo IPA: This is the standard version of the Mojo Risin’, and as expected, it has a strong hoppy flavor, even more so than some of the double IPA’s we have tried before. Once again, the first few sips were pleasant and revitalizing, but the more I drank, the hoppier the taste became. I knew this was another beer that was perfect in a tasting size, at least for me.
Hazed: A smooth amber ale, Hazed is one of Boulder Beer’s best-known brews. I love its aroma of fresh hops and caramel malt. I really think this is a beer that almost everyone would enjoy. Personally, I could drink it all night at a bar. It’s simple, but full of flavor and easy to drink.
Singletrack: A rye pale ale, the Singletrack is a “refreshingly embodied English Style pale ale brewed with toasted rye and caramel malt for a slight nutty flavor” –according to Boulder Beer’s description. It has a lovely copper color to it, and a smooth flavor that is awesome. I didn’t get as much of the caramel taste, but the nutty notes definitely came through.
Nitro Chocolate Porter: This is the Shake Chocolate Porter with nitrogen added. It’s not as chocolately as the original version, and was reminiscent of a Left Hand Milk Stout—in my opinion. Still, I love Milk Stout, and this was an enjoyable beer to drink.
Brewer’s Choice – Slopestyle Winter IPA: An aromatic red ale, Slopestyle is super hoppy from the first sip. Even so, I enjoyed it more than the other IPAs. The blend of malts and hops complimented each other well, and I can see why it would be a good beer to drink during cold-weather months.
Killer Penguin: Clocking in at over 10% ABV, Killer Penguin is Boulder Beer’s big barelywine brew. It’s a limited, small-batch release, and I was glad we had the chance to sample it. I am a huge fan of barelywine beers, probably because I enjoy wine just as much as I enjoy a good beer. It’s actually a very attractive beer with its dark crimson color. I probably could have sipped it all afternoon, but due to the high alcohol content, it’s probably best to share it or just settle for the taster.
Buffalo Gold: This is one of the originals that Boulder Beer created. It’s been brewed since 1989, and is a true golden ale made for easy drinking. This is the kind of beer my husband really likes, very simple flavors, easy to drink and not too hoppy.
Overall, we were pleased with the selection of beers we had. We identified our favorites (I bought a six pack of Hazed), and the ones we were less enthralled with. If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon filled with good food, great beer and a fun atmosphere, Boulder Beer is a great place to go. If you’re in the mood, you can take a tour of the brewery and get a behind the scenes look at the work that goes into these fantastic beers.
If you go: Check the pub events calendar to see what’s going on. In the summer, Boulder Beer has live music on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sunday – Closed
Tours: Mon. – Fri. 2 p.m.; Saturdays 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
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