avery to upslope: the great Boulder beer tour, pt 1
After some quality kombucha, it was time for more fermented enjoyment… the Boulder beer tour was now underway! I have to hand it to Andrew, he mapped out a whole plan for the day with minimal thinking on my part. There were the necessary visits and the ones we made mostly out of curiosity.
We had established some ground rules for the day in order to avoid getting completed annihilated by beer: tasters only, no full pints, no matter how good the beer, quick stops, no tours or extended visits.
Well, Avery’s list was long and tested our resolve, but we made some hard choices and – of course – were totally satisfied.
We ordered the Karma, a Belgian pale ale with distinct esters and intense yeast character. A perfectly refreshing but interesting kick-off.
The patio was packed with kids, dogs, and more dogs. It felt like the place to be, despite its industrial park setting. It felt like you would be a fool to travel to Boulder and not discover this hidden gem.
Next to taste was Trogdor the Burninator. For those of you who do not get that reference, I pity you. But here:
Trogdor (the beer) definitely smelled like bacon. Dragon bacon. It was very, very intensely smoky, but still came across as natural, not like liquid smoke. After a few sips, the intensity waned and it became even more enjoyable. As far as smoked beers go, Trogdor is very good.
One of the best coffee beers I have tried to date was the Out of Mind Ethiopia. The aroma is absolutely divine and the astringent, bitter coffee is a welcome change to sweet beers that utilize coffee. The full body and some richness underscores the malt without being too heavy.
The final taste was the Maharaja, a beer I couldn’t leave Boulder without trying at the source. A classic double IPA mentioned by beer lovers nationwide, this beer features an exemplary balance of aroma and bittering hops. It doesn’t overwhelm the palate with any one hop component (citrus, pine, resin, and herbal notes are present) and would pair well with several foods, something that isn’t often said of most double IPAs. The Avery website suggests shrimp as a pairing. Malty notes are primarily of the caramel variety.
A visit to the Avery taproom feels like the perfect Sunday afternoon. Food is catered from a neighboring business, Savory Cuisines, and families are sprawled around the patio like it is a friend’s backyard.
Upslope has been brewing for the public since 2008. Behind the operation are former homebrewer Matt Cutter and Argintinean brewer Dany Pages who came together to craft beer designed for active drinkers. All of their beer is canned and it meant to be taken along on adventures.
The taproom in Flatiron Park looks a bit cold from the outside, but is very inviting and engaging once you step inside. We found the bartenders and even the guests to be very friendly and knowledgeable. Just by coincidence, Dany happened to be sitting at the bar, and provided us with more detailed descriptions when it was very hard to choose from about 20 beers!
The Sour Belgian Pale Ale displayed excellent brettanomyces character with a pucker-inducing sourness. On the other end of the spectrum was the Thai Style White IPA, a bright, filtered, highly-carbed beauty. “Brewed using Belgian Wit yeast, hopped like an American IPA and infused with seven Asian-inspired spices, this beer is far from traditional. The sharp, juicy citrus notes of the hops interplay with the unique Thai spice blend to create an unexpected, one of a kind refreshment.” –Upslope
The Sticke Altbier was refreshing and true to its lager roots with a slight skew towards the malty side (in a pleasant, style-appropriate but less-than-American way). The porter was another favorite of our little group because of its pleasant roastiness but drinkable medium body. Considering the very warm weather, it was somewhat unexpected how appropriate this beer was for our afternoon of gallivanting.
The pours were a good size for sharing, and well-priced. Upslope is a good environment for tasting, with a relatively quiet taproom and a very helpful beer map on the wall. Staff answered questions readily, too. I offered Andrew the last of the sour. His response? “Oh, that’s just the backwash. Enjoy it.” Enjoy it I did.
Upslope and Avery make great counterparts for a visit to Boulder – eat and chat with neighbors at Avery and enjoy some food, too. Walk around the barrel room or sign up for a tour. Then relax on the Upslope patio with a book or fellow beer geek.