River North, Denver
It was…still pouring. But we were able to wring ourselves out and shake the water out of our ears enough to chat with the folks at River North.
Founded by aerospace engineer Matthew Hess and his wife, the brewery occupies an optimal location – near a major stadium, walking distance from downtown businesses, and on the edge of the trendy arts neighborhood called RiNo The idea for the brewery was solidified in January of 2012 and it opened incredibly expeditiously in February of that year.
The brewery has a clear focus on yeasty Belgian beers and also has an extensive barrel program.
Andrew and I tried the Avarice Belgian Imperial Stout and the IPA first.
Avarice walks a very interesting and fine line: “Crossing a traditional Russian Imperial Stout with a Belgian-style yeast strain produces an unprecedented spicy, roasted aroma reminiscent of chocolate and anise. An aggressive hop backbone complements intense notes of coffee.” –River North
Belgian style stouts are relatively uncommon and can often be unimpressive in my experience, where neither the stout nor Belgian character is allowed to shine. That is not the case for the Avarice, which is a stand-out stout with respectable Belgian qualities.
We also looked nerdy enough to be offered samples of the 2013 and 2014 Anniversary ales – barrel-aged beauties that were released for their first and second anniversaries.
Anniversary Ale #1 was a slightly sour imperial stout that had been aged in rye whisky barrels.
The current anniversary ale, which we preferred, was a Belgian Golden Strong Ale dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and clocking in at 10.1% ABV.