"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beer Is No Trivial Matter Except When It Is

Don’t ever say we aren’t dedicated to the mission.  After substitute teaching an elementary P.E. class and after real-teaching middle school science, Nicole and I could have passed out on Friday quicker than a freshman at a frat party.  The siren call of beer roused us from our exhaustion and urged us to continue on our goal to visit every brewery in the state.  Our target this time was Elk Mountain Brewing in Parker.

Elk Mountain is an exercise in juxtaposition: a rustic, mountain themed brewery in a Denver suburb strip mall.  Though it makes the brewery seem like the sort of place on par with T.G.I. Friday’s, being located in a strip mall does not correlate to bad beer (Aurora’s Dry Dock Brewing, Co. and Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Co. come to mind).  Still, the uneasiness one feels when coming across a microbrewery (symbol of America’s business Davids) in a strip mall (symbol of America’s business Goliaths) is hard to overcome especially when, like a Rainforest Café, it’s anatopistically themed.

Passing by antlered chandeliers, hanging grain sacks, and the odd cast-iron stove or two, we sat ourselves at the bar and watched X-Games snowmobilers seriously injure themselves for the amusement of the crowd.  The bartender came over and I ordered their seasonal Vanilla Caramel Porter (5.57% ABV) and Nicole, having temporarily lost her ID, had some root beer.  I knew I already liked vanilla porters having already partaken in the genre’s offerings as interpreted by Breckenridge Brewery and the aforementioned Dry Dock and was hoping for the same level of quality in Elk Mountain’s take.  I was not disappointed.  Vanilla Caramel Porter is black with no evident highlights and has a brown head.  The vanilla and the caramel were both evident in the aroma and the flavor.  The first sip had a hint of vanilla followed by the ubiquitous coffee essence of a porter and it finished with caramel and a repeat of the vanilla.  This beer is sweet, roasty, and delicious.

Vanilla Caramel Porter

It was towards my last sips that Nicole found a box full of trivia cards and started relentlessly quizzing me.  We are avid patrons of Geeks Who Drink pub trivia and, seeing as the annual nerd-orgy known as Geek Bowl V was on the horizon (5 hours away at the time of this writing) we thought it best to bone up.  To more accurately simulate my projected state of mind at the big game I had to order another beer.  If you’re going to test intoxicated you have to study intoxicated.  I went with my old standby, the IPA.  The Puma IPA (6.59% ABV, 60 IBU) is an exceedingly clear, darkish yellow with a piney/hoppy bouquet.  Unlike the majority of American IPAs, this one doesn’t overpower you with bitterness.  Although I like a good bitter kick to the teeth, I can still appreciate the more subdued IPAs because they allow you to actually taste the flavor of the hops without being distracted by the shiver-inducing bitterness.  Even Nicole got into the spirit when the bartender, making the educated and accurate assumption that Nicole was over 21, gave her a sample-sized glass of Wild Wapiti Wheat (5.5% ABV), a hefeweizen with all the traditional clove aromas and flavors.  With lupulin and malt coursing through our bodies, we tore through the entire stack of trivia cards in no time. 

Puma IPA

Wild Wapiti Wheat

We bought a growler of Wild Wapiti to share with our friends at the after-quiz/victory party and headed back to Denver.  Beat though we were from the day’s work and facing a fairly long drive to Parker and back, we didn’t lose sight of the mission and we didn’t fail to make time for doing the things we love.  We stuck it out and Elk Mountain repaid our efforts.   



(Update: We placed 67th out of about 130 teams at Geek Bowl V)

Imagine you reach into your pocket expecting to find something and that something is missing. I have a little bit of OCD, especially when it comes to important things like keys, phones, and wallets. Well, when something goes missing, I start to freak out. Now imagine you are on a journey to try some beer after a long day’s work and you reach into your pocket and that something missing is your ID. So, when my ID is not where it should be, I start to wonder if it sprouted legs in the last 24 hours and walked away. The fact that I get asked for my hall pass when I wander the halls of a middle school or school, makes me realize that there is no way I am going to squeak by in a brewery without getting asked for my ID. As we sit down, I don’t even try to order a beer, but choose the 0.0000001% ABV root beer. After a long day of loud teenagers that would have much rather talked about their fun weekend plans rather than genetics, a root beer lifted my spirits. It had a nice flavor that wasn’t too sweet, as some sodas can be. I enjoyed my beverage with some buttery popcorn and shouted as a snowmobile missed an X-gamers head by mere inches. My only thought watching this crazy snowmobile event was that if I ever have sons, they will not participate in this activity. As I continued to cringe at the TV, I sneaked some sips of Chris’ beers. My first thought when I smelled the Vanilla Caramel Porter was that these brewers have some starts at nontraditional ideas for beers. The porter smelled like caramel corn, which made me salivate. I was worried that it might be too much sweet flavor based on the aroma, but it had a wonderful coffee flavor up front and hit you with the vanilla caramely flavor after. Thank goodness that we were able to take some beer home to try later. I was greeted with a nice surprise when I returned to my car. There on my car seat was my ID and I wondered how it ended up there. For now, I will blame a long, exhausting week on turning my brain into mush.


Getting our quiz on at The Fillmore in Denver.  So many geeks in one place.



  1. You can enjoy our hot meal, when the memory of you and your friends. Laughter loud, cold beer, and great food! When everything is over, we will take you to Breckenridge.

    Breckenridge snowmobiling

  2. This people is really taking the good test of bear with friends. Love to know about all this geeks are enjoy there bears and event as well.

    conveyancing solicitors

  3. Are you guys two Chinese scam artists or did you just fail middle school English?