"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!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, and Johnny Rotten Walk Into a Craft Beer Bar...

Beer tastes good even when you’re Rotten.
This past Saturday, Robin (a friend to myself and wiener dogs alike) and I—proud March babies that we are—had a joint birthday party that took us up and down the Berkeley neighborhood (Tennyson Street) of Denver.  Shame had no place in us nor in our guests for it was a costume party themed to rock stars; those seeking future positions in public office need not apply.  As you can imagine, the night was rife with anecdotes (having my cell phone launch itself down the entire length of a bowling lane gutter and the cover songs at the karaoke bar come to mind) but this isn’t a here’s-a-quirky-story blog: this is a beer blog.  For that reason, I will focus my writing on the pre-party wherein Nicole, Robin, Robin’s husband Justin, and I got a drink and a bite at Hops & Pie, a craft beer and fancy pizza joint near my house.
This was our second visit to Hops & Pie since it first opened.  I’m not exactly sure how long Hops & Pie has been in operation but it’s been over a year and less than two years by my surmising and I’ve been itching to go back ever since my initial visit.  It’s not nearly as large as LoDo’s Freshcraft—both in physical size and selection—but Hops & Pie is my neighborhood’s craft beer bar and I want to support the local businesses.  Besides that, Hops & Pie doesn’t paralyze you with choices like Freshcraft; sometimes it nice to have a smaller selection so that you don’t drive yourself bonkers with all the choices. 
I have professed my disdain for sour beers in previous posts.  It is my official and non-wavering creed that all beers should be tried at least once so that the burgeoning beer connoisseur might be acquainted with the widest of possible spectrums from which to assess the next beer in line.  It is my unofficial and irresolute creed that all beers should be tried a second time after a year or two because one’s palate changes over time.  What was once disgusting might now be pleasurable and vice versa.  So, I ordered Russian River’s Sanctification (6.1% ABV, 27 IBU).  True, it was the first time I’ve had this beer but not the first time I’ve had a similar beer.
Sanctification is a wild ale meaning that the brewers don’t artificially add yeast during the brewing process.  Instead, they allow wild yeast from the area to find its way into beer as the beer sits in open containers.  This is what gives Sanctification its calling-card sourness.  Beyond the sourness, the beer is a pretty nondescript yellow, fizzy concoction that even non-beer geeks are familiar with.

Sanctification is good.  Certainly, it was better than other sour beers I’ve had (perhaps because Sanctification was straight sour; other sour beers I’ve had try to cram too many other flavors in).  It didn’t make me do an extensive overhaul of my rank-and-file of what I like and don’t like but it did let me know that there are islands of enjoyable beer within the sea of beers I generally avoid.  The moral is this: just because you claim to not like porters, hoppy beers, wheats, or whatever else, you should never give up on them.  Perhaps the beers you have been drinking were from inferior breweries.  Maybe your taste buds were just off that day.  There’s innumerable reasons why you might not like a certain style but there’s always a chance that one beer from one brewery might just surprise you by hitting just the right spots.
We had a date to keep at the bowling alley and service was a bit slow that night so we didn’t have time to linger and really take in our beers.  Still, any party that starts with craft beer is bound to be a raucous one.  And so, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Johnny Rotten, and Justin as an unintentional Joaquin Phoenix from I’m Still Here went on their merry ways to meet their friends and celebrate in true rock star fashion.

Sour, Rotten


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