"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!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Hangover at Amato's

“Trick or treat!” I said with extended arms and open candy sack.

“My, my, my,” said the old lady at the door, “look at all the scary monsters out today.  And what are you supposed to be, little boy?”

“Frankenstein!” blurted Timmy.

“I’m Buzz Lightyear!” said Cody.

“Harry Potter!” said Jeremy.

“And, uh, who are you, dad?” asked the old lady as she looked up at me.

“First of all, I aint these kids’ daddy, lady; I’m here for the candy so cough it up.  Secondly, can’t you tell from the blood around my mouth, the half empty bottle of Jack, and my three foot beehive hairdo that I’m Zombie Amy Winehouse?  Now, chop chop with the goodies.”

“How old are you, sir?”

“25, what’s it to ya?”

“Young man, aren’t you a little old to be trick or treating?”

“Aren’t you a little old to be alive?”

“I think you’d better leave now.”

“I think you’d better make good with the ‘treats’ before I ‘trick’ your ass all over town.”

“I’m calling the cops.”

“Fine!  I’ll go.  I’ll go to a place where people like me can go to enjoy Halloween without fascists like you discriminating people based on age.  We’re taking Halloween back, we are!  The college students!  The young professionals!  The hipsters!  The middle-aged parents!  This holiday is for everybody and we’re not going to stand by as you trample on our fun anymore.  You’ll see, you’ll all see!”

“I don’t care.  Just go.”

And go I did—along with Nicole—to Ale House at Amato’s for their Trick or Beer tasting event on Halloween night from 5pm to 9pm.

For a $5 ticket, participants received a sampler glass, six sample-sized tastings, and choice of one full pint from one of the three participating breweries: Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Breckenridge Brewery.  It was a small event especially after having visited Great American Beer Festival and Brew at the Zoo but, as I told my high school girlfriend, size isn’t everything.  Sure, three breweries seems paltry but one must also take into account what is being served and not just how much is being served.  At Trick or Beer, beer geeks were treated to a handful of unique brews—brews you probably wouldn’t find at the average BBQ, frat party, or sporting event.  Plus, the event was held atop Amato’s rooftop patio wherein lit up urban vistas were on the menu for the visual feast.

Trick or Beer featured great views

The first brewery Nicole and I hit was Grimm Brothers, a small brewery in Loveland that we had been to once before.  They were serving up Master Thief, a German-style porter, and Little Red Cap, an altbier.  Master Thief looks pitch black but, since this was an outdoor and nighttime/dusk event, it could have been a very deep, rich brown.  It has a tan head, a chocolate and roasted malt aroma and flavor, and the mouthfeel is quite thick.  It is, in short, everything a porter should be: nothing more, nothing less.  It’s a simple, solid drink and among the best porters I’ve ever had.  I ordered Master Thief for my full pint.  Little Red Cap is a cloudy red-brown and it has a tart, green apple-like aroma.  It’s not a dominating scent but it is certainly present.  Red cap is thin bodied and it possesses a mild bitter bite.
Master Thief on left, Red Cap on right

Then came the craft beer darling of America: Dogfish Head.  With a near-endless resume’ of experimental beers, a start-your-own business book authored by headbrewer Sam Caligione, and a short lived TV series, only Sam Adams can compete with Dogfish Head for the title of “most overexposed craft brewery.”  Okay, so I like Dogfish beer, I read the book, and I watched the show but my inner-hippie still gets perturbed when funky little breweries transform into giants.  How dare you become successful, make money, and desire to expand your endeavor!  Seriously, though, I’m always happy to see craft beer success stories; I just prefer my breweries to be more neighborhood-centric.

Dogfish brought Burton Baton (10% ABV), a blended beer made from an English-style old ale and an imperial IPA, and Black & Red (10.5% ABV), a blended beer made from a mint stout and a raspberry stout.  Burton Baton is hazy orange-yellow with a strong, punch-you-in-the-nose hop aroma.  The malts also make appearances on the nose.  Burton Baton’s flavor is piney and the intense amount of hops warms the drinker’s insides.  Amazingly, the bitterness level of this beer isn’t through the roof and, even then, the bitterness dissipates quickly. 
B & R on left, Burton on right

Black & Red has to be the wackiest beer I’ve ever set my lips on.  It looks normal enough: pitch black with a tan head like any stout.  When I put my nose to it, though, any assumptions about this beer being prosaic were hurled from the rooftop; it smelled of Crème de menthe with hints of raspberry.  Wow!  I knew what was in this beer was before I ordered it but I never thought it would be that obvious.  The flavor continues the trend as the beer tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream with raspberry swirl.  Black & Red is dessert in a glass.  Nicole didn’t use all of her tickets so I kept coming back for samples of this beer; it definitely has too many competing flavors to warrant a full pint.

Breckenridge Brewery brought Agave Wheat (4.2% ABV) and their fall seasonal Autumn Ale (6.7% ABV).  Agave Wheat is cloudy yellow and has that quintessential “wheat beer” aroma.  The flavor is yeasty and lemony.  Autumn Ale is clear but dark brown like and overly stained piece of glass in a church’s window.  It smells sweet, nutty, and maple-y and those attributes are also present in the flavor along with a touch of toffee.
Autumn on left, Agave on right

In addition to the great beer, there was also great ambiance.  Like I said, the event was held on the rooftop patio so event-goers could drink in the scenery as they drank in their beer.  Nicole met somebody she knew from grade school and I made tentative plans to collaborate with another beer blogger.  It was a small but reasonably priced and super fun event that I hope becomes a Halloween tradition at Amato’s. 



One of my favorite parts about visiting new breweries and trying new beers and checking out the beer pulls. Some breweries have very creative and artistic pulls but Dogfish Head’s Black & Red had one of the most interesting ones I have seen. It was made of gears and the quote, “Analog beer for the digital age.” It is fitting that Black & Red should have a creative pull because it is one of the most imaginative beers I have ever tried. One of my favorite ice creams is mint chocolate chip so the fact that this beer tasted like the liquid version of the frozen treat intrigued me. I really enjoyed the flavor—especially the hints of raspberry. However, a tiny sample glass was more than enough for me. The mint flavor was very strong and the high alcohol volume packed a punch.

One of my other favorites of the night was Grimm Brother’s Master Thief. As the weather gets colder, I am ready to try some new porters and stouts. I used to think that porters and stouts were too heavy and thick but the more I try the more I like the complex flavors. I am learning to like the roastiness of these beers. The coffee and chocolate flavors of stouts don’t seem as strong or bitter to me anymore. I guess I can thank Chris for pushing me out of my beer comfort zone. When we first started our mission of visiting breweries I always ordered the wheat beer on tap but now I am more adventurous and I am willing to try everything. Well, I am willing to try a few sips at least to help assess the beer for its style but I don't drink to see if I like it or not.

Dogfish draft pull

No comments:

Post a Comment