"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!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just Doing It and Being "That Guy" at Copper Kettle

To quote—with a family-friendly filter on—pre-alien-worshipping Tom Cruise in Risky Business (his best film ever; I’ll entertain no dissenting opinions), “there's one thing I learned in all my years. Sometimes you just gotta say, ‘What the ****, make your move.’"  It’s a quote that, if lived by exclusively, will probably cause more headache than good but, when used sparingly, can be quite beneficial.  Having trying and failing repeatedly to gather a crew to visit Copper Kettle Brewing Company (always a snow storm or general busyness getting in the way), Nicole and I, after internalizing and paraphrasing the aforementioned quote, cast our friends to the wayside and went on our own.  No worries, friends, we haven’t written you off completely; there’s, like, ten new breweries opening in the metro area within a few months so we’ll be sure to flash mob one of those establishments soon.  River North Brewery, perhaps? 

We pulled up to the brewery, walked inside, and, for an instant, thought we had entered a coffee shop.  No wobbly bar stools, stark walls, or fluorescent lighting for Copper Kettle; the taproom looks like the showroom of Pier 1 Imports: dark-stained, wood furniture, stone-tiled bar façade, and artful wall accents.  If I had looked over to see a bespectacled hipster with a sweater and scarf writing a novel on his laptop I’d have been only mildly surprised.

We snagged a two-top (although we eventually moved to a bigger table as my sister and her—I don’t know—boyfriend, I guess, joined us shortly after arrival) and Copper Kettle owner/head brewer Jeremy Gobien came by to take our order.  As we do at any new brewery, we ordered a flight of everything on tap: Bavarian Helles (4.6% ABV, 16 IBU), Kettleweizen (4.8% ABV, 14 IBU), Dunkelweiss (5.5% ABV, 13.6 IBU), High Country Breakfast Stout (10.2% ABV, 70 IBU), Better Half IPA (7% ABV, 72 IBU), Black IPA (7.6% ABV, 68 IBU), and Mexican Chocolate Stout (6.2% ABV, 50 IBU).   

Bavarian Helles is straw-colored, white-foamed, and clear.  It features a light, lemony aroma and a bready, slightly bitter (in a citrus peel kind of way) flavor that sits on the back of the tongue.  It finishes dry.

Like bubblegum?  Then you’ll definitely want to order the Kettleweizen.  This hazy, dark gold brew packs a yeasty, orange-y, bubblegum-like nose and the taste is, likewise, full of the mentioned chewable accompanied by a banana aftertaste.  An easy comparison could be made between this beer and Dry Dock’s Hefeweizen.        

Dunkelweiss is a murky brown-red topped with a beige head.  The aroma is lightly roasted and the flavor is a mish-mash of so many competing flavors that it is hard to pin down.  Certainly, a little bit of the dark malt flavor comes through but so does a fruity tartness.  Maybe my palate is unsophisticated or maybe this beer needs to go back to the drawing board but Dunkelweiss just didn’t do it for me.

Big, roasted, coffee-esque flavors epitomize High Country, a black-bodied stout with barely perceptible red highlights and a rusty brown head.  Like a strong, black cup of Joe, High Country is quite bitter and will have you spitting black like a dilophosaurus.

Better Half looks like an orange cloud with a sprinkling of eggshell-white foam on top.  The scents wafting from the glass are big on citrus hops as well as sweet sugariness thus reminding the drinker of a margarita.  Better Half tastes like pine needle tea and the bitterness tends to stick around.

Black IPA, like High Country, has a rusty brown head and a black body but, unlike High Country, the highlights are brown.  A smoky aroma paves the way for a roasted, lightly bittered flavor.

Had the flights ended there, I would have chalked Copper Kettle off as just another stop on Nicole and I’s journey to visit every brewery in the state; they’ve got solid beer, no doubt, but if you were thinking of writing home about it—don’t. 

But then magic happened.  I took a sip of Mexican Chocolate Stout.

The earth stood still, a bright, white light emanated from my core, and angels from on high rang out in joyful noise.  This, dear reader, is a beer that Colorado can rally behind.  It looks pedestrian enough—black with a tan head like any other stout—but the aroma dashes any notions of mediocrity.  Imagine yourself at the county fair as you walk by the churro vendor; that sweet, cinnamon-y scent that fills your nostrils is the same smell in Mexican Chocolate Stout.  And the flavor?  It’s a liquid sopapilla with a touch of chocolate drizzled on top and a pinch of hot peppers stuffed inside; it starts out sweet but finishes with a dull burn that, while never overbearing, is long-lived.

Mexican Chocolate Stout is a good beer.  Nay, it is a great beer.  I will go as far as to say it may be the best stout on the face of this planet—seriously!  If I’m wrong then it’s at least top five.  But, I don’t think I am wrong since Mexican Chocolate Stout brought home the gold at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (although it was in the herb and spice beer category, not the stout category).  Go to Copper Kettle right now and don’t forget to bring a growler so you can spread the goodness of this beer to your friends and family.  

After drinking beer, the best thing to do at Copper Kettle is people-watch.  Indoor picnicking with bags and bags of brought-in food and real, ceramic dishes and pots?  Yes, you’ll find that at Copper Kettle.  It was a Thanksgiving Day feast over at that other table!  I also saw something that made me introspect a bit; a man wearing three items of clothing each featuring a brewery logo.  I admit it; when I go to a brewery, I like to let it be known through my apparel, beer journal, and business cards that I’m a beer geek.  It’s sad, really, like “that guy” who wears the band’s t-shirt at the concert.  I guess I’m no different than Captain Doofus who either really, really likes Harpoon Brewery or really, really works for Harpoon Brewery and I’m big enough to concede that point.  I am, however, not strong enough to actually stop being “that guy” so look for me and my beer shirt at your next brewery visit or beer festival.    



Our visit to Copper Kettle added something fun to my boring Sunday afternoon which consisted of grading papers and falling asleep on the couch. I was excited to try the Mexican Chocolate Stout because I had heard good things about it. I also saw it in ice cream form at Sweet Action the day before and I am sad that I didn’t try it. The Mexican Chocolate Stout is amazing! When you smell it, you feel the intensity of the cinnamon in your nostrils. When you taste it, you feel the heat of the guajillo chili peppers. The guajillo pepper is only rated a 2,500-5,000 on the Scoville Scale but it still packs a nice punch in the back of the mouth. I like the sweet dessert-like aspect of this beer but I also like that it is spicy. It’s different and I like that. I like the beers that “think outside the box” and this one definitely fits the bill.
As I write this, I am trying to figure out how many breweries we have been to. I tried to count using a brewery list on a website but I only got 71; last time I counted in our beer journal we were up to 75.  So, I started a list so that I can have an accurate count. I thought I would have started a list like this a long time ago but at least I have one now.



  1. OK - you convinced me. I've got to get down to Denver to try this place out. It's on my Denver bucket list for this year. Looks like they have a great mix of brews. Hope to swing by in the next few weeks if I can tear myself away from my NoCo brews.

  2. Like most Colorado breweries, it is definitely worth a visit. I've tooted the Mexican Chocolate Stout horn enough but I can't help but tout its greatness one last time.

  3. there are two other peppers in the mex stout. So the heat is coming from one of the others. just an FYI

  4. Ah, there was only one pepper mentioned on the description. Regardless of how many peppers are in it, it's tasty.