"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!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breaking the No-Beer Streak at Hops & Pie

Though this blog has undergone trivial changes since its inception a year and a half ago (I no longer write reviews for bottled and canned beers because I have my Examiner.com page for that and I no longer write about my homebrewing adventures because I want to focus on places and events that are open to the public; unless you’ve stowed away in my garage, I’m the only person that participates in my homebrewing activities), I’ve stayed true to my central goals.  One goal is to make Beer in Colorado as much a travel journal as it is a beer blog; that’s why I write about the events leading up to each post as well as the ambiance and personal encounters Nicole and I experience at breweries and tasting events.  Another goal is to be as honest as possible; it’s not always sunshine and lollipops (although it is 99% of the time) and I make a concerted effort to be steadfast in my opinions.  Lastly, I try to update often enough that my readers aren’t left hanging for multiple weeks.  It is in this last goal that I have had minor failings.

Nicole and I just haven’t been doing much in the way of beer lately and, believe me, it’s not for lack of opportunity—to think that America’s craft beer hub wouldn’t have something happening every week of the year!  Beer events are held all the time but they take time and money; we need to cherry-pick from the multitude and attend only the events in which we’re really, really interested.  Plus, we’ve hit most of the breweries in the Denver metro-area (still a few hanging over our heads, though) and hitting the mountain breweries takes a bit more effort.  We just haven’t done enough in the world of beer recently to constitute a blog post and, for that, I apologize. 

However, I fear I mislead.  Beer is still a part of our lives—it just lately hasn’t been as significant a part as I would like.  What can I say?  I’m desperate to get in an April posting and I’m willing to subject you to less-than-groundbreaking beer news to do so. 

With all my cards on the table, I present to you Denver’s Littlest Big Beer Fest at Hops & Pie featuring the beers of Equinox Brewing.  It sounds like a fun time (and it is) but it isn’t all that unique since Hops & Pie hosts these events quite regularly (I lost my shirt the last time I attended one).  Nonetheless, it was a rainy Sunday, we hadn’t had an Equinox beer for about two years, I’m always down for a visit to Hops & Pie, and, as mentioned, I needed some blog fodder so away we went.  

This was the first time Nicole and I had visited Hops & Pie since their expansion and, boy, did they need it; even now I worry that they don’t have enough space.  We found a seat and ordered the sampler platter of Equinox beers: The Details (9.2% ABV), Total Eclipse (8.3% ABV), Midwinter Warmer (10% ABV), and Paz Imperial Stout (8.3% ABV).

From left to Right: The Details, Total Eclipse, Midwinter Warmer, & Paz Imperial Stout. In background: a damned fool. 

The Details is a Belgian-style golden strong ale and is pale yellow and cloudy in appearance.  The aroma is interesting—it smells like sour apples or pear or hard cider.  At any rate, the aroma is fruity.  It’s a dry beer and the fruit flavor pops up on the palate, too.  The high alcohol content warms the mouth.

Total Eclipse, an imperial brown ale, is murky brown-red like the waters of the Mississippi River.  The aroma is quite unique; as Nicole put it, “it smells like an Asian restaurant.”  Indeed, with a big enough whiff, one can pick up on an aroma that’s not unlike hoisin sauce.  The flavor is roasted and one can pick up hints of dried, dark fruits. 

The barleywine Midwinter Warmer looks like flecks of rust that have been stirred into water.  Spicy and earthy scents emanate from the glass while the flavor leaves the drinker with trace flavors of wood and cherries.  There is a roasted quality to this beer, too. 

Paz Imperial stout is black with brown highlights and a tan foam.  If one were to take their coffee with hops then one would be familiar with this beer’s smell.  It tastes like smoke, bitter hops, and roasted coffee all mixed together in a blender and it leaves the drinker salivating after each sip. 

We finished our platter, noshed on some artisanal pizza (man, I love prosciutto on my pie), and headed back home.  Was it an epic journey to rival the likes of Odysseus and Gilgamesh?  Perhaps not.  Still, it was a great way to break up the no-beer monotony and, really, any trip to Hops & Pie is a trip worth taking; it’s a wonderful neighborhood craft beer bar and if you’ve never been then what are you waiting for? 

Nicole and I have at least one big beer-related story planned for May, June, and July so hopefully I won’t be forced to scrape together a story out of almost nothing again for a good while.




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  2. Hi. I've been following your blog for a few months, on my search for other beer lovers and new breweries to try. I think I saw y'all there on Sunday. We were there for the tasting as well. And, it was our second day in a row at Hops & Pie (becoming one of my favorite places). I was excited to try Equinox brews for the first time...but, I can't say I fell in love. Looking forward to more tastings at Hops & Pie!

    1. First of all, thanks for reading. This certainly isn't the most comprehensive site for beer news but hopefully I can point you in the right direction when it comes to finding great beer in Colorado. Secondly, if you see me again come on over and say hi.