"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 21, 2012

Your Pals at Our Mutual Friend

With the antagonism between Strange Brewing Company (support them on this Facebook page) and the Massholes on the East Coast continuing to heat up and thoroughly bumming me out, I thought it best to take my mind off of the ugly situation and remind myself why Colorado is best in brews by visiting Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew in the Five Points neighborhood.  

What makes Our Mutual Friend unique is their hands-on approach to brewing; most breweries buy their ingredients ready-to-go but Our Mutual Friend takes the extra step to malt and roast their own barley which they source entirely within Colorado.  This allows them to more closely monitor their beer’s quality and it elevates malts to a higher level of beer geek awareness because, let’s face it, of the Reinheitsgebot ingredients, hops are quarterbacks, the star of the show and everybody’s favorite, and malts are the O-line—we know they’re an integral part of the team but fewer people buy their jerseys.  Want to keep this metaphor going?  Okay, yeast is the coach because it whips those lazy sugars into shape and turns them into game-winning alcohols and water is the field goal ball holder because they aren’t on anybody’s mind unless they do something terrible.

The outside of Our Mutual Friend is the very definition of nondescript; a cream corn-colored brick wall with nary an insignia in sight save for a small graphic on the front door.  Indeed, I think I would have walked right past the joint had I not noticed customers enjoying their brews on the side patio.  The inside is, likewise, subdued with the color palate running the gamut of dark gray to light gray, a vaulted, corrugated steel ceiling, and tables of black metal topped with light wood thus imparting a bit of warmth into the space.

Here's the only sign letting you know you're at the right place

I don’t mean to give the impression that the taproom is cold and lifeless, though; quite to the contrary, the muted nature of the space allows the highlights to pop ever more colorfully.  For example, the back of the bar is designed like your grandparents’ bookshelf resplendent with eclectic books, musical instruments, desk lamps, board games, and other assorted tchotchkes.  The big-bulb Christmas lights strung from the rafters also lend a festive air while the vinyl record sound system provides a little something for the hipsters. 

Nicole and I sampled every beer on tap: Proletariat (4.5% ABV), Saison (4.3% ABV), Pale Ale (5.6% ABV), IPA (7.1% ABV), Brown Ale (6.3% ABV), and Huckleberry Roasters Coffee Stout (5% ABV).

Left to right: Huckleberry Roasters, Brown Ale, IPA, Pale Ale, Saison, Proletariat
Proletariat is a pale—almost white—straw yellow beer that’s mostly clear with a touch of haze.  The aroma smells of berries and bubblegum while the flavor is crisp and wheat-y with hints of rye-like spiciness. 

Another hazy, pale yellow beer, Saison features whiffs of coriander that carry over into the flavor with bread/yeast and traces of black pepper rounding out the taste.

Pale Ale is cloudy and orange with sweet, tropical fruit scents—perhaps passion fruit?  The flavor is interesting; it tastes a little like tobacco and coffee.  Did the malts from Huckleberry Roasters infiltrate this batch?  Cascara, the dried fruit shell leftover when the coffee bean has been extracted, can have a tobacco-y quality to it so I’m not discounting this theory.  It’s not a bad beer by any means but I do wonder if this batch came out as the brewers intended. 

The copper-colored, slightly cloudy IPA smells of wet wood—dank like a deciduous forest—and is smoky.  The hops are apparent, not overly bitter, and rather grassy. 

Brown Ale is reddish-brown or mahogany with a beige head.  The aroma is defined by dark fruit esters and chocolate while the flavor is akin to a sweet chocolate-covered dark cherry intermingled with toasted malts.

Huckleberry Roasters Coffee Stout, made with coffee from the eponymous, local coffeehouse, was far-and-above my favorite of the night.  Mostly black with ever-so-faint red highlights and a mocha-colored head, this beer smells and tastes like strong, black coffee.  It’s decedent and robust and I’m forever befuddled by the fact that I hate coffee yet love coffee-flavored beer.

Before departing, Nicole and I indulged in a waffle sandwich from Wafflegänger, the food cart parked outside the taproom specializing in waffle sandwiches.  It’s an eccentric concept but, take it from me, it works!  I may have had a Homer Simpson-esque drop of drool hanging from the corner of my mouth when I absolutely destroyed my “Wäffen-cheese.”

On our way back home we stopped at Denver Beer Co. for a spell to try the Chill Out Chocolate Chili Stout which, while a fine beer, could have used a few more peppers in the brew pot; I was expecting something much spicier. 

Chill Out
Our Mutual Friend brings Nicole and I’s brewery count to an even 90 (I thought we were already at 90 but a second-glance dispelled that assumption) and it was a worthy place to reach such a milestone.  If you’re looking for a comfortable, urban, intimate place to sip some suds, Our Mutual Friend has what you’re looking for so head over to Five Points and give them a go.



With the holiday season quickly approaching, Chris and I thought it a good time to prepare our palates for the impending feasts with some delicious Colorado craft beer.  My favorite beer at Our Mutual Friend was Huckleberry Roasters Coffee Stout. If all coffee tasted like this, I’d have a cup every morning. I’m usually not a fan of bitter flavors but the roasted bitterness of the coffee, for whatever reason, didn’t make me shudder.  In fact, it was all quite smooth. Perhaps a visit to Huckleberry Roasters to pick up coffee beans is in my future.

Like Chris, I devoured my Wafflegänger creation.  My sandwich was called Scout. You can’t go wrong with apples, granola, peanut butter, and honey between two waffles.  In this season of giving thanks, I’m thankful they provided me with a moist towelette to clean up my gooey mess.


Seen on a car outside Our Mutual Friend; I guess it's obvious they'd support him over the guy who doesn't drink

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