A Strange - and Wonderful - New Experience
Strange Brewing Co.
, Colorado's newest brewery, just entered its second week of operation today. But if it is anything like the first week, owners Tim Myers and John Fletcher may have to spend less time thinking about their day-to-day operations and more about how they plan to expand their place.
The then-three-day-old business had people stacked up three deep around 7:30 p.m. last Friday - the second time in two days it had seen an overflow crowd, Myers said. It ran out of one of its four beer offerings during the rush and saw the peanut stash on the bar dip perilously low too.
This initial fervor is well deserved, as Myers and Fletcher have made an interesting batch of beers with which they are splashing onto the scene. There's no blonde, no red ale, no lager and no wheat - in other words, none of the standard fall-backs that other breweries offer to appeal at first to a mass audience.
Instead, the star of the show was the Strange Pale Ale, a surprisingly robust version of the style that presented itself with a strong, bitter burst of hops and lingered with tastes of grass and grapefruit on the back of the tongue. It had a bigger nose than most pales - arguably an IPA-style nose - with a medium body and full-mouth taste.
If the pale was the best in show (as judged by the members of the Fearless Tasting Crew last week), then the contestant that drew the most second and third glances was the Tainted Black Pale, an offering that looked like New Belgium's 1554 but tasted a lot more like something that would come out of the hop-minded folks at Great Divide. The malt announced itself with such gusto that you knew you weren't drinking something out of the standard pale family, but the citrus hop kick still tinged the sides of your tongue in a methodical way.
Finally, there was the Paint It Black Stout, a nitro-infused alcoholic version of a chocolate mocha, thick and deep and just rugged enough, especially with its slight hop backtaste. It was a filling stout that didn't have a particularly heavy body but was worthy of being swished around in your mouth.
Myers and Fletcher opened the brewery after, like many of us, losing their jobs during the recession in 2009. Here then is a toast to good fortune, as many in last weekend's mob seemed to think this was the career they should have been in all along.
Labels: Strange Brewing