Thursday, January 24, 2013

Golden's New Brewery is Pretty Golden

Looking around the packed Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. on Monday night, it was hard to believe that everyone there had to head to work the next day. Yes, it was a holiday — MLK Day — and it was just the third day that the new brewery was open. But the fact was, this suburban brewery was pulling in students, young families and aging beer geeks like it was Great American Beer Festival weekend.

And for the most part, Golden's third largest brewery (for now) deserved all of the attention it got. Though it opened with a limited menu of four beers — a selection that bartenders assured the crowd of people ordering tasters would grow soon — the creation of former Mountain Sun head brewer Brian Hutchinson absolutely nailed three of them, leaving you only to hope for more to come.

The biggest winner of the bunch was the Mindbender IPA, a 7.2 percent American-style IPA that the brewery nearly sold out during its opening three-day weekend. With a bold mouthfeel of earthy flowers combined gently with grapefruit, the offering was not just tasty but unique in the flavor it brings to the most saturated beer category in craft breweries across America.

Two of its other offerings, the Parbuckle Pale and the Solid Gold Belgian Golden, might be considered a bit lighter than many of their stylistic brethren, but in both cases that was a positive. The English-American hybrid pale was tinged with overtones of agave and hard candy and might become a go-to summer pale ale. And the Belgian-style golden flowed easily over the tongue with hints of wildflower and cloves, finishing with just a breath of lemon tartness that made one of the members of the Fearless Tasting Crew exclaim after a day of skiing: "This made the whole day right here."

The only member of the quartet that didn't inspire constant head-nodding and belly-rubbing was the Chain-Shot Abbey Dubbel, an 8.3 percent Belgian ale that offered a thick body and a caramel-heavy palate reminiscent of cherry syrup. The initial thud of taste mellowed with additional sips and left a sweet-but-not-tart backtaste, but it certainly didn't meet the expectations of the first three beers.

Still, one can only think of the hop bombs and darker-than-night stouts Hutchinson offered up at Mountain Sun, taste his initial offerings at Cannonball Creek and be very assured that more good stuff will be coming from Colorado's newest brewery.


Golden Boy Rocks!
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