Monday, March 31, 2014

What the New Kids on the Block can teach us

Last week, a few of Denver's brewers and beer writers - and a lot of people in bad '80s outfits - got together for a "New Kids on the Block" party celebrating area breweries under two years old. It was revealing.

First, it's worth noting that outfits remembered as the typical clothing of the 1980s get worse every time someone throws a nostalgic party - and worse than those we were wearing in any high school pics from that actual time. But second, the event put on by Imbibe, Denver Off the Wagon, Porch Drinking and the Colorado Brewers Guild at The Lobby showed a few things about where we are evolving to in our new craft beer scene.

* These new kids are willing to try things.
Sure, a few people brought lagers and pale ales. But many offered styles that they are clearly making to try to set them apart from the old guard.

Verboten's Orange Blossom Honey Wheat has more a citrus bite than a drink this mellow sounds like it should - and to good effect. Meanwhile, Loveland Ale Works' Darkest Day, a chocolate coconut porter, was so full of malted righteousness that it subsumed the coconut enough to allow it to blend well with the chocolate without becoming overly sweet.

* These new kids are trying to take Belgians where their forebears didn't.
The aforementioned Loveland Ale Works, a rising star on the scene, whipped up a raspberry saison that was so tart as to be almost pucker-worthy, and it presented a full body as well.

Meanwhile, Black Bottle Brewing brought its Social Insecurity, a Belgian session ale that was a little light-bodied for its own good but was still a gutsy attempt at a new style.

* The next generation of new kids might be even better.
Maybe the most talked-about beer of the event was Intergalactic IPA, a fragrant and hop-bountiful double IPA from Powder Keg Brewing of Niwot, which is set to open this summer. With that as a lead-in, I can't wait to see what else may be on its way.

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