Monday, December 29, 2014

Fort Collins' Newest Breweries Adding to Its Reputation

In a city like Fort Collins, where any new brewery competes with established national craft-brewing giants for residents' love, newcomers had better bring their A-game. And that is why it's so good to see that two of the newest kids in town — Snowbank Brewing and Horse and Dragon Brewing — have something to offer to the local and statewide scene.

Horse and Dragon, opened on May 1, brings a constantly rotating menu of offerings to town, and while it offers a variety of hopped and dark staples, it also leans toward experimentation. (And is good for families, as you can see below.)

The Sad Panda Coffee Porter — one of the standouts of this year's All Colorado Beer Festival — hits you not just with a java taste but a creaminess that makes this one of the more eye-opening dark beers of the year. The Scottish Tradesman Coconut Porter rewards those who prefer that style with a touch of coconut rather than an overabundance of cloying sweetness. And one sip of the whiskey-barrel-aged IPA shows the daring that will mark the expanding barrel program.

Snowbank, meanwhile, does more classic styles but does them well — and with an emphasis on hopping all of its beers without over-hopping them. It (pictured at top) opened about four months ago.

Inclination IPA is one of the best new Colorado IPAs this year, seamlessly blending citrus, grass and malt tastes. The Pawnee Porter doesn't skimp on the roasty finish but still greets you with a cocoa taste. And the Moon Arete Wheat offers a heavier body and, consequently, a bigger taste of banana and clove than most of what can be a forgettable style.

Best of all, both are located along the same general touring route that takes you to such established greats as Odell, New Belgium and Funkwerks. So, it looks like those bike tours through Fort Collins just got a little longer.

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