Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The New Look of Coors' Crafty Side Projects

Not content to be known just as the folks who make a summer-appropriate Belgian wit and a light-bodied amber lager, Blue Moon Brewing and AC Golden are diversifying their lineups as of late. And while the two more experimental arms of Molson Coors Brewing are producing some mixed results with their new efforts, it's refreshing to see both putting forth this extra effort.

AC Golden — known by most for its Colorado Native but by serious beer geeks for some of its barrel-aged and sour efforts - is on schedule to produce four to five Colorado Native specialty beers this year. That effort began late last year with its India Pale Lager but has proceeded through the likes of saisons and golden ales as well.

The IPL is the best of AC Golden's mainstream experiments. A 62-IBU creation, its body is lighter than the traditional IPA, but the Chinook- and Centennial-hop kick is not dumbed down significantly. In fact, there is just a bit of an alcoholic bite belying the relatively moderate 6.5%-ABV character that adds a nice perk to its smooth taste.

Its Saison is a pleasant diversion, though not a standout of the style, and its Colorado Native Golden Lager is well made and easy, offering a fuller malt body than most lagers and carrying with it a German feel. But the Olathe Lager is a gimmick beer made with Olathe Sweet Corn that feels like a bad imitation of a standard American macro-brew in which the corn diminishes the flavor and adds a slightly stale backtaste.

Meanwhile, Blue Moon rolled out a Tripel White to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the brewery's namesake beer, developed during the first season of Coors Field as a brew to be served in the stands. And the tribute is sufficiently appropriate, as the new offering feels like Blue Moon on steroids with a big kick of orange peel (and a slight taste of coriander) to round out the flavor. Blue Moon has made bolder beers in recent years, such as its Cinnamon Horchata Ale, but the boundaries stretch just far enough here to produce a proper alcoholic summer brew.

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