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Wednesday, September 13, 2006 

Breckenridge BBQ & Brew Pub

Back to some of my x-country adventures - this stop in Denver. My friends knowing all about my beer geekdom had a spot all lined up rather close to their home. And it was happy hour, where everyone wins.

Surprisingly the place wasn't very crowded. The layout was part bbq joint / part brewery. The huge kettles filled out the back part while the kitchen was more to the front. You could smell the glorious hops.

Breckinridge Mountain is a popular ski resort about 2 hours west of Denver. The brewery is now headquartered in Denver with 2 brewpubs in the city (the other by Coors Field). My guess is most (all?) of the brewing is done at the location we were at. Their bottled beer is available pretty much everywhere in Colorado.

Having driven 675 miles that day (from Des Moines, Iowa), I had plenty of appetite. I ordered the pulled pork sammich, which came with corn bread. It was plenty of food (maybe too much) that hit the spot. The bbq sauce was nice and tangy. I couldn't finish the whole thing especially with my belly filling up with their beers.

Never having any before, it was a pretty easy pick to get the sampler. With the happy hour pricing - it was only $6 too. Usually samplers are a couple ounces each. Not here, each sample was around 5 ounces. So all of a sudden the sampler is a TON of beer.

Summer Bright Ale

74 / 100

We started lightest to darkest. Maybe not the best way, especially with a DIPA in the middle - but it worked out. This was a citrus wheat, quite light in color and taste. It was easy-drinking and quite refreshing. I'm sure this sells well with the recent boom in popularity of the hefes and such. I enjoyed it enough, but I kept looking forward to the bigger ales.

Avalanche Amber

76 / 100

Colorado has these American Reds down. Very akin to New Belgium's Fat Tire, Avalanche has a smooth start with a sweet middle and a slighty bitter but crisp finish. In a blind taste, I wouldn't be able to differentiate the two. It goes down easy and balances my pulled pork sammich quite well.

Trademark Pale Ale

79 / 100

Now we're moving toward my styles. This is a wonderfully balance American Pale. It has enough hops to keep me interested, but not too much to scare away John Q Public. The malt shines through cutting the citrus hop profile and keeping things in check.

Small Batch 471 Series IPA

83 / 100

Boom! Hops all up in my face. This was no regularly IPA, this was definitely a double, despite how it was explained by our waitress. I liiiike. The hop character is very citrus - TONS of grapefruit and some pine. It's thick with a slight carameliness that makes it remarkably creamy. The bite is very bitter. This is not a beer to mix with food, but I didn't mind it's palate crushing. Of note: I purchased a 6 pack of this to bring back West with me - the draft version was much better and far less grapefruity.

Vanilla Porter

71 / 100

No surprise that the aroma from this is pure vanilla bean. The color is dark and smooth. Some chocolate scents are in there too, along with the malt base. I was surprised how thin the mouthfell was. I was expecting something more thick - more of a hearty after dinner beer. It was awful sweet, perhaps great after a long day of skiiing, but I wasn't in love with it right now.

Oatmeal Stout

81/ 100

Thankfully after the vanilla sweetness of the porter dissipated, I was able to fully enjoy this hearty stout. It was full of flavor: roasted malts, almost Cheerio-like oats and expresso. It had a all of the thick meatiness the porter did not. It was dry with a slight bitter lingering. This was the perfect finish to a healthy bounty of samplers.

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