08 February 2010

Beer! Part 2

We now leave crunchy, Patchouli-laced Fort Collins for Boulder, formerly crunchy and Patchouli-laced, but now more likely to support photo shoots for the latest J. Crew catalog. They still know what beer tastes like, though. My favorites are Boulder Beer, a much-overlooked choice at the liquor store, and Mountain Sun Brew Pub , one of the last holdouts of hippie culture in Boulder. You cannot purchase Mountain Sun in anything but growlers (meaning you have to consume it quickly before it goes flat), but their Java Porter has a slightly-more-than-subtle tinge of coffee in it, which I love; The Illusion Dweller IPA is hoppy enough that even my picky husband approves. There are too many to name, really, so try them all. Each one is an excellent version of what it purports to be. Just designate a driver.

Boulder Beer gives tours if you call ahead, and in my neck of the woods, they sell for much more reasonable prices in the store than the other local brews. Hazed and Infused is like an IPA but a bit more floral, and the Planet Porter is rich and satisfying in the winter. You are starting to notice a pattern in my tastes, perhaps…

I will say this, knowing that it is controversial, but I have never been impressed with anything coming out of Denver. Breckinridge has the same effect on me— not bad, but so what? But you may not know about a relatively new brewery right here in Greeley, Colorado called Crabtree Brewing. It’s located in an industrial garage on the northeast edge of town, the counters are made of plywood, and on sunny days they open the garage door and let the sun beat down on you at your wobbly table. The owners, a happy, chubby husband and wife team you can just picture heading to church in an Oldsmobile station wagon, help their kids do their math homework at the bar when it’s slow. And if that’s not charming enough for you, the beer is incredible! I wasn’t excited by much except for the Ginger Bee (made with ginger and local honey) when they first opened a few years ago, but they have added quite a bit to their menu since then, including blackberry and raspberry stouts, the rich creamy Oil Change Stout, and IPA, a Summer Ale, and various seasonal treats. And as always, the sample pours are generous.