Rockies Brewing Co.
Available: CO, AZ, NM, WY, NE, KS, MN, IL, IN, OH, FL, NY, MA
Rockies Brewing Co., Colorado’s first microbrewery, is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year with a “goatshed revival” to recall the site of their first brewhouse. Check the photo at www.boulderbeer.com to see three of the reviewers from the Beer Talk panel in younger days.
Alcohol (wt.): 3.78
Alcohol (vol.): 4.85
This unfiltered beer starts with a rich generous bouquet, and one could easily linger there a while, but this, along with the deep brilliant amber color and clarity, makes it a most enticing brew. If you enjoy hoppy beers—and I certainly do—this IS your beer. The hops, however, are just icing on the cake. While the hops do, indeed, drive this beer, the malt is still in full command: such balance would seem impossible for such a lovely beer. One wouldn’t think that so much flavor could fit into a classic session beer (under 5% ABV).
Well, the pale amber beer is certainly “hazed” as the name promises. It’s even more emphatically “infused”; the beer smells as if you’ve just stuck your head in a burlap sack full of hops (and yes, I have done that). A terrific aroma. Given the nose, the palate is less emphatic—it’s a well-balanced pale ale with a broad, moderate bitterness, solid malt center and full hop flavors. I’d actually prefer it to be snappier, but it’s very tasty as it is. Excellent with Thai spring rolls.
Now I’m infused. I may even be suffering from a bout of double decoction. Rockies, which began as Boulder Brewing, has issued a commemorative coaster showing myself, Charlie Papazian, Fred Eckhardt and others at the original brewery 25 years ago. For that memory, I wanted to love this beer. The color is, indeed, lovely. Chestnut? Redder—like a chestnut horse. The bouquet is even more evocative: lavender, berry fruits, pine cones. After such a build up, the palate seems very muted and the finish almost deferential.