5280 Editor Seasonal Six Pack Review

A pre-mixed six pack of amazingface Colorado microbrews? Thank you, 5280 editors! I will happily review your picks over the next few days. Ok, let’s get real…the next few hours. It’s Monday night, the Friday night of the unemployed!

As a member of the original Eighty Eight Beers, Seven Microbreweries, One Day crew from my 21st birthday party, I’m qualified to judge beers until around sample number sixty…at which point they all sort of start to taste like Delicious and I cannot hope to identify their nuances anymore. I’ve included links to other websites so you can see if I actually know what I’m talking about or if I’m full of it (great beer, that is).

And now, in order of can/bottle coolness, I give you:

#1- Wynkoop Silverback Pale Ale

This beer is made with Grains of Paradise, a special spice found in Western Africa that Silverback Gorillas apparently chow down on. My first thought when I looked at the can was, “Oh shit, am I drinking conflict beer?” but hopefully that’s not the case. %50 of all money made on these beers goes to the The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, a nonprofit working since 1983 to protect this endangered species.

Taste: Carmel and bitter hops. The aftertaste lingers quite long and I can’t seem to find those Grains of Paradise buried under all the hops. 
Appearance: Light brown, well-carbonated (What do you mean, my first pour was almost a spill?! I’m not even one beer in yet!), a little cloudy from yeast and malt. 
Buzz: 5.5% ABV 
Other: A good pale ale. 
Total: 7/10 Stars
 

#2-Breckenridge 471 Small Batch Double Hopped IPA

This beer is AWESOME. I don’t say that lightly, either. It’s got a sleek design and is part of Breckenridge Brewery’s foray into making small batches of beer to complement the big hitters that pay the bills. It’s something that a lot of Colorado microbreweries have gotten into in recent years, after fans complained that they’d gotten too commercial and corporate…and that the beers were suffering. I’m down.

Taste: Sweet, and just bitter enough. I want to know where they got their hops and tell everyone to use them, because it has none of the usual metallic bite that I hate about many IPAs. 
Appearance: Amber, filtered and lightly carbonated
Buzz: 9.2% ABV (wooohoooo)
Other: This is what I always wanted from an IPA. 
Total: 9.2/10 stars
 

#3- Ska Brewery Modus Hoperandi 

This beer is so aromatic that it jumps up and punches you in the face right when you open the can. I imagine that this is part of the modus operandi of Ska Brewing from Durango, because if their kooky pop art logos covered in skulls and babes are any indication, it’s a punch-you-in-the-face kind of brewery. And this is a face punching IPA. 
 
Taste: Coppery hops and little else. It kind of burns as an aftertaste. In my sinuses. 
Appearance: Orangey, frothy, and with light brown blended in. 
Buzz: 6.8% ABV
Other: This is what I dislike about IPAs. 
Total: 4/10 stars
 

#4- Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale

I’ve had this beer many times. I’ve ordered it in bars. I’ve drank it with friends. I’ve bought six packs of it. We’re old friends. So forgive my slight bias.

Taste: Almost citrusy blends into deep chocolate and coffee tones. Malt lingers. If you wait too long between sips it blends into sweet simple sugars that melt in your mouth. 
Appearance: Dark brown, like the best brunette brew.
Buzz: 5.5% ABV
Other: It’s almost too sweet for hot days in Fall. 
Total: 7.5/10 stars
 

#5- Boulder Beer Flashback India Style Brown Ale

Made for the thirtieth anniversary of the first microbrewery in Colorado, this unique beer is pretty remarkable. It’s made by infusing the wort (beer before it’s fermented) five times with Cascade hops. I think it would be cool for them to make an all-Boulder-grown version, but I’m not sure that the local climate is right for big production. Better that way. More beer for us!

Taste: Fruity on the first sip, then blending into those five hops infusions. It’s well-balanced with the darker nature of the brown ale (I can definitely taste some dark malts). It stays true to taste in the aftertaste, and there is none of that metallic bite. 
Appearance: Auburn, in the right light. 
Buzz: 6.8% ABV
Other: Easy to drink….Almost toooo easy. 
Total: 9/10 Stars
 

#6- O’Dell Cutthroat Porter

Is it the other beers talking that this one smelled like maple-smoked bacon when I poured it? I may have a slight case of the buzzed-munchies. This beer is another one that I frequently drink with friends, and buy as a starter porter for my less-darkness-inclined friends. It bothers me that it was included in a “Seasonal Pack,” because it’s a year-round beer. O’Dell Brewing has a great selection of Actually-Seasonal beers, and the editors of 5280 seem to have copped out a little.

Taste: Malt and lots of it. It has some richness in there like a Guinness, but it is less concentrated. Sweet carmel aftertaste, and suprisingly not a hint of bacon taste. 
Appearance: Dark and opaque. Light carbonation. 
Buzz: 5.0% ABV 
Other: It’s decent, but as a dark beer woman I feel a little let down. 
Total: 6/10 Stars
 

And there you go! Six beers up, six beers down. One very woozy Coleen, but a very happy full of Colorado microbrew one.

Overall, there is nothing that is shocking or pushing boundaries in the six pack. I think it might be aimed at people who are not into beer, or who haven’t been exposed to much microbrew, or who’ve never tasted eighty eight beers in a single day. My other critique is that there are no Pumpkin ales, dark-ass stouts, or belgian-style ambrosias in the six pack. In short, a good starter pack, but maybe it’s better to mix your own six pack at the local liquor store instead of buying this one.

Below is the Coleen’s Second Autumn 2011 six pack, as a suggestion should you need an excuse to drink six more seasonal beers.

#1 Breckenridge 471 Small Batch Double Hopped IPA
#2 New Belgium (Lips of Faith) Kick 
#3 Boulder Beer Cold Hop British Style Ale 
#4 Mountain Sun Dropkick Stout (comes in growlers only…not cans…slight inconvenience)
 #5 Twisted Pine Bough Breaker
#6 Great Divide Belgica Belgian-Style IPA 

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Nibbles and Booze

2 Comments

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  1. excellent! wish I had been there. Will have to repeat the test myself… though I cant write nearly as well as you!

  2. Hmmm… I’ll have to try these beers at some point. I love Avery Brewery and it rocks I’m so close to them, my favorites by them are the seasonal Karma, and the aged beer The Beast. Sammiclaus is another excellent aged beer that ‘s brewed in Austria and is only bottled once a year.

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