We find ourselves spending a lot of time in brewpubs, brew places, breweries, and tap rooms now that we are doing the visa waiting game for our next move abroad. It’s amazing to have so many places available to us in the Front Range of Colorado. Every time I come back from living abroad, new places have opened and new beer is waiting to be discovered. We recently got very lost trying to find our way to Nighthawk Brewing in Broomfield, CO.
- Nighthawk Brewery
- 2780 Industrial Ln, Broomfield, CO 80020
- Founded in 2010 (or 2013?)
It’s exactly where a jiu jitsu school or brewery should be. Russell and I use this as a kind of code word for a slightly sketchy area that isn’t actually all that sketchy. Brodie’s in London is in this kind of area, as are the many famed Bermondsey breweries on the south side of the Thames. It’s a tell-tale sign of a place we’d like to hang out.
Nighthawk is next door to a jiu jitsu school. It’s unassuming, but has all the things you need form a taproom. I even saw some margarita mix behind the bar.
The space is simple, and the brewery is not particularly visible to the visiting public. There’s a middle room where a lot of stuff is hanging around, but I didn’t go in and look around because it seemed to be an ‘Employees Only’ area. That space should be opened up so that visitors can actually see the brewery itself.
The service at the bar is excellent. Our server insisted on letting us sit down and have her bring us beer through floor service, even after it got busy. She was highly knowledgeable and really interested in making customers feel welcome.
Overall, tasty! These beers all have a true twist on the typical. A blueberry/blackberry session porter? A raspberry-infused Berliner Weisse? Wild-yeast saison with herbs? Ciderweizen? None of the beers particularly fit neatly into categories, and it’s clear that the guys are trying very hard to experiment.
The beers sometimes over-reach, though. Our favorite was the simplest, and most true to style. The milk stout was easiest to drink and definitely a six pack worthy beer. The others were interesting, but not highly drinkable.
The biggest thing is that there needs to be a stand-out beer in the mix, and it was hard to choose one out of the lineup. Nighthawk’s beers tasted like well-honed homebrew! Not a bad thing, but maybe not as well-honed as other craft facilities in Colorado. If they make a stand-out, consistent brew that has wide appeal…watch out!
We tried everything on tap. This is a small selection.
- Style: Herbed Sour Saison
- Geekery: 6.3% ABV, 0 IBUs, Color = Light Hazy Blonde
- SOUR and in your face. Lactobacillus all over the place. Tastes a tiny bit like Kimchi, but in a good way. Ginger is the overpowering herb flavor. Our server came over and let us know that the brewers got some sweet dates and left them around the place to harvest wild yeasts for this brew. Easily my favorite.
- Overall Rating: 4.0 pints (out of five pints)
- Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
- Geekery: 8.7% ABV, 133 IBUs, Color = Caramel
- Smells and tastes of honey and oregano. Unfiltered. Clearly, there are some super-alpha hops in this beer. The bitterness lingers a lot, but that’s not really surprising at 133 IBUs. It tastes a bit like a herby Hardcore IPA from Brewdog.
- Overall Rating: 3.0 pints
- Style: “Ciderweizen” (Experimental Cider Hybrid)
- Geekery: 6% ABV, 10 IBUs, Color = Light Caramel
- The weizen part of this beer hybrid is prominent. That bread, tasty flavor gets through even with the cider apples. It’s a tiny bit buttery (possibly a by-product of the brewing process), and the spices are subtle. It’s deceptively strong; I definitely didn’t taste 6%!
- Overall Rating: 4.0 pints
- Style: Pumpkin Peach Baltic Porter
- Geekery: 10.5% ABV, 42 IBUs, Color = Dark Chocolate
- The first thing I noticed was that this tastes really bitter for a porter. The second thing I noticed was that it lacks a bit of mouthfeel thickness for 10.5%. It’s boozy, carbonated, and would probably be better if barrel-aged. Pumpkin on the finish. Peach only when burping!
- Overall Rating: 3.5 pints
- Style: Milk Stout
- Geekery: 6.2% ABV, 18 IBUs, Color = Dark Coffee
- Very stouty. A bit CAMRA-y. Smooth, creamy, and with the characteristic chalky taste of English hops. This beer is straightforward, clean, and balanced. Russell’s favorite.
- Overall Rating: 4.2 pints
- Style: Dry-Hopped Amber
- Geekery: 6.8% ABV, 61 IBUs, Color = Amber (duh!)
- This is a tasty beer, but mega-malty. It has a persistent, bitter finish on the sides of the tongue. I have to include Russell’s remarks, which started, “This beer tastes like eating insects.” Pause for laughter. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing!” He thought for a bit, and said, “Termites, like in the Amazon.”
- Overall Rating: 3.8 pints
We didn’t sample, but there was a fajitas and hot dogs food truck outside.
Russell’s One-Line Review
“Good effort. I do not balk at the Nighthawk.”