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 drove up to Golden, Colorado to see a brewery that I’ve passed many times and never tasted.
- Cannonball Creek Brewing Company
- 393 Washington Ave, Golden, Colorado, USA
- Founded in January 2013
“Cannonball Creek Brewing Company was founded in January of 2013 by Jason Stengl and Brian Hutchinson. Jason and Brian met in 2004 at the Mountain Sun family of breweries in Boulder, Colorado were they both learned to hone the craft they love. With over 15 years of combined professional brewing experience and an uncanny ability to tolerate one another, they decided it was time to take a leap and chase the dream of opening their own brewery.
With both Jason and Brian calling Golden, Colorado home, the choice for a location was obvious. After settling on a property on the north side of town, they wanted the brewery name to reflect the home town they loved. After doing some research they learned that the original name for the majestic Clear Creek that runs through the center of Golden was Cannonball Creek. The historical significance paired with the duo’s love for the iconic Cannonball made the decision a no-brainer and Cannonball Creek Brewing Company was born.” –cannonballcreekbrewing.com
It’s a big space, with a lot of windows out onto the road that passes on its way into the mountains. The hills are in view from practically anywhere that you could sit, and the space has an open and airy feel to it. The bar itself is long and wraps around from the side where the brew kit sits. Kids are very welcome, and many young families were wandering around enjoying St. Patrick’s Day.
There is an outdoor seating area with even better views.
The interior of the brewery is simple. I don’t believe that it was meant to be the focus, which is a good thing. Occasionally microbreweries get too ambitious with their decorations and it distracts from the actual beer. Cannonball Creek definitely doesn’t have this issue. The brewery grew out of the Mountain Sun brewery in Boulder, which has a huge amount of slightly garish but thoroughly endearing hippie decor…I’m sure that the aesthetic is part of Cannonball Creek differentiating itself from its roots.
We tried everything that was on draft that day, for a total of eight beers. They made a pretty picture on the tray, and the variety of colours was particularly pleasing. Almost all the beers are in the 6-8% ABV range, which means that they pack a bit more of a punch than some beers. In tasting all of them, I noticed that there was a certain booziness for some styles that wasn’t perfectly balanced. I like strong beers with lots of taste, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a 5% hoppy red ale from time to time.
The beers are tasty, but no one beer stood out for me as superior. We missed out on their award-winning black IPA, which made me very sad. The hoppy beers on offer would have really benefitted from some roasted malts to balanced out the mega-piney tastes. I hope to find the black IPA to sample before I have to leave for China.
A selection of the beers, lest this get too long.
- Style: Belgian Golden
- Geekery: 7.4% ABV, unknown IBUs, SRM = light for a golden ale
- Basically, this is Super-Leffe. Unmistakably golden, highly carbonated, and almost overly Belgian-y. Spicy notes from the yeast and residual sweetness make the beer border on Tripel territory, but it mostly tastes like a souped-up version of that tasty Belgian beer.
- Overall Rating: 4.0 pints (out of five pints)
- Style: American Pale Ale
- Geekery: 5.0% ABV, unknown IBUs, SRM = Caramel
- Mega grapefruit on this one. Almost too much. For a pale ale, this has almost Stone Brewing levels of bitterness and persistent taste. The hops are verrrrry forward, with a tiny hint of leafy/woodsy tastes at the end. Not the most balanced beer I’ve ever had.
- Overall Rating: 3.5 pints
- Style: India Pale Ale
- Geekery: 7.5% ABV, unknown IBUs, SRM = Falls in the same range as the Featherweight, Single-Hop Nelson, and Solid Gold
- For an IPA, this has remarkably little body. It’s deceptively strong and highly fruity, with strong flavours of lemon, orange, lychee, and pomelo. As it blends to the finishing taste, it begins to taste a little bit of flowery essential oils. This beer would be awesome in black IPA form.
- Overall Rating: 3.5 pints
Single Hop Nelson
- Style: Single-Hop IPA
- Geekery: 6.6% ABV, unknown IBUs, SRM = Oddly similar to that of the other beers mentioned above
- Basil and thyme in the aromas, and none of what I think as the characteristic Nelson Sauvin tastes. Light and thin on the mouthfeel, but well-carbonated and easily drinkable. It grew on me as I drank the sample, but the herby notes were a little too aggressive.
- Overall Rating: 4.0 pints
Food trucks park outside and offer light snacks or larger meals. The area that the brewery is in doesn’t have a huge selection of restaurants, but the burgers looked tasty!
Russell’s One-Line Review
“Not bad. A little creeky.”