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. Today’s review is of my hometown brewery, a favourite place for me and my husband when we are in town.
A note: In honour of the Top Gear host who was fired this week, Russell has channeled Jeremy Clarkson to review a few beers. Please direct your inevitable complaints to BBC headquarters.
- Gravity Brewing
- 1150 Pine St, Louisville, CO 80027, United States
- Founded in September 2012
“Are you one of those folks who appreciates the road less traveled? If so, we’ve got a tip for you. Tucked away in a funky corner of Historic Downtown is an only-in-Louisville brewery and tasting room serving up unique craft-brewed beers. Now serving food from Worldwide Vittles!!
Being a touch fanatical about beer and brewing, we could use the rest of this space to bore you with lots of science and detail, but you know what they say, “one pint is worth a thousand words.” So come on in and get the Gravity experience first hand.” – thegravitybrewing.com
It’s a big space for a brewpub, and the brewkit is a part of the room instead of behind some glass barrier. The bar itself is probably one of the longest in Colorado, handmade and shiny in the light. The room has has an unmistakable feeling of Louisville (the hometown I can’t really come home to). It’s unpretentious and normal, with picnic tables, games, and a TV that usually has the science channel playing in the evening.
The bier garden in the back is the perfect place to sit in the summer, and they grow some small hop bines in the sun. Relaxed, approachable, and friendly. The trains that go by add ambiance to the place, especially since that temporarily cuts the beer parlour off from the rest of town. No gimmicks. No pretenses. Gravity shares the bathroom with the local chapter of the American Legion.
This is a craft brewery that endures beyond the current boom in craft beer.
“It’s a bit like your Nan’s house, but you still want to go every Saturday.” – Russell “Clarkson” Knight
The first thing that I notice, especially since this has not been the case for all the breweries that we visited over the past month for the Beer In Situ series, is the strong aromas all the beers have. Even the Hale-Bop lager smells like a lager beer plug-in and I love it. The blackboards behind the bar are all but filled up; the beers have suitably punny names like Coal Kriek and Steve.
There is a serious barrel-aging programme at Gravity, and they’ve stashed the maturing beers under the bar, in corners, and in a special barrel-aging rack built to purpose. This was where I had my first-ever BA beer, and they experiment with different liquor/beer matches I’d never come up with.
The styles are all tricky to make, but there are none of the growing pains that I’ve seen at other breweries of the same age. American-style IPAs, German weizenbocks, Belgian abbey styles, and a huge Russian Imperial Stout that rivals any I’ve had in the world of craft beer. It doesn’t matter if you like beer. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t sure which beer to choose. There isn’t a single one that I wouldn’t recommend.
One of the coolest things about Gravity is that the brewmaster comes from especially strong craft beer stock. Julius grew up with the first craft brewery in Colorado, Boulder Beer, which was co-founded by his father at the dawn of the craft beer age (1979). Despite how homey the Gravity Beer parlour is, the simplicity belies a secret: this brewmaster won more than a dozen medals at the Great American Beer Festival over the years. These beers are seriously good, and I’m not just saying that because Gravity happens to be my favourite brewery.
- Style: Double India Pale Ale
- Geekery: 9.8% ABV, 98 IBUs, Colour = Thick Golden Caramel
- Do those numbers remind you of anything? Yep, the standard acceleration due to gravity toward the centre of the Earth is 9.8 meters per second squared. This big, balanced, almost cutting DIPA is one of my favourite beers on Earth. Massive flavours, including lychee, pine, and cedar. In it’s barrel-aged form, this beer is truly special and takes on a slight buttery character. Thick, satisfying mouthfeel.
- Overall Rating: 5.0 pints (out of five pints)
“A car crash of hops in your mouth.” – Russell “Clarkson” Knight
Rum Barrel-Aged Mendacious
- Style: Barrel-Aged Belgian Golden Strong Ale
- Geekery: 8.0% ABV, 28 IBUs, Colour = Yellow Blonde (like my hair)
- Tastes and smells like a fancy cocktail from the Night Jar cocktail bar in London. I’m not even a huge fan of rum, but this was the perfect barrel-aging choice for this beer. Boozy and slightly less sweet than the non-aged version, this is Belgian-y (characteristic yeast taste) and bitter, but not at all hoppy. Balanced and clean, with a teensy bit of buttery taste that is obviously purposeful and complements the ageing.
- Overall Rating: 4.8 pints
Louisville Belgian Ale
- Style: Belgian Abbey/Dubbel
- Geekery: 6.5% ABV, 25 IBUs, Colour = Chestnut with red undertones
- A huge amount of aroma comes off this beer. It’s soooooooo Belgian. Spicy (cardamom, cloves, nutmeg), with the characteristic dry fruit and raisin flavours of a Dubbel. It tastes like coffee cake, but without the coffee. Better than the most widely-available commercial Dubbel, Westmalle’s abbey ale.
- Overall Rating: 4.7 pints
- Style: India Pale Ale
- Geekery: 7.5% ABV, 65 IBUs, Colour = Regular IPA
- Deceptively session-y for that ABV! Regular is a simple, clean, American-style IPA. A slightly toasty malt backbone gives it support for the clean, not-too-assertive hop profile. I seemed to taste this beer mostly on the centre of my tongue. It’s not overly bitter, and easy to drink.
- Overall Rating: 4.6 pints
“Reliable like a Subaru tuned with nitrous oxide.” -Russell “Clarkson” Knight
- Style: American Barleywine
- Geekery: 11% ABV, 80 IBUs, Colour = Rosy Brown
- I brought this beer to London, to share with my colleagues at Brewdog. The first reaction was, “This is f***ing delicious!” And it is. This is easily one of the best barleywine styles I’ve ever tasted, easily outstripping even big names like Alesmith and Victory breweries. Subtle butterscotch taste, with treacle, Ponderosa pine, sultanas, and bread pudding. Complex and even the slightest smokey middle taste. This could be aged in Islay Scotch barrels and called “Beast of Islay.”
- Overall Rating: 5.0 pints
“I’d let an overzealous Husky dry hump my leg before I let them take this beer off me.” – Russell “Clarkson” Knight
- Style: Russian Imperial Stout
- Geekery: 12.5% ABV, 60 IBUs, Colour = Nuclear Winter Nighttime
- Served in an understandably small pour, this is a serious stout for serious beer drinkers. Like Gravity’s motto says, take the beer seriously and yourself lightly. So much chocolate and coffee taste, balanced with a certain assertive creaminess that I’ve rarely found in this style. It’s dense and heavy, but not boozy (if you can believe it!). A celebration beer.
- Overall Rating: 5.0 pints
“Rasputin himself could not compete with the allure of this beer.” – Russell “Clarkson” Knight
The Gravity beer parlour has an attached kitchen, which has housed Worldwide Vittles for some time now. The food is awesome pub fare, from Big Ass Nachos to jalepeno poppers. Our favourite are the breaded chicken fingers, which are more than enough to share (get the buffalo sauce!).
The family that runs the food operation for Gravity is welcoming and friendly. They work very hard to provide great service and ever greater food. This week they had a special, a flaming cheese board! Looks delicious!
Russell’s One-Line Review
“9.8 out of 10! And on that bombshell…drink here!!!”