Beer In Situ: Big Beaver Brewing Company

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 Loveland to visit a brewery with a way with words (innuendos ahead!). 

The Pertinents

  • Big Beaver brewing Company
  • 2707 W. Eisenhower Blvd. Unit 9 Loveland, CO 80537
  • Opened October 2010

Their Self-Description

“Let’s build a sustainable, community supported brewery that makes great beer! This can only be achieved with the support of regular customers that purchase beer in reusable containers directly from the brewery. 

We have been overwhelmed with demand since we opened in October 2010.  The little tasting room expanded two times, brewing system has expanded four times, and the walk-in cooler space has expanded three fold.  At this point, we cannot expand any farther in this space.  

We want to thank all our regulars and the tourists that stop in and support this crazy old concept: consume locally brewed beer in reusable glass (are you freaking nuts?!). 

We look forward to meeting you and sharing some laughs!                                                            

                          Sincerely, Peter Villeneuve

PS: Remember to give the finger to mass produced beer!” –

Lovely Art
Lovely Art

The Space

The brewery is infused with a very healthy sense of humour. The beer section itself is at the back of the space. At the front is Blown Spoke Cider Company, which serves a surprising amount of fruit-based alcoholic treats. There is no mixing of beer and cider drinking, however. Big signs proclaiming “NO BEER BEYOND THIS POINT” and “NO CIDER BEYOND THIS POINT” keep the possibility of cross-contamination at bay. It’s a fair point, since an infection could ruin the beer (or cider). But it is important to keep in mind if you bring a gluten-free buddy, since you’d have to converse across a small hallway.

The space is simple and clean, featuring big cartoons of phallic symbols and a massive Big Beaver logo on the wall. There’s a very large TV for sporting events, and lovely, handmade blue pine accents. The brewery is in the back, where garage doors open to the outdoors, weather permitting. Knowledgeable female staff were working behind the bar on the day we visited.

Squirrel With Hammer. The Best.
Squirrel With Hammer. The Best.

The brewery is clearly engaged in the local community, with Free Beer Fridays (free pints until the keg kicks) and weiner dog races for charity. The crowd is a little bit more mature than at some craft breweries, but everyone is friendly and happy to see new faces amongst the regulars.

Bonus: They sell branded thongs! Yes! Butt Thongs!

(They also sell a wide variety of awesome tees and hats with mildly offensive phrases on them.)

The names would be embarrassing if your dad brought them up in conversation
The names would be embarrassing if your dad brought them up in conversation

The Beers

Big Beaver has a wide selection of beers on hand at any given time. There is a focus on Belgian-inspired styles with some interesting innovations in between. Some lacked a little bit of carbonation, and overall the beers tasted like the best kind of home-brew. Unpretentious, tasty, and simple, these beers come in a little smaller and more sessionable than some of the other craft beer offerings in Colorado (under 8% ABV). The flights are ample and come at the lowest price around, with 8 pours of ~4 oz. $6.50 for one of them, $8 for the other.

My measure of a brewery is the taste of an attempted sour beer. One of the two breweries in my hometown (which shall go un-named…but NOT Gravity Brewing) consistently tries to pass off not-sour beers as traditional sour styles like Berlinerweisse. IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. At Big Beaver, we ordered two of the flights and made sure to order the Belgian sour and the Gold Strong Ale. The Sour Brown Ale was passable and reminded us of sour candies, but not quite carbonated enough. I’m sure that it will get better in the next batch, and at least it wasn’t an imposter.

Tasting Flight
Tasting Flight

Tasting Notes

We ordered the Beaver Teaser and the Bush Whacker flights. Warning: NSFW innuendo ahead. Only selected beers are reviewed for brevity’s sake. Apparently the Big Beaver website is under construction, so some of the geekery is unavailable.

Shaved Tail Ale 

  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • Geekery: 5.6% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Thick Dark Caramel
  • So. Many. Phenols. This is a funky and slightly cheesy beer (in a good way!). The Belgian yeast is on display here, and it gives a raw and army taste that lingers long after the finish. It would complement goat cheese perfectly. The aftertaste is the subtlest assertion of aniseed. I don’t like aniseed, and yet I like it in this beer.
  • Overall Rating: 4.2 pints (out of five pints)

Potent Peter  

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Geekery: 6.5% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Light and Yellow
  • It smells like an American IPA, and tastes like a British one. Flowery nose, earthy and woody tones on the taste. But is it an IPA in the American style? 6.5% ABV is a little low, and the bitterness is not assertive enough for me. A really balanced, tasty American Pale Ale, I think.
  • Overall Rating: 4.0 pints
Attempt at Big Beaver Face
Attempt at Big Beaver Face

Sassy Lassy 

  • Style: Irish Red Ale
  • Geekery: ???% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Red (duh)
  • Smells nice. Tasty. Just what I want in an imperial pint (20 oz.). Big Beaver serves many of their beers in the dimpled jugs that English cask ales thrive in, so this is perfect. The beer is not hoppy, and it actually really works. Tastes of the characteristic British biscuit (cookie) flavour I associate with red ales, especially since I have ye tot find my replacement for the 5 AM red ale from Brewdog.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 pints

Milk Porter 

  • Style: Milk Porter
  • Geekery: ??% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Strong Tea
  • C’mon guys, no innuendo? I can think of a few things that could sound off-colour and have to do with milk. This is my favourite of the beers we tried. Dark chocolate truffles that are laced with booze on the initial taste, blending into an unplaceable taste that is nonetheless nostalgic.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 pints
Better attempt.
Better attempt.

Golden Strong Ale 

  • Style: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
  • Geekery: ???% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Golden
  • Caramelly goodness everywhere. Everywhere. It’s like a toffee beer, but with a bitter balance and a delicious, strong taste. There might be the tiniest bit of a green apple taste (not always desired in beers, but somehow it works here).
  • Overall Rating: 4.0 pints

Big Woody  

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Geekery: ????% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Weak Tea
  • There is a strange, oregano taste on the initial sip. The characteristic cutting hops of American IPAs are almost totally absent. No hop laser beams like in Stone IPAs. No persistent bitterness. This is an Old World IPA, complete with the taste of earthy English hops. Slightly tannic tea aftertaste.
  • Overall Rating: 3.8 pints
Beer education materials.
Beer education materials.

Burning Bush 

  • Style: Chili Pale Ale
  • Geekery: ???% ABV, ?? IBUs, Colour = Menacingly Reddish
  • Is this beer? This experimental, boundary-pushing ale is full of tomato puree and is much spicier than any chili beer I’ve tasted. In all honesty, it tastes of King’s Cup in college. Heavy tomato taste and a certain saltiness mean that this beer would make a lethal bloody mary base.
  • Russell: “Is it supposed to taste like gonorrhoea?”
  • Overall Rating: 3.0 pints

The Munchies

The brewery offers a brat with all the fixings, or some bags of crisps. Not a huge selection, but it sure looked good.

Thoughtfully considering his puns.
Thinking of beavers….

Russell’s One-Line Review

“Dam good place!”  

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