Draft Notes

One beer at a time…

Archive for the category “Colorado”

Odell Brewing Company Isolation Ale

This week I continue my look at winter seasonals with that of one of my favorite breweries, Odell Brewing Company. Odell’s winter seasonal, Isolation Ale, is more in line with your traditional winter warmer than last week’s Snow Blind, yet far from a cookie cutter. A theme I have hammered in past posts is my affection for tasty session beers. Isolation Ale is as close to a session beer as a winter warmer gets with its 6% ABV and 29 IBUs.Odell and Glass

Odell Brewing Company is located in Fort Collins, Colorado and was opened in 1989 (2nd oldest microbrewery in CO). Unfortunately for us in Virginia and the rest of the east coast, their distribution is limited to about a dozen states (primarily in the Midwest) and the UK. Being one of my favorite breweries, the distribution is a bit problematic so I have to resort to online orders. Ugh.

Unlike most of my reviews, I have actually consumed Isolation Ale and I will tell you up front that I am a big fan. Here are my notes…

Appearance is deep reddish-brown with fluffy off white head which recedes leaving a heavy lacing on my glass.

Aromas are fairly mild, I pick up caramel, malt, and toast.

Caramel sweet, malty flavors come through up front with a crisp and bitter hop bite to close it out. Bitterer than I would expect at 29 IBUs, regardless the balance is perfect.

Mouth feel: medium carbonation, medium density, dry.Odell Label

Overall, I love this beer. It is not the over spiced heavy ale you think of in the winter warmer style. I believe this would be just fine as malt forward ale year round due to its drinkability. I have also seen it categorized as an English Strong Ale, which I find more accurate. If you enjoy ambers, alt biers, English ales or awesome beer, you should try Isolation Ale before the shelves empty of this winter brew.

Learn more about Odell at: http://odellbrewing.com/.


Tommyknocker Brewery Maple Nut Brown

A few months back I received a gift of a Beer of the Month Club membership. I honestly have not had much to speak about from my deliveries; however, this week I received a beer which peaked my interest from Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, Colorado. I am going to take a look at their Maple Nut Brown. Not a rare beer find or anything, as they distribute to over half the country and I have actually seen this beer at my local store. I have only had one beer with maple in it and that was Rogue’s Maple Bacon which was in my opinion a bit of a disaster. I have to think I can find better uses of maple out there.Tommy glass 2

My first question about this brewery is: Why the name Tommyknocker? Well, the brewery is located in a small Colorado mining town and Tommy Knockers are mythical creatures which live under ground in the mines. These creatures apparently are known to notify miners when a collapse is looming by making knocking sounds with rocks. Furthermore, they are usually the first suspect when I miner lost tools or were broken.

Couple of other quick facts about old Tommyknocker Brewery. The brewpub was founded in 1994, the town is at an elevation of 7500 feet, and they also make four types of soda. Wow!Tommyknock label
Maple Nut Brown is brewed with Perle and Willamette hops alongside 2-row, Munich, Crystal (75&150), Carapils, and Chocolate malts. As mentioned above and in the name, there is dash of maple syrup in the mix. The ABV is 4.5% and IBU level clocks in at 20. Let’s drink.

I am pouring a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug as suggested by the beer club. The recommended serving temperature is 47-52 °F, so I let the bottle sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes to let it warm up a little.

Appearance is Amber Brown with a small amount of white head receding almost immediately.

Aromas are dessert worthy with roasted and nutty notes along with a dash of brown sugar mixed in.

Tastes I pick up immediately are caramel, nutty, and vanilla, followed by a zing of maple syrup in the finish.

Mouth feel is a medium body and minimal carbonation. Not as thick or syrupy as I expected. I think when maple syrup comes to mind, those are the qualities I am expecting and thankfully that is not the case. Quite smooth really.

Tommy glass n capOverall I am pleasantly surprised with this beer. It is very easy drinking with most of the traditional nut-brown flavors and a nice subtle twist of maple. I feel like it could be better by adding a little more toasted flavor and carbonation (a bit flat for my liking). I will rate Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown 3.75 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.

For more information on Tommyknocker Brewery, check them out here: http://www.tommyknocker.com/

Want to know more about Tommyknockers? Check out the American
Folklores website

Breckenridge Brewery 471 Small Batch Double IPA

This week I wanted to take a look at another Imperial IPA, this time by Breckenridge Brewery out of Breckenridge, Colorado. I would like to see how this one measures up to one of my all-time favorite beers, Deviant Dale’s, which is also from the Rocky Mountain state. The brewery was founded in 1990 by a self-proclaimed ski bum home brewer just off the popular slopes of Breckenridge. A couple of years later as the brewery grew; they expanded with an additional facility in Denver. Today they distribute to 32 states, so most of you should be able to find a Breckenridge Brewery beer at your local beer oasis. I primarily see the Avalanche Amber and Lucky U IPA, but in Virginia/DC I am also able to get some of their Seasonal and the Small Batch series. The Imperial/Double IPA I will be reviewing today is the 471 Small Batch. This beer combines Munich, Pale, Carapils, Caramel-30, and Torrified Wheat malts along-side of Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Fuggle hops. The ABV is 9.2% and IBU measures in a 70, so I am expecting a nice hop punch out of this one and curious to see how well they balance all those malts with the hops.

This beer’s appearance is a deep copper with a creamy white head leaving moderate amounts of lacing on the glass. The aromas include apricots, citrus, pine, and an earthy/grassy scent. All very nice as is expected with most IPAs (at least in my opinion), especially the doubles. The tastes I find are citrusy hops, grapefruit, and pine. Additionally, there definitely is a little sweetness to be found, followed by a bitter finish. Not as hoppy as expected, but it is very well balanced with the hops and malts coming together quite well. There really is minimal alcohol taste for a 9.2% ABV which is a result of this nice balance. The mouth feel is fairly light with medium carbonation. Overall, I would say this is another very solid DIPA and one that I would recommend you try if you can get your hands on it. I can’t say it quite meets Deviant Dale’s (Oskar Blues) level, but give it a shot as you will not be disappointed. I will rate Breckenridge Brewery’s 471 Small Batch Double IPA 4 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale.

Learn more about Breckenridge Brewery at: http://www.breckbrew.com/.

Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA

Oskar Blues started brewing beer in the basement of their restaurant in Lyons, Colorado in 1998 and became the first craft brewery to can their beer (Dales Pale Ale) in 2002. I think it is safe to say that the Dale’s can is one of the iconic cans in American craft beer and should be credited with the craft can craze. Fast forward to 2012 and now we have the Deviant Dale’s in the new 16oz can, not to mention Oskar Blues opening a new brewery in North Carolina. Deviant Dale’s is an India Pale Ale weighing in at 8% ABV and 85 IBUs. Four hops are used during the brewing process and a 5th(Columbus) for dry-hopping. This beer was a silver medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011. The Oskar Blues website tells a tale of Dale, the flagship, selling his soul to create the beer that sits before me. I have consumed a number of Dale’s Pale Ale and have also been known to throw back a few of Mama’s Lil Pils, both of which I enjoy very much. I am excited to crack this can and see what Oskar Blues has cooked up.

Deviant Dale’s India Pale Ale

As I pour the beer from the 16oz tall boy into my chalice, the aromas jump out at me before I even start thinking about the appearance. This beer is a cloudy copper/orange with a cream colored head. Now back to the aromas, it is absolutely breath taking (can’t believe I said that, but true).  I smell citrus, passion fruit, and pine. I don’t even need to stuff my face in the glass, but I do anyway to take it in. Excited to taste, I immediately take in the obvious hoppy taste that comes with an IPA. In addition the pine is still there and it actually is fairly sweet beer. There is a balance of hops and malt that I have not tasted in many beers. Definitely an alcohol taste, but very minor considering it is 8% ABV.  Mouth feel is velvet smooth and I mean real smooth. I would say a medium body.  Draft Notes is a young site, but this is by far the best beer I have reviewed to date. I will have to give 4.5 mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale. I gave this high rating due to the amazing aromas and absolute balance of hops, malt and bitterness.  Don’t tell my wife, but I may go to great lengths to name my first born boy Deviant Dale.

This review was done in collaboration with my beer blogging community at Reddit.com.  It is our first community review and we are looking to help promote each-others work, you can read my peers reviews at: http://www.reddit.com/r/beerblogs/comments/yuwbz/rbeerblogs_first_communitywide_review_oskar_blues/

For more information on Oskar Blues Brewery, visit their website at http://www.oskarblues.com/.

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