Last night I had the opportunity to head over to the brand new Pikes Peak Brewing for a homebrewers meeting held by the Brew Bros. Pikes Peak is in their soft-opening phase but on Saturday, June 25th they will host their grand opening. I had visited the brewery before, before it was a brewery, before there was any equipment at all and the grain mill was laying on it’s side, just before any of the installation took place. What did I think of it this time though? Well, for starters the place has transformed completely. How about the beer though? Well, read on…
|Fantastic looking tap handles|
Before I tell you about the beer I’ll tell you about the tasting room space itself. I walked in and felt immediately that I was in a warm and cozy atmosphere. The bow-truss ceiling remains visible, there is now a fireplace, a long bar, a number of short top and tall top tables, as well as some couch seating near the fireplace. There is plenty of natural light and there’s a long window across the bar that gives us a look into the brewery. As we saw in the previous post the wooden tap handles were made out of beetle-kill pine. That pine remains a fixture everywhere you look in the room and it gives it a very homey feel. So yeah, Pikes Peak has created a really nice feeling place, somewhere in between a cozy pub and the newer more popular tall open space lounge pubs. I’ve always preferred the former, rarely get it in new
breweries, so this was a major plus to me.
I didn’t have Dan the photographer with me so you’ll have to deal with my sorry photos. There was original artwork up on the walls. A couple fresh paintings and also a really nice Pikes Peak mosaic. Take a look in the top right corner of that photo, you can see what looks to be a fake house. I thought it was a nice touch, made the place feel more like it was part of a neighborhood. Turns out that’s where the offices are. There’s a patio too, but I was too busy drinking and talking about homebrewing to go outside (actually I just forgot, and I also forgot to take any photos outside…that’s why I need Dan around at all times).
Yes, we are getting closer to the beer now. Look at this! A proper beer info display thing. This was a nice touch. I was surprised to see that there’s already six Pikes Peak beers, I was expecting to see three or so beers available at this point. On another chalkboard we saw some offerings from locals Trinity, Rocky Mountain, Bristol, and Beirwerks. Being that it’s my first time in the place and there were six house beers available, I opted for the sample tray. The tray, hand crafted by the bartender named “B” is a beautiful chunk of beetle kill pine. It felt really good to hold, possibly my favorite sample tray in terms of tactile-ness. The four on the left side of the tray were my favorites: Summit House Stout, Rocky Wheat, Gold Rush Belgian Blonde, and the British Mild.
The Summit House Stout had a coffee and roast aroma, tasted sweet, of coffee, roast, and a really nice long lasting bitterness. I checked into it and it turns out the Stout actually has the highest IBU’s out of any of the beers here. The Rocky Wheat had a heavy banana-clove aroma that definitely sided on clove. The beer was light, crisp, refreshing, finished somewhat dry and looked fantastic. The Gold Rush actually smelled a lot like the Wheat but maybe with some extra citrus notes. The beer however was milder, sweet and clean with lots of citrus notes from the yeast, especially lemon, with some breaded malt background. The British Mild was my favorite of all. I was not expecting this beer, somewhere between a mild and a brown, to be so rich. The malt is a reasonably complex mix, flavors of coffee, toffee, nuttiness, toast, caramel, all bouncing around my tongue much more than most other brown ales. The beer was not as thin as I imagined either, I would say it was just under a medium body, but not thin. This beer was fantastic and I wonder if we could see Pikes Peak doing some variations on this that drop it down to 4.5% or below because I’d like to drink a few of these.
The beers I thought could use improvement were the Devils Head Red and the America the Pale. The Red was just too sweet for me. I didn’t really get a whole lot of hop flavor or bitterness. The beer was supposed to be a hoppy red but I think that because it sat at 7.9% ABV and only had 39 IBU’s I couldn’t really pick up on that. On to the Pale Ale. I always look forward to a Pale Ale, it’s one of my favorite styles to drink multiple pints of. This one felt really really heavy. The nose had some good hops to it and I could taste the honey from the Centennial hops, and the beer definitely had some bitterness to it, but man it felt big, more like an IPA. Well, the ABV is actually at 7.3% and the IBU’s are only at 30 so it actually sits at the bitterness of a pale but with the strength of something even slightly beyond an IPA. I would up the bitterness and flavor hops a bit if it’s going to stay at 7.3%. No worries though, these are mild issues that will be worked out. And to be honest other people told me the Pale was their favorite…so what do I know?
I noticed Ed Sealover at Run Beer Run visited the place and gave a review as well. He says the beers are stereotype-busting beers. If I understand what he means he’s saying the beers have a whole lot of flavor for their particular styles. I would agree, the beers are all full of flavor, none seem to be lacking a great handling of malts. But well made beer in almost any style should be tasty. Some of the beers I tried are real winners some need a bit more help but Pikes Peak is definitely on the right track. Pikes Peak is not shooting for insane beers that push the boundaries of brewing, the way Avery does, but what they make is really solidly good. I would like to see some beers that push the hops a little further.
It’s difficult and unfair to give a real review of a place after visiting it once, especially when the place hasn’t even opened yet, I didn’t try any food, I forgot to go to the patio, etc. But what I can say is that I really wish Pikes Peak was in walking distance of my house. It may be hard to visit the tap room all the way up in Monument. I hope that people will steadily attend this place, it’s certainly a friendly enough atmosphere to remind you ‘let’s head out to Pike’s Peak Brewery tonight.’ Really, I would like to see Pikes Peak beers around town in places where Bristol might have the only microbrewery presence. These beers are perfect for chilling with friends, having a couple pints, and talking about the important things in life. These are contemplative beers, full of energy but with a good balance in their restraint. I think everyone can find something they will like. They deserve to be at the local pubs where sitting and chatting is an important fixture. I would love to have their beers over at my regular watering holes because I would be very happy to drink multiple pints. I would definitely order these beers on a regular basis. These beers are what we could call ‘conversational beers.’
Pikes Peak Brewery is located at 1756 Lake Woodmoor Dr, Monument, CO 80132
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