If You Haven't Been to Phantom Canyon Lately...

At the Anniversary Party we had a raffle and a bunch of prizes to give away, including a couple Phantom Canyon Brewing t-shirts. When I announced the next prize was from Phantom Canyon someone in the audience yelled "Phantom Canyon!?" in what seemed a total disbelief that we would include them in the party. I almost yelled at the person (I didn't see who it was luckily). I've heard a lot of Colorado Springs folks say that they don't like Phantom Canyon and that their beer is terrible and then I find out that they haven't been back for a few years. Well, guess what folks...things have changed there...and it's time to go back.

Alan Stiles at Phantom Canyon

I asked Alan Stiles, the now-two-year-brewer at PC, what he thought of that incident (he was there when it happened) and he said it happens all the time. PC had a bad reputation when he started working there, and he has struggled to regain the brewery's credibility even though he really is pumping out some good beers. A while back we did a blind tasting of the 2010 Barleywine and our judges thought it was a phenomenal beer. We also covered PC when Alan made the controversial but ultimately good decision to take the IPA off cask and put it on tap. Now they have a rotating cask and a really tasty West Coast style IPA that has taken off in sales since it's removal from cask. At the Firkin Festival early this year, we gave Phantom the best beer award for the blended King Mixer. Speaking of firkins, I used to say that Alan made the best casks that I've had in the state, but have you had the English IPA cask from PC assistant brewer Mike Dee? He's the new best. Alan also has a series of historical beers that he recreates, beers that have gone out of style and dropped out of the market. I've never had one of those that wasn't good. Occasionally I have a beer that I don't like but in general they've really done a great job. They aren't making insane 15+ percent beers like Avery that are thick and syrupy, they generally seem to be making beers that are sippers, that you drink a few of and that take a subtler approach.

The last thing I wanted to point out was that at the Anniversary Party (which was super fun by the way!) I invited people to try PC's beer, the Methuselah Rookie Card, a Flanders Red that's been aging for 2 years, and it sold out before 9pm because people couldn't get enough of it. With other beers like The Abyss or Firestone Walker's 15th on tap, at near similar prices, you don't sell out of a beer that quickly unless it's good. Now may be a good time visit Phantom too, they should be tapping today or very soon a 9.3% Belgian Dubbel called Sept-Fons with figs, raisins, plums, housemade invert sugar and carmelized honey and blended yeasts from Chimay, Westmalle, and Achouffe...So, if you haven't given Phantom Canyon a shot recently, you should let go of your grudge and try them again.

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BeerEric Steen