#SippyTimeBeer Review – @BristolBrewing Helps Me Celebrate #ACBW

From hoperatives.com

From hoperatives.com

I had forgotten that is was going to be American Craft Beer Week. In a stroke of scheduling luck, my lady decided to fly me out to Colorado to meet up with her and her sister & son. The Great American Beer Festival is held in Denver for a reason. There are a lot of craft brewers here in Colorado. So many that started so long ago, I had a hard time finding beers that haven’t tried or at least can’t acquire in Ohio. But just like Columbus, more are popping up seemingly by the minute. I had enough to choose from including our first stop for lunch in Colorado Springs, Bristol Brewing Company.

Since we were only going there for lunch and to continue on our sight seeing, I ordered myself a flight of beers to get a feel for their beers. They have 19 styles of beers but the flight came with seven, the five basics and two of their seasonal offerings. I usually don’t expect more than six which was nice. Even better, they gave me a 5-6 oz. sample as opposed to the normal 3 oz. sample. Here’s what I drank:

Bristol BrewingYellow Kite Summer Pils – Because I have soured on the taste of the pilsner, this beer was the first one I tried. I was pleasantly surprised by this one though because of the hops in it. They use Czech & German hops that don’t have as much of a bitter punch as some of the other hops. They did give it an IBU rating of 25. Since the hops weren’t as bitter, it added a nice under tone of flavor to the pilsner malt. The beer has a 5.25% ABV so it’s a nice beer that could be enjoyed at length. This beverage lives up to it’s name too so it is quite yellow in color.

Bristol BrewingBeehive Honey Wheat – Ever since going to North High Brewing, I have been conscience about going from least to most bitter. This beer seemed like the next logical step in the progression. After looking at their website though, I started off incorrectly. This beer clocks in at a very low 12 IBUs. I am therefore glad that they didn’t go overboard with the honey because there isn’t much bitter to offset it.  The honey did provide a sweet touch to the proceedings since wheat beers are more crisp and less in your taste buds than most beers. At 4.06% ABV, this would be an ideal Sippy Time Beer. I liked this one more than the Pils by a little bit.

Bristol BrewingCompass IPA – I’m just going to say that our waitress wasn’t the best at her job. She did a poor job of informing of which beer was which so instead of moving on to the Mass Transit Ale, I went to the Compass IPA. Though it was a relatively low IBU of an IPA at 55, it still was a stark contrast to the previous two beers. I’m not sure if that is why I didn’t like this beer or I just didn’t like the combination of hops they used. I’m familiar with Columbus, Chinook & Casade hops but they weren’t in harmony on my tongue. This beer has an ABV of 6.5% so that’s relatively low for an IPA too.

Bristol BrewingRed Rocket Pale Ale – Next down the hatch was the pale ale which at that point was my favorite choice. They put in just enough malt to balance out the Perle, Willamette, Casacade and Palisade hops. Bristol dry hops with more Casade hops to give it some extra aroma which hit my nose only because I took Claritin that day. Even though I listed four types of hops, this beer only had an IBU of 28. Red Rocket also comes in at 5.25% ABV so it’s another low dose beer.

Bristol BrewingLaughing Lab Scottish Ale – When I sat down at the bar, the menu noted that this beer had won four silver and three bronze medals in the Scottish category at the Great American Beer Festival along with similar accolades at other large events. It’s also dawning on me that I may be switching my favorite beer type from Amber to Scottish. They are fantastically malty with a consistency that I have found lacking recently in ambers. I could have drank this one earlier in the session considering it’s 19 IBUs would rank it the second lowest in the group. I held off because of the accolades and my like for the type.  It doesn’t become a favorite style after trying something once. It has an ABV of 5.0% so it can be a Sippy Time Beer.

Bristol BrewingMass Transit Ale – Before trying this beer, it had dawned on me that I had mixed up this beer with the Compass IPA. So at least I had figured out that this one was going to be an amber ale. It wasn’t as malty as the Scottish Ale, which makes sense because there’s no reason to create two very similar beers. They bumped up the IBUs to 21 and the ABV 5.1%. The difference in hops is not noticeable as is the ABV. They do love hovering in the session beer territory. This one was in the top half of beers I tried.

Bristol BrewingWinter Warlock – I saved this one for last knowing that Winter beers have a pretty strong taste even if the IBUs aren’t always very high. Granted, I was a little confused that this was still a seasonal beer choice. It fit because the temperatures were in the high thirties the day we went but the middle of May doesn’t ever strike me as “winter.” The beer doesn’t strike me as a winter beer either because there was no cinnamon, nutmeg or coriander. It was a straight up oatmeal stout, which is also un-winter like. Porters, ambers and other similar beers abound during that time but not stouts. None of this un-winter like stuff gave me a problem with the tasting though. It’s a very good oatmeal stout. It’s the second highest in ABV at 6.0% so maybe you can still make it a Merry Christmas.

If you happen to head to Colorado Springs, Bristol Brewing is definitely a good stop. They’re in an old school which houses them and several local vendors who make some fantastic food. We munched on some cheese curds and freshly baked “everything” bread, which wasn’t the everything from a bagel.  As usual, go enjoy a #SippyTimeBeer this weekend, no matter where you happen to be! – Kevin

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