We visited a rather unique brewery in Boulder over the weekend. This is the only completely organic brewery in Colorado. After some looking, there are a few other breweries in the United States that are looking for the organic distinction but not too many. We had visited Asher about 9 months after they had opened. They just celebrated 3 years so we thought another visit was in order now that our beer palates were a little different.
When we walked into the brewery, we were surprised to see an empty tap room. It isn’t often that you walk into a brewery on a Saturday afternoon and you have the bartender all to yourself. Sadly, we were poured our 6 tasters (which cost $12) and left to our own devices. Thankfully, Kristen did provide us with a tasting guide for me to write my notes on.
The first three beers that we tasted were the Green Bullet IPA, the Tree Hugger Amber, and the Green Lantern Kolsch. What struck me was that all three of these beers had the same striking bitter notes throughout. There wasn’t a real balance in flavor, no malt or fruit to balance out the strong bitter notes. The second time through, the bitter notes were less noticeable but still there.
The surprises came on the second set of three. These beers are what I would consider “big beers”. These beers were the Greenade Double IPA, the Green Monstah Strong Ale, and the Oatmeal Stout. These beers had balance and flavor. The Greenade had a great hint of citrus on the nose and in the taste. The Strong Ale was still bitter but there was malt to balance out those notes. Finally, the seasonal Oatmeal Stout was more of a traditional flavor. Great chocolate malts and and even flavor. It wasn’t as full as I expected but that means that you can have two and not feel so full!
I took a quick tour with Kristen. She let me know that the most popular beer on tap in the Tree Hugger Amber. Her favorites were the Double IPA and the seasonal Oatmeal Stout. I also found out that the brew system is a 15 barrel brewhouse with a few large fermenters and bright tanks. In the last year, they did 700 barrels, which is almost twice what they did the year before. According the website, their beer is available locally at many restaurants as well as their tap house.
While I really love the idea of filling a niche that no one else has filled yet in Colorado, I don’t know if the entirely organic concept is something that most brewers are worrying about. The price of the beers and the lack of people in the tap room let me know that while Organic may be cool, it may not be necessary. If I hear about a good beer (like the Double IPA), it might be worth a visit, but I don’t know if I can make Asher Brewing a regular stop on a weekend of enjoyable Front Range Beer.
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