Not only is Boulder Colorado the Hebden Bridge of the USA (I'm told it's "where all the hippies went"), but it also has a really impressive amount of craft beer. Following a tip-off (thanks Bob), tonight I went to sample a few IPAs in the Mountain Sun pub. For the education of no-one except myself, here are my tasting notes - first in visual form:
then in words:
- Illusion Dweller IPA: described as "biscuity" and "english-style" but still with a hoppy sour tang at the back of the mouth, very clear and nice. Tastes like a modern American IPA to me, doesn't remind me of England - but a great balance of tang and biscuit, super drinkable.
- Vagabond IPA: almost a pure grapefruit hit, reminds me of that Metal Man which I loved in Ireland.
- FYIPA: "piney" is the main impression. However it's not got the sharp piney poke of Becherovka which I really like. Maybe it's unfair to compare a beer against a spirit, but Becherovka integrates its alcohol flavour in with the pine, whereas FYIPA has a kinda noticeable alcohol taste separate from the pine, which is a bit of a shame IMHO.
- Hop Vivant: yes it's a hoppy IPA, but more balanced, multivalent, colourful than the others I'm tasting tonight. Not a session beer, a bit too rich for that.
- Cat Burglar: black IPAs are really confusing. Erm. I like it less than the Thornbridge Raven, but I don't know why.
Not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, these are all lovely beers, very well served, but when they're sitting next to each other I have to compare them. Hence the ups and downs in the notes. The winner for me is definitely the Illusion Dweller. The ratings over at ratebeer tell almost the opposite story for some reason, with Illusion Dweller the only one not scoring ninety-something. Who knows what to make of that.
Updates - more beer I've tried from Mountain Sun:
- Java Porter - a lovely perky porter, coffee flavours as the name suggests but not too exaggerated.
More beer from other breweries:
- 90 Shilling by Odell - I was not into this at all. Too caramely I think?
- Old Elk Brown Ale by Walnut Brewery - really really straightforward brown ale. Not too sweet which is good.
- 1123 IPA by Walnut Brewery - really very nice IPA, perky and floral, assertive yet balanced.
- Hoppy Knight by Twisted Pine - this black IPA is much nicer than the Cat Burglar, IMHO. It does remind me of Thornbridge Raven, both of them having a kind of clarity to the taste that other dark things like Guinness have (though they don't taste like Guinness! much hoppier etc etc etc). This has a very refreshing taste up-front, with a clearly-separated coffee flavour at the end - neat! And not weird either.
My faves, I think, are 1123, Hoppy Knight, Illusion Dweller.