Tuesday, December 04, 2007


My last few posts have been about Colorado beers – I have a few more in me until I’m done. You’re saying, dude, you went all the way to Denver for Thanksgiving, surely you made a stop at the FALLING ROCK TAP HOUSE?? Ah, but that I did, my friends. I told my brother-in-law what a great experience the legendary Blake Street bar would be for us and our two rugrats (“a great place for kids”, I lied), how the food was supposed to be outstanding (“they’ve actually hired several famous soux chefs from France”, I lied), and how he’d definitely find some good light beers on tap (“they’re famous for their light beers”, I lied). You do what you need to, am I right? I’d never been before, but from most accounts it’s one of the top beer bars in the United States, and I guess I’d heartily agree now that I’ve been there. We went the day after Thanksgiving, expected a mob scene, and found that we pretty much had the place to ourselves, along with the big screen TV. I’m a sports guy, but it seems in Denver EVERYTHING is about the sports, particularly football. The Broncos are omnipresent. If I lived here I’d probably feel like I did in my jock-laden high school, which drove me to punk rock and against sports for many years. Even at FALLING ROCK, the TV was just screaming about football.

That aside, I settled in for some Colorado beers at this fine watering hole. I decided to go with two selections from GREAT DIVIDE BREWING, a brewer whose wares don’t make it my way, and who’ve earned some headlines for big, bold beers like YETI and others. I was just so goddamn excited about the selection of local beers (plus dozens from Belgium, Germany and the rest of the USA), that I started swinging wildly. GREAT DIVIDE HERCULES? A Double IPA? Gimme that one! That was a pretty good move, as it turned out. HERCULES is a big, juicy and strong IPA, with heavier malts than you typically see in west coast IPAs. With regard to its actual tastes, well if you had to choose a place on the “pine” vs. “citrus” continuum, I’d go with pine, making this closer in taste to STONE RUINATION and LAGUNITAS KILL UGLY RADIO. I liked it, and whooshed it down the pipes in a hurry 7.5/10.

Given the season, it made sense to move on to GREAT DIVIDE HIBERNATION next, which is the winter/holiday ale from these western warriors. Only problem was, it really didn’t have any hallmarks of a “winter ale’ save for its dark and rich brown/black color – though I’ll grant you there’s no defined style parameters for what we ought to be brewing during the blessed season. HIBERNATION was also very malt-forward, and carried a bit of a bite to it. I’d say that warming feeling I was getting was due to a high ABV – hmm, let’s look it up on the web – ah yes, 8.1%. THAT’S why I was tucked in at 9:30 that night, right? I would call this something like an “imperial brown ale”, with a nice hearty dose of hops. At least that’s what I was spoutin’ about at the time. 7/10.

In short, FALLING ROCK TAP HOUSE is a must for your Denver beer-drinking agenda, along with my brother-in-law’s house and the Colorado Liquor Mart.

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