Signs of spring abound — especially on local liquor store shelves, where a new crop of seasonal releases hits the market.
Great Divide Brewing Co.'s Orabelle, a luscious Belgian-style Tripel, makes its return like the golden beauty she is. Brewed with wheat, oats and rye in the grain bill and fermented with two yeast strains, the beer is coy about its underlying complexity and higher alcohol content. Sweet in the nose with a zip of lemon zest and fruity esters up front, these delicate flavors give way to a peppery spice and bready malts with herbal undertones and a touch of coriander to round out the sip.
Orabelle joins Old Ruffian barleywine and Espresso Oak-aged Yeti Imperial Stout — consistently voted as one of the top beers anywhere — in Great Divide's first-quarter offerings.
Breckenridge Brewery debuts a sweet seductress of its own, Ophelia, a hoppy wheat ale. A healthy addition of Mosaic hops dress up the wheat-beer base with citrus and mango flavors in an overall light, breezy and enjoyable package that will keep you coming back for more.
New Belgium Brewing Co. also rolls out a new spring seasonal this year: Spring Blonde. Inspired by the spring trip to Belgium that workers at the employee-owned company can take when they reach their five-year anniversaries — talk about a great perk — Spring Blonde is a light, Belgian-style ale with crisp, lemony notes up front that give way to a pleasantly bitter middle and a clean finish with just a hint of spice. Overall, it drinks like a sessionable Belgian-style golden ale with some pilsner characteristics.
Odell Brewing had a hit on its hands last spring when it debuted Tree Shaker, an Imperial Peach IPA brewed with more than 3,000 pounds of pureed, Colorado-grown peaches. Part of the brewery's Cellar Series and available in 750-mililiter bottles, Tree Shaker's release will be celebrated in the tap room this weekend and roll out the beer to its 11-state distribution area beginning next week.
Last year's version managed an intriguing interplay of peach and grapefruit flavors mingled with earthy hops and toffee-like malts, with neither component overshadowing the others. DRAFT magazine named Tree Shaker one of its "Top 25 Beers of 2013," and there's reason to believe that Odell will hit the same mark with this year's version.
Meet up with Barley's Angels
The Colorado chapter of Barley's Angels — an international organization for women to come together to enjoy and learn about craft beer through events, tastings and presentations — started strong in January. The group looks to expand its presence in Colorado with two upcoming events this month.
Barley's Angels will host a sour-beer-and-cheese tasting beginning at 7 p.m. Monday at Crooked Stave in Denver ($20), as well as a food-and-beer pairing event at Louisville's Crystal Springs Brewing Co., 7-9 p.m. Wednesday ($17). The Louisville event features a guided sampling along with Crystal Springs' brewers, including a taste of the brewery's award-winning Black Saddle Imperial Russian Stout, and a brewery tour. Visit barleysangels.org/blog/tag/Colorado for information on these and upcoming Barley's Angels Colorado chapter events.
Contact Tom Wilmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.