Living in a major metropolis like Denver obviously has its perks. From fantastic food options to endless entertainment choices virtually every night of the week, not to mention the beautiful views and easy access to the mountains, there’s a whole lot to love about living in the Mile High City. Still, if there is one thing that Denver is continuing to become more and more famous for, it’s the city’s vast number of fantastic microbreweries.
In fact, you’re usually never very far away from some outstanding microbrews, no matter whether you’re in LoDo, Cherry Creek, Five Points, Highlands or even East Colfax. IPAs, bocks, wheat beers, porters and a huge range of other microbrew choices are in abundance all across Colorado’s capital city. Nonetheless, there are a few things you need to know if you truly want to get the most out of your Denver microbrew experience. In light of this, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you sample your way across the city’s many microbreweries.
Learn the Differences and Follow Your Tastes
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There’s nothing worse than ordering a beer and then only being able to stand taking a few sips before being put off it entirely. Unfortunately, this is bound to happen at least occasionally if you let yourself be fooled by fancy flavor descriptions instead of learning to understand and follow your own specific tastes. Some people love nothing more than the bitter hoppiness of an English pale ale or IPA, while there are others who can’t stand anything with even a slight hint of hops. Of course, it’s actually much more complicated than it seems at first considering the huge range of different types of hops and the vastly different flavors they can impart to the beer.
In this sense, samplers can often hold the key to identifying your own personal taste preferences. Just as importantly, you can also find out which styles you definitely don’t like without having to feel bad about wasting a whole pint. If you’re not all that familiar with the various styles, it helps to ask questions of the microbrewery staff and pay close attention to the various ingredients and brewing method so you can begin to understand how each one affects the overall flavor profile.
Important factors to take into consideration include bitterness (measured in IBUs), hoppiness, sweetness and overall style or flavor profile. All of this may seem daunting at first, but the good news is that you’re sure to have a blast learning and sampling some of the best microbrews this side of the Mississippi and possibly in the world.
Environment is Everything
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After you’ve gotten a better handle on what types of beers you do and don’t like, it’s then time to move on and start focusing on some of the finer points of brewing and tasting. Even the world’s best beer can taste off if it’s not stored, poured and served correctly. You know how even a cheap domestic can of beer can taste like heaven in certain situations? Well, the only way to truly get the most out of your microbrew experience is if everything is done correctly.
For instance, you may not be aware of it, but the fact is that you can’t drink any beer out of any glass; or maybe you could, but it will always taste better if it’s served in the correct mug or glass. Both mugs and American or British pint glasses work well for the vast majority of beers and are usually considered perfectly acceptable if that’s all that’s available. Nonetheless, there are some types of beers where the experience will be far, far superior if it’s enjoyed in the proper type of glass.
As a further example, wheat beers are typically served in a Weizen glass that has a fairly narrow base and a large curve towards the top. This curve and lip allow the beer to be poured with a generous amount of foam, which is essential for experiencing the full flavor and aroma of your favorite wheat beer. Similarly, pilsner glasses are the ideal choice for lighter pilsner-style beers as the straight, slim sides and wider top make it easy for drinkers to fully appreciate the carbonation and flavor profile.
Once you really start getting into things, you’ll find that there are actually a large number of different styles of beer glasses. All across the city, you can find IPAs, and other stronger beers served in snifters, Belgian ales in beautiful goblets, Scottish ales in thistle glasses and double IPAs in curvy tulip glasses. Each of these glasses has its own unique shape that is essential for getting the full experience for each type of beer. Luckily, all of these glass styles are easily available for purchase if you’re the type who prefers sampling your microbrews in the comfort of your own home.
There is nothing wrong with just sticking to one particular type of beer style. Nonetheless, considering the vast range of fantastic microbrewery options Denver has to offer, you’re really missing out on one of the city’s best features if you don’t take advantage of it. Ultimately, what tastes and styles appeal to you most is purely a matter of personal preference. Nonetheless, paying attention to these simple tips should make it easier for you to get the most out of your microbrews—no matter what style you prefer.