If you still haven’t been able to try a Caution: Brewing Co. beer it’s a shame, but understandable as they have been hard to find… until now. Caution will finally be opening up their tap room this month, just in time for Colorado Beer Week. They are located right off of I-70 and Peoria, which makes it the perfect destination for a pre or post-airplane flight beer. Test your friend’s or mother-in-law’s high altitude alcohol tolerance with Colorado craft beer shortly after they arrive! Caution is opening on May 18th so check their website closer to the date for specific hours.
In anticipation for the opening, we went out to the brewery to check out their offerings and the facility.
As Danny and Betty Wang started showing us around their small but shiny brew house we noticed that they had a couple of boxes on the wall labeled Mr. and Mrs. Roboto. Danny is certainly a geek and when he isn’t brewing he is making apps and designing computer software. One time when he wasn’t doing either of those things he put both of them together into a software, hardware and beer sandwich, and created the Roboto family. They play a big role in keeping Caution beer consistent and attenuated. Danny can change and monitor the temperatures on his fermentation tanks from anywhere in the world as long as there’s a phone signal.
Danny talked about why keeping a consistent and well-attenuated product is so important to him. While working for Integer, a company that does advertising for Coors, he was able to take a look at what Coors was doing with their beer. Say what you want about Coors but they treat their yeast well and the beer always tastes the same no matter where you drink it. This aspect of the Coors brewing process was really inspirational to Danny and it definitely comes through in his craft.
All the robots and little extras are really so that he can keep his beer well-attenuated, so let’s talk a little bit about attenuation and why it’s important (ignore this if you don’t care). From a brewing stand point, attenuation is the percentage of sugars that yeast consume. While brewing, the rate at which this happens and how much it happens really affects the flavor of the beer. If a brewer wants to make a consistent beer it is important to treat your yeast right in regards to when temperature is changed, fermentation time, and especially what the proper attenuation is for your yeast strain. That’s a really loose definition of what attenuation is so if you want to get really geeky about it you may want to check out what white labs has to say.
The reason why attenuation is important, is because you can taste it in the beer. I asked Kevin Burke what he looks for when buying beer, in regards to attenuation, and he had this to say: “When I think of a well-attenuated beer, it’s all about pacing and coaxing the yeast, it’s making sure that they take time to develop flavors and are going to finish the job and push the beer dry… Attenuation is going to be most on show in lighter styles, craft lagers, light pales, small Belgian-style beers. There aren’t a lot of ingredients in these styles and the flavor that the fermentation develops is one of the primary hallmarks of the style and should be well-developed. This is one of the things that I look for when evaluating a beer that we would either add to our list or put on draft [at Colt & Gray].”
We were able to taste all four of the beers that Caution has right now, so here is a quick preview:
Lao Wang Lager: This American Style Lager features the secret soup spices used at the Lao Wang Noodle House, which is conveniently owned by Danny’s parents. The five spices make this beer give it a complex flavor that will pair great with almost any food including Pho, sushi, or a PB&J. At the same time, it is light and easy to drink. Danny is very tight lipped about what spices are in the recipe, but it’s pretty fun to try and guess after tasting the beer.
Wild Rice Blond Ale: With American ale yeast, lemon zest and a bit of wild rice for texture, this brew is slightly sweet and really easy to drink. Up front it has a full-bodied mouth feel that quickly lightens out on your tongue because of the perfect amount of carbonation.
Honey Matrimony Brown Ale: This isn’t like the typical honey brown ale that has too much residual sugar. The locally sourced honey is pasteurized to reduce the length of its sugar chains, which allows the yeast to eat up the sugar sweet flavor but leaves behind a bouquet of aromas. The drink starts out dry (high attenuation) like a champagne and then lets you taste the malt on the finish. This beer is really a masterpiece of brewing science.
The Toast Bat Black Smoked Robust Porter: Betty Wang thought this one up a couple of Halloweens ago and was certainly inspired by the holiday. Think of a bat being slightly toasted then shot out of said toaster like a circus stunt man. That’s what the beer smells like and if you’re a fan of Islay Scotch then you know what I’m talking about. It really tastes like the campfire but doesn’t linger in your mouth. After the smoke you’ll taste iodine, seaweed and brine, with bitter and tangy citrus on the end. Weighing in at 8.5%, this beer is almost double any of the other selections. If you can handle it, it’ll be one of your new favorites.
Photos by Tommy Bristol