It all started innocently enough with a simple comment from my boss: “So apparently Alan down at Phantom Canyon made a sour mash cherry beer.” I was intrigued, and needed this in my face. Colorado Springs really isn’t that far away and there are some other breweries down there. One could make a nice little day trip out of it.
I mapped out the drive from Denver down to Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, Trinity Brewing, and Rocky Mountain Brewery. That afternoon my pal Liz came over for a bottling party. She saw the map on my screen and asked “What is this?” I replied “Next Monday? You wanna have a sweet lady beerventure?” She promptly agreed insisting we add a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts. Twist my arm why dontcha? Sweet lady beerventure was born.
The following Monday we met up in the not so wee hours of the morning. After a pit stop for coffee, empty growlers, and ice packs for the cooler, we were off.
Our ride was full of profanities, giggles and sing alongs. Just over an hour later we had arrived at our first destination, Dunkin Donuts. In our uber fat kid excitement we decided it was necessary to order a dozen donuts… for the two of us. It was goddamn beautiful.
Loaded up on sugar and caffeine we arrived at our next destination: Phantom Canyon. We promptly ordered the Ah Bing Sour-Mash Cherry Ale. Slightly tart and refreshing with a nice fresh fruit flavor, it was good but not as sour as I wanted it to be. As we sipped this fun experiment, Alan the head brewer came over to say hi and offered us a tour. We got to see their brewing system, kegging area, and serving tank cooler.
After our tour we saddled back up to the bar and ordered some snacks as well as a beer sampler. We were able to convince the bartender to have the kitchen make us an order of sweet potato fries with green chili and cheese, along with the Reuben we split we were feeling quite happy. Of the flight of beer our favorites were the Continuum Ale, a Belgian Style white ale that helps fund the upkeep of a local fountain, and the Dampfbier, a German style that was described to us as an Oktoberfest fermented with Weiss yeast. I love me some Weiss yeast. We settled on growlers of these two beers and went on our merry way.
The next stop in our sweet lady beerventure was Trinity Brewing. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Kevin, one of the brewers, who recommended that we try the Chardonnay Barrel aged Saison Man. We did and it was delicious. As we sipped this treat we were given a tour of the adorable brewery in which Tom was brewing. We were told of how they hand bottle their beers which shows just how much they love their adoring public. After the tour we decided more snacks and a sample tray were in order. We once again got the kitchen to make sweet potato fries with green chili because we decided it was already a fat kid day so why not? There was also much excitement upon realizing that the tiny cup of cheese was for us to go with the sampler.
That excitement increased at least ten fold when we were informed that they serve bacon cones. This is just what it sounds like: strips of bacon served in a wire cone with maple syrup dipping sauce. While all of the beers were delicious, we settled on Saison Man, a fairly straight forward saison, and Electric Cucumber, a phenomenal cucumber and basil saison.
The next stop on our journey was Rocky Mountain Brewery. Known far and wide for their fruit beers, I was quite pleased to see other styles available in their tap room. While Liz ran through a few of their fruit beers, seeing as how this was her first experience with this brewery, I was drawn to the Lady Lemongrass, a light ale spiked with lemongrass. This was the tasty treat I brought back home with us. After wandering the attached homebrew shop for a while we were given permission to poke around the brewery. We geeked out with our tour guide, and then were on our merry way.
Liz and I both learned a valuable lesson that day: although Colorado Springs is incredibly far away and awkwardly laid out, there are some fantastic breweries and real swell people down there. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend a little adventure of your own.
Tags: Ah Bing SourMash Cherry Ale, Bacon, beer, Chardonnay Barrel Aged Saison Man, cheese, colorado springs, Continuum Ale, craft beer, Dampfbier, Dunkin Donuts, Electric Cucumber, Lady Lemongrass, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, Rocky Mountain Brewery, Saison Man, Sweet Lady Beerventure, Sweet Potato Fries, Trinity Brewing