Tag Archives: Indie Beer

Hogshead Brewery – Denver Colorado

Hogshead is primarily an English style brewery and so you can’t order a 5oz taster of anything. Beers are either in 10oz, 16oz, or 20oz pours for most standard beers with a few higher alcohol beers that are only served in a tulip. I had two proper pints and three 10oz pours while I was there and found the beers to be overall solid. It would have been nice if some of the lower alcohol offerings were a bit less expensive. I could see myself drinking a lot more pints of the standard bitter if they were $5 instead of $7 for a proper pint.

The English Mild had a nice copper color and was smooth drinking with mild roast on cask. Like the standard bitter, this is made for drinking not sipping so I didn’t focus as much on the small details. The Cook Lane pale ale on cask had a base of caramel and cracker malt notes with light earthy hops and a mild bitterness on the finish. It was perfectly balanced and creamy body on cask. The standard bitter had notes of light cherry with mild bitterness. I enjoyed the more subtle flavors of the standard bitter after the pale.

The ESB cask kicked just as I was about to order it so I had it on draft instead. The ESB on draft had a nice roasty base with notes of caramel and mild earthy hops. It was one of the better versions of the style I’ve had. The IPA was to me surprisingly low on the malts because typically I think of an English IPA as being more malt forward. It is similar in style to a West Coast pale ale without the bitter finish that is common. The beer had tons of hop aroma nicely balanced between herbal and citrus flavors. I would drink this on the regular if it was available in cans.

Overall, I was quite impressed by all the beers at Hogshead. The lighter alcohol beers were more flavorful than I usually encounter and served in proper glassware. They join The Civil Life out of St. Louis MO as one of the handful of English ale focused breweries that has blown me away.

Known for:
Come for delicious English style ales served on cask and draft. They also had a few lagers.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Weldwerks Brewing Company – Greeley CO

Weldwerks is quite the long drive, about an hour outside of Denver, and located in the middle of nowhere. You can find some of their beers around Denver in bottle shops and on tap but a lot of the beers don’t leave the brewery. The tap list was so insane that I could only go to that one brewery for the day because I wanted to try so many different beers. Though they are known for their hazy IPAs, and they are good I was most impressed by the milkshake IPA and the Berliner weisse beers with fruit. Their barrel aged imperial stouts were also quite excellent.

I started with DDH juicy bits, their flagship hazy IPA. It was creamy and mildly bitter with notes of tangerine and tropical fruit. It is a solid hazy and hits the right flavor notes for the style. Coalescence hazy IPA was similarly creamy but more explosive with hop aroma this time mostly tropical fruit including tons of papaya. I would have bought cans of this if they had been available. Evil Haze Factory was also super creamy with notes of vanilla, strawberry, guava, and pineapple. While it had some lingering sweetness, it was still my favorite of the hazy IPAs from the visit.

My initial flight of tasters including IPAs and fruited sours. 

Double blackberry milkshake IPA was delicious with tons of berry flavor and related acidity. It was juicy and lightly sweet though I was surprised it was not hazy. Perhaps the hazy had been part of it originally and had settled out. In comparison, I much preferred the fruit explosion of the tropical milkshake IPA. It had a bright pink/purple color with a creamy body and explosive tropical fruit and berry notes. The stone fruit Berliner was juicy and tart with prominent stone fruit and a nice thick body similar to a smoothie almost. It reminded me nicely of the stone fruit gose from Aslin brewing. The strawberry rhubarb beer was like liquid pie. It was sweet with notes of baking spices and just the right amount of fruit.

The brownie batter stout was a big hit for my husband and other friends though a bit too sweet for me. It had nice prominent dark chocolate and dough but I don’t care so much for the heavy lactose flavor. There are plenty of delicious milk stout options for you here if you love a sweet stout. I prefer more of the barrel aged stuff so after this I had three versions of their meidanoche stout, a crazy powerful 15% barrel aged stout aged in rum barrels. Each was served as a 6 ounce pour.

Part 1 of the massive tap-list displayed on their large TV screens. 

Part 2 of the massive tap-list displayed on their large TV screens. 

The cool thing about the medianoche beers is they have a special glass just for the beer and so even if you get a six ounce pour, it is proper glass for the beer. I had three versions, a version made for their invitational beer festival with coffee and chocolate, a malibu version with coconut and vanilla, and a version aged 18 months in a single barrel without any adjuncts. They were all fantastic, not crazy boozy despite the high alcohol, and wonderfully balanced. They were some of the best barrel aged stouts I have had anywhere.

Two varieties of Medianoche in their signature glass. I had to try them side-by-side.

The invitational version was thick and fudgy with light barrel character and fairly hidden alcohol. I got some mild nutty coffee out of it as it warmed up. The malibu was slightly sweeter with notes of strawberry. The 18 month version was the most boozy of the bunch with strong rum character. As it warmed up the beer had some nice notes of toffee and tobacco.

The view of the inside. Plenty of seating. 

Despite the crazy drive to get out to Greeley, I was glad I visited the brewery and would consider doing it again depending on the tap list that they have, which thankfully they update regularly on Untappd. If you go to their Untappd page you will see a list of beers available to drink on site and beers available to-go.

Pint of Juicy Bits that I ordered before leaving. 

Top Beers:
Stone Fruit Berliner
Tropical Milkshake IPA
Invitational Single Barrel Medianoche

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Columbus Ohio Breweries – Lineage and Hoof Hearted

Lineage Brewing

Lineage also has a full kitchen. They have a large outdoor area and a fairly sizable indoor seating area near the bar area. I tried six tasters while I was there. They certainly know how to make a good modern IPA.

I started with their standard IPA which had a nice soft body with a dry finish. While the beer did not have a ton of hop aroma, it had a resinous hop character to it that balanced nicely with light herbal hop notes and cracker malts. Compared to this, I much preferred the hazy pale which was nice and soft and bursting with flavor of citrus, pineapple, and tropical fruit. This was a very nice hazy pale.

The passionfruit Berliner Weiss had a hazy yellow appearance and was lightly sweet with strong passionfruit character. The base beer had some notes of white cake and a mild tart finish. The beer was nicely balanced and easy drinking without lingering on the tongue. The Amber ale was soft and dry with light caramel malt character and mild herbal hop notes. It was well-made, but I would have preferred a little more body and roast to it

The Saison was nice and fruity with notes of white wine, mild herbal hop character, and a nice dry finish. This was an excellently balanced and delicious Saison. The Imperial Stout was thick and sweet with prominent flavors of molasses and light dark chocolate and date notes. While well-made, it was not as impressive as the previous two Imperial stouts.

Top two:
hazy pale
Passionfruit Berliner Weisse

Hoof Hearted Brewing

Hoof Hearted was my fourth stop of the day so I only had four tasters. The indoor area was fairly large and loud so I decided to sit outside where it was much quieter. Though they were still generally an enjoyable place to go, they were my least favorite of the four for the day.

I started with a farmhouse IPA which had vanilla cake notes for the base with a prominent herbal hop bite. I didn’t find this beer to be particularly hoppy or flavorful but it was decent enough and had a dry finish. The Helles logger was strongly hoppy and far too bitter for the style. The hop flavors were resinous and floral, also not normal for the style. I’m not really sure what they were going for here but it did not impress me.

What surprised me and impressed me most was their beer called everybody wants some Denali (hops). It was delicious and bright with notes of citrus, pineapple, and lightly bitter on the finish. My previous experience with this hop has tended to be more herbal so I was quite happy with the flavors they extracted from it. I ended with a double IPA with lactose and vanilla added. Sadly, it was not very hazy so it did not really work that well. The beer was creamy and lightly sweet with mild citrus hop character but compared to the other one, it was not very enjoyable.

From my brief exposure to the beers at Hoof Hearted I get the impression that they are one that likes to follow trends but have difficulty executing most of the time. Thankfully the DIPA with Denali hops was one beer where they nailed it. So if you are looking for an excellent hazy IPA, it is still worth visiting to see what they have available.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Columbus Ohio Breweries – Wolf’s Ridge and Seventh Son

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company

My first stop on my visit was Wolf’s Ridge brewing Company where sadly I was not able to try any Hoppy beers because they had run out recently. The brewery felt more like a restaurant and bar than a brewery but I got the vibe of a proper place that respects good cocktails and knows quality beer.

I tried two Saison beers while I was there. The regular version had prominent herbal dry hop character with fairly viscous mouth feel and was under-carbonated. It seemed to focus more on the herbal hop character than on the yeast or the malts. This was not really my style of Saison. The barrel aged version on the other hand was bright with notes of lemon lime effervescence with citrus peel bitterness on the finish. The beer delightfully danced on the border between citrusy and juicy.

The barleywine I tried had a nice soft mouthfeel with a fairly thin body and stayed more on the sweet side without being overly bitter. The beer had flavors of caramel and plum with mild rye spice sweetness to finish it off. This definitely one of the better barley wines I have had recently. The coffee milk stout was tasty with strong coffee roast on the nose and flavors blending nicely with burnt toffee, roasted coffee and a smoky finish that lingers on the tongue. While the beer was well done, I found the smoky finish a bit too much for me.

I finished with the Imperial Stout which was quite nice and blended nicely with flavors of bitter chocolate, marshmallow, and subtle cherry notes. The beer hid its alcohol quite well and had a nice soft and creamy body. This was quite the excellent Imperial Stout and along with the version at seventh son, was up there as my favorite for this trip. Overall I had some solid beers at Wolfs Ridge although I wish I could have tried some of their IPAs. I ended up bringing some of the Imperial Stout home from my trip and made sure to only give my husband two of the 4 bottles because it has a thick chocolate character to it that I rarely find in my local stouts.

Top Three:
Barrel Aged Saison
Imperial Stout

Seventh Son Brewing

In contrast with Wolf’s Ridge, Seventh Son is much more open and the only food available is with a food truck. They had fairly large amount of seating outside in the sun and a fairly open bar area as well. They had quite the variety of beers on tap so I went with the ones that sounded most interesting to me to get a good sampling.

I started with Gleen IPA, which was resinous and had a nice dry finish. The beer had mild notes of citrus hops and white wine. The beer was somewhat subdued in hop aromas but it was nicely balanced and easy drinking. Similarly, the double IPA, though slightly higher in alcohol was just as dry. It had notes of marijuana on the nose and the beer did not have significant noticeable bitterness on the finish or prominent hop aromas. Still I could tell it was excellently made.

The Brett pale ale had a cloudy orange color with some mild funk from the Brett. The beer was also super dry and not particularly bitter, showing a nice balance between everything. The Imperial Stout was thick with notes of bitter chocolate, mild raisins, and a mild lingering sweetness. This beer also hid the alcohol quite well and was my other top favorite Imperial Stout of the trip. I was overall impressed with the ability of the Brewers to make such bone dry IPAs.

Top 2:
Imperial Stout
Brett Pale

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Boise Breweries – Lost Grove and Payette

Lost Grove Brewing

I started with the Golden ale which was crisp and easy drinking with mild fruit. While not particularly flavorful, this was a delicious beer that would be easy to drink pint of. The lemonade stout, milk stout made with lemon zest, was so mild in the lemon department that I would not have known the added any if it was not listed on the menu. It was fairly standard for milk stout and had a nice amount of roast while not being overly sweet.

Their first site IPA was strongly herbal with lingering lemon zest character on the finish. While the beer was somewhat soft in body, it was not particularly hoppy or dry and fairly disappointing to me. The second chance IPA, was also fairly lemon forward and while nicely balanced with the pine and bitterness at the finish, it did not have the level of aroma to make the beer particularly appealing.

The Saison with sour sop had some light notes of vanilla, mild funk, and a nice dry finish. The beer was overall nicely balanced and had a light fruity character, making it one of the better beers of this brewery. The kettle sour, was creamy and had hints of white cake, though it was not particularly tart. The beer had hints of citrus and guava overall too mild in flavor for me.

Overall, I was not particularly impressed by the beers at Lost Grove though the Saison was one beer that stood out as better than the rest. The beers were all fairly middle-of-the-road, nothing to recommend visiting over other breweries in the area.

Top choice:
Saison with Sour Sop

Payette Brewing

I tried four tasters during my visit to Payette brewing and decided to leave it at that. They had a nice wide open tasting room with fairly expansive outdoor area. The top list was also quite expensive, though I went for what sounded most interesting to me to get a quick taste.

The Pilsner was quite light in body and lacking in flavor. Though drinkable, it was not particularly flavorful. The pale ale was easy drinking with fruity hops. Though not bitter, the beer was lacking in hop aroma and did not have the flavor I would’ve expected for a beer highlighting mosaic hops.

The Porter was fruit forward and fairly thin with a lingering finish that I did not care for. The Porter was fairly below average. The hazy IPA, was very lightly hazy with notes of tropical fruit and lemon. It was fairly light bodied and light in bitterness with hints of melon and bubblegum on the finish. It was fairly average for a first attempt at a hazy. I can’t even tell from my photo which one was the hazy because none of them is hazy.

Nothing at Payette that I tried was particularly good or exciting. Even if this had been my first stop of the day, I would likely have stopped after these four tasters.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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