Red, White and Brew: creamy beer, orange wine and more
Editor’s note: The Red, White and Brew weekly feature will highlight red wines, white wines and craft beers from local stores.
At Beaver Liquors, we carry everything from your everyday Coors Light to five coolers filled to the brim with Colorado craft beers and an extensive wine cellar. We are staffed with knowledgeable wine and beer lovers to assist you in finding the perfect beverage. As the manager, I try to make sure everyone gets what he or she needs to have a great time in the mountains.
Oregon pinot noir has been in the spotlight lately in United States winemaking and for good reason. The climate and soils of Oregon’s Willamette valley just outside of Portland are ideal for making top class pinot noir and chardonnay, and major winemakers from around the world have taken notice and moved to Portland to reap the benefits.
Joe Wagner, of Meomi from California, creates a similar pinot noir from Oregon called Elouan. He uses grapes from three different appellations (Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley and Umpqua Valley) to blend a variety of flavors and style that each area develops in pinot noir. The result is an easy drinking medium bodied pinot noir with bright red fruit, low tannin and light herb and floral flavors on the finish.
It’s bigger bodied than most pinot noirs from Oregon because of the use of the three different regions, which leads to it being a perfect pairing with a variety of dishes and meats.
When I began working at Beaver Liquors four years ago, I was absolutely astounded by our extensive wine cellar. David Courtney, owner of Beaver Liquors, has spent a lifetime becoming a dedicated “wine guru” and it shows in our cellar’s selection. On my first day, Courtney gave me a wine book and a bottle of aged Bordeaux and started me on my path to learn and love wine.
My favorite white wine of the season is Venica Pinot Grigio. Pinot grigio is not always regarded as the most exciting white wine but certain styles can be complex and elegant. What makes Venica so interesting is it is made in a style that uses extended contact with the grape skins after pressing the juice from the grapes. This practice, which is used in red wines to give them their color, additional flavor and tannin, has been somewhat lost in white wine production but is making a resurgence.
“Orange wines” is term used for this method, although the wine is more of rose gold color from the pinot grigio skins. The flavors of bright citrus lead to a light herbal and floral finish that offers flavors you may not taste in other pinot grigio. This pinot grigio goes great with food because of its extra body and light tannin, try it with a decedent salad.
Colorado has a one of the longest histories of craft brewing in the United States. Before the state was invited into the Union in 1876, Tivoli was brewing their Helles Lager in Denver in 1859 and still does today. The Tivoli smokestack in downtown Denver is an icon of the city. Not far behind, Coors started brewing in Golden in 1873 and has grown to become a giant of the American beer industry. These brewers paved the way for so many great breweries that have been loved worldwide such as Oskar Blues and New Belgium while creating interest for many smaller hand crafted brews. From our humble beginnings, rooted in German brewing traditions, Colorado breweries have been creating unique and interesting beers ever since. From Left Hand’s Milk Stout using Nitrous instead of carbon dioxide, to add a creamier texture to the beer, to Odell’s’ Rupture who grinds its hops in a coffee grinder to release the largest amount of aroma and making a very hoppy beer, it’s hard to imagine there is more directions to take a craft brewing without going too far into the unconventional.
One brewery that has been creating some refreshingly new and commonplace beers is Storm Peak brewing out of Steamboat Springs. The brewery has a talent for adding a little flair to a standard beer style. I have chosen its Lawnmower Ale to showcase this skill. This beer is the perfect compliment to relaxing after a long day of work, such as … riding your lawnmower.
The beer is at its base a cream ale — a blonde ale with a creamy texture. The brewery then dry hops the ale with a single variety to showcase each hops aroma and flavor. The result is a sessionable at 5 percent alcohol by volume hazy IPA with plenty of Hop to give complexity to the flavors. The single hop variety is changed regularly so to keep the beer fresh and showcase the best of the hops. Perfect for apres, after hard day of work or just a time you want to put a few cold ones back.
Come down to Beaver Liquors and speak with our sommeliers to pick up some of these great wines or be referred to any of the great wines that we carry.
Chris Anthony’s documentary film project chronicles post-war activities of the 10th Mountain Division.