Boulder Beer: Where Our Brewers are High!
By Eric and Mimi Griffith
David Zuckerman, Brewmaster for Boulder Beer, received a round of applause when he answered the question “How does the altitude effect the brewery?” with “Our brewers are high!” How high? 5,430 feet high to be exact. Mr. Zuckerman finally found a reason to make the trip from Boulder, Colorado to St. Louis…Cicero’s Beer School, and we are more than happy to sample his hard work.
After presentations from 7 different Colorado breweries in the past year, beer school students are well aware that the Craft Beer Revolution is in full-swing around the Rocky Mountain state. But did you know that it all started in Boulder back in 1979 with the founding of Boulder Beer Company? Over thirty years later Boulder Beer is the “last man standing” from the original craft wave.
It started in the usual fashion: 2 professors from Colorado University took a trip to Europe and discovered beer with flavor. Thanks to President Carter’s deregulation of home brewing these craft beer pioneers could actually attempt to replicate these beers in the comfort of home (or a goat shed, in this case) until they perfected the brews and poured them for the public. The penny stock craze of the 1980’s enabled them to build a bigger and better brew house and in 1990 the company was transferred to new ownership.
That’s when our presenter, David Zuckerman, came into the picture, and even after 21 years he is still passionate about Boulder Beer. His brewing philosophy is to create unique and flavorful beers, but he’s “not trying to drive a stake through your tongue.” David explained that he uses more hops in his recipes because boiling happens at 208 degrees in high altitude as opposed to the normal 220 degrees. With each class we learn more details about the art of brewing and Brewmaster Zuckerman shared that each year the brewers must adjust their recipes to account for the differences in crops. This allows the consumers to have a seamless beer tasting experience. Now let’s taste some beer.
Hazed & Infused
He says- This beer wears an orange to amber color with a nice, crisp hop aroma. At 38 IBUs and 5% ABV, Haze & Infused is very approachable. The dry hopping leads your nose to believe you will be tasting hops, but quite to the contrary I taste mostly sweet caramel and finish my sample with malts on the brain.
She says- My non-hop loving friends all liked this one, making me think it was a good gateway beer into hoppier beers. It is medium golden in color with a slight hop scent. It is clean and crisp with no overwhelming aftertaste. Good everyday beer.
Sweaty Betty Blonde
He says- Weihenstephan yeast is the power behind this refreshing blonde wheat beer. Banana and bubblegum lead the way with a slight hint of clove and coriander following closely behind. This beer even touches on the quenching style of a saison. Great for summer or when you want to be reminded of summer.
She says- I was a little concerned about a beer called Sweaty, but after learning that it’s named after a brewer’s mom I was ready to sample. Betty is a light golden blonde beer with the scent of banana. It has a dry and crisp finish and is very refreshing. I will have to remember this one because it’s perfect for a hot summer day.
Flashback – India Brown Ale
He says- Definitely my favorite of the night. Tastes of chocolate with hops popping out all around. Five additions of Cascade hops are made throughout the creation of this brew…no wonder I enjoy it so much. Balanced, but still strong on both malts and hops. Two parts of my tongue are very happy. Flashback might help convert a malt lover to the hop side. The dry chocolate feel with the citrus hops flavor keeps me going back to find something new with each sip. Most interesting beer we have had in a long time. The 62 IBUs and the 6.8% ABV are well hidden in this modern take on two classic styles.
She says- I found Flashback to have a nutty scent, and a hoppy yet sweet flavor with notes of toasted malts. This was my first experience with a brown ale and an IPA combination. It was full of flavor, and was definitely different. Try this one for yourself and let me know what you think.
Mojo Risin’ Double IPA
He says- This is the star of the show because of the 10% ABV and high but unknown IBUs. Grapefruit and papaya jump out of the glass. The taste is fruity sweetness at first, but the malts find their place in the middle of this brew. And finally the Centennial hops pop out on the finish as my tongue tingles (in a good way). The alcohol hides neatly, but the sweetness slows you down before you chug too much. A DIPA is always a great way to end the night.
She says- The hoppy grapefruit scent told me I was in for a treat! This dark golden ale doesn’t disappoint if you enjoy a hop forward beer. Heavy pine and citrus notes are prevalent in this 10% beer. The bitterness of the hops is countered nicely by a lovely sweetness on the finish. Call it Nirvana for hop-heads.
The Last Sip
From their “get hazed” bumper stickers to their psychedelic labels to their zany website, Boulder Beer Company imparts a relaxed, care-free attitude and seems to remind us all “hey, it’s just beer, sit back and enjoy it.” Thanks for the reminder, I will. We would love to hear your thoughts on the beers we sampled so please use the comment section below.
A short interview with Marvin Simpson from Boulder Beer
About the Authors: Husband and wife Eric and Mimi have been attending beer school for about a year now and love every minute of it. Mimi was born and raised in St. Louis. Besides sitting down with a fabulous pint of beer, she enjoys gardening and spending time with her horse. Eric was born and raised in Texas. He enjoys sports and searching for the next great beer. A search he says he has been on for five years and one that will certainly never end. Mimi, on the other hand, just realized beer actually has flavor about a year ago. After having moved away for a few years, in 2007, this happy couple moved back to St. Louis and is enjoying all the St. Louis beer scene has to offer, especially Cicero’s Beer School. Cicero’s is lucky to have such an enthusiastic couple writing the beer school blog!