Friday, March 14, 2008

Odell Brewing Tap Room (2008)

Odell Brewing's TaproomI had the opportunity to visit one of the Fort Collins Colorado breweries today during my lunch break. Today's visit was to the Odell Brewing Company Tap Room. The tap room is easy enough to get to off of Interstate 25. Take the Highway 14 exit West and head into town. Turn right on Lemay and then north for less than a mile to Lincoln Ave and turn left. About a 1/3rd of a mile will get you to the Odell brewery. Their tap room is right out front, right next to the brewing facility. You can see inside their brewing operations right from a windowed door in the tap room.

I went a bit early, around 11:00am and the place just had a few patrons there already. Odell offers customers two different types of tasting trays. Their "Classic" sampler tray offers up six 4-oz mini-glasses of their more mainstream beers. I opted to try their "Pilot" sampler which had four 4-oz glasses of their higher ABV and batch brews. For $4 they'll give you either of their samplers with a token. This token is worth $3 that is good towards any of their tap room merchandise or you can opt to throw the token into a charity jar which will give $3 toward the charity of the month.

Today's "Pilot" sampler tray offered up the following beers: Hop Scotch Ale, Nitro IPA, Nitro Cut Throat Porter, and their Imperial Stout. This was the order that they suggested drinking them in as well. I brought with me a small notepad and was able to write down some notes on these beers.

Hop Scotch Ale - this was a Scottish Ale they had on tap that included double the bittering hops (Summit) and triple the flavoring hops (US Fuggles & Ahtanum). This little brew had a decent 6.8% ABV. This beer was a dark gold color with a small off-white lacing. Scottish was the right term to use here. This beer was dry, crisp and tasty. The hops were noticeable but not overpowering. It was different from any beer I've had to date and it was good. It seemed to have the taste of something I would call Scotch. Rating: 3.3 out of 5.

Nitro IPA - I was anxious to try this beer because I'm trying to condition myself to get a taste for IPAs. This beer was infused with nitrogen to give it "a fuller body and creamier texture" according to the information card. This beer had a nice white cream on top of it and I mean like a rich froth. The beer was a light golden color. The aroma reminded me a bit of citrus at first. The first taste was very light and the froth was yummy. I didn't taste the hops at first, instead I got a floral citrusy taste. It wasn't until 1/2 way through this sample that the hops hit me. And luckily for me it wasn't the least bit harsh. I could actually drink this! This would make a good Spring / Summer beer and it tasted good cold. If I was ever to drink another IPA it would be this one. The froth lingered during the entire tasting and coated the entire inside of the glass with white down to the end. I happened to burp near the end of this beer and the burping brought out a huge hop sensation. Heh - nice. I'd suggest when you try this beer to burp - you'll see what I mean. Rating: 3.3 out of 5.

Nitro Cutthroat Porter - The third beer in the sampler was another nitrogen infused beer - this time in a porter. Again I saw a nice frothy head to it only slightly more tan in color. The beer was a dark brown with red overtones. You could still see through this beer when held up to the light. I could definitely pick up the coffee like aromas of the dark malts they put in this brew. The first taste only re-enforced the coffee like taste. This porter had more coffee flavor in it than most porters I've tried. It was lightly hopped. The lightly sweet taste was bittered nicely with the darker coffee flavor. It's not quite a session beer despite the 4.8% ABV as the coffee sensation was quite noticable. The coldness of the beer made me realize that some porters CAN be consumed cold. Again, burping brought out the hop flavor on this beer. Nice beer but a bit too much coffee for my liking. Rating: 3.1 out of 5.

Odell Brewing growlerImperial Stout (Single Batch Series) - this beer is part of their 5 barrel batch system. Small quantities are made and offered up in their tap room. This beer was DARK - so dark that you could not see any light pass through it. The chalkboard on their tap room wall stated that this was a 8.1% ABV but their info card said it was 7.1% ABV. This beer had a small tan head to it. This beer had a slightly sweeter aroma than the porter. No coffee affects here. For a stout, this had a slightly sweeter malt taste and was very good. I really like this stout. No bitter after taste and a hint of an alcohol glow at the finish. I liked this so much that I bought a growler of this stuff. I jumped at the chance to bring more home. Rating: 3.6 out of 5.

Cask 90 Shilling - Just before leaving, I went through their merchandise and picked up a couple logo drinking glasses - one standard pint glass and one English style pint. It was then that I noticed that Odell had a Cask version of their 90 Shilling beer on tap. This beer was conditioned in a wood cask prior to putting in a keg in their tap room. I'm a big fan of their regular 90 Shilling and asked for a sample. This beer did not look like their regular 90 Shilling. In fact if you held the cask version next to the regular version you'd swear it was a different beer. The cask 90 Shilling was lighter in color. A medium golden with reddish hints with a nice off-white head. This beer had a distinctive aroma, somewhat on the citrusy side. It tasted like the beginnings of a sour Belgian but was not a bit like their darker Shilling. The taste was hard to describe. The wood had toned down the taste and began to slightly sour it somewhat. It was good, but not as good as their regular 90 Shilling. Odell is apparently getting into casks much more these days and experimenting on their beers. I applaud their efforts but wish they hadn't done it on the 90 Shilling. It just made it an entirely different beer altogether. Rating: 3.2 out of 5.

The tap room started getting more visitors as the lunch hour went on. Many regulars were coming in and out buying growlers. It's a nice little tap room but doesn't have as homey a feel as the New Belgium brewery just down the street a bit. Certainly worth your time to visit if you're in Fort Collins as they have some great beers. Tours start in the afternoon so come right after lunch if you want to see how they make the beer.

Related articles:
- Odell Small Batch Beer Festival 2008
- Odell Red Ale review
- Odell officially breaks ground on expansion

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