Fifteen Colorado beer bloggers take on Buddha Nuvo beer in this single review

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It took fourteen breweries to collaborate on Buddha Nuvo -- one of the most unusual beers ever made in Colorado -- so it seems only fair then that a review of this beer should include just as many beer loving bloggers, and then some.

Designed around the exotically-shaped Buddha's Hand fruit, Buddha Nuvo was brewed on February 11 at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock. It includes grains of paradise, 175 pounds of pumpkin, four kinds of peppercorns and five strains of yeast. It was later moved to French oak chardonnay barrels and aged with brettanomyces yeast. Finally, the beer was primed with Colorado honey and allowed to carbonate in the bottles. Only 135 cases were made, and each 750 ml bottle is being sold for $35 to $40 a pop.

Now, after having aged and fermented for five weeks, I present to you a collaborative review of a collaborative beer. This review includes the words of writers for fifteen of Colorado's yeastiest beer blogs. Each sentence has been marked with a number that links back to the blog and that blogger's own review of Buddha Nuvo. The full list of the blogs is included at the end -- and serves as a veritable who's who of this state's beer bloggers.

The breweries involved with Buddha came from all over the state; they are big and small, new and old, and varied in their tastes. The same can be said for the bloggers (minus the "old" part because we are all young or young at heart). Cheers!

Buddha Nuvo

In theory, you would think that fourteen brewers collaborating on one beer would be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, but Buddha Nuvo proves this cliche wrong. [1] Light in body, yet full of flavor, it pours and drinks like a dry sparkling wine, yet the plethora of flavors won't let you forget it's a saison. [2] And a classic one at that -- with a nice vanilla and citrus aroma. [3] With some saisons, you are left guessing what ingredients have been thrown into the mix. But with Buddha Nuvo, you're given an extensive list. I found the peppercorn melange interesting: the black, white and green ones give off a hot, pungent addition, while the pink peppercorns added a mild, sweet bite to the blend." [4]

But that's just the beginning:

The complexity of tastes is almost overwhelming, from its jasmine-like initial mouthfeel to a slightly grape-y, slightly plummy slow explosion of flavors across the palate, to a jolting alcoholic back-taste that, like the fizz on champagne, adds to the portrait of the beer rather than distracting from it. [5] That distinct back-taste, which also invokes sparkling wine, is likely the result of the Chardonnay barrels used to age the beer. [6] And despite the 12 percent ABV, the alcohol is pleasantly refreshing. You could mistake this for a sessionable beer if you're not careful. [7]

There are also flavors reminiscent of fresh-squeezed orange layered with Captain Crunch cereal that's dancing around a wild horse blanket of funk from the barrel aging and Brettanomyces. [8] Instinct tells me they took a barrel of really good, herbal bread, threw in a pumpkin, lit it on fire, and then doused it in bubbly white wine. [9]

As for the other ingredients, Buddha Nuvo is unlike any pumpkin beer you've had before, with the typical pie character traded for a raw and rustic backbone." [10] And while the Buddha's Hand fruit has found a new home in beers of late, none are fitting as this one. [11]

But as Buddha himself said: "Everything changes, nothing remains without change." And so it is with Buddha Nuvo, which tastes different on one day than it does on another, and which will age and mature (if you can keep it around that long).

The finish is thick, a hair acidic, with a distinct tropical fruit salad flavor. It is during the finish that the smörgåsbord of non-traditional ingredients used to brew the beer, the honey conditioning, oak wine barrel maturation and changeable Brettanomyces character are the most apparent. [12] Is it worth $40? The quickly dissipating head is a major flaw. And it may be too young: the alcohol gives it a hot finish and the citrus gives is a solventy feeling that with age may mellow out. [13]

In expectation of this beauty aging as well as that dear old lady from Titanic -- retaining its youthful knowledge of citrus and funk while obtaining more tannic, complex, dark tones over the years -- you should set one aside, yet with how amazing this brew drinks now, it may not last long in your cellar. [14] Complex enough for the true beer geek, yet approachable enough for the average beer lover, this beer is like I had a party in my mouth and fourteen brewers showed up, each with their"A Game." In a word, THUNDER! [15]

1) Julia and Lisa, from Boobs, Breweries, and Beer

2) Zenia and Carol, from Beer Drinker's Guide to Colorado

3) Jennifer, from Ales For All

4) Dave, from Fermentedly Challenged

5) Ed, from Beer Run Blog

6) Mark, from Craft Beer of Colorado

7) Scott from Brewing Some Fun

8) Marc, from Not Your Dad's Beer

9) Brandon, from Beer, Whiskey, Bikes and Skis

10) Billy, from BillyBrew

11) Cole, from BeerLip

12) Lee, from Hoptopia

13) Eric and Isaac from Focus on the Beer

14) Casey, from Denver Off The Wagon

15) Erik and Dusty, from BeerTapTV

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
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