Beer Man

Five Colorado beers to drink right now

It's not easy to keep up with Colorado's brewers. It seems like they release a new beer -- or two or three -- in bottles or cans almost every week. And as soon as you think you've caught up on the new ones, you find a couple that you've missed. So if you want to get up to speed, you need to drink these five beers right now.

No, seriously. Stop reading and go out and buy them -- because the first four are quick-hit beers that will be gone within a few weeks and may never be back. And there's an entire lineup of ever newer ones just around the corner. Cheers!

Upslope Foreign Style Stout (six-pack cans) This beer has been such a hit in Upslope's taproom that the brewery decided to release it in cans -- even though it will only be available for a short time. The beer is black and roasty as you might imagine a foreign-style stout would be, but with a dry, snappy flavor and feel and a hint of sweet smokiness that gives it some complexity. New Belgium Cocoa Mole (22-ounce bomber bottle) I don't always like chile beers. It seems to me that beers should be used to cool the heat caused by spicy foods -- not start the fire in the first place. But New Belgium's Cocoa Mole, part of its renowned Lips of Faith series, is like no chile beer I've ever had. The sweet chocolate flavors combine with cinnamon and spice to create a cold, carbonated version of Mexican hot chocolate. It tastes good by a fire and actually made me crave something even spicier. The burn is slow and pleasant, and, yeah, I drank a whole glass. Get it soon, though: New Belgium releases two Lips beers during each quarter of the year, and when they're gone, they're gone.

Dry Dock Tripel (22-ounce bomber bottle) Anyone can brew a hefeweizen or a double IPA or a Belgian-style tripel, but not everyone can achieve brilliance. That is what has set Dry Dock Brewing apart. Each of its beers -- even the styles that you think you've had before -- are created with such a balance of flavors and textures that drinking one is like a brand-new experience. The same is true for the Tripel, a style of beer that is difficult to do because triples can be cloyingly sweet or overwhelmingly yeasty. This one achieves a beautiful mixture of clove and banana nuances combined with a pleasant sweetness that doesn't overwhelm. Its perfect level of carbonation and gorgeous color don't hurt, either. Dry Dock releases four seasonal beers a year, so this one will disappear from the shelves by spring.

Odell Saboteur (750 ml bottles) Like a lot of wild beers, Odell Brewing's Saboteur is an incredibly complex creation with flavors and aromas that constantly change and shift as you drink it. The dark red-brown beers tastes at first like a standard brown ale, until you start to sense the brettanomyces yeast. As you drink it, and as the beer warms, different layers unfold, releasing notes of vanilla, woodsy oak and a sweet, almost fruity character. Drink it slow.

Wynkoop B3K Black Lager (six-pack cans) I have liked the Wynkoop's B3K schwarzbier since the brewery first began making it a few years ago. It has roasty flavor notes right out of a bag of malt, and a light touch that makes it a perfect alternative to most boring lagers. The canned version, B3K Black Lager, isn't quite as good as the draft beer for some reason, but it's still enjoyable.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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