For us, summer just isn’t complete if we don’t get to spend a nice sunny afternoon in Boulder. Surrounded by beautiful mountain views is some of the best hiking, shopping, food and drink that Colorado has to offer. There is always something happening in Boulder, and this weekend, we took a spur of the moment trip to see what fun we could drum up. We ended up visiting two great Boulder craft breweries: West Flanders Brewing Co and Upslope Brewing Company.
A Surprise Visit to West Flanders Brewing Co
First stop was the Pearl Street Mall. As luck would have it, there was a Harvest Festival going on, so we wandered around and took in all the sights. I love Pearl Street for the window shopping and people watching, but this really took everything up a notch. There were lots of street performers, fun and games all around. While strolling up and down Pearl Street, we discovered something we didn’t quite expect — a new brewery! West Flanders Brewing Co was now occupying a spot on the Pearl Street Mall, and not knowing much about them, we decided we had to check them out. Apparently, we just so happened to wander by on their first day open to the public! What another happy accident!
Decisions, decisions. All of the beers at West Flanders Brewing sounded good, so we decided on a sampler of four: the St. Marks Dubbel, the Third Kingdom India Pale Ale, the Canniption Pale Ale, and the ‘TBD’ ESB. St Marks was a Belgian Trappist style Dubbel, with a caramel and cider flavor; it was a great autumn beer. The IPA was citrusy, balanced and had a nice hop aroma. The Canniption Pale Ale had more of an up-front hop flavor, less aroma. I believe it was dry hopped. The ESB was balanced, caramely and sweet, with a nice balanced hop flavor. The ESB was my hands-down favorite, while Jeff enjoyed both the IPA and Pale Ale.
West Flanders Brewing serves food as well as beer, and although we weren’t hungry, the menu looked good. We’ll be sure to arrive hungry next time! They also have a great patio right on the Pearl Street Mall, so I can see us wasting a good deal of our Boulder visit here next summer. After all, the only thing better than people watching in Boulder is enjoying a cold craft beer while you watch.
Next Stop: A Trip to Upslope Brewing Company
After West Flanders, we had one more brewery stop to make in Boulder: Upslope Brewing Company. Upslope Brewing was always on the agenda when we decided to visit Boulder. After all, their GABF winning Pumpkin Ale was on tap, and we were super excited to try some! Unfortunately, our luck seemed to run out when we found out that they wouldn’t be offering the Pumpkin Ale until after 6 pm. Apparently, demand has been so high that they have had to limit their tapping to ensure they wouldn’t run out. Fortunately, there were lots of other great beers to choose from, so we weren’t too disappointed. I first had their Pale Ale, which was citrusy, a bit spicy and really refreshing, and then finished with a Craft Lager, which was malty and smooth. Jeff stuck to IPAs, having first the Rye IPA which had a great citrus aroma with a nice bready-sweetness and mildly bitter finish. Next up he had the Thai Spice IPA, which is a white IPA with a very distinct lemongrass aroma and flavor. Everything at Upslope Brewing was tasty. If it wasn’t such a distance from home, we’d have stayed and drunk more.
By the time we were done, we almost forgot about the Pumpkin Ale altogether! Luckily the staff at Upslope was there to remind us of our goal by suggesting a local liquor store that may have cans of the Pumpkin Ale in stock. BINGO! Our first stop was at North Boulder Liquors, where we found a four pack. Now that we’ve finally had the beer, it’s some pretty tasty stuff. We can see why it’s received accolades. If you see Upslope Brewing Pumpkin Ale, grab yourself some and enjoy the delicious taste of autumn in a pint glass! Yum!
Boulder was, as usual, loads of fun. There are about a dozen more breweries for us to still try in the area, so you can bet we won’t wait until summer to visit again!