Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'll take a Tall Skinny Mocha Java Stout, with some La Cumbre on top

Two things on tap for today - a review of Santa Fe Brewing's newest addition to their line of cans - the Imperial Java Stout, then a debrief on our trip to La Cumbre Brewing from Saturday.

Appearance - Thick black body with a foamy, mocha colored head. Head is pretty sticky too, as it coats the glass substantially. 4.0/5.0

Smell - Coffee coffee coffee. The aroma is like sticking your nose right into a bin of coffee beans. Not just any coffee beans, but the uber-dark ones that will literally put hair on your chest. Any other smell is overpowered by the coffee. You get a hit of that coffee each time that you taste it too. 3.5/5.0

Taste - Like the aroma, coffee dominates the flavor, but it starts to smooth out a bit. The first time I had this beer, I was taken aback by the coffee flavor and almost had trouble finishing it. 2nd go around was much better with the toasted malt coming out. Very little sweetness, as the coffee's bitterness takes priority. It's like having a strong cup of Starbucks bold coffee...no cream...no sugar. 3.5/5.0

Feel - 1st taste is strong until your mouth adjusts to the beer. After that, you start to get some more of the flavor notes. 3.0/5.0

Drinkability - Jury is out. 1st time, probably wouldn't have bought it again. 2nd time, enjoying it. I'm guessing the 3rd time, I'll want to get a six pack or two for the fridge. 3.0/5.0

As for La Cumbre Brewing - I had a great time there! Myself, plus Mrs. Beer Fridge and a number of guys from the Active 20-30 Club headed over there after we did some charity work at the Children's Hospital. As you know, studies have proven nothing makes you more thirsty than doing charity work. Between the 5 or 6 of us, we were able to try all five of their "standard" drafts. I personally loved the Malpais Stout (as I hoped I would) and surprising, the South Peak Pilsner (I'm not normally a fan of pilsners). Good comments were made about the Pyramid Rock Pale Ale, plus the holiday seasonal they had on tap. So, outside the 7 beers that La Cumbre made, they had 4 other local beers (1 Marble, 2 Chama River and 1 Turtle Mountain if memory serves me correctly).

Outside the beer, the vibe of the place was amazing. Jeff did a fantastic job with the tour of the brewery itself - it made my homebrewer buddy Lou almost have a moment. The environment reminded me of a neighborhood pub that you see on TV where 4-5 of your closest friends get together, have a few beers and talk crap to each other. Bombers from all over the place and tin "plates" adorn the walls, with old barrel-like tables scattered around. There's a pool table upstairs too - so bonus!

I would highly recommend checking out La Cumbre and seeing what all of the fuss is about. The passion for the craft is evident in the brewery, but it doesn't overshadow the chillness of the atmosphere.

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