In the daunting battle to unseat Bristol as the boss brewery of Los Springs, three frontrunners have emerged, each poised to steal some of Bristol’s aura.

Slater and Hanson Smith at the Craft Beer Tasting event

One of the three, Trinity Brewing Company, brought their wares to the Third Annual Craft Brew Tasting in Gaylord Hall on Nov. 27. As an attendee I was able to try out what the other breweries had to offer and, well, let’s just say that I’m drinking a (stale) Laughing Lab instead of those beers as I write this.

There’s one thing I can’t get over. I’m not sure why Trinity brought the beers they did to this event. Emma’s Pumpkin, the only Trinity beer that seemed somewhat tailored to this season/event, was good, while the others seemed out of place, disconnected from the season or food. In addition to the pumpkin ale, Trinity brought TPS Report and Oh Face, an “experimental Flanders sour” and a Saison Provisional, respectively. TPS Report won a bronze at the Great American Beer Festival this year for American-Style Brett Ale (or sour ale). TPS is not a bad beer, but the most notable feature of this style – the acidic fruit flavors – ruined my palate for longer than I would have desired at this event. Perhaps worse, there weren’t any food pairings for this beer. Oh Face, another part of the Trinity Office Space line wasn’t as intense but also was too bitter for this event.

Heather Horton, Director of the Wellness Resource Center (which sponsored the tasting event), claimed that Bon Appétit would pair beers with particular dishes. Unfortunately, PJ Hoberman, from the booze blog “Denver off the Wagon,” failed to pair the beers ahead of time and had to improvise his pairings. My memory may fail me – blame the brews – but he gave up after two beers.

Horton emphasized the responsible nature of the event – the idea being that, as “of age” adults, we’re entitled to knowledge beyond the cheapest 30-rack at Weber. (The gentlemen from 1028 Wahsatch tell me the cheapest racks are to be found at J’s Liquor at 31 East Fillmore St.,). Of course, since CC is a fine institution of academia, it couldn’t give us beer without an education first.

That education wasn’t up-to-par with the rest of CC’s normal standards of instruction (or maybe that’s my palate speaking). Jason Owens, Associate Director of Employer Relations, taught the beer-lusting, food-craven crowd how to understand alcohol in the workplace. His spiel should have been two lines: a) understand the alcohol culture at your job and b) don’t be an idiot—or in his words: “that guy.” I wasn’t offended by Owens’ insinuations that I need counseling on drinking in a professional setting, and frankly, now that I’m much more anxious about finding employment next year, I still think his message is quite poignant. Don’t be an idiot. But I think, in general, if you have a problem drinking professionally, then you might have bigger problems.

Well, I’ve kvetched enough. Time to kvell. To the beers that made this event so great!

I can’t imagine how someone could get so much beer donated, but Hoberman achieved such a feat. I can only assume that he waxed his connections and young, yet sophisticated charms to work over the brewery reps. Each time Hoberman advanced the beer menu brand reps from Trinity, Ska, and Odell gave short explanations of the new beer.

The most amusing of the reps was the Ska crew by far. They explained Ska’s genesis from an underage brew project among Fort Lewis students to a well-established purveyor of GREAT beer (Hanson and I may like Ska too much. Hanson, because he likes good beer, and me, because I like things from my second home of southwestern Colo.).

Of course the Ska beers were the best—but not by far. Ska brought ESB Special Ale and True Blonde Dubbel. I know many CC students have tried the Ska 12 mixer. Imagine the True Blonde Ale getting warped into a new concoction twice as good. What?! Yes, it’s true. One Ska rep recounted how the ESB took much toiling to create its current state. The beer is bready with some very light sweetness and overall, it’s crisp and not too bitter.

Odell provided the Isolation Ale and the Mountain Standard. The Isolation Ale, while a classic, was outshone by the Mountain Standard, which has been around since ’09 and is one of my favorite beers (h/t to Charles Allison-Godfrey for introducing us). Mountain Standard is a double black IPA. The beer starts off with some light floral cream and ends with hops that accentuate the pepper, caramel, and piney fruitiness. A glorious brew.

Great Divide, of Denver notoriety, finished the night with their Yeti Imperial Stout. What is there to say about the Yeti that hasn’t been said? It’s deep, dark, viscous, luscious…ahhh, I mean, what?! It’s goddamn good beer. Its 9.5 percent ABV cautions you to enjoy one, or maybe two, but forces you to slow down and enjoy the beer for its chocolate malt, coffee notes and complexion and finishing notes of caramel and spice. The walk home to Wahsatch felt shorter.

Even though the Yeti finished the night, the moment of ethereal beer enjoyment came as I accompanied my friend outside for a smoke. While he smoked and I shivered, we struck up a conversation with one of the elderly security guards. I joked and teased in order to get the man to let down his guard.

“I haven’t had a drink in 25 years,” he said. “But I used to party like you kids. I get it.”

“I’m sure you get a lot more done,” I said.

“What? Oh, no,” he said. “But I don’t have the problems I had when I drank.”

We drink to let us forget—even if just for a moment. We lubricate our social interactions, hookups, and even public speaking. We let our guards down and reminisce. I think Heather Horton’s message was—ever so tacitly—to not let our drinking cloud our reminiscing.

Carl Slater

Staff Writer

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