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Beer Review: River North Brewery’s Big City Quad

This high-ABV brew is reminiscent of a hearty oatmeal raisin cookie—perfectly suited for an ordinary night snuggled up on the couch. 

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Big City Quad, River North Brewery, Denver

Style: Quadruple Ale

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Serving Type: 650-mL bottle

ABV: 13.7 percent

Malty? Hoppy? More hoppy

Reviewed: January 2015

With the start of the New Year, I’ve been cleaning out my fridge. Specifically, my beer supply (I know, it’s a tough job). Over the past few months, during the GABF frenzy and holiday parties, I accumulated quite the lineup of mismatched brews. Recently, in the very back of the refrigerator, I found River North Brewery’s Big City Quad. I’d picked this up for a special dinner in early November (it was released in October), but forgot to open it that night and lost track of it.

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(Read more beer reviews from 5280 editors)

On a not-so-special, chilly weekday in January, I finally decided to crack it open and do some Netflix binge watching. Now, the first thing I need to mention is that this brew comes in at a whopping 13.7 percent ABV, so make sure you’ve got a friend to share it with. As you’d expect, the alcohol is quite present on first taste, but it was not overwhelming, which is impressive. (This limited release quadruple ale is aged in whiskey and vermouth barrels, which explains some of that flavor.) The color is a deep, beautiful mahogany and it pours a latte-foam colored head that isn’t too thick (or too thin).

There’s an abundance of fruit (cherries and raisins) in the nose. In fact, this brew reminds me of a hearty oatmeal raisin cookie: oat-y goodness with a hint of burnt and caramelized sugar. There are plenty of hops, but malts play the lead role in this brew, which is bold and complex, and a very solid sipping option. It’s an ideal beer for an ordinary night, snuggled up on the coach with reruns to watch.

(Check out 5280’s comprehensive guide to Colorado’s craft beer scene)

Follow senior editor Natasha Gardner on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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