Style: Red Ale
Serving Type: 16-ounce can
ABV: 7.3 percent
Hop Meter (1-10): 4
Malt Meter (1-10): 8
Reviewed: August 2015
Recently at the 5280 office, a handful of editors tasted a few dozen different beers (over the course of several days) in advance of a special project we’re putting together for the Great American Beer Festival in September. Our choices necessarily included a lot of the usual suspects when it comes to Colorado craft beer: Dale’s Pale Ale, Left Hand’s Milk Stout, and Odell’s IPA, to name a few. But there were also some lesser-known brews on the list, none of which I found more pleasantly surprising than Pikes Peak Brewing Co.’s Devil’s Head Red Ale.
Pikes Peak Brewing Co. opened in 2011 in Monument, a few miles north of Colorado Springs. The brewery concocts what it calls “full-flavored renditions of classic styles,” which is certainly an apt description of the Devil’s Head Red Ale. Sometimes red ales can be a bit, well, boring; that’s not the case here. The beer is enjoyably complex without being overpowering. Devil’s Head pours a deep amber color. The brew smells hoppier than it tastes—the flavor is more malt-forward, like a caramel candy dipped in chocolate. Stil, the beer remains crisp and balanced, even with its somewhat high 7.3 percent ABV.
The rest of Pikes Peak’s year-round lineup includes an imperial IPA, a Beglian ale, an English mild, a stout, and a pale ale—all of which I’ll be on lookout for in Front Range liquor stores. Impressed with the brewery’s red ale, I’m curious to see how they handle other classic styles.
The ideal drinker: An IPA lover who is looking for something a little more malt forward.