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If you’ve ever dreamt of traveling the world but are coming up a bit short on plane fare and vacation days, look no further than the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project’s tap room. The Lincoln Park brewery’s line of experimental brews allows you to drink your way across the globe without ever leaving Denver, drawing inspiration from styles and flavors from a host of different countries (examples A and B: Bavarian Doppelbock and Turkish Coffee Stout).
On May 19, the brewery will celebrate it’s first birthday with a bash. Satuday’s festivities feature live music, a beer garden, a firkin tapping, and eats from the Barbed Wire Reef food truck—and it’s also your chance to nab one of Intrepid Sojourner’s five new bottle releases. We got a sneak peek—and taste—of the five brews; the brewery is releasing a new one each day this week leading up to the party. Our takeaway? Don’t wait until Saturday to snag these beers—only a few hundred bottles of each were produced, and they’re sure to go quickly. Here’s a rundown of the goods.
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Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Turkish Coffee Stout (11.5 percent ABV)
Dark beer fanatics: this is your new favorite quaff. Like his signature Turkish Coffee Stout, this Imperial version is based on Intrepid Sojourner brewer co-owner Andrew Moore’s experience in Turkish cafés during his time as an archaeology student. This imperial version spent a month aging on spiced rum barrels (courtesy of Breckenridge Distillery), rendering it shockingly smooth. The intensely rich, earthy tones of the robusta coffee are balanced by fragrant cardamom and sweet orange peel, both of which also help keep the bitterness in check, while the addition of cubeb pepper (an Indonesian plant that tastes something like a combination of allspice and black pepper) adds a pleasant hint of spice to the back of the palate. Despite it’s richness, it’s not hard to drink the entire 750 milliliter bottle in one sitting (speaking from first-hand experience).
Smoked Hickory Peach Wee Heavy (9.6 percent ABV)
Moore and his business manager, Ben Gettinger, are both natives of Indiana (their mothers were sorority sisters at Indiana University). So it was only fitting that for Beers Made By Walking (a Colorado-based program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks) they fused their two home states into a deliciously funky new brew that nabbed them a silver the experimental beer category at the recent World Beer Cup. Moore harvested 30 pounds of Shagbark Hickory bark from Indiana, shipped it to Colorado himself, and roasted it in his oven along with Colorado-grown Palisade peaches. The bark infuses the beer with flavors of toasted marshmallow, caramel, and burnt cinnamon, while the sweet softness on the finish comes from the peaches.
Imperial Basil IPA (11.0 percent ABV)
This beer accomplishes the difficult task of smelling and tasting like an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. The sweet basil notes balance the hoppy bitterness so well you’ll hardly believe it’s an IPA. The herbaceous flavors meld perfectly with the floral and citrus garnered from Columbus, Magnum, Citra, and Centennial hops. This is the perfect brew for those who love all the floral flavors of an IPA but can’t handle the hops—it might even earn your nonna’s approval.
Belgian Quad (12.1 percent ABV)
Short for “quadrupel” you can probably guess the idea behind this Belgian ale: it’s stronger and bolder than its dubbel and tripel sisters. The highly fruity nose contrasts with the intense malt on the palate, offering a sweet alcoholic warmth. There’s also a hint of smoke on the back end of each sip. You can even lay this this behemoth down to age for two to three years in your handy beer cellar—if you have that sort of patience.
Imperial Sahti (9.3 percent ABV)
Sahtis are Finnish-style brews employing juniper (as hops aren’t exactly easy to grow near the Arctic Circle). The “big brother” of the Finnish Sahti on Intrepid’s regular tap lis, this imperial version boasts a shockingly botanical nose for such a dark beer. When creating this brew, Moore literally threw open his pantry doors and tossed in what he found: chocolate malt, whole cloves, ginger, cascabel peppers, and macadamia nuts. Like the mad scientist he is, he somehow managed to blend all these elements into a complex yet velvety brew. Sweet, earthy, and slightly spicy, the individual flavors are highly distinguishable yet meld perfectly together to roll over the palate in a suds-y wave.
If you go: Saturday, May 19, 11:00 a.m.-midnight; The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, 925 W. Eighth Ave., 720-572-5172