Colorado Red Ale, Black Shirt Brewing Co., Denver

Style: American Amber

Serving Type: 12-ounce cans

ABV: 6.56 percent

Malty? Hoppy? Malty

Reviewed: July 2015

Beer is an acquired taste. I can say that because, after years of being a craft-beer lover—it was my drink of choice through college (gasp!) and long afterward—I took a six-month, health-related hiatus that completely altered my taste perception. My senses were heightened so that it seemed I could smell and taste each ingredient in a beer individually—the hops, malt, yeast—and not in a good way. It was a total buzz kill to not enjoy beer as much as I used to, but I’ve since learned to readjust. Now, when I pop the top on a cold one, I consider it a treat and reach straight for the beer types I know I’ll enjoy: IPAs, Pilsners, Porters, and, alas, Ambers.

(Local breweries to sip at this summer)

Really, it’s hard to go wrong with a good amber, which is why Black Shirt Brewing Co. is a fave in my brewery book: The RiNo brewhouse literally specializes in reds. They can and distribute four of their red renditions, but I prefer the Colorado Red Ale. It’s heavy on the hops and malt, with a creamy mouthfeel, strong citrus undertones, a sweet palette, and a bitter aftertaste. In a beer genre often cited as underwhelming, this complex (and high ABV!) amber is a star. It satisfies the tastebuds of a hop-loving Coloradan, a Killian’s fan, and even me, a born-again beer-drinker.

Would we buy it again? Definitely. When we’re in the mood for an amber that packs a punch.

(Read more beer reviews from 5280 editors)

Jerilyn Forsythe
Jerilyn Forsythe
Jerilyn Forsythe is a freelance writer and editor, and 5280's former digital associate editor. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @jlforsyt.