Colorojo, Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver

Style: Imperial Red Ale

ABV: 8.2 percent

Serving Type: 12-ounce can

Malty? Hoppy? A lot of both.

Reviewed: October 2013

If you’ve had a keen eye on Denver’s brewery landscape, you might agree that some breweries are playing craft beer catch-up. We’ve taken notice of efforts like Wynkoop’s “Even Smaller Batch Series,” a small collection of niche and specialty brews (such as its fall Pumpkin Ale and Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout) that are canned and labeled in-house before being distributed throughout the state. The series’ second—and only year-round—introduction was Colorojo, an imperial red ale.

The hefty red is a mouthful in both name and taste. My first reaction: Holy malts. And hops. And, even, aroma. The beer, which pours auburn, is sweet and piney in taste and smell, with subtler notes of citrus and toffee. The intense flavor—which covers its high ABV well—isn’t by accident. Head brewer Andy Brown was interested in making a hoppy beer with a strong malt profile to balance it out. Its brewing process endured six different additions of a six-hop blend, a dry-hopping, and crystal malts (a specialty grain that adds sweetness and a reddish color).

While it’s not sessionable by nature, the brew’s over-the-top attitude seems to become milder, and more balanced, as you drink it. It’s the type of brew you want to sip with spicy bar food or on a bitter fall evening.

Bonus: You can try the imperial red for yourself at the Great American Beer Festival.

Would we buy it again? Probably, during the fall and winter seasons, when we’re looking for a strong red ale to warm us up.

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.