Who doesn’t like variety at least once in a while? I admit I’m not the most discerning beer drinker. But as a recent craft beer convert, I don’t have a particular loyalty to any one type of beer, and that means being pretty open to the, er, more unique approaches to a pint. If you’re looking to add some adventure to your drinking life, Colorado Springs brewers have you covered. And the good news: a funky sounding beer is not always what you expect. Here are seven local unique or weird beers worth sampling.
Chips and Salsa Cerveza Cream Ale, Cogstone Brewing Company
It started with a simple flight. I ordered four small pours and couldn’t resist the novelty of a “chips and salsa” beer. I was pretty sure it would be a one-and-done sip. But oh, no, it was, “Give me a pint, stat!” Cogstone co-owner and brewer Robert Hemphill is the developer of the snack-turned-beer. “While eating chips and salsa, which I enjoy, I thought to myself, How about those flavors in a beer?” Hemphill says. “I wanted a more complex, interesting beer rather than just a chili beer.” In his research, he discovered that cream ale is already made with corn, so he increased it considerably and combined it with the roasted salsa, green chile, jalapenos, lime and salt. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Find It: 3858 Village Seven Rd., cogstonebrewing.com
Sweet Corn Saison, Local Relic
Speaking of corn … Local Relic’s co-owner and head brewer Grant Goodwiler thought a fruity pale ale seemed to beg for a little kernel of sweetly savory. “We used Olathe sweet corn in part because we love showing off locally sourced ingredients, and because corn, or I suppose, corn syrup, has such a bad, albeit well-deserved, name in the beer world,” explains Jeff Zearfoss, Local Relic’s other co-owner. The result is a drinkable, sweetly sassy saison. But don’t get too attached because small batch brewing is the name of the game at Local Relic. Here today, gone tomorrow. Never fear though: There just might be a savory, herb-based Belgian awaiting.
Find It: 320 S. Weber St., localrelic.com
Pineapple Purgatory, Cerberus Brewing Company
From corny to fruity, let’s talk sours. Intentionally tart, these generally lower ABV beers have gained traction throughout the area and gotten more and more interesting. The latest at Cerberus, Pineapple Purgatory, starts slightly acidic and ends sweet and fruity. It’s a refreshing pour with a savory plate of food from the restaurant.
Find It: 702 W. Colorado Ave., cerberusbrewingco.com
Tava Raza, Pikes Peak Brewing Company
In Monument, Pikes Peak Brewing has taken the beloved Tava, aka “sun mountain,” wild American red sour and aged it with raspberry puree. A higher ABV (7.2%), this is a less tart sour that drinks smoothly.
Find It: 1756 Lake Woodmoor Dr., Monument, pikespeakbrewing.com
Yamm’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Sweet Potato Ale, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Dinner time! Phantom Canyon has created a playful twist on the ubiquitous pumpkin brews — and an infamous old-time beer name. Yamm’s is rich and robust with flavors straight from the holiday dinner table. Sweet potatoes are the star. The roasted yam is barrel aged with vanilla and cinnamon, and the final flavor delivers hints of whiskey and oak.
Find It: 2 East Pikes Peak Ave., phantomcanyon.com
Caramel Macchiato Stouterdaze, Trinity Brewing
Let’s end with the beginning — of the day. Love specialty coffee drinks? Then don’t miss the Caramel Macchiato Stout at Trinity. Brewed with espresso-y dark malts, this one is made with vegan caramel. The thick duo makes for a strong, robust stout.
Find It: 1466 Garden of the Gods Rd., trinitybrew.com
Pastor Toastman, Metric Brewing
For an equally surprising dark pint, Metric Brewing’s Pastor Toastman is a brown ale that delivers the unexpected: French toast in a glass, thanks to maple syrup and some syrupy malts. “Our French Toast Brown is a throwback to Saturday morning cartoons: Powdered Toast Man debuted on the Ren and Stimpy Show,” says Chase Perry, Metric co-founder and head brewer. “Brewed with an excess of maple sugar to promote sweetness, it’s the perfect complement to the dry caramel and biscuit profile.” Sugary sweet and such a treat. I wanted to lick the glass after quickly emptying it.
Find It: Metric Brewing, 1213 N. Circle Dr., metricbrews.com
If you’re ready to have some fun with local beers, just head out with an open mind.