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Thursday, February 7,2013

Dispatch from the loud table

Boulder Beer helps solve our volume problem

By Steve Weishampel
Photo by Steve Weishampel

Weeks before we even conceived of a tour of Boulder County’s breweries, I made an uncomfortable discovery: When the Boulder Weekly staff goes out to eat — which is pretty often as we’re all wealthy and have tons of time — we’re the loud table.

It’s not even close. We talk a lot and we talk really loud. We interrupt each other. We get glances from other tables. We make jokes to — not even with — the wait staff, for God’s sake.

Elizabeth and Jeff are quiet and I don’t think I’m too bad, but it only takes one, and we have several. David and Dave are pretty loud, but Joel takes the crown. You know that scene in Annie Hall that compares Annie’s silent Wisconsin family with Alvy’s chaotic relatives in New York? Joel is every Singer in that scene.

It’s OK. I just know I have to make a return trip to see the taproom atmosphere untainted by us.

Except this week. We failed to dominate in Boulder Beer Company’s sports-bar-like taproom, where pitchers and burgers abound. Colorado’s oldest craft brewery isn’t noisy, but every table’s full on Thursday afternoon when we sit down and order a taster of each of the 13 beers on tap.

Most Boulder Beer beers need little introduction. Hazed and Infused does its slightly sweet, slightly hoppy thing; Buffalo Gold still sets the standard for golden ales in this town; Mojo IPA packs a bitter and floral punch.

But as with any brewery, the best beers on tap are the limited releases. The Rum Porter earned literal Oohs and Aahs with its malt balance and complex finish. It reduced the normally loquacious Joel to subject-verb-object.

“That’s really good,” he says. “I’m really happy.”

While a certain anonymous colleague and I committed to Rum Porter pints, BW staff grabbed the two saisons on tap, the Belgian-over-honey Honey of a Saison and the deeper, smoother Wine Barrel-Aged Saison. (Yes, it appears after Hazed and Infused, the Boulder Beer naming crew took a long, long break.) The red-wine-aged brew won head-to-head, even winning a half-positive review from the Belgian Haters Coalition of Elizabeth and Joel.

Over a pair of aggressive darks, the Planet Porter and Obovoid Stout on nitro, Joel tried his best to earn us the loud-table title. But alas, Boulder Beer was just too popular to take over.

This week, we’re adjusting the schedule. Next alphabetically is BRU, but we’ve decided that the new brewer can wait just one more week, because Stout Month summons us.

We’re off to Pearl Street’s Mountain Sun, and — as we plan to do every week going forward — we’re inviting the public to come drink with us. We’ll be at Mountain Sun 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7 chatting with our readers about the stouts, the news and whatever else we feel like. The following week, we’re dodging Valentine’s and heading to Jax Fish House — home of BRU — Wednesday, Feb. 13, also at 5 p.m.

See you there. Bring your megaphone.

Boulder Weekly staff will appear at Mountain Sun Pub at 5 p.m. Feb. 7, and will appear at Jax Fish House Boulder at 5 p.m. Feb. 13. Members of the public welcome.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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