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The Broomfielder

Beer 101 Featuring Broomfield Brews

Oct 01, 2019 07:36AM
By Elizabeth Buckingham

In the past two decades, American beer has enjoyed a renaissance that changed brewing forever. Rather than bland, tasteless mass-market beers, we now have an incredible selection of locally-crafted microbrews available at just about every pub and liquor store.

Beer is made from four basic ingredients: water, grains, hops, and yeast. The basic idea is to extract sugar from the grains (usually barley, although other grains can be used) to create alcohol and carbon dioxide. The grains are first malted to prepare the starches, then steeped in hot water to produce a sweet liquid known as wort. The wort is boiled, and hops are sometimes (although not always) added. Hops are what give beer bitterness, and add other flavors and aromas, too. When the mixture has finished boiling, yeast is added; the yeast consumes the sugars remaining in the grains, and in exchange creates carbon dioxide and alcohol, giving the finished product carbonation. Beer has been made in roughly the same way for 10,000 years, although modern brewers have a great deal of creative license in their combinations of malts, hops, and yeasts, as well as fruit or other plant extracts.

If you’re new to beer, never fear! Head to your local brewery and order a tasting flight, which is simply a line-up of small tastes of different beers. This is the best way to learn about your own taste preferences and figure out what you do and don’t like, as well as that particular brewery’s specialties. Most Americans start out drinking light lagers, but there’s so much more to enjoy. From cask-conditioned ales to piney, floral IPAs to dark, rich stouts, there is a beer for every place and time. Brewers are passionate about what they do, and are keen to help people enjoy beer, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Curious to learn more? Here are two great places to try local beer in Broomfield:

Wonderland Brewing // 5450 W. 120th Ave. // 303-953-0400 //
Wonderland has a big, four-acre property with amazing outdoor spaces where you can enjoy drinks with friends. They’re also known for their incredible pinball collection! Head brewer Joshua Willett believes that “every person who comes through the door can find something to enjoy in here.” If you’re not a huge fan of overly bitter beers, Willett recommends trying sour beers, which offer a delicious drinking experience without the overwhelming hoppy bitterness that so many find off-putting. Because Wonderland is small, they have the luxury of experimentation and are constantly changing their brews to suit the seasons and their guests’ diverse tastes.
Joshua believes that people should approach beer as they do food. “You don’t eat the exact same thing every single day, so why would you drink the exact same thing? Our job as brewers is to express the unique characteristics of the quality ingredients we’re using, not mask them. We want to make the very best beverages we can, and we aim to make something for everyone. Just talk to us – we’ll help you figure out what you like.”

4 Noses Brewing // 8855 W. 116th Cir. // 720-460-2797 //
Casey LeFever, front-of-house and HR director at 4 Noses Brewing - and a Broomfield native! -  shares what makes 4 Noses unique: “One thing we’ve always done is to develop new beers that excite us. You’ll notice we make several different IPAs, which are certainly popular with our customers. We also make many beers with a variety of fruits, always utilizing actual fruit, never extracts or syrups. Lately, we’ve been diving more into traditional lagers, which go down easy on hot days and require strong technical skill from our brew team.”

If you want to know how to taste beer like a professional, Casey’s got you covered: “There’s no wrong way to drink beer, that’s for sure! However, to fully immerse ourselves in a beer, we do follow a few steps. The first is to smell the beer. Start by swirling it to release subtle aromas, and then take two quick sniffs, followed by a longer one with your mouth open. Then the fun part: drinking! Take small sips, and be sure to coat your mouth with the beer, taking note of all the flavors. While the beer is still in your mouth, exhale through your nose. That said, there’s nothing wrong with throwing all of that to the wind and drinking it however you please.”

We’ll raise a glass to that!