Colorado Chronicles – Odell Brewing Company

After touring at New Belgium for most of the afternoon our group made its way to Odell Brewing Company, also in Fort Collins.  The first thing you notice as you walk up is all the hop vines growing right on the building.

Hop Vines picture by Jon Marler

Hop Vines picture by Jon Marler

I can only imagine how delicious it must smell during harvest season.  The middle of January at dusk with a stuffed nose was not the best way to appreciate Odell but it was impressive nevertheless.

Odell's Charity of the Month picture by Jon Marler

Odell's Charity of the Month picture by Jon Marler

Inside the first thing that caught my eye was Odell’s dedication to local charities.  Right at the front door is a blackboard that lists the details of Odell’s Charity of the Month.  An employee committee disburses the proceeds from the tasting room and each CoM receives an average of $1500.  Side note: I don’t know about you but I love how these Colorado breweries give back.

Heading into the tasting room itself, you first see the bottle beer to-go cooler while waiting in line to place your order.  I wish that JoAnna and I would have allocated more space for bringing beer home.  If it were cheaper to fly with additional bags, I would still have a fridge full of Odell beer.

As per my M-O I ordered a sampler tasting tray.  Odell’s has three samplers from which to choose: the Classic, the Pilot, and the Co-Pilot.  JoAnna opted for the Pilot while Matt and I ordered the Co-Pilot.  Both samplers come with placards that describe each beer and offer a suggested order for drinking, both of which I really like.

The Pilot starts with Town Pump Pail Ale, a traditional British-style pale ale.  Next comes Isolation Ale- a winter warmer made with imported British malt.  Henri’s Hoppy Thing- a hoppy and citrusy beer follows.  The next beer, described as “Billy D. Williams smooth,” is a German-inspired beer called Black Ale-Licious.  The Cutthroat Porter is second to last but with a twist, it comes served on a nitrogen tap.  The last is an oak-aged Sour Ale called Beaker’s Brew.

The Co-Pilot starts with Myrcenary Double IPA.  Named for the hop oil Myrcene, not hired guns, it packs a deliciously hoppy punch.  A Double Black IPA called Mountain Standard is next.  It’s brewed with locally-grown Colorado hops.  My favorite of the bunch came third, Hiverrano American Wild Ale.  Hiverrano is a blended beer with part American Double IPA and part barrel-aged Belgian-style Wild Ale brewed with wild yeast captured at Odell’s.  I LOVE when breweries capture their own yeast from their premises.  It makes the beer taste like where you are and offers something completely original and authentic.  Bottom line, I dig it!

Each was better than the one before!The Co-Pilot rounds out with the Oatmeal Stout on nitrogen, Bourbon Barrel Stout (my second favorite, so smooth!), and Toe Stepper- a super hoppy stout.  By the end I began experiencing some serious palate fatigue and only the really big beers continued to stand out.  I felt very fortunate that the favorites I saved til the end, Hiverrano, Bourbon Barrel Stout, Beaker’s Brew, and Saboteur (I got a free seventh tasting, Thanks Odells!) were the big beer types that I could still completely appreciate.

Odell won a Gold Medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival for Friek, a Framboise and Kriek blend that is aged in oak barrels and I really wanted to try the award winning brew but the tasting room was out.  Luckily, the bartender directed us to a nearby store where we were able to grab a bottle.  I can’t wait to crack it open.  If it’s anything like the rest of Odell’s offerings then it will be worth the wait.


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