Craft beer in the U.S. these days is full of extreme, full-flavored brews that push the envelope of complexity. This is great if you’re sharing a special bottle with a friend or two, or savoring a single beer at the end of the evening. But what if you want to drink a few beers while being social at a bar? What if you have to drive? What if you you don’t have any friends?
A bottle of that 12 percent ABV, triple fermented, whole hop cone, barrel aged, jasmine and chipotle pepper spiced Belgian IPA might make you forget the "no friends" thing for a while, but it also might make you fall asleep on the couch with the lights on.
In honor of the forthcoming Great American Beer Festival (Oct. 11 to 13 in Denver) , we present a list of 10 approachable Colorado beers in a range of styles. All are flavorful, interesting and less than 6.0 percent ABV.
New Belgium Shift Pale Lager: New Belgium uses full-flavored Nelson Sauvin and Cascade hops typically used in pale ales and IPAs to give this brew hints of passionfruit and a crisp citrus finish that make it much sexier than the average lager (5.0 percent ABV).
Dry Dock Apricot Blonde: This refreshing offering from one of the Denver area’s best small breweries contains real apricots that give it a nice fruity sweetness, but is also balanced enough to still taste like beer (5.1 percent ABV).
River North White: An authentic and outstanding Belgian-style wit from this relatively new Blake Street brewery known mostly for innovative and strong beers styles. River North Wit has refreshing lemon and citrus flavors with a layer of herbal spice, pepper and a crisp finish (5.0 percent ABV).
Avery Joe’s American Pilsner: This beer is packed with flavor and showcases the floral notes of German noble hops. It is often difficult to find pilsners done well in the U.S. and this one doesn’t disappoint (4.7 percent ABV).
TRVE Brewing Wanderlust Belgo-American Pale Ale: The flagship beer of this brand new and very friendly South Broadway neighborhood brewery, Wanderlust is a delicious marriage of tart apricot fruit esters from the use of Belgian yeast and notes of tropical fruit from Nelson Sauvin hops (5.5 percent ABV).
Boulder Hazed and Infused: This unfiltered amber ale is dry hopped to give it a wonderfully bitter zing that is great for hopheads and makes it drink like an "IPA Light" (5.0 percent ABV).
Upslope Pale Ale: This is a great post-hike thirst quencher brewed with Patagonian hops from Argentina pilsner malts that give it a more subdued flavor and a crisp finish, closer to a flavorful lager (5.8 percent ABV).
Bristol Laughing Lab Scottish Style Ale: A highly decorated GABF medal winner, Laughing Lab has the big, malty sweet flavors of caramel, brown sugar, and maple that are usually only found in much stronger versions of this style (5.0 percent ABV).
Denver Beer Co. Graham Cracker Porter: This GABF bronze medal winner has notes of vanilla, cinnamon spice, and roasted malt sweetness that tastes like a "campfire in a glass" and make it the rare anytime dark beer (5.9 percent ABV).
Odell 5 Barrel Pale Ale: This is a refreshing and lively pale ale that is infused with whole hop flowers. 5 Barrel has multiple layers of flavor and hoppy aromatics without being overwhelming which makes it very drinkable (5.2 percent ABV).
— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation
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