As a follow-up to Oct. 6's Side Dish column, in which we listed three new brewing projects set for Colorado Springs in the coming year, Bryce Crawford and I briefly sat down with Fieldhouse Brewing Company's Travis and Nicole Fields on Friday.
Since it is likely to be a year or so until they get in business somewhere locally, they wanted to give us early samples of some of Travis' homebrew creations as a teaser for what is to come.
Firstly, all three samples we tried had remarkable strong and vibrant noses — super aromatic, portending good things to come. Travis uses all real fruit and ingredients, so to be clear, this isn't beer from concentrate or anything.
The pumpkin porter, which he made using baked Venetucci Farm pumpkins — hey, they're not exclusive to Bristol Brewing Co. — weighs in at 7.2 percent ABV and also benefits from all spice, cinnamon and ginger.
I kept smelling something hot in the nose, as if it had chilies of some sort, but that must have been the ginger, which did nip just a little on the back end. But the beer had a great smooth texture, rich body and balanced spice. My first pumpkin porter that I can recall drinking, all other pumpkin beers usually being the standard amber body. Fun and definitely a success.
Look for it down the road on their seasonal menu.
Next up, weighing in at 8 percent ABV was another entirely new, and therefore exciting taste: an India Wheat Ale. As you might guess, it is basically an IPA made with a wheat base. Surprisingly though, it isn't very bitter with hops, only strong in the nose with them and delivering a cleaner flavor of hop without the bite.
Travis uses Summit Hops from Yakima Valley, Wash., which deliver a slight citrus note as well. I'd call this beer sort of a gateway IPA for those not ready for a lot of bitterness, who love a light wheat body.
Last up, we sampled a white chocolate raspberry stout, a 6.5 percent ABV beauty with a strong roasted maltiness, mild smokines and good raspberry flavor without too much sweetness. The raspberry is again strong in the nose and it is evident that it is real fruit, not a gross syrup.
Other flavors to expect on the house taps: a bourbon vanilla porter, maple nut brown, honey wheat, and a variety of other seasonals.
The wrapup for today: hell of strong showing from Fields with a lot of promise. Easy drinking beers with interesting touches, great bouquets and well-balanced bodies. I will be personally excited to see this brewery open next year.