- Griffin Swartzell
- Black Forest's beer is great, but the snacks could improve.
This is manager Tara and brewer Donovan's first pro brewing gig, which is somewhat worrisome — every brewing setup has its quirks, and scaling up a beer recipe without changing the flavor is not a one-to-one affair. But Tara and Donovan have been training with Paul and Teresa Vieira and Mike Hagan of Peaks N Pines brewery.
When we visit, BFBC has five house beers on tap, plus brews from locals like Peaks N Pines and Denver-based Strange Craft Beer Company, as well as gluten-free beers and ciders.
At 8 percent ABV, the house Double German Chocolate Cake stout is the strongest on the menu, a big-not-huge beer with a velvety mouthfeel. Its measured coconut and slight pecan notes play nice with chocolatey roasted malts, and a sweeter finish makes this a sound dessert beer. We also dig the Irish red ale, a smooth, long-finishing sipper with subtle caramel notes at 6.3 percent ABV — malt-forward beers deserve love, too.
Location Details Black Forest Brewing Company
The last keg of house IPA has blown when we visit, but we're fond of the Forest Black IPA, a fine conversation between bitter hops and dark malts. The honey blonde — brewed with Colorado honey, we're told — has a little friendly fruitiness in an overall well-composed brew.
If there's a disappointment, it's the reserved Colorado Lumberjack pale ale, which, brewed with a blend of six hops, loses any particular hop character beyond simple bitterness, and there's not much of that besides. Still, we detect no off flavors or under-fermented notes; it's fine for amber ale drinkers.
There's one more interesting brew on the menu called feuerwasser, literally fire-water. It's a clear, fizzy, neutral-tasting brew they serve with flavored syrups or in cocktails, fermented from light dry malt extract, corn sugar and minimal hops.
"It's intended to be a super-light alternative, lighter than a blonde," says Donovan. We try it in a promising Feuerita, mixed with Monument distillery 300 Days of Shine's Margarita Moon. Imagine Smirnoff Ice without the edge of artificial flavoring, taste-wise; at $8, we'll pass. Maybe try it straight or with offered fruit syrups, all more affordable.
Donovan says the business has limitations on how much food prep can be done on-site, so most of what they serve is trucked in from Schnitzel Fritz and other vendors and heated. A pre-cooked brat with curry ketchup comes on a Wimberger's Old World Bakery & Delicatessen-baked roll (promising) that's gone stale and tough (disappointing). A Reuben's more successful, if less than bountiful between slices of swirled rye, though its house sauerkraut bears a lovely little funk. For sides, the vinegar-based krautsalat (cole slaw) is fine, but the kartoffelsalat (potato salad) stands above. German potato salad is served warm, not cold, in a dressing made here from vinegar and the fat from cooked bacon that's added in.
Skip the schlachteplatte, a south German play on charcuterie. While the pumpernickel, pickles and olives are fine, the meat and cheese offerings, sourced from King Soopers, aren't terribly interesting. It could use mustard, too — all things worth pondering over another lovely pint. Ein mehr, bitte!