Beer spans all the colors of the rainbow (just take a look at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project’s Wild Wild Brett series) but what happens when brewers concentrate on a single hue, perfect it, and reinterpret it in fascinating ways? Black Shirt Brewing Co.—Denver’s red-ale-only brewery—happens, that’s what. Although Black Shirt stretches the definition of “red ale” to its limits (e.g. red saisons, red porters…etc.), it all began with their flagship: a solid, straightforward beer called Colorado Red Ale (6.43% ABV)
Color: Russet red and opaque, Colorado Red is topped with beige foam.
Aroma: Caramel and toffee malt overtones dominate the nose but flowery and piney hops provide back-up. It’s an overall sweet aroma with perhaps some plum intermingling. It’s not unlike the prototypical smells of an ESB.
Taste: Toasted grain huskiness starts off the beer as sweet malts tingle the tip of the tongue. In the aftertaste, there’s a citric bitterness along with a pine resin bite. In between its complexly malty and suggestive of dark fruits—almost like a weak barleywine.
Mouthfeel: Colorado Red is quite thick and moderately wet in the finish but that wetness subsides to grain-husk dryness.
When one has the hankering for red ale, one needn’t look further than Black Shirt and, even though the brewery has many, many options, their red ale is the impetus behind everything else they do. Pick up a six-pack of Colorado Red and drink in the ruby goodness.