Durango is a small town with a huge personality. Surrounded by beautiful mountains with a vibrant river flowing through it, Durango conveys a bold attitude and fresh perspective that this mid-Atlantic suburbanite finds intoxicating (everytime we visit, I long to quit my job and just move).
So you can imagine the expectations that go with a beer bearing this town’s name. Sure enough, the fine brews from the Durango Brewing Company live up to the spirit of Durango.
I had the pleasure sampling two wonderful Durango Brewing Company brews during my trip — the Durango Amber Ale and the Durango Wheat Beer.
According to the company’s Web site, the Amber Ale as a “deep amber color, medium body, and mild hop bitterness making it a well balanced refreshing beer.” Personally, I found the Amber Ale to be better tasting than most ambers, but compared to the the other fine ambers I’ve sampled lately it didn’t really stand out above the rest. Definately worth tasting again but nothing to warrant another trip across the country.
As for the Wheat Beer, I DID find it unique enough that it stood out. To many people when you say “Wheat Beer” they think “Hefeweizen” in the German tradition. But as I learned at a recent evening at DC’s Churchkey, the “Wheat Beer” label goes way beyond that pale expectation.
And Durango’s Wheat Beer follows this tradition with it’s “American-Style Wheat with domestic barley and wheat malts.” In just looking at the beer it has the same appearance as a standard smooth flowing lager. But upon putting it to your lips you realize that it not only combines a good drinkability with additional flavor and personality. The combination just makes it memorable.
Apparently this beer is a 2007 Colorado State Fair winner — and I can see why. If I could have brought some home, I would have snuck it into my luggage.
My one regret with this brewery is that I couldn’t spend any time at their facility. We stopped in the restuarant/bar for dinner and it looked like a fun place with a focus on good beer. Tables are set up for socializing and drinking with not much emphasis on food (although they do serve food). The environment just begged for a session beer and spending time with friends and enjoyable brews.
Alas, as I was with my family and mother-in-law this was not quite the environment suitable for a family dinner. However, as a beer drinker I longed to escape from our hotel and venture back to sip a few brews.
On our next trip, this place is definitely on my to-do list.
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