Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, September 16, 2016

2016 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Michigan Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

After opening week snark and last week's tongue-in-cheek pick of a damn soft drink, we're back to normal service for the weekly beer selection.  There's a lot of good breweries in Michigan, a number of which are well worth a drive if you're in region.  One of the more unique and celebrated standouts, though, is actually located in Ann Arbor.  Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, a short hop down main street from the Big House, is simply one of the best purveyors of rustic-style beers in the country.  Their signature Oro de Calabaza wild ale is this week's beer-o-the-week.
Alternatively categorized as a biere de garde, a strong ale, a wild ale, or a golden ale, depending on your view on such things, Oro de Calabaza (meaning golden pumpkin... don't worry, not a fake-ass pumpkin ale) is a barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned Belgian-style brew. Essentially a cousin of the saison, these are all variations on a Franco-Belgian theme meant to be brewed in cool weather and stored in cellars for extended periods.  They are typically malt-forward, complex, and pretty sweet, with that weird nod in the direction of Belgian yeast.  This version will pour a little hazy in the glass, and hit you with a rich array of acidic floral, fruit, and spice flavors, along with some wood from the oak barrels.  Not my favorite style, and there are almost no hop characteristics to savor, but still very pleasant, especially if you don't mind a little funk.  Seriously, if you're into the whole Belgian thing, you should enjoy this.

Note: this is not a beer for getting ripped.  We're talking serious flavors here for mature palates.  I can't even imagine someone wanting to pound a bottle of this, and, at 8% abv, it'd hurt.  No, this is for the more mellow tailgate; contemplative and retrospective.  The kind that the wine and cheese elites at the UofM would appreciate.  In fact, pair with cheese.  Go ahead, get some damn cheese, already!

For those in Boulder, far from the action on Saturday, Liquormart and Hazel's both offer it in handy 350ml size.  Purchase, consume, enjoy.  Responsibly, of course.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Wolverines!

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