Geoff Bruce (who also writes for Drink!) gave me a call yesterday and asked if I wanted to check out a new Brewery that had just opened it’s doors, Brewery Rickoli. What a pleasant surprise. Stuck in the middle of a strip mall on a major boulevard, it wasn’t much to look at from the outside. While the interior is sparse, you can see it was all lovingly hand crafted… people poured their hearts into this place. As with many such breweries here in Colorado, they have a ‘tasting room’ which means they can’t have a kitchen, but several local restaurants will happlily supply your victuals.
The Brewer Rick Abitol, who looks like he could be a host on Myth Busters, took us on a tour of the brewing floor. Really it was a glorified home brewing setup, where the passion of the brewer more than makes up for a lack shiny copper tanks. He proudly showed us his malts, which he imports from England and Germany, noting, “I don’t have an accountant telling me I can’t buy this or that ingredient”. As I’ve looked over my notes on the beers, I keep coming back to the malt, so I’m already a believer.
The night we came (the day after they opened), they had 5 beers on tap. They offered a taster flight for $6 and I chose to go for that. Geoff of course opted for the Eye-P-A. I gave him tastes from my flight. When he tasted the Hearty Rye Stout, his eyes grew wide. It was his new favorite, a status which only lasted until he tasted the Black Pline (Imperial Black IPA). He was like a kid in a candy store. “This place is going to do just fine!” he announced in between sips.
My general impression of the beers was very positive. Being one who has become sensitive to big IPAs (as in I get a hangover from one pint), I was able to safely enjoy a pint of the Eye-P-A. I particularly like Rick’s use of malt to balance other flavors. If I could wish for one thing, it would be more beers under 6%, so I can enjoy more before my friends have to carry me home. But, judging by the number of taps at the back of the bar, they will fill in those gaps. For the designated driver, he has blended up some surprisingly good root beer and black cherry soda.
The Totally had a bright citrus nose provided by a blend of Apollo and Columbus hops. In the mouth it starts bitter and fades to a delightful floral finish. Sitting and sipping this beer, I tried to put my finger on what was different about it. It lacks the sour notes of many other IPAs. While I missed the balance that sourness can bring, this made for a more refreshing beer. I would almost describe the flavor here as delicate, not a ‘Gob-smacker’ as Geoff Bruce would call it. I’ll have another please!
The RED is named after the brewer’s father, a fascinating Frenchman who grew up in Casablanca. I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with Aldo while I drank the beer. The beer is an Alt, which I’ve always liked more in theory than in practice. It has a smooth malt flavor, without being sweet. As advertised it has a good clean taste, but like many alts, lacked a bit of body for my palate. **Update** I returned three days later and tried the Aldo again. I liked it much more this time, noting a nutty pecan flavor in the malt.
The Social Lubricant is a what we Yanks call a Scotch Ale, and would probably be called a strong ale in an Edinburgh pub. While not my favorite style of beer, this is a respectable example of the species. Here the maltiness is accompanied by a bit of sweetness and a hint of hops. At 7.8% abv, you’ll be talking like Sean Connery before you finish your second pint. And who doesn’t like Sean? Just make sure you have a designated driver.
Hearty Rye Stout
I truly loved this beer. The roughness of the rye when you first sip is beautifully tamed by the roasted malt finish. I have never had such a smooth Rye beer. It is both delicious and unique. Bravo!
The Black Pline
“This is a very intense Imperial Black IPA!” declared the menu. It didn’t lie. Where the Eye-P-A was delicate, this one grabs you by the shirt collar and makes you pay attention. The color is a deep brown. On the nose it has complex floral notes from the blend of hops. Here the bitterness of the hops is balanced by the rich malt. I just wish it wasn’t so strong, so I could have more.
4335 Wadsworth Blvd.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033