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Rye Porter

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This week our search for a Beer Of The Week(end) took us 20 miles west of Denver to the Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs. Every good BOTW should start out with a picture that needs some explanation. This is Mic, a long-time friend of UpaDowna, in full-on emergency mode while helping me with a growler of Tommyknocker’s Rye Porter, which is this week’s Beer of the Week(end). Fashion model Mic is stylishly sporting Ortovox’s Gemini Single emergency bivi. More on the picture in a moment, but first we should take care of the important stuff….. the beer.This week our search for a Beer Of The Week(end) took us 20 miles west of Denver to the Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs. Every good BOTW should start out with a picture that needs some explanation. This is Mic, a long-time friend of UpaDowna, in full-on emergency mode while helping me with a growler of Tommyknocker’s Rye Porter, which is this week’s Beer of the Week(end). Fashion model Mic is stylishly sporting Ortovox’s Gemini Single emergency bivi. More on the picture in a moment, but first we should take care of the important stuff….. the beer. Normally, I hold off on porters until Autumn arrives, but this one is a seasonal brew that is only available directly from the brewery, and it sampled well, so we went with it. According to Tommyknocker, Rye Porter is an “…uncommonly smooth dark brown ale with a multitude of complex light chocolate and coffee flavors. The hops balance the malty tones imparted by a blend of dark and caramel grains. The overall balance of this beer makes it very drinkable.” Wait, is this a porter or a stout? There is a vague line drawn between the two styles, and this brew weaves along this line like an I-70 field sobriety test gone wrong. Weighing in at 5.7% ABV, the flavor initially strikes with the distinction of a stout, then the caramel malt fades into Tommyknocker’s signature earthy, nutty finish. I’ve tasted my way through Tommyknocker’s beer menu and this one stands out as one of the best I’ve had from them. It went over well at past GABFs, taking home a Silver in 2007 and a Bronze in 2008. In the past decade we’ve seen the Tommyknocker Brewery evolve from a hole-in-the-wall brewpub with paper menus into a brewing gem of the I-70 corridor, distributing beer to half the states in the US. The brewery is located in Idaho Springs on Miner Street, the main drag through downtown. On summer and winter weekends when downhill traffic on I-70 goes to shit, this once-little brewpub offers a perfect stopover for a brew and buffalo burger. (Check out their menu.) Since a lot of brewery tap rooms don’t open until 2pm, getting a growler filled in the morning can be difficult. In this sense, Tommyknocker is a winner. Being a restaurant, they open at 11am, meaning you can fill your bottle on the way up the mountain. And that’s exactly what we did on our way to St. Marys. Growler fills at the brewery are $9, a fair price for a jug of beer. Now here’s that explanation I promised…. Yesterday was August 28th, dangerously close to the end of the month. We still had not earned our August snowboarding day, so if we didn’t do it this weekend our 22 month snowboarding streak may have come to a close. We intended to leave town at 10am. Mic, notorious for both tardiness and forgetting key pieces of equipment, made it to my place by 11:15. Up the mountain, by the brewery, to the trailhead…. at this point we were in a race with the afternoon storms. Half-way up the glacier it was sprinkling on us, which led to a full-on shower with a hint of sleet by the time we neared the top. In addition to his boots (he borrowed mine which were only 2 sizes too large for him), Mic forgot to pack a rain jacket because he, “didn’t think it would rain today.” Once he found himself cold, wrong, and walking through the snow above treeline I decided to break out the emergency bivi for him. After all, this is exactly why I always keep this 220g life-saver stashed in my pack. With no arm holes, it isn’t exactly my go-to rain jacket, but it makes an excellent waterproof shell for a sleeping bag, and it gave Mic enough protection from the wind and rain to allow us to complete both of our missions; BOTW and August snowboarding. With the Autumn-y weather we endured, the porter turned out to be a perfect choice. By the way, St Marys is getting pretty melty. If you rely on that little strip of snow to provide you with your ski turns during the late summer months, I suggest you get your September day in early in the month.

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