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Here at DU, we Pioneers come in two different types: those who really want to be cool, and those who are trying their damnedest not to be. Fortunately, drinking good beer is an excellent way to accomplish both goals!
For many years, the staple of college life has consisted of a wet, vaguely grainy, and easily-consumed-in-unreasonable-quantities substance we call “beer” (or the American Adjunct Lager, for those who would like the precise definition). This mass-produced libation can be found in the form of Keystone Natural Light (“Natty Light”), Pabst Blue Ribbon (“PBR, but you’ve probably never heard of it”), Rolling Rock (“The Worst”), or Bud Light (“uuuggghhhh”), among other names. These have been seen in many different places across America, including kegs, trailers, under highway overpasses, vaguely disguised by well-placed hands in photos of sorority women on Facebook, and in the garages of old men who believe that “nothin’ is made like it used to be no more” [sic].
But today, especially in the God-given land that is the great state of Colorado (yes Colorado Springs, that includes you too – but not you Pueblo), a new day has dawned: behold, the love of craft beer!
Some readers just now put down this article because they just saw the dreaded words, “Craft Beer.” Others of you grabbed a seat in Einstein’s where you saw this article being used as a coaster and are now taking notes. For those intrepid few who are still reading, I will today begin a quest to educate the masses in Craft Beer 1001. Each issue, we will explore a different type of craft beer and craft brands that make it (that way, the next time your bearded friends ask you if you’ve had that cool new Russian Imperial Stout from Dogfish Head, you can at least pretend like you get it).
For this issue, we will be reviewing the modern beer geek’s favorite type – the India Pale Ale (“I used to only drink IPAs, but now, they’re like, soooo mainstream”). Originally an English ale designed to preserve beer longer by increasing the amount of sugars processed by the yeast added and increasing the heat. This lead to a lighter appearance, higher alcohol content (alcohol is produced when the yeast process the sugar), and much more bitterness (used today to assert one’s dominance over those with weaker palates). They are characterized by light color, strong fragrance, and bitterness ranging from mild to extreme (measured in IBUs – International Bitterness Units).
IBUs: 38 (Refreshing and cool, like the showers in Halls)
ABV: 5.6% (have another!) | $15-$18/6-pack (whoa, big spenda)
While technically not an IPA, this classic is a good start for those just starting the journey to strong, bitter, back-hair-growing hops. While definitely hoppy, this Pale Ale’s Cascade finishing hops produce a pleasant, citrusy, and fresh flavor. This is the beer you would find lounging out on the JMAC Beach in early June distracting you from your studying for finals, because apparently it has nothing better to do than take off most of its clothes and lay seductively in plain view of half of campus.
IBUs: 60 (yeah, my beard only took me like, a week)
ABV: 7% (life of the party) | $9-$12/6-pack (do you take Flex?)
This Colorado classic raises the notch a little with a strong hop character but even more flavor. This beer is fruity, rich, and fun, much like Anthony Weiner before he realized the relative permanence of Twitter. Though it has a strong citrus and hop flavor, it is balanced with just enough malt to keep your head on straight while still impressing increasingly-more-annoying friends with facial hair.
If you don’t live between Fort Collins and the Springs, you probably don’t know it.
IBUs: 65 (get on my level)
ABV: 10% (campo ocifer, issa CRAFT beer, so’s like duzint count, right?) | $10-$15 (daddy please?)
Whoa, Nellie. This piney-tasting beer came straight out of a Juniper bush on Mt. Evans. If the Rockies had a taste, this would be it. Sharp, sunny, and potentially blister-inducing, the hike it takes to finish this copper-brown ale is well worth it. Not for the faint heart, this IPA is a true high-risk, high-reward investment. Use that to explain to Mom and Dad why you went over on your budget for this month.
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