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1776 was a good year, may I even add, a superb year? Thomas Paine published “Common Sense,” Mary Ann Clarke was born, Washington (Bless his soul) crossed the Delaware, and oh yeah, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4. While Paine may argue that common sense isn’t common anymore, there is one thing that can’t be argued; a most glorious country was founded on the principals of freedom, free speech (praise be), and the pursuit of happiness. Whether that is seeking personal wealth, or sharing a few pints with friends, there is no doubt that this latter point is open to many forms of interpretation, much like the end of the last season of “Thrones.” The owners and founders at Declaration Brewing seem to think, and I agree, that nothing makes people happier than a glass of good beer. A point that I think Washington would raise a glass to.
Located only a few miles from campus under the overpass on Santa Fe, on Cherokee Street. This fun, industrial style tap room and brewery is perfect for the upcoming spring weather. They have a large seating area outside spattered with corn hole and Ping-Pong tables, perfect for inebriated shows of athleticism and awkward conversation. They are a dog friendly establishment, so if you ever need a beer and a dog fix, look no further. It even gets better, inside they have ample seating and usually host live music, comedians, and other such activities for those who patron the bar. The inside walls are painted with a mural of the Rockies (mountains not baseball) and their passion for the outdoors only continues to be displayed by the large selection of the beer on tap posted on old skateboards along the left wall. However, the centerpiece behind the bar is a large painting of Washington himself, proudly wearing a Declaration Brewing pin and watching(judging) all of the debauchery that ensues in front of him every night.
While I could go on about how cool the atmosphere is, who cares? This is the beer review after all, so lets talk some drank. The last time I was here I had two beers that blew me away. The first was a bourbon barrel aged barley wine. A barley wine is a grain style beverage that has an ABV similar to that of wine (8-13%), however since it is brewed with grain instead of a fruit it is considered a beer. The tasting notes are intense, and usually a sweet to bitter sweet taste that is highlighted by notes of dark fruits, booze, citrus, and molasses. The one I had at Declaration, poured a light amber and had an aroma of sweet bourbon with tart cherries. The taste wasn’t much different than the smell. Tart cherries, bourbon, and caramel exploded in my mouth (don’t go there) with a slight burn of alcohol. The ABV for this bad boy was 11%, so the burn was to be somewhat expected. The bourbon added a smooth finish to the beer, making it easy to drink and still complex enough to baby for a while. Washington might not have made the Delaware if he had had some barrels of these bad boys in camp.
The other beer I had there was a wild berry saison. The saison is one of my favorite spring beers, along with a good IPA. The weather that day was warm and I couldn’t resist trying a new tweak to an old favorite. If you remember from my article in the fall, the saison is an ale that uses a top down fermentation technique along with a certain strain of yeast called “brett.” Brett adds a certain and very unique “spicy” character to this mild, fruity, beer. Which pair well with sunshine and binge watching Thrones on your days off. Declaration added some “wild berries” to their batch and the result was incredible. The spicy character of the yeast was complimented with a subtle sweet taste and smell of raspberries and blackberries, making it a semi sweet beer. A perfect beer to start your interest and inevitable addiction into craft beer. The pour was golden with a hue of orange/pink due to the berries added. The smell reminded me of an orchard in spring, with the damp smell of fresh rain due to the addition of the yeast. The taste was that of damn berries with notes of pepper, a strange yet somehow cohesive pairing. This beer surprised me, and I could sense that Washington from his high perch approved of my choice. So whether or not you want a beer you will need a beer from this little gem of a brewery. The great beer and incredible atmosphere make it a stopping point if you are struggling with crossing your own “Delaware.” Whether that be midterms, the ending of a spring fling, or still coping with the loss of John Snow, you will declare that these beers are a great rest bit. Until next time my mostly sober friends. Enjoy spring quarter and if you do ever make your way to Declaration let me know. Cheers.
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