Brewery burnout

The crew begins to wear down at Walnut

Photo by Elizabeth Miller

At some point, I think we all lost the ability to identify beer flavors.

It probably happened long before the conversation where I realized it, sitting with most of the staff at Walnut Brewery and discussing the Indian Peaks Pale Ale. Maybe it was the little taste of Ghost Face Killah back at Twisted Pine that killed our taste buds. Or maybe we never knew what we were doing at all.

Whatever the cause, we can’t for the life of us agree what fruit notes we’re getting from the IPPA. I write down pineapple just as Jeff says peach, then changes his answer to apricot. Joel agrees with everyone, then takes a cue from the menu and argues it’s citrus of some kind.

Tack on the fact that none of us knew, and some of us still refuse to believe, that cucumbers are fruits rather than vegetables, and there’s mounting evidence that we don’t know anything about stuff that grows on trees, vines or bushes. But, hey, at least we all agreed that cucumber was a flavor.

Don’t call it beer fatigue, but the shine might have worn off this beer tour idea just a little. Blame our short attention spans.

At Walnut, for example, I’m fascinated by the ceiling. It’s at least 25 feet high. The whole building is really a pretty remarkable structure, one I’d never taken particular notice of in downtown Boulder. Like at many breweries, brewing tanks and equipment sit behind the bar. Unlike at many breweries, these are behind glass about 15 feet in the air, accessible by stairs. It’s one of the coolest rooms we’ve been to for this tour.

And Walnut offers one of the coolest programs out there, too. The Mug Club is simple: Join for free, get a mug, drink out of it, get free stuff for showing up. That’s it. Not to mention, by our estimate, Walnut’s mugs are bigger than the average pint glass.

As we run through Walnut’s offerings, which range from the pale ale to the malty, smooth, nutty St. James Irish Red Ale to the smoky Old Elk Brown Ale to the slightly hoppy Spring Lager, we can’t help but glance with envy at the guys at the bar with their own mugs.

So maybe we’re ready for more. The problem might be that the nicer weather, which has finally arrived, is calling us outside. So as we head up to Nederland to try out Wild Mountain and Very Nice, we’re hoping for at least one patio so we can bask in the high-altitude sun.


Next stops: Very Nice, 4 p.m., and Wild Mountain, 5 p.m. May 9; West Flanders, 4 p.m. May 16. Members of the public welcome.