Review: Left Hand’s Fade to Black reps the Rockies

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Steve Weishampel

Why do the Germans and Brits get all the naming rights?

It’s about time that the vibrant beer scene in Colorado
started claiming some beer as its own —not just beers’ names but the styles
themselves. I’ve been wondering when someone would follow on the heels of Great
Divide’s Denver Pale Ale and call a beer style Colorado Ale, Boulder IPA or
Front Range Red.

That’s why I’m happy to see that Left Hand’s fourth
installment of its Fade to Black series is called a Rocky Mountain Black Ale.
The Longmont brewery is staking its claim, evidently only facing competition
from Sheridan, Wyo.’s Black Tooth Brewing Company and its Rocky Mountain Dark.

That beer, we haven’t had. But Left Hand’s, which Boulder
Weekly was given a chance to review, is an intriguing and delicious
representative of our favorite geographical feature.

This Fade to Black — and all black ales — falls firmly into
a gray area, category-wise. It slides smoothly from stout to porter to black
IPA territory.

“It tastes a little bit like a stout,” one staff member said,
while another noted hoppiness in the aftertaste. There’s only a hint of
sweetness to the brew, moderate maltiness and a mild hoppy finish.

“Complex,” one editor said. “It’s chewy.”

Fade to Black has the thick body of a stout, but ultimately
comes out quite a bit lighter. It ably carries the banner for the Rockies.