It’s amazing how music can transport you to a particular time and place in the blink of an eye. A familiar song from days past comes on the radio and your body is suddenly flooded with the emotions of middle school/high school/college/first love/first heartbreak/first sexual encounter/whatever like a kick to the head.
That moment came to me just a few months ago when I was at Hazel’s and picked up a single of Disconnected Red (6.7% ABV) from Big Choice Brewing. The beer, a nice hoppy amber, was enjoyable, but it was the lyrics on the label that caught my eye: a line from Face to Face’s 1995’s single, “Disconnected” off the Big Choice album. Face to Face was far from my favorite band, but 106.7 KROQ — “Alternative first” — would spin them as if the fate of the world depended on it, and like any earworm, I grew to love their pop-punk-bro-mentality. All that came flooding back with that first sip of Disconnected Red and I knew that a visit to Big Choice’s home base was a must.
Considering the origin of the brewery’s name, it was no shock to sit in their casual Broomfield digs with a beer and hear the somewhat forgotten works of The Vandals, Pennywise, Descendants, NOFX and a slew of ’90s punk rock. While their time may have passed — except for The Vandals and Descendents, their music is timeless — Big Choice’s brews certainly haven’t. Started by two high school friends and CU-Boulder alums Nathaniel Miller and Tyler Willey, Big Choice opened their doors in 2012 and have since been the place for people to come and drink unpretentious beer and listen to unpretentious music.
Backed by a lineup of staples: Pinhead Pilsner (5%), clean and balanced; 21st Century Digital Brown (4.8%), light and roasted; and Type 3 IPA (6.3%), which favors balance over melt-your-face hops, Big Choice offers plenty of easily drinkable and pleasant offerings. But it’s their #42 Poblano Stout (5.7%), featuring de-seeded and roasted poblano peppers, that grabs your attention. There is no heat to the Poblano Stout, just smoky, peppery goodness that gives the oatmeal stout an extra shot of character. Breakfast just got a hell of a lot more interesting.
As do the holidays with Big Choice’s Peppermint Stout (5.7%); served in a glass dusted with crushed candy canes and a York Peppermint Pattie on the side — you don’t need me to tell you it’s a winner. Peppermint Stout won’t be around for long; they tap two kegs on Fridays and pour them until they’re gone. Ditto for OBEAH, Russian Imperial Stout with Caribbean Jerk Spices — and boy do those spices show. These are food beers through and through.
I could go on about the stouts, the Starry Night Cascade Dark (7.3%) — a black IPA that is fantastic — and the Chainsaw Princess of Karate (6%) — a sour brew in collaboration with Odd 13 Brewing — but that would defeat the point of Big Choice Brewing. Their modus operandi is ST. FUADIT — Shut The F**ck Up And Drink IT — and I’ll comply. Bartender, another Poblano Stout if you please.
On Tap: Big Choice Brewing. 7270 W. 118th Place, Broomfield, 303-469-2616. bigchoicebrewing.com