I’m always down for trying new and exotic beers from around the world, whether it’s a chocolate lobster beer from across the US or a hearty imported Russian imperial stout that colludes with the hairs on your chest. Although I admit my penchant for worldly brews, there is something inherently refreshing about enjoying beer that comes from your neck of the woods. Located only a hop, skip, and a jump from my house is Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, Colorado. Not only is Dry Dock close, it has also won multiple awards at GABF and other local beer festivals. Ever since they opened their doors I’ve been fond of Dry Dock and the exquisite selection of beers they offer.
I started my adventure to Dry Dock with several friends and a hankering for some sumptuous suds. The air was particularly hazy thanks to the plethora of fires around the country and there was an unpleasant bite to the atmosphere that I knew would be perfectly assuaged with beer. Having frequented Dry Dock many times over the past few years it’s always a treat to go in and see what options are on tap that I normally can’t get off the shelf at my liquor store. After we found a spot in the back near the barrel-aging kegs, we didn’t waste a moment and ordered our first round.
- Style: Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer
- ABV: 4.3%
- IBU: 20
First up for me to sample was Dry Dock’s Alespren Sour. I was already very familiar with Dry Dock’s Sour Apricot and was very stoked to see another sour from them. As the glass was set down in front of me, the first thing I noticed was its gorgeous, amber hue. The head on the Alespren Sour was very timid, but still present. The aroma clearly decreed that this ale is on the sour side of the spectrum, and a slight hint of mild hoppy aroma gave it a balanced odor. Breaking through the thin coat of foam on the top I took my first sip and was confronted by a delicious beer with a little bit of an identity crisis. The initial flavors were analogous to a wheat beer, but the tart pineapple-esque flavor and uniquely robust hop profile made Alespren Sour a truly uncharacteristic sour ale. As I mentioned before, I’m not entirely sure this beer knows what it wants to be labeled as, and that’s a really great thing in my book since this can sort of act as a utility beer that slakes multiple pallets.
- Style: Saison
- ABV: 5.7%
- IBU: 20
Next up I moved on to another style of beer that’s near and dear to my heart, a Saison. Now I love just about everything to do with Belgium-style beers. From their unique wheaty zing to their refreshingly bold and robust head. Dry Dock’s L’Escaut Saison was just what I wanted out of a Belgium-style beer. While the head on my pour was not quite as robust as some, it was undeniably Belgium in its aroma. That very specific aroma of funky wheat made this beer a treat to smell before I’d even taken my first sip. While it did have that Belgium funk to it, on my first sip I noticed how remarkably mellow its flavor was. I’ve had Saisons in the past pick up strong skunky flavors, but that was not the case here. L’Escaut Saison is very rich, mellow and wheaty, but it also has a unique hint of spice at the end. This slight zing of black pepper was the perfect finishing note to a well-rounded Saison like this one. Bravo Dry Dock.
Imperial Old Ale
- Style: Imperial Old Ale
- ABV: 10.5%
- IBU: 30
It was time to move on to something a little bit darker. In this case, Dry Dock’s Imperial Old Ale was on the menu and I ordered myself a glass. The beer itself had a dark amber color and a very hearty head to it. The aroma coming off of Imperial Old Ale was surprisingly mellow for a beer with so much character. There were some fruity notes and an unmistakable hint of barrel aging, but other than that, the odor was fairly static. The flavor, on the other hand, was insanely complex. My first sip of Imperial old ale yielded a rich port-like flavor that was very heavy on caramel and fruit notes. As I took another hearty swig, I noticed a dried fruit and almost fig-like flavor. This mellow fruit taste was juxtaposed with a deep dark whiskey flavor that permeated my mouth and declared itself the finishing touch on top of the caramel and fruit. There is just no denying the power of this mighty ale.
Pumpkin Double Porter
- Style: Barrel Aged Pumpkin Porter
- ABV: 10.5%
- IBU: 30
Last on my agenda, I was going to get myself into the fall feel of things with Dry Dock’s Pumpkin Double Porter. This beer, simply put, was as dark as the night. The thin layer of foam on the top had a slightly dark hue to it and it clung to edges of the glass so well it would have made Spider-Man weep. The initial aroma off this Pumpkin Double Porter was somewhat analogous to a sweet barleywine. I attribute this dense aroma to the fact that it’s a barrel-aged porter and packs a higher alcohol content than many of the milder beer options on tap. When I really dug my nose in I could detect a sweet spicy smell that almost reminded me of mulled wine. The initial flavors up front started out as light, peppy, and sweet but by the time the beer hit the back of my mouth things got hauntingly dark. A bitter molasses flavor was imparted at the end as well that mixed perfectly with the brown sugar flavor and pumpkin spices that were already in the mix. After I set the glass down, for some reason tasted banana. While I don’t know where that flavor came from, it was most certainly a welcome addition to the party.
Dry Dock is more than just one of the closest breweries to my house, it’s also one of the best-rounded breweries I’ve ever found. Where some breweries find themselves in a very small beer niche, Dry Dock fearlessly conquers every new style they attempt, with a sort of jazz and panache that keeps me coming back for more. If you’ve never sampled any of the beers from Dry Dock than I’ll safely say with confidence, they will have a variety and style that will be right up your alley. While I may have visited their main location, it’s worth noting that they do have a new northern taphouse location that is right off I-70 and extremely close to the airport (might be just what I need next time I get on a plane). Keep on brewing Dry Dock and I’ll keep reaping the hoppy, malty, yeasty, wheaty, sour, dark fruits of your labor.
- Address: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO
- Phone: (303) 400 5606