As a mountain town resident, my days often end with an après-activity beer. Whether I’m capping off a day of trail running, mountain biking, or hiking one of Colorado’s fifty-three 14ers, nothing tastes better than a chilled local brew at the end of an active day.
As of late, I’ve noticed a personal gravitation towards hoppier, heavy-hitter India Pale Ales. While my taste buds can never get enough, I’m depriving myself of a vast spectrum the Colorado brew scene has to offer. On this particular evening, I was heading home after a day of hiking the Monarch Loop Trail in Arapaho National Forest. A quick pit stop at the liquor store in Granby landed me with a 6-pack of 3rd Eye Enlightened by Steamworks Brewing Co. in Durango, Colorado.
The eye-catching can artwork drew me to this beer. A colorful 3rd Eye brandished on the can’s façade promised of a spiritual and enlightening drinking experience. Not to be confused with the evil eye, which wards off material harm, the third eye is fabled to be a meta organ, consisting of one’s mind and all senses working together as a large and powerful sensory organ. Supposedly, utilizing one’s 3rd Eye can help identify energies, understand hidden connections, and reveal patterns not visible to one’s lowly two eyes. Perhaps this was just the beer to assist in the expansion of my beer horizons and stray from my tendencies!
Under further inspection of the detailed label, I couldn’t help but laugh at the hop vines embellishing the speculative eye staring back at me. In an almost teasing way, the label reminded me that old conventions are hard to break. But hey, an American Pale Ale instead of an IPA is a great starting point to break free from a hop habit.
3rd Eye Enlightened: The Basics
- Brewery: Steamworks Brewing Company (Durango, CO)
- Style: American Pale Ale
- ABV: 6.5%
- IBU: 60
3rd Eye Enlightened: The Details
Settled back at the cabin on the prairie, I whipped out a pint glass and a tulip. Tonight, I was drinking with company!
This APA poured a hazy copper orange. In the pint glass, I got a one-finger white wispy head. In the tulip, a small fingernail of a head formed. It never ceases to amaze me how beer pours differently, or perhaps that’s just my unsteady hand!
Within milliseconds of cracking the tab, dank aromas met and caressed my nostrils, filling them with whiffs of floral hops. Although weighing in at 6.5% ABV with a hop presence, the power of the smell was not overwhelming; it was in-line with traditional American Pale Ales. I was pleased by the resinous pine backbone, balancing and rounding out the flower and herbal notes.
With a solid nose, I expected a hoppier, bitter ale. To my surprise, the hop smell did not carry through as strong in the mouth. Despite a higher alcohol by volume, this palates quite moderate with no boozy aftertaste and minimal carbonation. A temperate piney presence lingers at the back of your tongue, bringing your senses back to the hop aromas of a few minutes ago. As the beer warmed in my hand, I detected a slight tinge of citrus.
Could I use my 3rd eye to have an in-depth connection with the intricate layers of hops, barleys, and malts in this beer? Maybe. Was it as enlightening as I had hoped? Not so much. This American Pale Ale stays true to its well-balanced and easy-drinking style category. I’d highly recommend this beer for those who gravitate towards “crowd-pleaser” beers but are looking for a trifling bit of adventure in their APA.
I would even venture to classify 3rd Eye Enlightened as a sessionable evening beer; one that won’t fill you up after a couple 12-ounce cans down the hatch! For avid and active outdoorsmen and women, this is an exceptionable day capping, refreshing beer, perfect for those who enjoy a brew, or five!