Saturday’s sixth annual Firkin Rendezvous benefited many things — namely the Colorado Brewers Guild, and my love of eating animals and drinking sugar waste products. But some things decidedly left out included personal boundaries, not smelling the person next to you and a general confusion about whether or not waiting in line to get a drink constituted an actual sexual encounter.
These last unfortunates hail from the simple fact that the sixth annual Firkin Rendezvous was packed as firk (ha). With a little under 30 breweries represented — all packing two-plus employees — plus dunkelweizen devotees, last-minute entrants and the occasional local news camera crew, the drinking space at Bristol Brewing Company was a little more intimate than I had emotionally prepared myself for. This eventually thinned out, but whoa-doggy, was it touch-(really)-and-go for a while.
Luckily, the initial body crush proved worth it (especially if you were hoping to pass on a communicable disease). Local outfit Black Fox Brewing Company nearly stole the show with the pre-release of its crisp Don’t Call Me Wit saison, and Trinity Brewing Company set familial relations back decades with its Slap Your Mammy double IPA that had a kick like a mule and a flavorful intensity to match. Also notable was The Thrilla in Vanilla, a delicious, almost sweetly chalky beverage from Durango’s Ska Brewing and a bright and happy IPA from Avery Brewing Company.
One beer I notably enjoyed was Durango Brewing Company's Kama-Sumatra, described as “a dark lager with Fair Trade, organic, Sumatra[n] coffee, hand-roasted at the brewery.” If you closed your eyes and dreamt (or smelled ... whatever) the dark liquid was a dead ringer for a cup of cold Joe, an impressive feat in a world of gross coffee stout attempts.
Unfortunately, mass imbibing can’t be all sunshine and floral noses. Several brews failed to impress, especially a weizenbock from an unnamed restaurant/brewery on Powers Boulevard that hit just the right note of stale, caramelized soy sauce. However, I’m also willing to consider the possibility that drinking 20 beers, eating five different foods and internally debating whether or not the guy next to me should have bought me a drink first, before doing what he just did could have destroyed my palate prior to tasting.
Speaking of foods, the Firkin faithful were generously fed sandwiches from Blue Sage Catering, macaroni and cheese from Trinity, mussel soup from Summit Catering, barbecue brisket from Front Range Barbeque, and a thick lamb stew from McCabe’s Tavern that basically changed my life and introduced me to the concept of having sevenths. Look for it on the menu full-time starting March 1.