Anyone I drink with knows I have problems with Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. Often, I find its beers a little flat and a little warm (which also seems to be the case with booze from sister brewery Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver), and the flavors tend to lean towards the generic middle. I even remember reading about the partnership between Wynkoop Holdings, Inc. — which owns Phantom Canyon, along with seven or so other restaurants — and Breckenridge Brewery and thinking there'd finally be good beer to be had at the downtown spot. Then I found out the partnership doesn't apply down here ...
Anyway, it's led to a precipitous decline in my attendance at the brewery, and I know I'm not alone here. Blogger and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor Eric Steen writes that he's "heard a lot of Colorado Springs folks say that they don't like Phantom Canyon and that their beer is terrible and then I find out that they haven't been back for a few years."
Of course, I was there just a few months ago. Even still, Steen argues that I, and everybody else of like mind, are missing something.
A while back we did a blind tasting of the 2010 Barleywine and our judges thought it was a phenomenal beer. We also covered PC when Alan [Stiles] made the controversial but ultimately good decision to take the IPA off cask and put it on tap. Now they have a rotating cask and a really tasty West Coast style IPA that has taken off in sales since it's removal from cask. At the Firkin Festival early this year, we gave Phantom the best beer award for the blended King Mixer. Speaking of firkins, I used to say that Alan made the best casks that I've had in the state, but have you had the English IPA cask from PC assistant brewer Mike Dee? He's the new best.