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Black Forest Brewing Company's malty beers go down nicely 

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click to enlarge Black Forest's beer is great, but the snacks could improve. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Black Forest's beer is great, but the snacks could improve.
Times are good for Black Forest's new brewery. Less than two months after their opening, Black Forest Brewing Company owners Tara and Donovan Routsis are expanding, turning an adjacent storefront into a fest-hall to meet growing requests to use the brewery for events.

This is manager Tara and brewer Donovan's first pro brewing gig, which is somewhat worrisome — every brewing setup has its quirks, and scaling up a beer recipe without changing the flavor is not a one-to-one affair. But Tara and Donovan have been training with Paul and Teresa Vieira and Mike Hagan of Peaks N Pines brewery.

When we visit, BFBC has five house beers on tap, plus brews from locals like Peaks N Pines and Denver-based Strange Craft Beer Company, as well as gluten-free beers and ciders.

At 8 percent ABV, the house Double German Chocolate Cake stout is the strongest on the menu, a big-not-huge beer with a velvety mouthfeel. Its measured coconut and slight pecan notes play nice with chocolatey roasted malts, and a sweeter finish makes this a sound dessert beer. We also dig the Irish red ale, a smooth, long-finishing sipper with subtle caramel notes at 6.3 percent ABV — malt-forward beers deserve love, too.

Location Details Black Forest Brewing Company
11590 Black Forest Rd #50
Black Forest
Colorado Springs, CO
396-2011
Breweries/Wineries/Distilleries

The last keg of house IPA has blown when we visit, but we're fond of the Forest Black IPA, a fine conversation between bitter hops and dark malts. The honey blonde — brewed with Colorado honey, we're told — has a little friendly fruitiness in an overall well-composed brew.

If there's a disappointment, it's the reserved Colorado Lumberjack pale ale, which, brewed with a blend of six hops, loses any particular hop character beyond simple bitterness, and there's not much of that besides. Still, we detect no off flavors or under-fermented notes; it's fine for amber ale drinkers.

There's one more interesting brew on the menu called feuerwasser, literally fire-water. It's a clear, fizzy, neutral-tasting brew they serve with flavored syrups or in cocktails, fermented from light dry malt extract, corn sugar and minimal hops.

"It's intended to be a super-light alternative, lighter than a blonde," says Donovan. We try it in a promising Feuerita, mixed with Monument distillery 300 Days of Shine's Margarita Moon. Imagine Smirnoff Ice without the edge of artificial flavoring, taste-wise; at $8, we'll pass. Maybe try it straight or with offered fruit syrups, all more affordable.

Donovan says the business has limitations on how much food prep can be done on-site, so most of what they serve is trucked in from Schnitzel Fritz and other vendors and heated. A pre-cooked brat with curry ketchup comes on a Wimberger's Old World Bakery & Delicatessen-baked roll (promising) that's gone stale and tough (disappointing). A Reuben's more successful, if less than bountiful between slices of swirled rye, though its house sauerkraut bears a lovely little funk. For sides, the vinegar-based krautsalat (cole slaw) is fine, but the kartoffelsalat (potato salad) stands above. German potato salad is served warm, not cold, in a dressing made here from vinegar and the fat from cooked bacon that's added in.

Skip the schlachteplatte, a south German play on charcuterie. While the pumpernickel, pickles and olives are fine, the meat and cheese offerings, sourced from King Soopers, aren't terribly interesting. It could use mustard, too — all things worth pondering over another lovely pint. Ein mehr, bitte!

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