Coconut and passion fruit delight with Good River Beer’s River Right 

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Good River Beer, Denver taproom coming soon, grbeerco.com

Last year, several of us frequented Chiba Bar downtown (as we still do) for our necessary donburi bowl fix, which got even sweeter when owner Michael Carsten introduced us to Good River Beer’s summer seasonal River Right Tropical Wheat Ale. The 5-percent ABV easy-sipper pairs beautifully with Chiba’s sushi menu in particular — I dance with the fabulous and complementary-sweet-tinged unagi bowl this visit.

The beer’s food friendliness stems from beautifully intense and aromatic coconut and passionfruit  flavors, courtesy “a lot” of puréed fresh fruit says head brewer/co-owner Preston Hartman. He throws in the purées post-boil, a little into fermentation, also adding lactic acid “to enhance and make the fruit flavors pop.” He clarifies that he’s not adding so much as to head into a sour-beer direction (though on our phone chat he suddenly has the idea to try that, maybe as a special), but just enough to impart slight acidity as a flavor enhancer. “It’s got a smooth mouthfeel and lots of body,” he describes, “even though it’s low alcohol — it’s well attenuated. ... this beer’s all about coconut and passion fruit, it’s designed to minimize other characteristics.”

Exciting news for Good River fans: They’re in the midst of a Denver taproom buildout at First Avenue and Santa Fe Drive (tentatively opening in fall) that will contain some sort of food component as well, possibly a house food truck, says Hartman. While we’re still nerding out over his beer, he points out the double entendre in the name:

When rafting/kayaking down river, “river right” refers to the right bank, but in business, they’ve formed their nonprofit 2% For Rivers as a conservation arm, “to do the right thing and give back.”


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