As a reminder, my motto is “I never met a beer I didn’t like, I just like some more than others.” The review descriptions are written in classic AAMFT style (Appearance, Aroma, MouthFeel, Taste) and the rating system, acknowledging that all palates are different, is as follows: TASTER = An interesting beer worthy of trial; PINT = An enjoyable beer that I recommend you enjoy with at least a full pint; TWO PINTS = A beer deserving of an encore session; GROWLER = Take some home to share and delight your friends.
ABV = “Alcohol by Volume”
IBU = “International Bittering Units” (a measure of the relative strength of alpha acids from hops)
Pumpkin Spice Latte - 6.7% ABV / unstated IBU
AP - Gold to orange, clarity is excellent with a light tan head comprising large bubbles showing average retention and mild to low lacing.
AR - Clear pumpkin and pie spice aromas, (from the proprietary in house spice blend), some coffee notes and a slight toffee aroma. Complex and pleasing.
MF - Smooth, rich and creamy, like liquified pumpkin. A little bit of black coffee style bitterness on the finish was not unpleasant.
T - Pumpkin pie with whipped cream chased with black coffee. Not cloyingly sweet as many examples of the style can be.
Comments - This one is a delightful seasonal. For my palate, it is not a sessionable stylebut as an accompaniment to a meal. The house spice blend and judicious application of lactose and coffee sets it apart. I know that in the Autumn, pumpkin themed food and beverage can seem ubiquitous at times, but this is one you’ll want to seek out during the season. Hurry! They can’t keep it on tap.
Rating - A full Pint. Have two if you’re eating!
Osaka Iced Tea - 6.0% ABV / 25 IBU
AP - Light gold with an ever so slight hue of green. Superb clarity. A rich head comprises small bubbles displaying strong retention and extensive lacing.
AR - Anise is forward with sweet maltiness and citrus following. Low to no obvious hop aroma.
MF - Silky smooth and slippery. Carbonation is excellent. Clean feeling on the palate finishing with a slight astringency, but not at all unpleasant.
T - Carried by a Vienna Lager style maltiness, with the tea and anise flavors in the finish along and just a hint of citrus acidity/bittering. Very well balanced. Gentle and complex layers of flavor.
Comments - When Jeff described the inputs for this one, I was skeptical, (yuzu?). The gentling effects of the green tea on the anise and citrus create a tremendous balance to the lovely sweet Vienna style malt flavors and invite you back for another taste! Very sessionable to my palate.
Rating - Two pints.
Sun Temple IPA - 6.5% ABV / 60 IBU
AP - Classic American Pale Ale / NE style IPA color. Juicy cloudiness developing a very nice white head of mostly small bubbles. Very solid retention and lacing.
AR - The carbonation lifts the floral and citrus hop notes forward in the aroma, but unlike many other examples of the style that I’ve encountered, they are not overpowering as an unbalanced abundance of hops can sometimes be. You can still pick up the aroma of the nice pale malt backbone of the beer. Well balanced for the style.
MF - Smooth, clean, gliding over the front and back of the tongue while exuding flowery and citrus filled hop character, but not so much that the palate misses the tremendous pale malt slipperiness. Good carbonation.
T – Very well balanced in comparison to many recent examples of this very popular style I have tasted. Built on strong doses of pale malt flavor and high-quality hops added at the correct stages of the brewing cycle, this beer is beautifully balanced. Finishes clean and calls you back.
Comments - Regular readers of this column will know this so called “Juicy Bits IPA”, is not my favorite style. To my palate they are usually un-clarified hop-pop. I found this one to be a notable exception. The balance is very good. Based on the hop choices and expert timing, the beer has an aromatic complexity without the high bitterness finishing notes found in other examples of the style. I was pleasantly surprised.
Rating - Two Pints.
Chai Milk Stout - 5.2% ABV / 26 IBU
AP - Beautiful dark purple to black. No light passes through this black beauty. A dark brown head of larger bubbles. Retention is low. Lacing is average.
AR - The chai spice rises on a layer of milk followed by roasted toasty grains and crushed blackberries.
MF – Lovely, smooth, full-rounded and silky from the lactose finishing with light roasted nut bitterness.
T - Figs, dates, black plums, dark cherries, dark-roasted bread chased with chai tea. What a deep and complex mouthful of flavors! Leaves just a bit of bitterness and chai flavor with a milky sweetness lingering on the finish.
Comments - Yak & Yeti regulars will recognize this style as having been a staple there for years as it is based on an old Nepalese family chai recipe belonging to the restaurant’s owner. It has always been a very good and consistent beer. Jeff and Carl have taken this recipe to the next level. The chai/milk/stout beer grains balance has never been better. The dark fruit characteristics now shine through, but don’t overpower the chai/milk, nor vice versa. Regular readers will know my weakness for well done stouts and this one is among my very favorites.
Rating - Get a growler to share, but with apologies to your lactose intolerant friends.
Spice Trade beers are available on tap at Yak & Yeti restaurants in Arvada, Westminster, Brighton and Denver and in kegs and cans at various bars and liquors stores in the Denver Metro Area.
By Thom Langley
Yak & Yeti becomes Spice Trade Brewing