Pale of Cherries and Belma and Louise Pale Ale
By Kristian Hartter
Copper Club has brewed some great beers in their time, from the mainstays to their experimental beers and seasonals. This summer they have done more than a few great one-offs. Two of my favorites have been the Pale of Cherries, probably the most requested beer they make all year, and the Belma and Louise which uses a new variety of hops called Belma that has very notable strawberry and slight cherry flavors along with melon aromas. The beer came out drier than many of the Copper Club beers do, but it works well with the hop choice.
Both ales use similar base recipes that have a strong malt backbone and are mildly bitter by comparison to the IPAs that dominate the market. The cherries used in the Pale of Cherries are locally sourced, and this year Copper opted to use tart varieties as the flavors come through better in the finished beer. Another locally sourced portion of that beer is the pale malt, from Root Shoot Malting located in Loveland, Colorado. The beer is tart with a slightly roasty flavor and a balancing bitterness.
The Belma-focused pale has fruity flavor, but it is all derived from the hops as opposed to actual fruit additions. Strawberry, cherry, and lychee fruit all share the palate with a soft malty character. The presentation is as one would expect from a pale ale: light in color and clear with a clean white head. It is truly a novel beer made very well.
There are many other fun beers coming up at Copper, as is their way. In early October, the 2nd to be exact, they are releasing a single keg of stout flavored with caramel and salt in celebration of Edgar Allen Poe and inspired by his poem Annabelle Lee. Another beer that will be available soon is a blood orange pilsner, one of the few lagers the Copper produces and sure to be refreshing. On tap at the time of writing is Chinooks Bottom, a pale ale that used fresh hops harvested from Fruita Hop Works just a few miles away. Alongside these are their Gold Medal winning F-Town amber, their deeply hoppy 18 Road IPA, the whimsical and lovely Slap and Tickle ESB, and the perennial favorite Aspen Street Coffee Porter made with locally roasted coffee beans.
Everything Copper has been doing has been great. The flavors and the aromas of the beer are as inviting as the atmosphere and the personalities of the staff and (most of) the guests. They keep improving what they are doing and their striving for perfection shows. If you have been there recently, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, then it is worth the short trip to Fruita-town to get some of their lovely beer and enjoy the ambiance that has truly made them Fruita’s living room. Slainte!
Kristian Hartter hosts Beer Geeks on KAFM radio, teaches beer appreciation at WCCC, and is a member of the Grand Junction Commission of Arts and Culture.