It was around 6pm on a Monday. My fiancée was flying to Atlanta so my Wing Commander, Jim, and I entered the Left Hand Brewing Company Tasting Room in Longmont to do some drinking under a full moon sky.
Nestled on a quiet little tree-lined street, this urban oasis appears warm and inviting from the outside and there is plenty of parking available. The Tasting Room—woodsy and rustic—is all rough-hewn timber with an unadorned stone bar existing solely for the purpose of drinking. No kitchen. Tiny wooden bowls of pretzels, beer and classic rock were the only things on the menu. We sat down near the end of the bar to the tired, threadbare serenade of Chicago and the Moody Blues.
The place was comfortably full without feeling crowded. I was at ease among the 20-, 30- and 40-somethings sitting around talking and enjoying an assortment of good-looking craft brews. There were no rowdy frat types, no wine-sipping sophisticates. Many, if not most, seemed to be regulars, calling out their favorite beer by name, and were as friendly and familiar towards the employees as they were with each other. There was a pleasant female to male ratio; obviously not a stalker bar, this is a comfortable place for the gals to relax over a pint without having to fend off a slew of pick-up lines.
Our barkeep, an amiable chap named Nick, set up a row of 13 perfectly shaped tasting glasses. Jim and I decided to do a couple of recon flights to get our bearings on the beer available.
We started off with the Terra Ryezed. It was dark and malty, just like my friend Scott used to brew in our filthy kitchen in Boulder. It was a great beer and a fine way to begin our flight.
Jackman’s American Pale Ale tasted thin with just a hint of beer-like taste, and the Jackman’s Cask was warm and flat, as is the mark of all cask-conditioned ales. What it is about beer geeks that turns them onto casks, I can’t say, but warm and flat is what I expect when there’s nothing else to wash down my cold pizza.
Things improved considerably as I tried the Warrior IPA, one of the two best of the bunch. It had a cream soda-like malty smoothness, yet kept a bit of bite to it and was thus extremely well balanced.
The JuJu Ginger seemed an odd choice to finish off our first tasting rack, but Nick had said something about pretzels and water and palate cleansing, so we did. Ginger beer is, well, ginger beer.
Our fortunes rose again to the tune of “China Grove” as we powered through the Snowbound Winter Ale, the Milk Stout and the Imperial Stout. The stouts were all fantastic, particularly the Milk, the other very best brew in the house.
Last up: Smoke Jumper Imperial Smoked Porter, which strongly recalled the blackened iron of a fireplace grate. Dr. John gave way to the Doors as we said goodnight. All in all, the Left Hand beers are all pretty much outstanding, and the room is warm and unpretentious. There’s nothing here to get in the way of drinking good beer with good friends.