There’s a monster stalking Denver. Actually, there are five monsters stalking Denver and their numbers keep multiplying*! “Run for the hills!” some may shout with terror-choked voices. Panic is in the street, mothers hug their babes tight, and the strongest of men become blubbering masses crouched in dark corners. “Stay calm, citizens,” the local beer geeks command, “and run for the liquor store. The only way to defeat the beasts is to pop their tops, empty their contents into an appropriate drinking vessel, sip, savor, and enjoy with friends.”
The hoopla began with Great Divide Brewing Co. and their creation of Yeti Imperial Stout but, like overachieving Dr. Frankensteins, they kept creating more and more monsters. Now the cryptid family consists of the original Yeti, Oak Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, and Belgian Style Yeti (all 9.5% ABV). With so many man-apes roaming the shelves, it has become a bit of a badge of honor to collect them all; it’s the beer geek equivalent of Pokémon.
The quest for the Yeti ought to begin with the one that pregenerated the clan: Yeti Imperial Stout.
Color: One can spot the Yeti by its coppery, rust-like head and non-transparent, highlight-less body. Looking at Yeti is like looking at watered-down, dark maple syrup.
Aroma: The beer geek can smell the Yeti coming before it comes into view. Its aroma is sweet and smells faintly of caramel and toffee. It’s a robust beast but its aroma is actually quite mild.
Taste: The surprising aspect of Yeti, considering the style, is how bitterly hoppy it is; it could almost be called a dark IPA except for the roasted coffee flavors that intermingle with the hops. The Yeti lulls drinkers into a false sense of security with its aroma; it is not caramel-y and sweet, it’s rough and robust. It tackles the palate and beats it into submission. When one has survived the Yeti, its presence is still made known via a lingering bitterness.
Mouthfeel: For a stout, Yeti isn’t all that thick. Thicker than most beers, for sure, but, within the stout family, it is only a moderate. Yeti is also wet and causes a good deal of salivation in the drinker’s mouth.
Why travel to the Himalayas in search of the Yeti? A whole family of Yetis can be found right here in Denver. Whether or not one thinks they taste legendary or abominable, it cannot be denied that these creatures have made an indelible mark on Denver’s craft beer scene.
*Great Divide recently released a Yeti aged in Stranahan’s whiskey barrels thus pushing the number of Yetis to six.