Type: Quadrupel/Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Origin: Poncha Springs, CO
Found this one hiding in the back of a cooler at Liquor Mart and was immediately taken in by the a) 750mL bottle, b) hefty ABV, and c) excellent label. All breweries should label their stuff like this- simple color scheme, classic lettering, a lot of negative space. Good stuff.
Anyway, Elevation is a brand-spankin’ new brewery in a tiny town in south-central Colorado. By brand-spankin’, I mean the website says the joint opened in the winter of 2012. That’s fairly recently, if I’m reading my calendar correctly. For those keeping records, Poncha Springs is relatively near a) Florence, home of Florence ADX, the highest security federal prison in the country, and b) Buena Vista, hometown of 2011 New England Patriots first-round draft pick/Tom Brady blind-side-protector and University of Colorado ring-of-famer Nate Solder. I have no idea what’s in Poncha Springs itself, other than Elevation Beer Company.
The name comes from the genus of local honeybee that provided the honey used as the beer’s malt base, plus the number of people who teamed up to start the brewery. And there’s no doubt that there’s a buttload of honey in this right up front in the nose. There’s a very light touch of Belgian yeastiness, and some cola-type scents, and maybe even a tiny soy sauce/seaweed accent. But otherwise, it’s all honey all the time, and the caramelization is noticeable in both the slight smokiness and, obviously, the color.
Flavorwise, it’s pretty cola-y, and I like that about it. There’s also a bit of saltiness in there, I think, which connects to the soy sauce thing I smelled. But it’s still predominantly honey. It’s very minimally yeasty, which is unfortunate, because a good yeasty punch would really balance it out. As it is, it comes off very sweet, and while the sweetness is decently complex, it’s also missing a counterpoint. The carb is also too light, which also knocks it down a peg. But, despite all of those missteps, the booze is very well hidden, and that’s pretty impressive because it doesn’t seem like it should be.
All in all not bad, but not great. If you’re a quad fanatic, this one’s probably going to let you down, because the flaws are too obvious to overlook. But in a vacuum, it’s not too objectionable. Also, you could probably reduce this and have a nice little syrup to pour over pancakes, so bonus points for potential versatility.