Cold Creek Brewery in Ellington received a review from us a while back before they even offered pints and flights. We enjoyed some free samples and the chance to talk with a few of the people behind the crazy operation that is running a brewery. One night while grabbing a pint my brother and I reminisced on the beer we enjoyed from Cold Creek that early spring day. After a little research, we found that their taproom had officially been approved and they were now serving pints and flights of their brews.
Wasting no time at all, we figured it was time to give Cold Creek another shot and sample their full catalogue of creations the proper way. With seven beers on tap and regular hours throughout the week, we could see that the guys at Cold Creek were taking a leap in the right direction since we last visited.
The taproom has been completely transformed. When you first walk in there is a growler station for quick fills and any questions for the crew can be answered right there. If you’re looking to stick around for a few, you might be asked to find a seat in their comfortable taproom and someone will come around to help you out with your beer related needs. We found two seats at the bar which was a perfect spot to set up a pair of flights.
Annabelle, a German Wheat Beer was first on the list. This beer was made for the top of the order, it was true to style, super crisp, and “sessionable” at only 5.7% ABV. Annabelle cuts through the palate with ravenous carbonation and hints of banana on the backend, all of this coupled with a bready malt core that rounds it out. What you’re left with is a crisp, refreshing Witbier that should stay in rotation all year long.
Beatrix, a Belgian Tripel was next up. Coming in hot at 7.2% Beatrix is not to be taken lightly. Right away we were perplexed by a blast of fruit we weren’t able to put our finger on. After a short debate, we asked the kind and knowledgeable Cold Creek crew and we were floored when it was revealed that pear was the fruit we were tasting. Not only pear but also discrete banana esters worked their way through to give Beatrix a traditional flavor with a slight twist.
Speaking of traditional flavors with a twist, Winnie, a Maple Honey Stout completely knocked us out last time we visited, but somehow, Winnie seems to have gotten even better. The addition of honey was a new one since our initial taste test of Winnie and it makes a huge difference. I’m not sure how, but Winnie does not come off as a “sweet” stout although the ingredients previously described would say otherwise. On the nose, you smell pure maple syrup, so naturally your palate is anticipating a sweet syrupy stout. Wrong.
Winnie delivers with a complex body and perfect mouthfeel, all the while showcasing a slight roasted malt profile and absolutely hammering home the maple honey flavors on the backend. If I were a betting man, I’d be certain the folks at Cold Creek have a batch of Winnie floating around in a Bourbon barrel somewhere in their taproom just waiting to unleash next year. It won us over on our first trip, and as it turns out, we haven’t gotten over her yet. Winnie earned the Our Favorite award for the evening.
Elynour, a Double IPA (8.5%) was another great beer on a flight of many. Dry-hopped exclusively with Falconer’s Flight, Elynour gave us strong pine notes with a touch of underlining citrus. The Imperial impressed us both as we were able to truly enjoy all of the tasting notes without being scorched by a heavy bodied beer. Elynour was every part delicate as she was audacious, which is just what every solid Double IPA should be at its core.
Coming to a close we were faced with a decision neither of us wanted to make. The last beer was Betty, a Berliner Weisse that spawned three other look-alikes that added a different fruit puree to change the profile of the beer completely. Fair warning, the puree alterations are not available on the flight, but rather only by pint. So instead of leaving a few beers behind, we decided to grab two pints of different Betty clones and see just how much of a difference a little puree can do to a beer.
First, the original Betty. She’s tart, clean, cuts your palate like a razorblade and for some reason you keep going back. Betty is a standard Weisse with all the attributes to boot. But it’s the alterations that really catapult this base beer into another universe.
Betty w/ Raspberry Puree was sweet but never completely lost its tartness. Although the raspberry was certainly more sweet than tart, Betty’s base of authentic Berliner Weisse made it easy for the raspberry puree to do some heavy lifting and enjoy the spotlight. The pucker of the Weisse paired perfectly with the all-out flavor of Raspberry creating a great match.
Similar to the way a beer changes by simply changing a few hop varieties during the dry-hopping phase, the fruit purees were making Betty change in ways we never saw possible. The last puree we tried was completely strange but took us by surprise in the end.
Betty w/ Woodruff Puree was truly entertaining. First, I had to Google what exactly Woodruff was, and then furrowed a brow at the fact that Woodruff is often dried and used as potpourri or moth deterrent. How or why does one think this is going to be a good idea? But honestly, Betty w/ Woodruff threw my brain and taste buds for such a loop it was amazing. The sweet notes of the Woodruff paired well with the familiarity of Betty at first, but then the separate complexities came out and were only strengthened by the one another, culminating into this zany Berliner Weisse that some may try to emulate, but none will succeed. All this being said, it was easy to pick both Betty w/ Raspberry & Betty w/ Woodruff as our Must Try beers on the evening.
So make sure you make your way up to Ellington to see Cold Creek’s new and improved taproom. If you were a fan before, take it from us, there is so much more to see. Cold Creek’s hours run from Monday-Wednesday 4-9pm, Thursday-Friday 4-10pm, and Saturday-Sunday from 12-10pm.