Brewed from the darkness

This Thursday we are looking forward to enjoying some Fade To Black at Venture Café. No, Metallica is not our Special Guest, but I would like to think if James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich were to drink some of this delicious beer from Left Hand, they would have found life slightly less dark.

Dick Doore and Eric Wallace started the Left Hand Brewing Company in the early 1990s, after several years of homebrewing and roaming the Earth in pursuit of tasty beers. They incorporated in Colorado as Indian Peaks Brewing Company, in honor of the nearby wilderness area that is the historical home to several Native American tribes. Doore and Wallace converted a former meat packing plant on the St. Vrain River near downtown Longmont into their dream brewery. They hit a bump in the road when they discovered that “Indian Peaks” was already being used by another brewery for a beer name, but again found a solution rooted in the Colorado land and its history. They decided to change the name of their brewery to honor Chief Niwot, whose tribe had once frequented the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, and whose southern Arapahoe name can be derived to be mean “left hand.” They opened their Colorado doors on January 22, 1994.

Fade to Black is a seasonal beer at Left Hand, and refers to “that time of year when the light fades away. Brewed for the darkness, Fade to Black speaks in volumes.” The current brew is Volume 4, a Rocky Mountain Black Ale that pours pitch black with an off-white head. It offers aromas of citrus and roasted malts. The taste is balanced by sweet malts (2-row, Munich, Dark Chocolate, Crystal and Carafa), citrusy hops (Centennial), bitter hops (Columbus), and Italian herbal Amara. The result is smooth, complex, and perfect for the dark months of winter.

While Metallica’s song may focus on the fading of life itself, the beer’s name reflects the quickly fading light of the winter sky. However, since the beer is seasonal, its closing line is the same as the song: Now I will just say goodbye. Thus, come to Café this week to sample this beer before its winter song ends.

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