By Amy Tindell
The day I was scheduled to fly back to Boston, my parents insisted on introducing me to a second Colorado Springs brewery, ever indulgent of their younger daughter’s penchant for exploring breweries as part and parcel to her travels. Thus, I found myself at Trinity Brewing Company, just around the corner from the red rock formations at Garden of the Gods Park.
At Trinity, I learned that I’m a sucker for a barrel-room with an archway entrance made of books. Back in January 2013, the brewery asked patrons to bring in their unwanted hardcover books as a trade for beer, and used them to construct the archway. The barrel room itself holds many large wooden barrels salvaged from wineries and distilleries, and was constructed in the past year to expand the brewery’s sour and wild beer production.
The books and barrels are not the only parts of Trinity that have been repurposed. The pub is custom-built from nearly 100% recycled materials. Other environmentally-conscious practices include sourcing materials for the beer and “slow food” from local farms, and recycling all glass, plastic, and metal waste produced by the brewery. Trinity additionally donates spent grain and food compost for fertilization processes at the Ketchum Family Farm.
After admiring the books and barrels, we ordered a beer flight and a “slow food” lunch to enjoy on the dog-friendly patio outside. Demonstrating their western tastes, my parents’ favorite was Flo, Trinity’s IPA, brewed with a blend of eight hop varieties and seven malts. This IPA features notes of pine and citrus, with light malty sweetness for balance. I preferred the Slap Your Mammy DIPA with its grapefruit flavors blending with the alcohol finish, although the piney bitterness became overwhelming for this east coaster after a few sips. My favorite was the Soul Horkey Ale, created from a recipe that combines English and Belgian brewing traditions. The aroma and taste both feature sweet dark fruit, caramel malts, yeast ester, and earthy hops, and the brew finishes with a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel.
The two most interesting beers were the Saison Man and the Farmhouse Rusé. Trinity styles the Saison Man, a golden Belgian ale, as a “Post Industrial Session Saison.” Saison Man combines weyerman pilsen, rye, flaked wheat, flaked oats, spelt, and grains of paradise with Styrian Goldings and Czech Saaz hops, fermented with 2 farmhouse yeast strains and Drie Bretta. The result is a somewhat tart, lemony golden ale dominated by the barnyard funk of the Brett. The Farmhouse Rusé offers a cold weather option for saison lovers, with Colorado ingredients including Anaheim and Pueblo chiles from Mauro Farm in Pueblo and Bartlett pears from Pear Blossom Farms in Palisade. With the addition of cacao nibs, this saison features flavors of light fruit, dark chocolate bitterness, and roast, rounded out with a mild spicy heat. The 9.5% ABV adds a subtle sweetness and a clean finish.
Trinity pays special attention to how its beer is served, and supports a campaign to “Kill the Pint Glass.” By offering different types of beer in different types of glassware or different size pours, the brewery ensures that all pours are based off the same profit margin percentage and promote responsible consumption. Thus, smaller pours may result from higher raw material costs, higher costs of guest beers, or higher alcohol content. Further, Trinity selects glassware to improve the tasting experience, allowing for better evaluation of head retention, color, and clarity, or in the case of snifters, concentrating CO2 for better aromatics. Trinity believes that “Beer is no longer a slap it in a mason jar and slam it down product,” and encourages others to “keep fighting the good fight.”
With its sustainable business practices and attention to consumer experience, it’s not surprising that Trinity also encourages healthy habits in its employees and patrons. On Monday evenings, it hosts the “Soul Runners”, offering 3-4 mile or 8-mile group runs, followed by discounted beers, and a points system toward further discounts at Trinity and Colorado Running Co. I am still trying to convince my parents to check out Soul Runners for me, in hopes of another Trinity family outing the next Monday I am in town.