Mondays are dumb. This overrated day of evil sets the tone for the rest of your week. So when I clocked out for the day, locked up the office and stepped outside, I had a decision to make: Do I go home, make a small dinner and Netflix myself to sleep, or do I call a friend and go reward myself for getting out of bed and being an adult today? Naturally, I chose the latter—what's the point of working and doing grownup stuff if you can't enjoy grownup beverages? Luckily, Red Door Brewing (1001 Candelaria NE) was specifically designed to cater to the “I just got out of work” crowd and boasts “an environment free of rampaging gangs of rabid badgers which feed off chaos and lust for nothing but a dystopic, badger-ruled hellscape of a future.” (Seriously—this guarantee is straight from their website.)
Walking into the brewery, I was pleased to see that they upheld the No Rabid Badger rule, and the open but not cavernous main room was welcoming, well-lit and geometrically designed. Being an indecisive person, I immediately asked for a few samples before making, probably, the most important decision of the day.
I started with their Threshold IPA (ABV 6.6%, IBU 100). Unlike La Cumbre's Elevated IPA or other strong pale ales, Threshold had a very non-intrusive smell, while keeping the clear citrus and hop aroma. Keeping with the IPA standards, this sample was heavy on the hops and bitter to taste, though very easy to drink and not as harsh as some of its peers.
Next on my tasting list was the Paint it Black milk stout (ABV 5.6%, IBU 19). It smelled just like it tasted: chocolatey with highlights of coffee. Though not as thick as I expect (or want) my stouts to be, Paint it Black was filled with flavor and has a lightness to it that doesn't bog you down or make you too full. Still, I feel this one was almost more of a porter than a milk stout.
My drinking companion that day was a cider fanatic so, of course, we sampled the Unhinged cider (ABV 7%, IBU 0). Normally I can't handle most ciders because of their sweetness (and I'm sweet enough) but this one really surprised me. The Unhinged was crisp, with a smooth and tart finish. Sticking my nose in the glass, the smell was clean and bright—apples and alcohol—can't go wrong there. It sort of reminded me of champagne and it was, surprisingly, the most alcoholic beverage on Red Door's menu.
Needless to say, I still couldn't make up my mind, so I turned the choice over to the lovely lady tending bar. What she brought me was one of the most interesting beer combinations I've ever had—half stout, half cider. (I've since learned this combo is called a Black Velvet.) It sounds strange but it was wonderful, like drinking chocolate covered apples. The Paint it Black milk stout took center stage in this pairing but the Unhinged cider commanded the aftertaste like a crisp palette cleanser after a decadent dessert. I was surprised but very happy—a good way to end a Monday.
I'm sad I wasn't able to try their Vanilla Cream Ale (ABV 4.2%, IBU 16), which I hear is just like cream soda, but maybe that's more of a Tuesday drink. Though they are not yet available through your local liquor stores, Red Door Brewing offers growlers straight from the brewery.