Welcome back metal mavens, sour sucklers, funk floggers, beer brothers, and welcome to the most recent installment of Tap Trail Reviews. We’ve got a fun one today, from a small brewery in Denver called TRVE (pronounced true). TRVE was one of my most memorable stops during my trip back home over the holidays, a super unique brewery with good beer and a memorable experience, the sum of all these parts can be hard to find these days with so many new breweries.
So, what makes TRVE unique? Is it the space, the beer, the concept, the music, the people? It is a little bit of each. Though their most unique feature was their nearly concert level sound system pouring out ridiculously fitting and appropriate unrelenting metal, it was pure audio bliss, somehow managing not to sound tinny or overpower the room you could still have a conversation, but could still get soaked deeply into the music rather quickly. That said, it still merely served as a glue to tie everything else together. The black and white prints on the wall, the long dark wood communal tables, the black walls, the lit candles above the taps, I hadn’t seen much like it, much less a brewery, it all worked very very well.
Dark, bold, abrasive, raw, rich, impactful, all of these are descriptors for the space, not for the beer. While at the brewery I was able to sample through eight or so different beers, everything from Table Beer, British Mild, Belgian Golden, IPA, Gose, Stout, everything was very well composed and more adept to the inverse descriptors of the space, everything showed balance, nuances, depth, subtleties, complexities, and excellent composition. Nothing was abrasive or excessive, everything was very well put together and worked well. I really enjoyed their IPA “Tunnel of Trees” it was piney and resinous though slightly tropical and very clean, kept wanting to come back for more.
I had frankly not expected to find TRVE anywhere else anytime soon, to hear that it was being made available for Seattle Beer Week was an awesome discovery, to hear that they were sending sours was icing on the cake.
What we’ll start with is Cursed, a Mixed Culture Sour Pale Ale, described by the brewery as “our first experiment in fermentation with our new house culture — a blend of saccharomyces, brettanomyces, lactobacilli, and wild yeasts. This provides a great balanced acidity and a medium level of funk while still being what we consider to be a fairly clean sour. We then dry hop this beer judiciously to complement and not overpower the character provided by this house culture.”
Brewery — TRVE, Broadway, Denver, Colrado
Beer — Cursed, Sour Pale Ale
ABV — 4.4%
Price — $8.49, 375 ml
Availability — Limited
Appearance (3/3) — Pours a hazy custardy lemon yellow hue into the glass, there is a quickly forming stark white head that sits on top, but fades to a thin film that leaves some lacing around the edges. A bit of sediment is visible in the bottom of the bottle, and can be roused and poured into the glass to increase the haze and tartness level, which I did without hesitation.
Aroma (8/12) — A slight funk initially, quite a bit of Brett but not overpowering by any means, a lightly grassy note, a little bit of a rotting fruit smell, but I don’t find it unpleasant. There is a bit of a lemony tang on the nose as well, some hints at the acidity.
Taste (16/20) — Clean and tangy, lemon, citrus, lacto tartness, a bit of Brett, grassy, fruity, clean, balanced, with a subtly enticing dry-hop component on the finish, slightly piney, earthy even. Very well rounded and mildly acidic.
Mouthfeel (4/5) — Prickly carbonation, very smooth and bubbly, refreshing, this goes down very easily and is slightly warming, strangely, might be the acidity, but it all works.
Overall (8/10) — Very well done, the only sour I’ve had from TRVE before was a small serving of their Gose, which I found to show restraint and be a bit Old World. Cursed is a bit different, it is more layered, has more depth, is more well rounded, and is downright delicious. Very clean, tangy, and well put together. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sending some of this delicious nectar out for Seattle Beer Week.
TOTAL — 39 / 50 — EXCELLENT
Nick, Zach, Pat, Fonda, Ben, Kat, thank you for sending some bottles out, I will be back next time I am in town, for sure, and would love to see more bottles in the wild.