Two quick odes to Durango beers:
1. Steamworks Brewing Co. has a superb Imperial Mole Stout on cask (at least as of Nov. 6, at the Durango brewpub). The spice adds a unique flavor that I found reminiscent of vanilla. There's also some chocolate and a mellow spice kick to it. Serving it at cask temperature allows the flavors to come out right away. It's really a very complex, interesting stout. Some imperial stouts have a "me too" quality to them. Not this one. It ought not be missed.
As an aside, props to Steamworks for offering 10- and 20-ounce beers. Sometimes, as with a heavy, strong imperial stout, 10 ounces is perfect.
2. The more fresh-hop beers I try, the more I think Ska's Hoperation Ivy is an excellent example of the style. I tried a Left Hand Warrior IPA (6.6 percent ABV, 60 IBUs) on Sunday and came away disappointed. It wasn't bad, but it seemed less flavorful than Hoperation Ivy. So add the Longmont brewery's entry into the fresh-hop category as another beer that Hoperation Ivy exceeds, along with Deschutes' Hop Trip and Sierra Nevada's Harvest Ale.
There are so many fresh-hop beers brewed on the West Coast that it's hard to know how Hoperation Ivy stacks up. But it blows away most others I've tried.
This post has been edited from an earlier version.