Thursday, September 16, 2010

A look back at Ska's Local Series

Ska Brewing Co. just released the 17th beer in its Local Series. The new release is the third go-round of Hoperation Ivy, a wet-hop IPA using freshly harvested hops from a farm near Montrose.

So I asked Dave Thibodeau, Ska's president and co-founder, to send me a list of all the brewery's Local Series releases. It makes for interesting perusing.

The Local Series gives Ska's talented brewers a chance to stretch their abilities and experiment with new styles with minimal risk on Ska's part.

The small-batch beers are always released in 22-ounce bomber bottles, mostly in and around Durango, costing about $5 a bottle. I like that it gives us local beer drinkers something new to try several times a year.

Below is the label art for Ska's first Local Series release, a Spiced Belgian-style Blonde Ale:

Here is the full list of Local Series releases:

17. Hoperation Ivy
16. Clancy's Black Beer
15. Saison Du'Rango
14. Oak-aged Orange Cream Stout
13. Hoperation Ivy
12. "Merlo" Stout
11. Hoperation Ivy
10. Puck's Potion
9. Double Chocolate Stout
8. Pilsner
7. Double Cream Ale
6. Strong Scotch Ale
5. Jay Tea
4. Watermelon Wheat
3. Pilsner
2. Double Chocolate Stout
1. Spiced Belgian-style Blonde Ale

The first Local Series beer I remember (having moved to Durango in the summer of 2005) was no. 3, a refreshing, flavorful pilsner. I recall drinking no. 4, the Watermelon Wheat, with some skepticism.

The Local Series seems to have gotten more dialed-in and consistently excellent in the last couple of years. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd go with no. 14, the Oak-aged Orange Cream Stout that brewer Thomas Larsen thought up when he was sick. It tasted great - a deep, creamy dark stout with a pleasant hint of orange peel.

I hope Ska keeps the Local Series going for years to come.

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