Ska Brewing – True Blonde Ale, Modus Hoperandi IPA, and ESB Special Ale

Ska Brewing Mixed 12-pack

Today will probably turn out to be pretty unproductive for me. We have a BBQ to attend in Boston later this evening. Other than that, the only thing we need to do is run a couple of errands. Silvio is in the middle of a trip to Denver and he’ll be bringing us reviews from the road. Today’s installation of Silvio Saturday covers some brews from Ska Brewing. Silvio…

Ska Modus Hoperandi IPA

I’m in Denver on a much anticipated vacation, visiting some good friends. In the course of reviewing for LIBA I’ve tried several Colorado-based beers, and am always quite pleased. Needless to say, I’m excited to be out here, drinking beers I can’t get in D.C.

In the two days I’ve been here, I have determined this town is a beer mecca. You can’t go two blocks downtown without seeing a craft brewery or bar with walls of taps. I’m planning several brewery visits, and will write them up over the course of the next week, but for this review I’m focusing on three brews from the Ska Brewing Company out of Durango, Colorado. We stopped by a little beer store on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park and Ska’s Mixed Up 12 jumped out of the refrigerator. It’s got an India Pale Ale, Blonde and Extra Special Bitter – I knew this would be a great way to start the weekend.

Ska Modus Hoperandi IPA

First up, the Modus Hoperandi IPA. This beer has a great pour, with a big two-finger-tall foamy head, dark amber color and nice carbonation. The foam evaporated pretty quickly, but left lots of lacing. The taste is akin to being kicked in the mouth by Chuck Norris, if his leg were made out of hops. It’s bitter on the front, with lots of hoppiness, and ends very dry with a woody finish. The hoppy/bitter combo stays consistent throughout the taste and mellows in the aftertaste. My friend called this “one beer bitter” meaning it’s too bitter to have more than one, but I don’t necessarily agree. If you’re a hop head, you’ll love this brew, and if you like to get drunk the 6.8% ABV will help you along.

Ska Extra Special Ale

Ska Extra Special Ale

Second on the menu is the ESB Special Ale. The pour was interesting, with a foamy and lacey head and some nice carbonation. However, this brew doesn’t really have any detectable smell, which I found very strange. Good thing the taste makes up for it though – it’s a nice combination of malts and hops, which blends into an almost sappy taste. This is a very rich beer, but in a good way, with lots of smoky notes throughout. I also detect some fruit and citrus flavor at the front, which turns into a piney bitter flavor at the end. Very interesting taste, and quite enjoyable. The 5.7% ABV is solid, too.

Ska True Blonde Ale

The last beer of the three is the True Blonde Ale. The pour was foamy and lacey, with lots of carbonation. The color is very clear and golden, a typical pilsner color. Same thing goes with the smell, standard pilsner notes with some hints of banana or sweetness underneath. The first taste was a little bitter and quite wheaty. The flavor gets diverse in the middle, with a pollen or grain flavor, but ends pretty weakly. I think this beer’s major downfall is that it comes across really watered-down compared to the other two brews. Regardless, this is a good summer beer. It’s light and sweet with a 5.3% ABV, and would be perfect at an outdoor barbeque on a hot day.

Ska True Blonde Ale

I was very pleased with this foray into Colorado beer. I’m not sure how widely Ska is distributed, but highly recommend picking up any of these three brews. I know I will definitely keep an eye out for them when I’m back east.
That’s it for now – I’m off to continue my brewery tour in the promised land. Wish me well, and keep posted for some more reviews next week.

Ska Brewing Mixed 12

Author: Silvio

I like beer.

4 thoughts on “Ska Brewing – True Blonde Ale, Modus Hoperandi IPA, and ESB Special Ale”

  1. Welcome to Denver! I've been living here for a month and like you said, it is a beer mecca. I actually picked up the same mixed pack my first week here. The modus hoperandi was by far my favorite. Looking forward to the upcoming reviews.

  2. picked up the modus hoperandi while on vacation in Santa Fe (tried to stick to beers I cant get at home)… and besides a few local standouts on draft, it was probably the favorite thing I purchased.

    Odells is also in CO and not widely distributed – you might like their offerings.

    Cheers!
    Tom H

  3. I'd be lying through the teeth if I didn't say I was extremely jealous that you got to try Modus Hoperandi. Or any of the Ska Brewing line. I do so wish it was available on the east coast.

  4. I’ve enjoyed several Ska brews. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food I recommend the Mole Stout. Found it in San Antonio TX @ Central Market. Awesome to say the least. Love the craft.

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