During the GABF award ceremony I was sitting front row center, which was a great opportunity to witness the facial expressions on people’s faces as they came up to accept their awards. After the ‘Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer’ category was announced, three guys who looked barely 30 approached the stage looking like deer in headlights. These were the guys behind Our Mutual Friend Brewing, a local Denver-based brewery that took home silver in the category for their 24 FPS Sour Ale.
I had heard about OMF the previous year but didn’t have the opportunity to check them out, but with a small brewery winning an award like that, they shot right up to the top of my ‘must visit’ list while in Denver. Their tasting room is a small white painted-brick building in the River North neighborhood, blocks away from Epic and Crooked Stave. It’s an unsuspecting spot that you could easily mistake for a new-age yoga studio with the mural that covers the front of the building. Inside is a very comfortable, very cool feeling space. The music is flows out of a record player, the glassware features designs by local artists and while I hate using the word, the entire space gives off a very hipster vibe. That’s a word that tends to turn a certain crowd off, but honestly that would be your mistake because the beer at OMF is exceptional.
The flight I ordered at Our Mutual Friend consisted of the aforementioned silver-medal award winning beer, a cherry gose, a rye-barrel aged imperial coffee porter and an all brett pale ale. Each and every one was fantastic. Their cherry gose was a perfect balance of salty-sour mixed with bright cherry. The barrel-aged porter was rich and luscious without letting the rye barrel overwhelm. And the brett pale ale was bright and tropical with a perfect hop bite.
OMF Brewing has a real focus on local ingredients, utilizing custom kilned malts from Colorado growers and hops coming from local farms. In a lot of ways that could feel limiting for a small brewery trying to find its voice, but for OMF it seems to be their strength. Each one of their beers is dialed perfectly – as though the brewers are effortlessly hitting one bulls-eye after another. Truly, they are one of the most promising breweries that I have been to; not just in Denver, but in all of North America. So while yes, OMF won a silver medal at the GABF awards this year, in my mind they won best in show for my entire festival.