12 Beers of Christmas | Vision Quest Brewery | The Magical Liopleurodon
Who doesn’t love a good holiday beer?! For myself specifically, I look for something either reminiscent of hot cocoa or coffee this time of the year. I want a drink that makes me feel like I could hold it close, like a recently opened present, while sitting in front of the fire surrounded by loved ones, (who are obviously all in matching pajamas) on Christmas morning. Yes, my holiday beer must be a brew with cozy flavors I can sip slowly, while watching my younger sister Jamie unwrap the EXACT Furby that I wanted (no, wait, sorry that was in 1998).
Now to the task at hand – finding the perfect Christmas 2016 beer. I knew for sure that since I was staying in Boulder, Colorado for the holidays, I wanted my 12 Days of Christmas Beer to be something of the local variety. Coincidentally, one of my favorite Boulder breweries, Vision Quest Brewing, celebrated its one year anniversary this past weekend. In commemoration of their first year in business, one of the special beers on tap for the celebrations included an imperial coffee porter. Given that VQ’s party took place on a cold December night, and as much as I love their Coconut IPA, once I locked eyes with the name of the coffee porter, I knew it had to be mine: The Magical Liopleurodon.
A liopleurodon, (pronounced LEE-oh-PLOOR-oh-don), is a carnivorous marine reptilian dinosaur. According to one of Vision Quest’s co-owners, Greg Kallfa, “it is pretty much a mix of a whale and a crocodile.”
The beer’s full name, The Magical Liopleurodon is derived from the well-known YouTube video Charlie the Unicorn. In this video, a trio of unicorns, one of whom being Charlie, encounter a magical Liopleurodon, in the forest while traveling to Candy Mountain.
Aside from the awesome name, this Vision Quest imperial coffee porter is brewed with a great assortment of adjuncts: coffee, cinnamon, chilies and Madagascar vanilla. Moreover, this beer was brewed as a team effort by Vision Quest’s two co-owners, Greg Kallfa and Adam Kandle, collaborated in making it. The pair used extra grains to make this beer from their friends over at Atom Brewery, another Boulder County brewery.
Vision Quest included two types of coffee (Colorado-based Allegro Coffee‘s Costa Rican and Mexican varieties), two varieties of cinnamon (Ceylon and Saigon) and two kinds of chilies (17 jalapeños and habaneros each to be exact) in making The Magical Liopleurodon.
In terms of flavor, the beer’s chili notes balance out well with the vanilla and cinnamon for a delectable spicy and sweet taste. Since Ceylon cinnamon is typically known for its sweeter and more delicate flavor, I found that its presence complemented some of the chocolate-y coffee flavors in the beer. Moreover, choosing a dual-variety blend of the Allegro coffee was a great way to add some complexity to this porter, as Mexican coffee often has a nutty flavor to it. One of my friends at the anniversary party with me thought that the Liopleurodon was comparable to Prairie Artisan Ale’s Bomb!. What’s nice about this beer though is that comes in at 7.5% ABV, so you can crush a couple more than a 13% Bomb!. Overall, my friends and I really enjoyed The Magical Liopleurodon and all of the other beers at Vision Quest.
Nervous about whether or not I could procure a growler of this holiday-appropriate creation to enjoy on Christmas Day, Adam assured me that there is enough of this libation to go around. There is also a keg of this beer over at the Rayback Collective, a foodpark a few miles from the brewery. So, if you’re spending Christmas in Colorado, put some Magical Liopleurodon on your wish list, as this beer should remain available in Boulder through the holidays!