Hop-Ed: Smiling Toad Brewery

Smiling Toad is a unique brewery here in Colorado Springs. Owner Biff Morehead opened his doors at a small location on Bijou St. in 2013. This original taproom only held around 10 people but provided an intimate experience between the customer, the brewer, and the owner. In the fall of 2014, Smiling Toad gave up the title of smallest brewery in town, and moved to a larger location off of Eighth St.

Photo by Phillip Engh

The change allowed them to expand their beer selection to 10 taps and a seating capacity of fifty people. The brewery remains committed to the homey feel and the taproom is now known for good conversation, great beer, and the occasional dog wandering around. As a spot famous for delicious IPAs and a different food trucks each night of the week, Smiling Toad Brewery is worth checking out.

This Week’s 5 Beer Flight:

#1: Blonde Ale

[6.2% ABV & 31 IBU] This beer is slightly hazy with a straw color and a distinct wheat-y aroma. It has a light head and body, and medium carbonation. The flavors are successful for a blonde: a bit fruity at first with a short finish. The taste is straightforward and refreshing, the beer is easy to drink and not too complex. This one might be more accurately dubbed a chugger than a sipper.

#2: Blueberry Hill IPA

[5.8% ABV & 37 IBU] This is our favorite of the five IPAs this week. It has a clear and brilliant gold color and a nice head. It features a pungent sweet blueberry aroma that gives this beer a taste resembling something like a pancake, cobbler, or fresh jam given the dominant blueberry flavor and floral hop undertones. This IPA is not bitter and has medium mouthfeel with a light body. With good carbonation, this beer has a longer mellow finish. This beer is well balanced and not too sweet for easy drinking.

#3: Pineapple Express IPA

[6.9% ABV & 60 IBU] This beer has a very hazy or even cloudy light, gold color with a persistent head. The aroma is balanced and smells slightly of pineapple, accompanied by fruity and citrus hops. It has more classic IPA qualities than the blueberry; it is sweet, but not too fruity, and has a more hoppy bitter acidic finish. With average carbonation, a medium-light body, and a puckering mouth feel, this beer is remarkably similar to a pineapple.

#4: Blood Orange Brown

[5.7% ABV & 77 IBU] This brown is probably the most interesting beer we sampled from Smiling Toad. It has a dark brown, amber color, is quite opaque, and has a light head. Sporting the standard aroma of a brown ale, it smells of roasted malts, and nutty coffee. It is lightly carbonated and has an unexpected light mouthfeel. The initial flavor brings taste buds a strong, sweet, citrus flavor and is followed by the emergence of caramel malts that linger in a lasting finish. Malt does not dominate the finish because the citrus taste also remains. With a somewhat coating mouthfeel, this beer has a unique and interesting flavor profile; it diverges from the classic style. All in all, it’s a tasty beer that packs quite the surprise!

#5: Irish Cream Stout

[5.7% ABV & 29 IBU] This stout has the standard deep, dark brown, opaque color. It has a light head that is brown, not white. Subtle aromas of mild cream and coffee are pleasing to the drinker. Normally we find stouts to be more powerful and aggressive in both smell and flavor, but this beer has a creamy, thick body and more carbonation than the typical stout. With cold brew and nutty flavors dominating, it is quite refreshing for a stout. While not too heavy, this beer is surprisingly filling. balanced and not too sweet for easy drinking.

Other Beers on Tap:

IPA Freely (trademark beer), Orange Blossom IPA, Eastern Slope IPA, Ambidextrous Amber and an Irish Red Ale.

Where to Drink:

The taproom is a little off the beaten path located quite far down Eighth st. The address is 1757 S. Eighth Street in Colorado Springs. While it is not the easiest brewery to find, there are solid food options, good company, and great beers.

Julian Dahl

Julian Dahl

Julian Dahl

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Christopher Birtch

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Brandon Marcus

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