Chaco Canyon Gold | Empyrean Brewing Company

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Chaco Canyon GoldChaco Canyon Gold
82 Ratings
Chaco Canyon GoldChaco Canyon Gold

Brewed by:
Empyrean Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
We brew this easy-going golden ale with a bit of Nebraska honey for a unique, sweet-yet-dry character, balanced with a crisp hop finish. Brewed with American, English & German grown barley, American hops and Nebraska honey.

21 IBU

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 82 |  Reviews: 27
Reviews by beagle75:
Photo of beagle75
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A: Clear, medium golden color with one finger of diminishing white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass while scattered bubbles rise singly in the column.

S: Crisp bready malt evokes qualities of Bavarian helles. Other threads suggest berry fruit and trace amounts of mint.

T: Begins dry, with toasted crackery malt and earthy hop aromatics. Acidity is moderate, combining some carbonic and citric qualities. Flavors sweeten into the middle, where estery fruit realizes the potential suggested by the berry in the nose. Pleasant malt sticks to the palate throughout, joined by minor astringent hop flavors in the mildly bitter finish.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic on the palate in a lively way, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This is a fairly enjoyable light ale that captures some favorable pale malt qualities. I'd like to see a variant receive aggressive dry-hopping to make for a memorable low-gravity IPA.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #59 (December 2011):

LOOK: Weathered gold hue, sticky lace

SMELL: Fresh-baked bread, faint floral hop, hint of pear, slightly nutty, clean

TASTE: Dry bread crust, smooth, dry, hint of alcohol, herbal, floral, very faint fruitiness, balancing hop bitterness, biscuity, grainy dry finish

Brewed with Nebraska honey, this brew brings some nice depth and finished honey tones. A very tasty and versatile beer, making for a great first beer of the day, session beer, and intro to better beers for the timid novice beer drinker. The brewery recommends pairing with Southwest cuisines. We agree.

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Photo of ZAP
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For the style this is a decent American Blonde Ale...the aroma is a sweetish and yes makes one think of honey...the flavor has a little bit of a graininess and a touch of honey sweetness....but more so it has an herbal/fruity (apples/pears) hop dimension that lingers on the finish. Nice balance to this beer and some nice flavors. Body is medium...Drinks nice...not too thin...decent but not overdone carbonation.

Solid beer. Would I buy a six pack of it? Probably not but it is decent enough.

My first of six singles I have to try from this brewery.

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Photo of bditty187
3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Translucent gold hue, small white head, fair retention, sparse unorganized lace. Soft nose with kisses of raw honey, hints of caramel malt and cereal. The bouquet is pleasant and inviting but not very potent. The flavorfulness of the palate comes as a surprise… the hops are much more prevalent in the taste, pleasantly bitter. Soft notes of honey, cereal, and caramel malts add tasty complexity. Very tasty! Modest carbonation, medium-light body… ideal mouthfeel. The aftertaste is “more-ish” with hoppy-caramel-cereal. I wish this Empyrean product were readily available in Omaha because I’d gladly drink more of it. It is most similar to New Belgium’s Loft.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.82/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy honey gold, ironically enough, pretty good clarity for a bottle conditioned beer. The color is a little flat, lacking brilliance. It has a slightly whitish tone, like an overcast sky. A short froth of alabaster head forms with a vigorous pour, dropping immediately into a level coating, bordered by a thicker collar. The collar keeps through the glass, although there isn't much in the way of lace. This one small amoeba of lace is clinging stubbornly to the glass, directly opposite of the side I'm drinking on, and I have to give it credit for it's tenacity. It stuck there from start to finish. Looking at it closely, it's formed of about 150 incredibly tiny bubbles that are all exactly the same size. My eyes strain to make out the individual spheres.
The aroma is rather grainy, with a moderate grassy/floral hop presence. The honey is just a subtle hint wafting in the background. Much more robust than I expected. A slightly biscuity base maltiness, with some sourish wheat malt. Interesting and unexpected.
The flavor starts out lighter than expected, with an instant wheat crispness and a bit of grainy, biscuity malt. The honey creeps in through the middle, much more present than the aroma suggests. An interesting floral, clover honey flavor that blends well with the dusty wheat. A slight bready yeast flavor throughout, particularly in the very end. Faint grassy and floral esters, with a dash of pear. The honey and wheat continue into the finish, meeting a mild, understated floral/grassy hopping. I'd venture to guess Northern Brewer. The wheat takes on a sourish tone, finishing the beer surprisingly dry. A touch of lime in the end, adding a slight citric acidity. The aftertaste snaps off pretty clean, only a light floral honey flavor clinging to the tongue. Light to medium bodied, with a soft, silky carbonation whisking across your tastebuds. Pleasant, soft mouthfeel makes this an easy quaffer, although a touch of grainy roughness keeps your tastebuds' attention.
I'm very rarely impressed by honey in beer, but this is very nice. Similar to Magic Hat's Braggot in the honey flavor. It lacks any real sweetness, but imparts a soft, underlying floral flavor and adding some dryness to the finish. Nice stuff, very different from what I was expecting.
Thanks to Bditty for the bottle!

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Honey Gold it says in the name, and honey gold it looks in the glass, no doubt about it, with a small, departing white head.
Aroma: soft, calm, mellow sweetness, just a hint of honey, bright and pretty.
Taste: a most welcome hoppy blitzes the tongue, buzzing like a honey bee, then it's all smooth-sailing, light, yummy. Light to medium body, tasty texture, nice finish. Quite a nice little ale, I could see it sitting in for a session or just a light change of pace for the palate.

Thanks again to bditty!

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden in color with a slight brown hue. Minimal white head.
Aroma of slightly sweet, toasty pale malt and fruity hops.

Taste shows a toasty, toffee malt backbone. Slightly sweet. Fruity hop balance. Light and refreshing, some crispness. Hint of honey. Malt and fruit linger a bit long on the palate.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability.

Overall, a solid golden ale. Big thanks to bditty187 for the bottle!

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Photo of tavernjef
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden honey yellow in color with a small off-white head thats loose on top and retains for a short while before fading to a very thin ring and drippy lace. Smell has some faint sweet malts, light caramel sense and honey; soft nose. Taste is a weakened brigade of soft malts lending a touch of doughnuts and caramel, has a small but nice little floral sweet hop bite that gives it a nudge past the midway point and has adequate carbonation but a lighter body feel with a hint of honey that creeps in after the crispy clean finish.
Not a bad beer but something I wouldn't return to.

Thanks to bditty187 for the bottles.

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Photo of DrewBeechum
3.31/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a fresh bottle airlifted into Southern California. Thanks!

Pours into a straight side American pint with a low crispy white head that fades quickly leaving a stream of bubbles flowing out of a golden clear brew.

Aroma is low and slightly sweet with a flowery perfume permeating the air.

The beer presents with a crisp hoppy backend that cleans out a honey sweet beer.

After taste lingers for a while with a sweetness on the lips, but a very spicy bitterness lasting on the inside.

Not too bad.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sunny pueblo gold with a thick slice of eggshell colored foam covering the mouth of the glass. The head is respectably persistent and does a pretty good job laying down lace. No complaints here.

The aroma is American blonde ale-like. In other words, it lacks personality. Each sniff delivers untoasted malt and a whiff of earthy-herbal hops. No real estery fruitiness means that American pale lager would work as well.

Chaco Canyon is (slightly) better beer on the palate, but it still isn't a standout by any means. Blame the constraints of the style, not the brewers. It feels like most of the original 21 IBUs have hung around and the finish is reasonably crisp and clean.

The flavor profile is essentially a reprise of the aroma. Untoasted cereal grains lay down an acceptable malt base and non-citrus zesty hops add a countering bitterness for the classic yin-and-yang of well-crafted beer. Nebraska honey is not appreciated.

The mouthfeel is easily medium for the style/ABV and the carbonation is fine and dandy. The bubbles have just the right amount of tongue tingling energy, while stopping well short of buzzy.

Chaco Canyon is a National Historical Park in Northwest New Mexico that has the highest concentration of pueblos in the the U.S. Chaco Canyon Honey Gold is another good brew from Empyrean that should complement most foods very well. Solo, it's a little lacking in the pizzazz department.

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Photo of BigRedN
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass from the 12 oz bottle a nice clear golden color. Good 1/2 white head forms, which falls in short order to a little white cloud and ring around the glass. There are some patches of lacing as the beer is consumed.

Smell: Smell is well, clean...Minimal aromas, some citrousy scent, touch of malts (a touch grainy - barley, oats and sweet). As with about any other "Honey" beer I smell no scent of honey. Perhaps I my senses can not detect the smell of honey?

Taste: Some maltiness on the outset, (touch biscuity) with a slight bitterness on the finish. More sweet then bitter, with just enough to keep one sipping.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light in body yet not watery, good carbonation, light and lively.

Drinkability: Probably the easiest drinking beer in Empyrean's lineup. It is the go to beer for the BMC drinker. Light, with just a little flavor, but nothing too over the top.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Perhaps a bit disapointed in this beer. Expecting a clean, golden lager with crisp pilsner character and soft esters. The beer took on a haze that never settled and gave a slight head retention that fleeted rather quickly. Aromas of bruised apples and vegetables took over, while the softer malt base, pleasant spiciness, nor the hops could never balance the beer. Flavors were more complex than prefered: phenols, sulfers, and fruitiness is quite high and never sold me on the style. The body lost carbonation quickly, letting the beer sit too heavily and sweetly on the toung. Finishes with that strong apple / fruity flavor. I would have thought that something was wrong with this beer, except the same apple, sulfer flavors also came through in the Scotch Ale as well.

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Photo of russpowell
3.39/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours honey colored with 3 fingers of ivory head. Srellar head retention & lacing

S: Grassyness & green apple & some floral hops

T: Grassyness, green apple skins, crackery notes & dryness up front. Some grainy astrgingey as this warms, more grassyness& a slight bit of caramel too. Finishes tart with green apple bitterness & a touch of lemon

MF: Light bodied, firm carbonation, okay balance

Drinkable, but run of the mill, great... now I have five more of these to ge through

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Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of aforbes10
2.26/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Lazlo's, which is Empyrean's resteraunt. This is one of their most popular beers and i've seen it in a lot of places in six packs, but i really was not impressed when i ordered one.

Poured a clear golden color, as you might expect from a blonde. no head, at least not when it got to the table.

no real odor, except maybe a bit of honey.

Taste of some honey and some malt. really just very bland though. i feel dirty saying it really has any real "flavor" at all.

Wouldn't want another of these.

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Photo of beerbrains
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of TippySelenoid
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Hazy gold. White head. Beautiful lacing.

It smells kind of peppery, there is a sweet maltiness as well.

This beer has more than I would have thought. There is a grassy/peppery hop presence. There is also a big honey flavor as well, but this beer is not sweet. The hops balance it out nicely.

It's a shade lighter than medium bodied and crisp.

When I see a beer with the word honey in the name I usually prepare myself for a sweet mess of a beer. Thgis is the first beer that I've had that really bucks that trend. A flavorful, drinkable beer.

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Photo of Kahlerbock
3/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of mothman
2.73/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a white head. Color is a clear golden orange. Leaves nice lace.

Aroma: Wheat and honey. Lagerish. Bready malts.

Taste: Wheat with a noticeable lager flavor to it. Very bready. Light honey. Light off flavor.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light. Decent carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, kind of boring. Not much to this one. Not overly flavorful.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.21/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle from his home state.

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is fairly basic, with a lot of honey and wheat coming through. That also pretty much describes the flavor, which has some honey, wheat and some graininess. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of jera1350
3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very nice beer for the style. Easy drinking with some subtle honey sweetness and flavor.

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Photo of MinorThreat
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of koopa
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle received from a friend out west.

Appearance: Pours a dull penny bronze that is fairly transparent...a bit murky at most. Crown is white, 1 finger, shows moderate retention and good lace. I'd give it a 3.8 if I could.

Smell: Mild mixture of pale malt, honey, and a hint of tea.

Taste: Same as the nose.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin and under carbonated yet fairly crisp. Confusing I know.

Drinkability: If the mouthfeel or the taste were better I'd give this a higher score in the drinkability department. The beer presents no challenge, just limitation.

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Photo of ghebel
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear, gold color. 3/4 inch white head that fades quickly, but leaves some legs on the glass.

S - Mild malt, piney hops and background honey. Balanced. Have to let it warm a bit to get the full aroma.

T - Mild bitterness that fades slowly. Balanced here too. Sweet honey aftertaste that I find surprisingly good.

M - Thin, but that is what it is supposed to be.

D - Very drinkable. I could drink a few. This is a good alternative to the American macro brews.

Overall - Pleasantly surprised. Happy for the guys that brew this right down the road. I will have to visit the brewery sometime.

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Chaco Canyon Gold from Empyrean Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 82 ratings