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Chaco Canyon Gold | Empyrean Brewing Company

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79 Ratings

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

Added by PhantomVodoo on 07-29-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 79 |  Reviews: 27
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

a somewhat simple beer for what it is, but a tasty and easy drinking six pack at a fair price in a place where packaged craft beer isnt as easy to come by. i like the use of honey in this golden blonde ale, it adds a delicate middle sweetness and a cool floral element that goes well with the bready yeast i can taste. an odd combination in the style, but really its only point of distinction. it is fuller bodied too for the style, which i think helps it seem more hearty and satisfying for such a lightly flavored ale. carbonation is nice as well. i wasnt too impressed with the aftertaste though, a slight tannic thing kind of disrupts the smoothness of the body and the honey, and it lingers kind of long (also the burps dont taste very nice). these beers have been really hit or miss for me, a couple of them are awesome and a couple not so much. this is a good middle of the road sort of introductory craft beer, easy to slam down, but also just interesting enough with the yeast and honey to not be boring.

 1,013 characters

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.

 772 characters

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.

 343 characters

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

 482 characters

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.

 1,413 characters

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!

 523 characters

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.

 321 characters

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

Photo of WDJersey
3.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jzlyo
3/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -13.5%

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.

 554 characters

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.

89 characters

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.

 628 characters

Photo of Chucker17
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

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 The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.27/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark pureed apple color body, 100% opaque and thick, with nice head and lace on top, leaving a thick webbing. 2 fingers to start, recedes quickly but keeps its form fairly nicely.

Aroma of apple cider vinegar, baked malts, apricot jam, herbal hop. Not exactly a faint bouquet, but a crowded one.

Flavor of biscuit, scotch tape, antiseptic, stale honey lozenges, herbal hop. It is a bit on the hoppy/antiseptic side, all the way through to the end where a pleasant biscuit yeast flavor settles in. The bread permeates throughout the whole body but appears loudest at the end. It's not as bad as it sounds, but it's not real great either.

The feel is creamy, densely lit carbonation, and a dry medicinal finish.

Overall, Chaco Canyon is a unique beast but not something I'll rush out to try again. It was as I expected, an average to less than average honey blonde ale. I'd gladly do without the scotch tape and antiseptic notes.

 943 characters

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.

 559 characters

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
3.19/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

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.

 666 characters

Photo of Kahlerbock
3/5  rDev -13.5%

Photo of Cramerican
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.56/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling right now on 2/5/14. Had this in a past a few times. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a classic pint glass.

Pours a rich honey color with a very thin white head that lasts the who time. Lots of spotty lacing is seen with each sip that stays on the sides of the glass. perfect carbonation. The aroma is of grains with sweet honey. Very nice aroma. The taste is smooth and refreshing with a perfect amount of honey that is noted in the finish. A great brew for anytime of the year.

 526 characters

Photo of brandon911
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

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Chaco Canyon Gold from Empyrean Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 79 ratings
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