Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Denver Beer Co (Denver, CO)

Christmas in July chalk art work
7/10/12, 7/13/12

I originally heard of Denver Beer Co from a Brewing TV episode last spring. Walking in, I liked the vibe immediately.  The near wall facing the street is an entire bank of glass garage doorsnot sure if they came with the place or were added. Very flexible to maintain temperature, which was comfortable on both of our visits. And, I'm guessing that it would be pretty sitting at the bar in a Rocky snowstorm. Denver Beer Co works on a model becoming popular right now: serve great beer and have food trucks fill'm up outside.

When staying downtown, a thirsty traveler gets to Denver Beer Co by taking the free shuttle on 16th Street to its northwest end in LODO. Walk up the stairway to the park, over the bridge and then cross the freeway bridge. Just over the freeway, take a right and 1/2 a block later the pub will be on the left. Very easy but a little off the tourist path. I sit at the long, lovingly made bar and order a set up of samples for a very reasonable dollar a glass:

  • Leibling's Kolsch: clean and light, and very much to style with a slightly assertive hop and fruitiness for the style 
  • Kaffir Lime Wheat: struggling to imagine that I like this beer this much. Extremely pleasant lime taste blended with a wheat punch plus some peppery notes/spice. Can't tell, but might be from the yeast or the hops. At any rate, it's well blended and fun. Nothing wimpy about this beer. I'd drink a pint of this if I had more time.
  • Brett's Go-To Amber: hoppy amber with a healthy malt base, caramel and biscuit blending with a hop spice. Solid.
  • Double Trouble Belgian Dubbel: smooth, vinous, full bodied dubbel, strong spice underneath that supports the body; good, even on a hot afternoon
  • Ameri-IPA: an assertive west coast IPA with citrus, spice and underlying earthiness. Sharp hop bite on the mouthno apologies here. Good, but raw and not subtle. Perfect, if that's what is wanted.
  • Graham Cracker Porter: actually tastes like graham crackers but with a heavy roast across the top. Roast and strong sweetness and graham cracker fight in the nose; however, the taste is dominated by a sharpness that counterpoints the nose. Very nice and I can see why it won a medal. Complex and fun.
  • Belgian IPA: bring on the funk with a yeasty spice and pepper fueled IPA that blends well with a highly hopped beer.
  • The Wilderness RIS: a smooth Russian Imperial Stout with loads of flavor. Strong vanilla, sweet dark malt, amazing lace in a sample glass that adds up to an epic beer.  
  • Denver Beer brewhouse with a view
    The Wilderness on draft
  • The Wilderness Barrel Aged: the barrel adds a strong woodiness and the alcohol is very apparent. I really liked the RIS straight up, but the barrel does a lot for this beer in spite of being sticky sweet and a bit hot. Having this to sip on a cool winter would be transcendent. Amazing beer. 

With one GABF medal for the Graham Cracker Porter, Denver Beer Co is off to a very good start and I predict they will add more medals in the future.  Of the places I visited by myself on this trip, I specifically took my wife back to try the porter, which she appreciated. To offset the big beer, we shared a large and surprisingly light and fluffy $5 pretzel, which was delectable with or without the pump jar of spicey Gulden's mustard that comes along with it. I settled in and took a crack at a draft of the barrel aged The Wilderness. We chatted and sipped with a background of classic/alt rock track while checking out the local art for sale and the Christmas in July chalk drawings.

When I beer travel, I secretly make a list of brewpubs that I want to live by in retirement.  Besides great beer, a pub that makes this list is a place that I yearn to become a local, to belly up to the bar with a friendly face and the newest draft in front of me.  Happily, at the latest, I plan to visit again at the next GALA in 2016.  So, please, go to Denver Beer Co and drink here to make sure I can return some day.

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