The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project brings a new and innovative approach to Denver by brewing internationally-inspired beers. Some beers originate from unique foreign styles, others use foreign ingredients, and some are inspired by international flavors. The genesis of this super-experimental approach is the head brewer’s foreign travels along with his interest in foreign cultures and history. Based on our group’s reaction during our visit, some of the experiments are hits and others, well, not so much. But I guess that’s the whole point of experimenting!
BEER LINEUP: The menu runs the gamut of foreign styles from familiar Czech Pilsner, to lesser-known ones such as Finnish Sahti. The brewery also features beer and food combinations like a Garlic Amber, Chamomile Hefe-Wit, and Basil IPA. Chances are you’ll find something comfortable and familiar, but you are assured of finding a bunch of interesting and unusual flavors as well if you feel adventurous.
ATMOSPHERE:The taproom is furnished in the typical Colorado-outdoorsy style and features loads of games along with travel and cookbooks to help complement the theme. On the evening we were there it was pretty quiet with a handful of people in the bar at any one time. Intrepid Sojourner also offers a patio. Check their calendar for occasional food trucks and frequent beer specials.
SERVICE: With only a few patrons the service was fast and attentive and the server was seemed pretty happy chatting everyone up. She also provided helpful thoughts on the beers as we contemplated our orders.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Intrepid Sojourner is in the same artsy S. Santa Fe neighborhood as several other breweries, along with art galleries and restaurants so you can certainly make an afternoon or evening out of strolling around. After dark it feels a little deserted, but not really dangerous and regardless of the hour you can generally find street parking on a side street or in the brewery’s small lot. Note: On the First Friday Art Walk all parking hopes go out the window!
STANDOUT BEER:Garlic Amber. Perhaps not strictly the best beer, this one stands out for innovation. Garlic in a beer is so unique I had to try it. The end result is a beer with the amber/copper and light/medium body represented the typical amber style, but it seemed like the garlic accentuated the hops rather than standing out much on its own.
Time to get out of the post-Thanksgiving food coma and drink some (more) beer! The weekend’s a little light on events but still a reason to get off the couch and back out to the real world.
Friday 24th: Try out the first annual Black Friday Invitational at Station 26 Brewing Co. featuring releases of their Dark Star series along with a number of other guest breweries and munchies. Ticketed event.
Saturday 25th: Dance off the Thanksgiving calories at Dry Dock’sUgly Sweater Swing Dance at the South Dock from 5:00-10:00. Or just come to marvel at the sheer ugliness of it all . . .
Sunday 26th: Jump right back into the turkey-based feasting with Halfpenny Brewing Company’s Turkey Day Leftovers Potluck. Bring leftovers to share and get a discount on beer, or just show up and extend the Thanksgiving feast one more day.
Reminder that this coming weekend Wit’s End Brewing Company will be closing their 2nd Ave location to move in with Strange Craft Beer. They anticipate celebrating the completion of the move the following weekend. Given Strange’s already-cramped taproom I have difficulty envisioning how the combination will play out, but I suppose that’s just one more excuse to stop in and enjoy a few beers!
Tapping into Coloradans’ love of the outdoors, Woods Boss Brewing Company brings an outdoors-themed taproom and beer menu to a formerly rough area of downtown that is under transition. The busy taproom serves up a wide variety of beers – some traditional, some unusual – that seem thoughtfully brewed and which, for the most part, deliver in the area of taste.
BEER LINEUP: The menu features a broad range of beer styles including many standard-style offerings like an IPA, ESB, red, etc. along with a number of styles with slight twists like a juniper wheat and oatmeal brown. There didn’t seem to be anything too far-out – just tweaks to the standards.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom features lots of wood – tree trunks, split-log tables, beer-menu signs – which would seem at odds with the urban, industrial building but actually works to create a fresh, modern look. It seems like a place for the young professional crowd to get together and catch up or play some of the games on hand. They do not serve food.
SERVICE: Bar service only, but the servers were attentive, informed, and helpful in making difficult choices among the numerous tasty-looking offerings.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Woods Boss is just a little north of the downtown business district in a former urban wasteland of trash-strewn parking lots and empty warehouses. Now the area is slowly filling with small businesses and the patrons they bring. However it still feels rather sketchy, especially at night, with homeless staggering around like zombies, but free street parking is reasonably close to the brewery. There aren’t yet a lot of other businesses to keep you in the area, but it’s building up fast.
STANDOUT BEER: The Enrosadira pink peppercorn saison has quite a bit going on aside from the usual Belgian-yeast saison flavor. The peppercorn added spicy and savory flavors including sage, reminiscent of Thanksgiving stuffing (in a good way). The golden appearance had a slight brown tint and touch of haziness typical of a saison. Overall it seemed a good fall/holiday beer – interesting but not overwhelming.
It’s definitely a weekend to think of others, starting Friday with the support for the endangered Yeti, followed up Saturday by the Day of Darks that supports multiple nonprofits. Day of Darks is truly one of my favorites of the year due to the small crowd and the awesome beers.
Friday 17th: Cap off Yeti Awareness week with Yeti Day at the Great Divide Barrel Bar with over 10 varieties of Yeti on tap, Yeti + food (Yeti ice cream float anyone?), plus raffles.
Friday 17th:Cerebral Brewing starts their 2nd anniversary weekend festivities with a few beer releases, then pumps it up Saturday with live music, raffles, and chocolate giveaways. Sunday features an egg drop contest – pick up kits at noon, drop at 2:00.
Saturday 18th: Join over 30 local breweries for the Day of Darks at Wynkoop Brewing Co. where they will be pouring some of their stash of dark beers for pairing with chocolates. From past experience this a great event with no lines, easy brewer access, and lots and lots of tasty beer! Note: This is a ticketed event.
Saturday 18th: Come watch the lighting of the star on Castle Rock at 105 West Brewing. The brewery is arranging daycare next door ($5) so the taproom will be an adults-only affair.
In addition to the tasty Belgian beers, you gotta love the promotions that Bruz Beers puts on for their customers. Monday is Customer Appreciation Night, Tuesday is buy a draft and get a crowler at 1/2 price, and Wednesday-Friday feature Happy Hour from 3-6. However even without the promos Bruz stands out for its beers and energetic atmosphere.
BEER LINEUP: Bruz clearly focuses on Belgian-style beers in the saison/dubbel/tripel family but also offers a few beers that may appeal to hop-lovers by supplementing traditional Belgian flavors with W Coast or New Zealand hops.
ATMOSPHERE: The evening we visited, the mostly-full taproom had a great energy with a lively, younger crowd. I didn’t see any families but the taproom is VERY dog-friendly with pooches all over the place. The layout showcases the clean, industrial space with lots of concrete, metal, and glass decorated with interesting art for sale on the walls. There is also a patio.
SERVICE: The bar seemed very well staffed and despite the flurry of activity the servers were fast and friendly but still took time with each customer. They happily and successfully guided undecided members of our party to beers they loved.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Located in the recently-invented “Midtown” neighborhood at 67th and Pecos in northwest Denver, the area is an outpost of sparkling new residential construction in the midst of an industrial landscape. Aside from the brewery there’s not much of a draw, although the restaurant next door will deliver food to hungry drinkers and Bruz generally has a food truck. If you don’t see street parking, Bruz has a large lot behind the building too.
STANDOUT BEER: Dubbel Trubbel hits the spot on a cold fall day. The appearance is dark and reddish and though there’s not much nose on the beer, the flavor comes bursting through on the first sip. A complex mix of roasty malts, raisin, candi sugar, mild hops and spicy Belgian yeast flavors keep your palate busy.
Locovore Beer Works bills itself as a small business, neighborhood brewery and that’s pretty much what you get when you visit. Friendly staff and customers, a comfortable taproom, and familiar beers. There’s nothing experimental or edgy here, but the large high-quality beer selection and low-key atmosphere make this a great place to hang out for an afternoon or evening.
BEER LINEUP: Diverse. The long taplist covers a lot of ground from light to dark and should satisfy most any taste from hophead to fruit-lover to high-gravity freak.
ATMOSPHERE: Locovore has the typical relaxed suburban strip mall taproom and crowd. On a weekday Happy Hour a number of people still worked on laptops while others met for a beer after work. The spacious west-facing taproom and outdoor patio fill with sun late in the afternoon and open to the brewing tanks. The brewery is dog-friendly and serves food from an attached catering kitchen (order from kiosk at front of brewery).
SERVICE: The service was hit or miss, but friendly when it happened. Occasionally a server would swing by the table but often the best bet was to go to the bar where the servers generally seemed to group up in a protective huddle. Once at the bar, the servers were efficient at dispensing beer.
NEIGHBORHOOD:The neighborhood about a mile west of downtown Littleton is the stereotype of suburbia, with a few strip malls and many spacious homes. There isn’t much to keep you in the immediate area but downtown Littleton is quaint and a several other breweries are closeby if you want to make a crawl of it.
STANDOUT BEER: Corker English Bitter. Locovore serves it on nitro so the mouthfeel is silky-smooth and thick-bodied, which seems a bit surprising for the golden-copper color. The beer gives off a slightly unpleasant nose at first that seems heavy on English hop flavors, but a taste gives way to a rich malt flavor with light bittering.