Over the weekend a friend put together a nice route through some good RINO breweries that I’ve described below. However with such a heavy concentration of breweries in that area you can easily add or substitute other establishments to fit your beer tastes and/or your appetite for walking. Our 1.8-mile trip started in the heart of RINO, then crossed the train tracks down to Brighton Boulevard but you can definitely mix it up a lot of ways.
Our journey started at Epic Brewing Company on the corner of 30th and Walnut, which offers a bright and sunny taproom which opens to the brewing equipment and also accesses a spacious patio for sunny days. Epic was a great place to begin, because there’s usually plenty of free street parking within a block or two. The taproom was packed with a younger and energetic crowd that had streaks of hipster running through it. Mostly it seemed like just a bunch of people spending the afternoon with a tasty beer or two. The servers didn’t seem particularly organized and while they seemed to want to be able to keep up with the busy crowd, patience was required. As always, the beer selection was solid with a few lighter beers but a focus on the darker, barrel-aged, and more flavorful beers including a sour or two. Continue reading “Winter Rino Brewery Crawl”
Set in a walkable residential neighborhood, Platt Park Brewing Company always seems busy. The pleasantly-large taproom along with the small outdoor seating offers a comfortable space to stop by for a quick beer or two. I find most of their beers pleasant but not exceptional, however the central location makes it easy to stop in and decide for yourself.
BEER LINEUP: The menu features a broad range of styles from pilsners to stouts, with a few forays into interesting territory like sours and flavored beers. I’ve found their beers a little on the bland side but every time I visit they seem to have upped their game a bit more so there seems to be lots of potential.
ATMOSPHERE: Platt Park offers a busy, high-energy urban taproom, populated by a younger, neighborhood crowd that seems to be constantly circulating in and out as they drop in for a beer or two.
SERVICE: While the busyness of the taproom slowed things a bit, the servers were extremely friendly and did a great job of keeping things moving, at times even wading into the waiting crowd to take orders.
LOCATION: The Platt Park area is the epitome of local, with lots of quiet single-family homes from which you can walk to small shopping clusters containing businesses like Platt Park. You’ll need to look for street parking, but once you have a spot the area is great for strolling around and visiting the shops or grabbing some food to take to the brewery.
STANDOUT BEER: Belgian Ambassador Dubbel. This beer lays on the heavy raisin and bready tastes common in many Belgians, though normally at a lighter level. I really enjoyed this unique interpretation and happily was able to have a second because despite the heavy flavor and darkish color the body remains medium and the ABV only hits 6.6%
This weekend offers quite the range of options, from anniversary parties to cooking with beer! And of course don’t forget to stay the course for Stout Month.
Friday 23rd – Saturday 24th: Halfpenny Brewing Company wraps up their 2nd anniversary week with their final special tappings, live music, food, and giveaways.
Friday 23rd – Saturday 24th: Sort of Halfpenny’s older brother, Goldspot Brewing Company will celebrate its 3rd anniversary over with special beer releases and a big 16-beer menu over the weekend.
Saturday 24th: If you want to mix up your Stout Month and take a break from Vine Street Pub, head east to Ursula Brewery for their release of nine different versions of their 180 Gram Twist and Stout including barrel-aged, flavored, and a 2016-18 vertical tasting
Saturday 24th: The SOWN III expo comes to the Oskar Blues Brewery downtown Denver location at 2:00 and spotlights local ingredients in beer, pouring beers from seven area breweries that use local Troubadour Malts. Additionally, they will host a panel discussion with local brewers and growers on the importance of locally-sourced ingredients. Note: This is a ticketed event ($5).
Sunday 25th: Beer is Food! At least according to Living the Dream Brewing Company, which is holding a contest for recipes containing their beer. The cutoff for entries has already passed but stop by and vote for the best use of beer in food!
Depending on where you live, Kokopelli Beer Company is either a go-to brewery and restaurant easily accessed off main roads, or a frustrating grind through city traffic to the old Westminster Mall. Regardless, if you make the journey you’ll find the ample & diverse beer selection combined with the great food make it worthwhile.
BEER LINEUP: With a menu listing over two dozen beers it would be difficult not to find something in your style. The taplist ranges from very light to very dark & boozy, with detours through fruit beers and even some guest ciders and sours. Kokopelli does seem to favor flavored beers like Leia Lime Lager and Razzmatazz Chocolate Raspberry Stout but you’ll find standard IPAs, reds, and ales too.
ATMOSPHERE: The atmosphere tends toward a more relaxed family environment than many breweries. Perhaps because of the focus on both food and beer, the taproom has more of a quiet restaurant feel with an older crowd, as well as some kids. Kokopelli has taken over the storefront next door so combined with the existing patio there’s plenty of space for larger groups to spread out and play some of their bar games. Kokopelli’s kitchen also turns out highly-rated food from a rather extensive menu for a brewpub.
SERVICE: Kokopelli offers both bar and table service, which we found efficient, friendly, and very knowledgeable. After a few tasters the server seemed to drill into our preferences and started suggesting appropriate next-beers, and even mixed a couple of beers to get a flavor profile that one of our party liked.
LOCATION: Like many in the Denver area, the taproom is tucked into a strip mall, right across from the flattened Westminster Mall. Aside from convenience to major roads and ample parking there’s nothing compelling about the suburban location.
STANDOUT BEER: The Sassy Saison was spicy and heavy on the coriander and orange peel, but balanced by the dryness that the Belgian yeast provided. According to the server, that unique variety of Belgian yeast does all the flavor work; the brewer added no spices to the beer. The saison has a typical rust-orange color and medium body that keeps the focus on the flavor.
Until now Lady Justice Brewing Company has produced their small-batch beers in their Mountain View facility and only distributed at special events and to Community Supported Brewery members in limited quantities. Starting tomorrow, Feb 17, Lady Justice Beer will now be available on tap at Factotum Brewhouse in the Sunnyside neighborhood.
Lady Justice is a woman-owned brewery focused on donating all profits to Colorado-based organizations promote the status and opportunity of women and girls. In addition to having a great mission, I’ve sampled a number of their beers and would wholeheartedly recommend Lady Justice on the merits of their beer alone. Check out their website for more about what they do, or to become a Community Supported Brewery member.
A relatively slow weekend is saved by Saturday, when loads of things are happening! Friday and Sunday pay a visit to your favorite brewery and then check out Denver A-List and show them some love by nominating and voting for them in the Best Brewpub category (apparently the closest thing to “brewery” in the A-List world)
Saturday 17th: Another Saturday and another West Side Brewery Bus Loop. This week it’s Goldspot Brewing Company, Little Machine Beer , Zuni Brewing Brewing Co, and Joyride Brewing Company. Get your ticket for 5 bucks at any brewery and hop on for the tour from 2:00-10:00. Get stamped at each brewery for a free beer on your next visit.
Saturday 17th: Get cultural at Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project and celebrate Chinese New Year with themed beer releases & food, a drawing for a trip to China, and a bluegrass band starting at 5:00.
Saturday 17th: Help Factotum Brewhouse celebrate their third anniversary of giving new brewers a stage to showcase their talents with special tappings, live music, and giveaways all afternoon and evening.
Saturday 17th: The weather’s looking nice enough for a field trip to Colorado Springs to take in Bristol Brewing Company’s 14th Annual Firkin Rendezvous where approximately 40 Colorado breweries will be pouring their cask ales from 2:00-5:00. Best part: proceeds benefit the Colorado Brewer’s Guild.
Saturday 17th: Valentine’s week drags on just a little longer with a beer & oyster pairing at Alpine Dog Brewery. Best part: it’s free (at least for the oysters).
Sunday 18th: For something a little different head down to Living the Dream Brewing where they will be playing the Tour de France performance of cycling legend Eros Poli. Eros is also an Olympic Gold Medalist and will be on hand to chat about cycling, beer, and much more.
Monday 19th: While not technically a weekend event, Halfpenny Brewing Company kicks off their 2nd anniversary weeklong party today. Each day of the week features a new tapping and they all look pretty tasty, including things like Creme Brulee Belgian and Brandy-Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy
One of the many south-suburban breweries, Lone Tree Brewing Co. serves up a wide selection of traditional and unique beers, plus activities like fitness classes (with cool-down beers of course) to the Highlands Ranch crowd.
BEER LINEUP: Lone Tree offers an interesting menu that contains a few standard styles like red, IPA, and lager but mostly offers unusual variants and flavors of beer such as pumpkin, horchata, vanilla-caramel and even a dill IPA (tastier than it sounds – seriously). Traditionalists might not be happy here but if you are into mixing it up with beer flavors than give Lone Tree a taste.
ATMOSPHERE: The spacious taproom opens to the brewing tanks and features woodsy decor and plenty of places to gather with friends including a patio and pet/child-free zone. On a weeknight the quiet atmosphere was only broken by the boot-camp workout taking place in a side room of the facility. Other than the boot-campers the crowd seemed to be a mellow, suburban, older, after-work crowd. I’d expect on a weekend you’ll find more Highlands Ranch families and a different vibe, along with more dogs since Lone Tree is dog-friendly.
SERVICE: The bartender was reasonably efficient and friendly but really stood out when it came to beer knowledge. Ask a few questions and you’re liable to get some truly in-depth explanations of each ingredient in each beer, why it’s there, and what it does.
NEIGHBORHOOD: The area has a few small businesses but is a typical light-industrial park packed in close to the highway. You can order out for food or visit the food truck, but unless you decide to do some tipsy-shopping at nearby Furniture Row, Lone Tree is pretty much a destination point. As expected, parking is ample.
STANDOUT BEER: Lone Tree’s Nelson Sauvin Lager is one of the most interesting and complex beers that I’ve encountered in a while. Made with New Zealand hops (thanks informative bartender!) the light-colored and light-bodied beer has a lot going on. The color and body are all pilsner but the flavor serves up white wine crispness and champagne dryness, with only mild hop bitterness, followed by some grassy and mineral undertones.