UPDATE: Apparently the English-style strategy was NOT a viable one. As of mid-Sept 2018 Castle Rock Beer Co. was sold and began the process of becoming Iron Mule. The taproom remains open and Iron Mule will be doing an official Grand Opening late October 2018.
Opening a brewery that produces only English-style beers in Castle Rock may seem like a stretch, but that’s exactly what Castle Rock Beer Co. (CRBC) did. Time will tell whether that’s a viable strategy of course, but meanwhile they serve up a broad and tasty (if you like that style) taplist from a location one block off Castle Rock’s main street.
BEER LINEUP: The menu contains only English and Irish-style ales, but offers a large range from cream ale and wit, through IPAs, all the way to a dark stout. As expected, some are rather plain but most all are pleasant and very sessionable.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom sits in one half of a big circular building and thus has unique architecture and lots of windows, but aside from that is your standard build. We visited on a Saturday afternoon and the place was very quiet with just a handful of customers and without much energy. Some might say relaxed, others dull. They have a small heat-and-serve food menu. The taproom is dog friendly, though there’s no patio.
SERVICE: The service was ok. The bartender/brewer/ owner offered plenty of information on the beer and seemed friendly enough, but at times seemed more interested in the baseball game than monitoring customers’ empty glasses.
LOCATION: Just a block off Wilcox Street in Castle Rock, CRBC allows for a short (or long!) stop while strolling around downtown visiting restaurants, stores, or one of the many festivals Castle Rock puts on. There’s also easy highway access so you make it a stop on the way back from Colorado Springs or other southern destinations. Clearly it’s more of a driving destination for most people, but the surrounding area has plenty of free parking.
STANDOUT BEER: The Sea Queen Irish Stout didn’t seem like a logical summer brew but was much lighter- and thinner-bodied than one might expect from that style and the dark mahogany color. The body took nothing away from the typical malty and roast flavors that one would expect in a stout and the end effect was a surprisingly refreshing dark beer.