Weekend Beer Update

This weekend is rather slow as far as organized events, though perhaps it’s the calm before the storm, as April looks big. Of course there’s never a bad time to check out your local craft brewery, though the weather’s not looking cooperative for patio afternoons. Maybe that’s a sign to fill a growler and curl up at home with a movie. 

Saturday 30: In north Denver Oasis Brewery celebrates a year of serving beer with their anniversary party featuring food, live music and of course a20190328_091752_hdr.jpg special tapping.

Saturday 30: Down in DTC Two Penguins Tap & Grill will hold their Hop Wars from 3 – 6 p.m. featuring the Imperial IPA Double Smackdown with beers from six local craft breweries. Get a flight and blind-taste all six, then vote for your favorites. Your vote puts you in the running for prizes, and for extra credit you can try to guess which beer came from which brewery.

Saturday 30: If you’re looking for some cheap (free, really) entertainment, Westfax Brewing Company is holding their free monthly comedy show starting at 8 p.m. Get their early for a seat and enjoy some Westfax beers and the food truck.

Sunday 31: Start your day at 10 a.m. sharp in RINO with Ratio Beerworks’ Cool Beans, Beer & Coffee Festival. Your ticket gets you three different coffees to taste, six beers brewed with coffee and tea, breakfast tacos and doughnuts, and bloody beers. As a bonus you can even keep the commemorative coffee mug. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 31: Head up to Fort Collins for Odell Brewing Company’s 90 Shilling Day. Centered around all things 90 Shilling, the day will offer up beer discounts, merch, giveaways and live music.

Chain Reaction TaproomSunday 31: Hit up Chain Reaction Brewing Company for some laughs starting at noon, with comedian Jon Ham putting on his 100th show of The One And Only Jon Ham. The day of fun will include a special beer release paired with Good Sugar Baking cookies, music, artists, and screen printing.

 

Brewery Snapshot: Old 121 Brewhouse

Taking over the former Caution space in Lakewood, Old 121 Brewhouse held their grand opening this past Sunday with seven of their own beers, a collaboration and a handful of home-crafted sodas. Short-version, Old 121 is your standard suburban brewery; great if you’re in the neighborhood but not worth crossing town and passing a dozen other craft breweries. The taproom is little-changed from Caution and stayed full all afternoon and evening, with crowds spilling onto the patio.  Given that many breweries take a few months to really hit their groove I’ll definitely look to re-visit and reassess in six months or so.

BEER LINEUP: The seven-beer taplist mostly stuck to the light/medium styles and seemed pretty typical for opening-day; stuff that could be done quickly and with less margin for error. Everything I tried was pleasant and I’m sure like most breweries, time and experience will let Old 121 experiment and expand their offerings.

ATMOSPHERE: Opening Day is atypical for any brewery, and Old 121 certainly had a big opening day. The taproom was packed and the energetic crowd spilled out onto the patio. It seemed like a younger, neighborhood crowd with some families included. There was a lot of turnover with people dropping in to check it out and then moving on. The taproom itself retains the charmlessness of Caution and doesn’t try to hide that it’s a plain-vanilla slot in a suburban strip mall. Decoration is non-existent and furniture is bar-101; hard-surfaced bar stools along with basic tables and chairs. There are several food business in the nearby strip malls including a wing place and a pizza joint that provide food for eating in the brewery.Old 121 Taps

SERVICE: Old 121 seemed to have smartly staffed up for Opening Day and the servers were busy but still relatively efficient and very attentive.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Located in a strip mall near Wadsworth Boulevard and Jewell Avenue, the area around Old 121 is exactly what you would expect. The neighborhood contains the standard strip malls with the usual mix of chain and local businesses, surrounded by mostly single-family housing. Unless you live closeby, there’s not much to draw you to the area except, perhaps, Old 121. Most people will find Old 121 a driving destination and happily there is plentiful parking. It can be easily combined with a trip to Landlocked just down Wadsworth.

old-121-lager-mug.jpgSTANDOUT BEER: In all honesty I didn’t find a beer that blew my mind, but given their newness I thought that the Lager turned out pretty well. The light-yellow, slightly-cloudy beer had a thin mouth-feel, as one would expect. The flavor profile was significantly more complex than your average lager, however. I detected alternately a little sweet, a little sour, and a little hoppy. While I wouldn’t necessarily call it balanced as the flavors never seemed to blend, it made for an interesting and easy-drinking brew that will be a great thirst-quencher this summer.

Brewery Snaphot: Cerebral Brewing

One of the numerous breweries sprinkled along East Colfax, Cerebral Brewing isn’t content to just let nature take its course but instead uses a scientific approach to brewing in order to create exactly the beers they envision. Based on the beer lineup, the brewers mainly have visions of IPAs and other hoppy creations while they dream, which are served up in a hipster-friendly taproom with a large patio.

BEER LINEUP: Most of what’s on tap tilts toward hoppy including lots of IPAs and hoppy versions of other beer styles. You will also usually find a sour or brett, along with one or two darker/high-gravity offerings. Cerebral offers a large can and bomber selection that branches out a little further into darker styles, collaborations, and other exotic creations.

ATMOSPHERE: Even though it’s in an older building the taproom has a relatively modern feel to it and contains a number of long communal tables with built-in display boxes for various  beer ingredients, along with a small bar and a few other individual tables. The taproom opens to the brewery to display the brewing equipment and barrels, and there’s a generous patio out front.  On a Friday evening the taproom was high-energy and loud, but I’ve also visited on weekend afternoons that have a much more lazy and relaxed feel. The place was somewhat of a hipster haven and seems to have a relatively upscale, younger neighborhood crowd.20190308_192833_HDR

SERVICE: We received rather hit or miss service, likely because we visited on a busy Friday night. The bartenders were hustling and reasonably friendly, but with everyone packed in around the small bar there was a certain level of disorganization and getting a beer could take a while.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Near East Colfax and Monroe Street, Cerebral shares the area with a whole host of restaurants, bars, shops, tattoo parlors, and other interesting businesses. The Bluebird Theater is just a block away, which can make parking a bit of a challenge particularly on concert nights. Be careful, as much of the street parking is permitted although Cerebral does have a small lot. Given the Colfax location, public transit or ride-sharing are both viable options.20190308_194342_HDR

STANDOUT BEER: International Waters Pils. This light-yellow, light-bodied beer offers up everything that’s good about pilsners: crisp, hoppy, refreshing. While not overly complex, International Waters makes for a pleasant, easy-drinking beer that can also be somewhat of a palate-cleanser between some of Cerebral’s hoppier creations. 

 

Weekend Beer Update

This first weekend of spring brings a diverse mix of events including some anniversaries, some openings and the first annual Big Reveal where participants do blind tastings of Colorado beers, with the winners revealed during the event followed by more tasting.

Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23: Head up to Loveland for the multi-day sixth anniversary party at Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project. In addition to the usual special releases, Thursday features a four-course Anniversary Dinner and on Saturday the big guns come out with more releases, brewhouse tours, cake and music.

Friday 22: Down in Colorado Springs Brass Brewing Co. kicks off their first anniversary party mid-afternoon with a beer release followed by food and music.

Saturday 23: What might be the most interesting event of the weekend, The Big Reveal at Union Station will serve 20 Colorado-made American IPAs in a blind tasting and attendees will get to vote on their favorite. Once the votes are counted the winners will be revealed and attendees can go back and re-sample all the beers. The event is sponsored by the Colorado Brewers Guild and PorchDrinking.com to cap off Colorado Craft Beer Week. Note: This is a ticketed event.

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Joyride Rooftop Patio Under Construction

Saturday 23: The long-awaited rooftop patio at Joyride Brewing Company makes its debut with great views over Sloan’s Lake on what looks to be a relatively mild spring day.

Saturday 23: One of my favorite breweries, Weldworks Brewing Co., celebrates four years with their Super-Time Great-Fun 4th Anniversary weldworks-can.jpgGet-Down. They’re thinking big and will take over their entire parking lot, put up a big-top tent and bring in multiple food trucks. All of that on top of the usual special tappings and release of two barrel-aged barley wines. Saturday’s gonna be huge!

Saturday 23: Taking over the former Caution space in Lakewood, Olde 121 Brewhouse holds their official Grand Opening with six of their beers on tap plus a collaboration with The Grateful Gnome as well as some live music. In addition to beer, Olde 121 plans to make their own craft soda and serve flavored hot and iced teas.

Sunday 24: Wrap up the weekend with some music and fun at Seedstock Brewery’s weekly Bluegrass Jam from 4-6 p.m. If you want to join in you can bring your own instrument, or just kick back and relax with a brew.

Colorado Pint Day!

20170103_210350_HDRTomorrow is Colorado Pint Day! What does that mean for you and me, you might ask? It means almost 100 breweries serving up pints in commemorative glasses that cost just $1 and help support the Colorado Brewers Guild. Many breweries are also offering beer discounts, special releases, or other events for the day and throughout the week, as March 16 – 23 is Colorado Craft Beer Week. 

Brewery Snapshot: Wynkoop Brewing Company

One of Colorado’s craft beer pioneers, Wynkoop Brewing Company offers an extensive list of brews in an old warehouse space in lower downtown. The large restaurant/bar has been a LoDo staple for years as the neighborhood grew around it and is still a go-to place for many people who find themselves in the area and want some beer or grub or just a place to hang out.

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Main Bar

BEER LINEUP: Given its long history, Wynkoop naturally covers all the bases as far as beer styles, from light wheats through IPAs, ambers and all the way to stouts. While not as trend-focused as some breweries (i.e. few sours, barrel-aging, etc.) Wynkoop does produce its share of seasonal and one-off experiments. Probably the oddest one I’ve seen is the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which is surprisingly good even with the knowledge that it’s aged with three bull testicles per barrel. Between the variety of beers and the full bar everyone ought to be able to find a beverage they can enjoy.

ATMOSPHERE: Wynkoop takes full advantage of its large historic warehouse building and both floors are left open to show off the worn brick and iron structure. The place has a comfortable, unpretentious feel with a bar area and restaurant section on the main level along with a second bar, more dining and pool tables upstairs. Depending on the time of day and any downtown events the place can range from virtually empty to packed and the vibe can also vary from very chill to high-energy. Wynkoop is one of the few breweries to serve food.

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Upstairs Pool Room

SERVICE: The service is generally fast and friendly and the servers can provide in-depth information on their beers, even the rotating/temporary ones. When there’s a large event downtown the downstairs bar can get crammed, which understandably slows things down.

NEIGHBORHOOD: As one of the first businesses to participate in the revitalization of LoDo, Wynkoop remains in the center of it all with restaurants, bars, shops, and activities in every direction and the recently-rebuilt Union Station just across the street. Parking in that part of LoDO can be challenging but there are metered spots and lots, though public transit or ride-sharing might be the best option. Wynkoop is within walking distance of Coors Field, The Convention Center, and lots of other downtown venues so it’s an easy pre- or post-event stop, part of a brewery crawl, or a destination in it’s own right.

STANDOUT BEER: Maybe it’s the recent cold weather, but I really enjoyed the Shadowmere American Stout. At first glance it appears very dark and thick but a sip tells you it’s just medium-bodied. The true appeal is in the complex and changeable flavors of this unique beer. Uncharacteristically, this stout presents hoppy notes up front along with raisin, plum, and dark fruits which then fade as a chocolate and coffee finish takes over.  If it sounds appealing get it fast, as this is one of their one-off beers!

Weekend Beer Update

Ok, so it’s St. Pat’s weekend and there’s an unbelievable amount of stuff happening on the main party day Saturday March 16. It seems like about every bar and brewery is dragging out the Irish dancers and bands. As such, I’m going to assume y’all can figure out where to drink Irish-type beer that day and I’ll only be mentioning non-leprechaun stuff.

20181205_185334_HDRFriday 15: Get ready to rampage and pillage! If you’re already sick of the St. Patrick’s  hype, throw on your furs and horned helmets for Copper Kettle Brewing Company’s Viking Party from 6 – 10 p.m. The throw-down will feature six different kveik-style beers from six different breweries with flavors from saison to barrel-aged. For the costumed hordes, Copper Kettle will also have a photo booth and costume contest.

Saturday 16: The spring festivals roll on with the sixth annual Collaboration Fest at the Hyatt Regency downtown from 2 – 6 p.m. The festival will pour over 100 beer collaborations made by over 200 breweries. Irish, St Patrick'S Day, IrelandAll beers have at least one Colorado brewery on the team. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 17: Celebrate the actual St. Patrick’s Day at Goldspot Brewing Company with their Irish Breakfast from 10 a.m. – noon. They’ve partnered with The Noshery to serve up a traditional breakfast paired with the brewery’s dry Irish stout. Note: This is a ticketed event.