As most regular readers have figured out, I’m a huge promoter of local craft breweries and always try to give positive reasons to try a particular brewery, even if it’s not my favorite. However, a recent visit to Dead Hippie Brewing left me challenged for reasons to recommend it, particularly in light of the half-dozen or more breweries within a 10-minute drive. The highlight for our entire party was the funky, psychedelic taproom with interesting artwork, jam band artifacts and games – not so much the beer.
BEER LINEUP: The tap list covers a lot of ground, from a blonde through several IPA’s, a few Belgians, and couple of dark beers including a stout. On the surface it sounds like a winning combination, however as our party worked through several sets of tasters we found that almost every beer seemed to be off to some degree from the style noted. Only a few were unpleasant but the descriptor that came up most frequently for the rest was “meh”.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom epitomizes the brewery’s name, with lots of hippie throwback artwork, Deadhead memorabilia and even pinball machines. The taproom and brewery share the same big and airy space. During our visit they had a jam band (big surprise there) but the mixed crowd of younger and older patrons plus a few families seemed to contain few actual hippies. The vibe was chill and relaxed. Dead Hippie serves snacks but has no kitchen and on our visit there was no food truck.
SERVICE: As one might expect, the service was relaxed and casual but friendly. The servers seemed obsessed with clearing empty glasses, but a bit more laid back about actually pouring fresh beers.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Dead Hippie is visible from South Santa Fe Drive but only accessible by driving through the big box hell on the corner of Santa Fe and Hampden Avenue. As a point of reference it’s hidden behind a Michaels. I suppose it could be convenient if you wanted to combine beer with some errands, and Boggy Draw Brewery shares the same retail/light industrial complex if drunk shopping is on your mind. Parking seemed decent and there are several restaurants in the area. The brewery is also close to the South Platte River bike trail so biking could be an option, but public transit seems inconvenient.
STANDOUT BEER: The Smoothed Out Stout is a dry Irish stout on nitro and on the chilly evening it seemed like a comforting option. The dark color and medium mouthfeel give way to a heavily-roasted malt flavor with noticeable chocolate notes. The nitro kept carbonation low and smoothed the feel on the palate.