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.
Now that we’re pulling out of the deep winter doldrums many more breweries are holding weekend events. Among others, Call to Arms highlights one of my favorite harbingers of spring – Mardi Gras! And don’t forget, it’s still Stout Month at Vine Street Pub along with Frozen February at Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder.
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th: Drop in on Ratio Beerworks’ 3 Year Anniversary Party where the name of the game is live music all weekend, complemented by special tappings and a recovery brunch at 11 on Sunday.
Saturday 10th: Mardi Gras rolls into town at Call To Arms Brewing Company with New Orleans food, music, themed beer releases, and even a small Mardi Gras parade featuring tiny floats from several local breweries.
Saturday 10th: Head for the hills to join Holidaily Brewing Co.’s second anniversary at their Golden taproom featuring beer specials, live music, food and giveaways all day long.
Saturday 10th: Fiction Beer Company will appeal to your pre-Valentine’s sweet tooth with a beer and cupcake pairing at 1:00.
Saturday 10th: Finish out the day swinging with Dry Dock Brewing Company’s Valentine’s Sock Hop dance. Starting at 7:00 the South Dock offers live swing music, dance lessons, a costume contest, and desserts- all for free!
Sunday 11th: Grab some food and music from 11-3 at Station 26 Brewing Co.’s Bluegrass Brunch featuring the Order 26 foodtruck and Big Time Rascals band.
Sunday 11th: If sweets are more your style, Dry Dock Brewing Company finishes out their Valentine’s theme with Valentine’s Beer and Dessert Pairing from 1:30-3:00 at the South Dock. Note: This is a ticketed event.
The inaugural meeting of the Castle Rock Homebrewers Club will be held at Castle Rock Homebrew Supply, just next to 105 West BrewCo, on Thursday Feb 8th at 6:00.
With the explosion of craft beer across the country, 70,000 people now work for breweries in the US. That’s almost triple the number in 2008.