Wits End Moving to Strange

Reminder that this coming weekend Wit’s End Brewing Company will be closing their 2nd Ave location to move in with Strange Craft Beer. They anticipate celebrating the completion of the move the following weekend. Given Strange’s already-cramped taproom I have difficulty envisioning how the combination will play out, but I suppose that’s just one more excuse to stop in and enjoy a few beers!

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Brewery Snapshot: Woods Boss Brewing Company

Tapping into Coloradans’ love of the outdoors, Woods Boss Brewing Company brings an outdoors-themed taproom and beer menu to a formerly rough area of downtown that is under transition. The busy taproom serves up a wide variety of beers – some traditional, some unusual – that seem thoughtfully brewed and which, 20171109_191640_HDRfor the most part, deliver in the area of taste.

BEER LINEUP: The menu features a broad range of beer styles including many standard-style offerings like an IPA, ESB, red, etc. along with a number of styles with slight twists like a juniper wheat and oatmeal brown. There didn’t seem to be anything too far-out – just tweaks to the standards.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom features lots of wood – tree trunks, split-log tables, beer-menu signs – which would seem at odds with the urban, industrial building but actually works to create a fresh, modern look. It seems like a place for the young professional crowd to get together and catch up or play some of the games on hand. They do not serve food.

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SERVICE: Bar service only,  but the servers were attentive, informed, and helpful in making difficult choices among the numerous tasty-looking offerings.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Woods Boss is just a little north of the downtown business district in a  former urban wasteland of trash-strewn parking lots and empty warehouses. Now the area is slowly filling with small businesses and the patrons they bring. However it still feels rather sketchy, especially at night, with homeless staggering around like zombies, but free street parking is reasonably close to the brewery. There aren’t yet a lot of other 20171109_211457_HDRbusinesses to keep you in the area, but it’s building up fast.

STANDOUT BEER: The Enrosadira pink peppercorn saison has quite a bit going on aside from the usual Belgian-yeast saison flavor. The peppercorn added spicy and savory flavors including sage, reminiscent of Thanksgiving stuffing (in a good way). The golden appearance had a slight brown tint and touch of haziness typical of a saison. Overall it seemed a good fall/holiday beer – interesting but not overwhelming.

Weekend Beer Update

It’s definitely a weekend to think of others, starting Friday with the support for the endangered Yeti, followed up Saturday by the Day of Darks that supports multiple nonprofits. Day of Darks is truly one of my favorites of the year due to the small crowd and the awesome beers.

Friday 17th: Cap off Yeti Awareness week with Yeti Day at the Great Divide Barrel Bar with over 10 varieties of Yeti on tap, Yeti + food (Yeti ice cream float anyone?), plus raffles.

Friday 17th: Cerebral Brewing starts their 2nd anniversary weekend festivities with a few beer releases, then pumps it up Saturday with live music, raffles, and chocolate giveaways. Sunday features an egg drop contest20160721_201225_HDR – pick up kits at noon, drop at 2:00.

Saturday 18th: Join over 30 local breweries for the Day of Darks at Wynkoop Brewing Co. where they will be pouring some of their stash of dark beers for pairing with chocolates. From past experience this a great event with no lines, easy brewer access, and lots and lots of tasty beer! Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 18th: Come watch the lighting of the star on Castle Rock at 105 West Brewing. The brewery is arranging daycare next door ($5) so the taproom will be an adults-only affair.

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Brewery Snapshot: Bruz Beers

In addition to the tasty Belgian beers, you gotta love the promotions that Bruz Beers puts on for their customers. Monday is Customer Appreciation Night, Tuesday is buy a draft and get a crowler at 1/2 price, and Wednesday-Friday feature Happy Hour from 3-6. However even without the promos Bruz stands out for its beers and energetic atmosphere.

BEER LINEUP: Bruz clearly focuses on Belgian-style beers in the saison/dubbel/tripel family but also offers a few beers that may appeal to hop-lovers by supplementing traditional Belgian flavors with W Coast or New Zealand hops.

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Manneken Pis from Brussels guards Bruz’s medals

ATMOSPHERE: The evening we visited, the mostly-full taproom had a great energy with a lively, younger crowd. I didn’t see any families but the taproom is VERY dog-friendly with pooches all over the place. The layout showcases the clean, industrial space with lots of concrete, metal, and glass decorated with interesting art for sale on the walls. There is also a patio.

SERVICE: The bar seemed very well staffed and despite the flurry of activity the servers were fast and friendly but still took time with each customer. They happily and successfully guided undecided members of our party to beers they loved.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Located in the recently-invented “Midtown” neighborhood at 67th and Pecos in northwest Denver, the area is an outpost of sparkling new residential construction in the midst of an industrial landscape. Aside from the brewery there’s not much of a draw, although the restaurant next door will deliver food to hungry drinkers and Bruz generally has a food truck. If you don’t see street 20171106_194213_HDRparking, Bruz has a large lot behind the building too.

STANDOUT BEER: Dubbel Trubbel hits the spot on a cold fall day. The appearance is dark and reddish and though there’s not much nose on the beer, the flavor comes bursting through on the first sip. A complex mix of roasty malts, raisin, candi sugar, mild hops and spicy Belgian yeast flavors keep your palate busy.

 

Brewery Snapshot: Locovore Beer Works

Locovore Beer Works bills itself as a small business, neighborhood brewery and that’s pretty much what you get when you visit. Friendly staff and customers, a comfortable taproom, and familiar beers. There’s nothing experimental or edgy here, but the large high-quality beer selection and low-key atmosphere make this a great place to hang out for an afternoon or evening.

BEER LINEUP: Diverse. The long taplist covers a lot of ground from light to dark and should satisfy most any taste from hophead to fruit-lover to high-gravity freak.

ATMOSPHERE: Locovore has the typical relaxed suburban strip mall taproom and crowd. On a weekday Happy Hour a number of people still worked on laptops while others met for a beer after work. The spacious west-facing taproom and outdoor patio fill with sun late in the afternoon and open to the brewing tanks. The brewery is dog-friendly and serves food from an attached catering kitchen (order from kiosk at front of brewery). 20171108_161432_HDR

SERVICE: The service was hit or miss, but friendly when it happened. Occasionally a server would swing by the table but often the best bet was to go to the bar where the servers generally seemed to group up in a protective huddle. Once at the bar, the servers were efficient at dispensing beer.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The neighborhood about a mile west of downtown Littleton is the stereotype of suburbia, with a few strip malls and many spacious homes. There isn’t much to keep you in the immediate area but downtown Littleton is quaint and a several other breweries are closeby if you want to make a crawl of it.

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Fresh off the nitro

STANDOUT BEER: Corker English Bitter. Locovore serves it on nitro so the mouthfeel is silky-smooth and thick-bodied, which seems a bit surprising for the golden-copper color. The beer gives off a slightly unpleasant nose at first that seems heavy on English hop flavors, but a taste gives way to a rich malt flavor with light bittering.

Weekend Beer Update

It’s a weekend of 3’s, with three breweries – Alpine Dog, Locovore, and Fermaentra – all celebrating their third anniversaries by collaborating on a triple IPA. The only downside is that Saturday is absolutely packed with exciting beer events so at some point you have to make the sad choice to leave something off the list.

Friday 10th: Kick off weekend of anniversary fun 20171108_162039_HDRat Alpine Dog Brewing Company with new beer releases running through Sunday.

Saturday 11th: Locovore Beer Works anniversary party all day with beer releases, beer pairings, and live music.

Saturday 11th: And to complete the brewery trifecta, Fermaentra Brewing will have beer releases with a barrel-aged focus along with merchandise giveaways all day.

Saturday 11th: If you want to skip the in-town anniversaries and go for a drive, the All Colorado Beer Festival will set up in Colorado Springs, showcasing 69 breweries from 33 cities across Colorado. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 11th: Just in case you need some motivation or a break heading to or from the All Colorado Beer Festival, 105 West Brewing Company will be wrapping up their anniversary week on Saturday with their final special tapping, although special beers from earlier in the week may still be on tap. It’s a quick jaunt west off of I-25 in Castle Rock and as an added bonus for Veteran’s Day, the first pint is free for veterans.

Brewery Snapshot: Wit’s End Brewing Company

A lot has changed at Wit’s End Brewing Company since my last visit a couple of years ago. On the positive side they have broadened and deepened their beer menu by adding a number of darker beers, high gravity beers, and barrel-aged beers. They truly offer a curated menu where most beer drinkers will find a sweet spot. On the other, bittersweet, side they will shortly be closing their brewery/taproom and moving in with Strange Craft Beer Co. so while they will continue to brew and pour, they won’t be doing it in their own unique space. In recognition of that I’ve truncated the review below to focus mainly on the beer.

BEER LINEUP: Very broad and comprehensive with good variety of light, medium, dark, IPA, and barrel-aged. All the beers I tried were very smooth and easy drinking, sometimes dangerously-so on the high-gravity beers. Everything seemed very solidly-produced and true to style.

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ATMOSPHERE, SERVICE, and LOCATION:  Wit’s End is currently buried deep among growhouses in an industrial park off of 2nd and Federal, which may contribute some to its sleepy vibe. The small taproom sits in the same space as the brewery, giving the whole place a stripped-down industrial look. The service was great and the bartender happily guided our party through the variety of selections to help us make our selections. If you want to visit this location, you better hurry and get there before Thanksgiving!

STANDOUT BEER: Scotchy Scotch Scotch – 2015 and 16. You really need to have both of these Scotch Ales to appreciate them, although I would heartily recommend either on their own. Obviously from the dates they have been barrel aged, though surprisingly the 2016 has a much smokier and Scotch-like flavor.  Both beers have a thick consistency and very smooth, sweet, and syrupy base. They feature big, intense hits of roasted malt and almost woody flavors. In the 2015 the sweetness wins out to the point that I got some marshmallow undertones occasionally. In contrast, the woody and smoky flavors dominate the 2016. Scotch-lovers would be all over 2016.