Northwest Denver Afternoon

Brewery Snapshot: Brewery Rickoli

Stuck in a somewhat inconspicuous location in Wheat Ridge, Brewery Rickoli nevertheless seems to work on a lot of levels. Maybe the modest location gives it that comfortable neighborhood/community vibe, or perhaps it’s the heavy presence of owner/brewer Rick Abitbol’s personality in the brewery – from tweaks to traditional recipes to the quirky beer names. Rickoli keeps a good rotation of the old standbys on tap and adds new creations to keep things interesting. In my book, Rickoli gets extra credit for making gluten-free beers without making a big deal of it, likely because their beers actually taste really good and don’t need the “gluten-free” tag to draw customers. Although Rickoli may sound a little out of the way, it’s really just minutes from downtown and well worth the drive.

BEER LINEUP: Rickoli covers the spectrum of traditional styles from cream ale to imperial stout and also ventures into experimental beers like a barrel-soured red. Even the traditional styles often have a slight twist – an extra ingredient or different brewing process – like their vanilla rye. Best of all, the changes generally seem to enhance the beer rather than detract (unlike some places around town).

ATMOSPHERE: Given the location in a strip mall the physical space is unsurprising and boxy containing a bar, some basic tables and chairs, and a popcorn machine. The vibe is very community-oriented with the bartender seeming to know most of the crowd and families stopping by. The place felt very relaxed like a neighborhood hangout. Rickoli also furnishes a small patio out front.

SERVICE: Outstanding. The server was extremely friendly and welcoming. He went out of his way to make personalized sampling suggestions based on beers we previously tried and admired.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Rickoli is located in a tired strip mall next to a pot shop in a neighborhood of similar buildings. Not really walking territory. Near the corner of 38th & Wadsworth, driving or Uber may be the best transportation option and happily Rickoli features plenty of parking, along with easy access to I70 and Wadsworth.

STANDOUT BEER: In keeping with the “beer with a twist” theme, the two standout beers for me were McGoats, which adds oats to their regular rye beer, and the aforementioned vanilla rye. McGoats has a medium body and the oats serve to mellow out some of the potential rye harshness for a roasty, malty beer giving hints of chocolate, smoke and a mild rye bite. The real twist is a yeast that adds an herbal, minty flavor and aftertaste. The Vanilla in yo’Rye was a pleasant surprise with a solid rye base and a good dose of vanilla flavor. The flavor goes light on rye with just enough to add structure, and heavy notes of vanilla to make for a comforting winter beer.