Denver’s premier sour beer purveyor Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project occupies a corner of The Source on Brighton Boulevard in Rino. The mixed-use development features a collection of artisan shops, food stores, restaurants and even a hotel in a former old factory, so visiting is somewhat of an immersive experience. On the beer side, Crooked Stave has expanded from typical sours and now serves several traditional styles for non-sour-drinkers along with even more experimental sour options.
BEER LINEUP: Crooked Stave now offers a lot of options going in all different directions. Originally the brewery featured only a small lineup of sours and bottle-aged beers, most which were made with Brettanomyces. Crooked Stave has gradually expanded those offerings with more experimental beers and the addition of spices and other flavors, but has also added non-sour beers for less-adventurous drinkers. In summary, you’ll find standard beers here but Crooked Stave is really a place to get your sour on.
ATMOSPHERE: Sharing a building with The Source creates an interesting traffic flow where people wander out with beers, bring in prepared food or even put together a little picnic from the gourmet food shops in the building. The old brick factory lined with stores and restaurants creates an intimate and dynamic atmosphere where you can leave the taproom to stroll around or lounge in the common area. On a weekend afternoon the taproom was full of a wide range of people just hanging out, from beer geeks to hipsters and even a few families. The sliding doors at the back of the taproom hide a huge stash of bottles and we noticed many people taking bombers to enjoy later.
SERVICE:This is the one area where Crooked Stave fell flat. Despite the three servers behind the bar, we watched a perpetual line of just six or eight people waiting (and waiting) for 15 minutes to get a beer. We tried to work out the cause – perhaps excessive sampling, nitro pours or quirky taps – but nothing seemed to account for the delays except simply massive disorganization from the (friendly) serving staff.
NEIGHBORHOOD: The brewery and The Source sit along the quickly-developing portion of Brighton Boulevard closest to downtown. In addition to exploring the businesses in The Source, several other restaurants/bars are within walking distance and a short drive will bring you to downtown in one direction or to a handful more breweries, restaurants or the Denver Coliseum in the other. Numerous transport options exist, including a nearby light rail stop, bus lines, and easy highway access. The parking lot is posted for 30-minute parking but longer paid street parking and lots are just across the street.
STANDOUT BEER: On this one I’m going to have to push. As someone who is not a sour fan I tried a couple of the traditional beers and while they were solid, at Crooked Stave the sours are going to hit the home runs. I’d encourage you to draw your own conclusions if you’re a sour fan, or want to get into that game.
It’s a festival-filled weekend from the Front Range to the mountains, with three big fests rolling out the welcome mat. However if festivals aren’t your style, the weekend also offers plenty of options from music to brewery-hopping to food-focused events.
Thursday 10 – Saturday 12: Celebrate eight years of sour beers at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. Starting Thursday Crooked Stave will offer special beer releases, unique guest beers, food, and commemorative merch.
Thursday 10 – Saturday 12: If you can handle the weekend ski crowds, take a ride up to the Breckenridge Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival for brewing seminars, beer dinners, pairings, homebrew competitions and of course lots and lots of big beers! The main tasting event is Saturday afternoon, with the competitions, seminars, and food events going throughout the weekend. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Friday 11: In the Tennyson neighborhood, the Northwest Beer Fest takes over the Oriental Theater with beers from ten local breweries along with wine and cider. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Saturday 12: Celebrate five years of beer with Kokopelli Beer Company and enjoy their award-winning beers along with a special release, swag and prizes.
Saturday 12: The LowDown Barrel-Aged Beer Festival comes to South Broadway with 14 brews including several from Lowdown plus eight guest breweries. This festival is a bit different, as you pay for your beers as you go vs. getting one all-in ticket.
Sunday 13: Bring a dish to share and enjoy live music at SomePlace Else Brewery’sThom & Coley Concert and Potluck. It appears that the duo plays country music. The fun starts at 6 p.m. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Sunday 13: Enjoy food and music starting at noon at this month’s Bluegrass Brunch brought to you by Station 26 Brewing Co.
After a busy Memorial Day weekend it seems that a lot of people are taking a breather, but enough happenings are on the calendar to stay entertained – or even get a little wild at Burning Can! Although generally more low-key, a number of breweries are also holding one-off releases. Finally, the Highlands Ranch Beer Festival hits south of town, although sadly for many Highlands Ranchers it has sold out.
Friday 1 – Saturday 2: Head to Lyons for a weekend of revelry at the Burning Can Festival sponsored by Oskar Blues Brewery. There’s far too much to describe in a short blog, but highlights include a beer festival with 70+ breweries, music, sporting events, camping, and of course the keystone event: Burning of the Can! Check out the website for all of the happenings. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Saturday 2: Stop by the Fitzsimmons neighborhood and celebrate Ursula Brewery’s fourth anniversary with new beer releases, cellar releases, and live music.
Saturday 2: If West Wash Park is more your game, another brewery marks the big Oh-Four this weekend. Platte Park Brewing Company celebrates with a flood of flavorful-sounding brews and a keep-the-glass promotion for the first 200 celebrants.
Saturday 2: Loveland beer -drinkers will gain more brewery elbow-room when Crow Hop Brewing opens their new taproom across from their current downtown site. In addition to a larger indoor space, the location offers front and back patios. Crow Hop will supply music, games, and of course beer to christen the new facility.
Saturday 2 – Sunday 3:Crooked Stave hosts their inaugural Stone Fruit Harvest weekend with 22 stone fruit beers staging a tap takeover. Note: This is a ticketed event.