Brewery Snapshot : Blind Faith Brewing

The cottage and beer garden may look the same but the name and beer have changed. With St. Patrick’s moving to a distribution-only model, Blind Faith Brewing has taken over their Littleton brewery and taproom. Owned by the same folks as space-constrained De Steeg Brewing, Blind Faith looks to move beyond De Steeg’s Belgian focus into the full spectrum of brews and also take advantage of the Littleton taproom’s generous size and huge garden area. 

BEER LINEUP: On our visit the brewery was transitioning from St. Patrick’s to Blind Faith’s brews so it’s tough to say what the final tap list will look like. However when we stopped by they offered a dozen or more beers including straight-up traditional styles as well as more experimental beers with fruit, peppers, and some high-gravity offerings. Assuming minimal changes, the menu should have enough diversity to satisfy almost every taste and all the beers we tried were solid.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom opens to the brewery and is divided into a bar, an area with regular tables, a cozy fireplace pit, and a game area with a ping-pong table and other games. The neighborhood and family atmosphere that St Patrick’s fostered continues, with a mix of old and young, singles, couples, kids, and dogs. Most people stopped in for one or two and maybe some to-go beers although the families seemed to be camping out all afternoon. At some points the screaming kids became annoying even in the bar.  For warm weather, Blind Faith also has a huge, shady Blind Faith Fireplacegarden area with picnic tables and outdoor games that overlooks the South Platte River. It seems like they generally have food trucks and Lucille’s restaurant is next door, though the hours don’t overlap much with Blind Faith’s.

SERVICE: At the bar, service was friendly but spotty. On the positive side, the servers were cheerful, informative, and occasionally opinionated about the beers they served. On the negative side, they were easily distracted on a none-too-busy weekend afternoon and we had to call their attention to our empty glasses to get fresh pours.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Located a few blocks outside the quaint downtown core of Littleton, Blind Faith is sort of marooned in the middle of the parking lot it shares with Lucille’s and Dish customer service. While there is no immediate “neighborhood” to speak of, it’s certainly walkable from downtown Littleton and could be a nice stop after strolling the shops. It has a huge parking lot too. The beer garden abuts the South Platte Trail so you could even reward yourself with a beer after a nice walk or ride. I suppose it could accessed via public transit by bus or blind-faith-strawberry-fire-taster.jpga bit of a walk from light rail too.

STANDOUT BEER: Strawberry Fire combines the up-front sweetness of strawberries with a little kick of hot pepper on the backside that quickly fades out. The pepper isn’t overly pronounced so even sensitive palates shouldn’t worry. The clear, light-yellow/straw beer has a light body and few other noticeable flavors besides strawberry and peppers.

Weekend Beer Update

This weekend  focuses on a couple of themes – Stout Month and Melvin’s 2×4 day – both of which offer numerous opportunities for adventure and discovery. But if stouts and DIPAs are not your thing, you can always hit a couple of anniversary celebrations or catch some live music. 

Friday 1 – Thursday 28: It’s that time of year again, time 20180115_132222_HDRfor the Mountain Sun Pubs to hold Stout Month. Join them in their Boulder or Denver locations for a rotating cast of stouts to keep you happy and warm for the next four weeks. Peak to Peak Brewery in Aurora also gets in on the action with weekly stout releases all month. Many other local breweries are on the bandwagon too so enjoy a weekend (or month) of cruising your favorite taprooms to see who’s doing what.

Friday 1 – Thursday 28: In a counterpoint to Mountain Sun, Freshcraft has christened February as Sour Month and will have eight sours in rotation all month in case too much malty-ness gets under your skin.

Saturday 2: Melvin 2×4 Day! A number of breweries are hosting events to celebrate 2×4 DIPA from our neighbor up north, Melvin Brewing. All of them will, to some extent, feature Kung Fu, Wu Tang Clan, a bunch of randomness and of course the star of the party – 2×4. Colorado breweries include:

Saturday 2: Celebrate gluten-free at Holidaily Brewing Co.’s third anniversary. Head to Golden for music, food trucks, a special pilsner tapping plus giveaways.

Saturday 2: Celebrate Six Years in the Alley with DeSteeg Brewing. There’s a whole lot going on that day including free swag, free beer and some limited-edition releases. But wait, there’s more! DeSteeg will also host a chili cookoff starting at 4 p.m. Reserve a spot to participate and be judged, and you’ll get some free beer and prizes if you win. Or just 20170305_141942_HDRcome by and taste. Note: Tasting is a ticketed event.

Saturday 2: Down in Castle Rock 105 West Brewing Company hosts rock & world music with Harmony & Brad starting at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday 2 – Sunday 3: If satisfying your sweet tooth is 20190109_182255_hdrmore of a priority, Denver Beer Co. and Cerveceria Colorado will host a Beer and Cookie Pairing all weekend with tasty treats from Victory, Love, and Cookies. The pairing of four beers and four cookies takes place in both taprooms (they are literally next door). Note: This is a ticketed event, advance purchase saves you five bucks.

Sunday 3 – Seedstock Brewery hosts its weekly Bluegrass Jam from 4 – 6 p.m. Bring an instrument to join in or just relax and enjoy the music and a beer.

Brewery Snapshot: The Grateful Gnome Brewery

Located just off popular Tennyson Street in Northwest Denver, The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shop and Brewery combines a food and beer to create an interesting neighborhood hangout. The New Jersey and West Virginia history of the owners comes through in some of the food offerings, the college football flags, and game-day parties. Because of the emphasis on the food, Grateful Gnome feels like more of a restaurant than a hang-out brewery but they do make quite a long list of beers in a variety of styles.20181220_192947_HDR.jpg

BEER LINEUP: The tap list covers a lot of territory, from a blonde right through a stout, along with a few creative tangents like a gingerbread stout and hibiscus saison. The beers I sampled were solid representations of their style and most beer-drinkers will find something pleasant to accompany their meal.

ATMOSPHERE: The stripped-down industrial taproom has a few quirky decorations but feels a lot like a college sandwich shop. The lively and diverse evening crowd consisted of after-work office groups, families, couples and random 20181220_182108_HDR.jpgfriends getting together. The facility has sit-down table service along with a bar and food takeaway counter. The overall vibe was more restaurant than brewery and it seemed that more people were ordering food than treating it like a beer joint.

SERVICE: Our server was extremely friendly and chatty and seemed to know a lot about the food and less about the beer. Unfortunately all the chattiness got in the way of fast and efficient service and at times we were left waiting for our orders or having to repeat requests. While I wouldn’t count it as bad service, some allowances are required.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The Tennyson Street corridor is rapidly developing, with scrape-offs transforming small houses into packed-in condos. This has accelerated the area’s development with lots of shops, restaurants, and other small businesses moving in. Just across the street from The Grateful Gnome the Oriental Theater remains a neighborhood staple, and two other breweries (De Steeg and Call to Arms) are within a block. The area is great for strolling and with parking at a premium, it’s easiest to find a spot and leave the car for a walk.

STANDOUT BEER: I can’t say that I found one on this visit. All the beers I tried were pleasant but nothing really jumped out as special.

Weekend Beer Update

Nothing goes better than the Superbowl and beer and several breweries are hosting Bowl-related events. Alternately, stop by your favorite taproom to grab a growler to share with friends at a Superbowl party! Once the big game is over, the rest of February promises to be a dark and boozy month full of stouts, imperials, and barrel-aged beers.

Thursday 1st: Today marks the first day of Stout Month at Vine Street Pub so pick a date on the calendar, get some friends together, and get your stout on!

Thursday 1st: Today also marks the start of Frozen February at Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder. They’ll showcase imperial, barrel-aged, and winter seasonal beers with weekly tap and bomber releases, plus special cellar tappings.

Friday 2nd: De Steeg Brewing celebrates their fifth anniversary Image result for public domain chili photoswith a beer and cookie pairing. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 3rd: Fire up your taste buds with Copper Kettle Brewing Company’s 2nd Annual Chili Cookoff. Visit their website to sign up to participate, or to get tickets to taste and vote for your favorites.  Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 3rd: Hop on the Winter Bus Loop between Strange Craft, Black Sky Brewery, Renegade Brewing, and Seedstock Brewery. For just $5 you can start at any brewery and catch a bus that circulates between all four. Even better, complete the circuit and get a free beer on your next visit! Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 3rd: Rock out (quietly) with Diebolt Brewing Company’s Vladislav Release Party and 80’s Disco Party offering various flavor options of their Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout and of course funky dance moves. Note: This is a ticketed event.

20171106_194213_hdr.jpgSunday 4th: Superbowl Sunday starts early at Bruz Beers with the dog-friendly Puppy Bowl, where they will tune in to the Animal Planet show and have doggy bowls and other dog-related products for your pup. From there they launch right into their Superbowl viewing party and potluck. Bring a dish to share and get your first beer free.

Sunday 4th: If you’re more of a south-Denver person, Living the Dream Brewing Company will also be showing the game on their big screen.

 

Free Belgian Beer Class – Oct 29!

A friend of mine is studying to be a cicerone and giving beer appreciation classes to help prepare. The next one – Beers of Belgium –  is Saturday October 29 at Smiley Library in the Tennyson neighborhood from 1:00-3:00. It’s open to the public and totally free. Afterward the class will adjourn to De Steeg Brewing to apply  lessons learned. Last week was German beers and was very informative, followed by great company and discussions. Stop on by! 20160723_162307_hdr

A Casual Neighborhood Stroll

The Tennyson neighborhood in northwest Denver has gotten more popular in the last few years and in 2015 gained a second brewery, Call to Arms, in addition to De Steeg Brewing. They each have different approaches to beer and fortunately a stroll of less than 10 minutes gives the opportunity to try both. First up: De Steeg. It’s a little hard to find, tucked in the alley off 43rd behind a yoga studio. Look for signs on the corner and once in the alley look for the barrels. Note: Due to ongoing construction only the south (43rd) approach from the alley is open – look for signs.

De Steeg makes French/Belgian-style beers and does a fair amount of barrel-aging so be prepared for heavy (but tasty!) high-alcohol beers. Generally their beers are full-flavored and not subtle. The tasting room is an intimate setting with numerous barrels on view, a small patio, and very friendly & helpful owners/brewers who happily explain their brewing philosophy and discuss upcoming releases. Continue reading “A Casual Neighborhood Stroll”

Beer of The Week: De Steeg Ginger Ale

20160907_184848_hdrHidden in an alley off of Tennyson St. in northwest Denver, De Steeg consistently turns out French- and Belgian-style beers with a sprinkling of liquor-barrel-aged offerings too. Their Ginger Ale is based on their French/Belgian-style beers and has a refreshing crispness for a hot evening. The ginger is very forward in the beer, finishing with hints of Belgian yeastiness and some farmhouse flavors. It makes for clean standalone beverage but also serves as a good palatte-cleanser between some of the heavier Belgians and barrel-aged offerings.