Time to get out of the post-Thanksgiving food coma and drink some (more) beer! The weekend’s a little light on events but still a reason to get off the couch and back out to the real world.
Friday 24th: Try out the first annual Black Friday Invitational at Station 26 Brewing Co. featuring releases of their Dark Star series along with a number of other guest breweries and munchies. Ticketed event.
Saturday 25th: Dance off the Thanksgiving calories at Dry Dock’sUgly Sweater Swing Dance at the South Dock from 5:00-10:00. Or just come to marvel at the sheer ugliness of it all . . .
Sunday 26th: Jump right back into the turkey-based feasting with Halfpenny Brewing Company’s Turkey Day Leftovers Potluck. Bring leftovers to share and get a discount on beer, or just show up and extend the Thanksgiving feast one more day.
As one of the more established and medal-winning craft brewers in Denver, Dry Dock Brewing just celebrated their 12th anniversary and while you can find a few of their staple beers in bars and liquor stores throughout Denver, their taproom has a wealth of additional beers. The original South Dock is attached to the Brew Hut, which offers a wealth of home-brewing & winemaking supplies and advice.
BEER LINEUP:As Dry Dock has grown, their beer lineup has matured and today provides something for everyone, from traditional light styles to dark, plus specialty beers like sours, seasonals, and fruit beers including their famous Apricot Blonde
ATMOSPHERE: Over the years Dry Dock has expanded their taproom multiple times from a Brew Hut closet and their mountain-lodge-style taproom generally buzzes with activity. The feeling is comfortable and friendly, with guests hanging out chatting, playing games, and making new friends at the bench-style tables. The only critique is that it can get a bit loud inside, although they also offer a reasonable patio in front of the taproom.
SERVICE: Always great. The staff seems like they are having fun and the feeling rubs off on the whole environment. They’re always very engaging and informative regarding the beer selection and quick to offer suggestions and opinions.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Tucked on the far side of Cherry Creek Reservoir, the South Dock can be a hike for those not in Aurora or Southeast Denver, with access from I225 and Parker Road. The surrounding area is typical suburbia with single-family homes and strip malls, and the strip-mall-heavy corner where Dry Dock sits provides lots of parking along with restaurants offering takeout or delivery since Dry Dock has no onsite food. The neighborhood doesn’t offer many reasons to linger unless you also have a few errands to run.
STANDOUT BEER: Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. While some may find this beer a little gimmicky I thought it hit the spot on a cool fall day with rich roast malt combined with dark chocolate and peanut butter. The beer had the appropriate deep-brown color and thickness that one would expect for this type. Truly a well-balanced cold-weather comfort beer!
Saturday seems to be the pick day of the weekend for beer drinking! Check out a few options below, both north and south. You could even combine visits to Dry Dock and Brewability for a 2fer! And on Sunday maybe learn a thing or two . . .
Saturday 21st: Hard to believe but Dry Dock will celebrate their 12th anniversary at their North Dock location from 12-5. Tickets are $35 advance/$40 door and include unlimited pours of 30+ beers including rare and specialty beers.
Saturday 21st: Living the Dream will host South in Your Mouth with eight South Denver pouring and proceeds benefitting the Castle Rock Dumb Friends League.
Saturday 21st: Brewability Lab one-year anniversary will have music, sword fighters, and the inclusive community atmosphere that they strive to promote.
Saturday 21st: Barrel-Aged Nightmare Fuel Halloween Party at River North Brewing. Get a jump on the holiday with the release of regular and barrel-aged Nightmare Fuel
This ride packs in a lot of beers and a fair amount of riding, taking you from Glendale to Aurora via Cherry Creek State park using mostly paved trails. There are several big hills and it is exposed so riders need to be in decent shape and keep an eye on the weather.
The ride starts in Glendale at Bull & Bush Brewery , a British-style venue that offers good parking, nice outdoor seating, food, and of course beer! Bull & Bush has been making beer for 20 years and offers a broad range of house-brewed styles along with bottles and drafts from domestic and British brewers. We visited with a large group and the servers were extremely accommodating and efficient, juggling beer and food orders and getting everything right.
From there we crossed the street and headed south on the Cherry Creek Trail til we turned left at Place Bridge Academy, then right onto a trail that aligned us with E Florida Ave and our first big hill of the day. This portion requires the only (brief) street-riding of the day and after crossing Parker Road and turning left on the sidewalk we quickly arrived at Copper Kettle Brewing Co. In comparison with Bull and Bush, Copper Kettle is a stripped-down craft brewery. The taproom and patio are smaller and food comes from takeout or food trucks. However the focus on beer remains and Copper Kettle keeps crowd-pleasers on tap like the light Helles, an IPA or two, and of course their Mexican Chocolate Stout. They also roll out seasonal and experimental beers so you may luck into something adventurous. Continue reading “Hilly Southeast Ride”
While I’ve been to Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s South Dock in Aurora dozens of times over the years, this past weekend I finally made it to the Canoe Room at the North Dock, partly to check out their taproom and partly to try their disc golf course. The taproom side was much less busy and and more laid back than South Dock but the beer selection didn’t seem to be much different, despite what I had previously heard. The disc golf course was fun but a little rough, located on an old industrial site filled with prairie dogs. If you golf, grab a map from the taproom before starting, since some of the hole alignments are hard to decipher. We didn’t fully realize that until we got back to the taproom and realized we missed an entire hole. There are some challenging placements right on the edge of a ditch that runs through the site, but overall the course is on the short side.
BEER LINEUP: From what I could tell the lineup looked much like South Dock, ranging from light Pilsners through the IPA and Amber range up to a couple stouts and their famous Vanilla Porter. Basically they offer something for about every taste, generally solidly-made.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom had a chill, fun vibe going on in with a graduation party happening as well. Aside from the wood-paneled taproom, the Canoe Room has an industrial back room in the production area featuring couches and games like air hockey. People kept drifting in and out of the different spaces and the brewery so the whole thing seemed a little more like a college party than people trying to make a scene, as in some breweries in town.
SERVICE: Reasonable. We asked for beer; the server delivered. Not much chitchat but after a hot day of disc golf we happily settled for an efficient beer-delivery mechanism.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Kansas, basically. Clearly a production facility vs. retail, the industrial location east of the airport puts function over form. Don’t count on any food or other local businesses to visit. However it is easy to find on Tower Road just south of I70, with clear signage and ample parking. The truly cool thing about the remote location is that it leaves room for the disc golf course, which is a pretty unique amenity for a brewery.
STANDOUT BEER: Maybe it was disc golfing in 90-degree weather but the Wheat offered a refreshing and satisfying experience. Normally I wouldn’t get too excited about a wheat but this packed more complexity than your stereotypical light-yellow beer. The maltiness on the front provided a unique surprise for such a light beer, but then some hefeweizen-like banana esters kicked and pulled it back in the wheat direction. The end result was a beer with a lot going on but ultimately a refreshingly balanced and satisfying beverage.
Yesterday Wynkoop Brewing Co. sponsored their annual Day of the Darks in support of Movember and for dark-beer lovers it was Thanksgiving come early! About 30 breweries poured some of their finest in support of men’s health charities, while Wynkoop provided snacks and cholcolate for pairing. If you’re into darks, some of the highlights I’d recommend checking out if you find yourself by the brewery or at a liquor store are:
Boggy Draw Groundhog Mountain Milk Stout – Not overly sweet like some at the Fest. The light sweetness provides balance to the slight bitterness of the roast malt
Boggy DrawWee Stout – Combines English hops flavors (primaly tea) with roast malt
Strange & EpicStrangely Epic Imperial Cherry Stout – Collaboration using Strange’s Cherry Kriek and Epic’s Big Bad Baptist. The Baptist definitely won out with the rich malty flavors taking center stage and only a hint of cherry
Strange Pumpkin Porter – Strange used 25 lb of pumpkin per barrel to make a beer that’s not overwhelming on the pumkin spice and carries notes of vanilla and honey too
Dry DockPeaunut Butter Porter – Crazy-good beer that tasted like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
Dry DockQuad – Also a crazy-good beer with complex flavors of raisin, malt, carmel, and vanilla. Unlike lots of quads it doesn’t have the sharp alcohol flavor
Left HandSmoke Jumper – A nice dark beer with a hickory BBQ type of smokiness that almost makes the beer savory.It reminded me of a good smoked cheddar
Liquid Mechanics Cascadian Dark – An unusual black IPA that does a great balancing act between the up-front floral/citrus hops and the subtle dark-roast malt flavors
One of my go-to beers and all-around cold-weather favorite is Dry Dock Brewing’sVanilla Porter. In my opinion it has the perfect balance of vanilla and roasted malt and perhaps that simplicity is why it’s a favorite of mine. I suspect that if it was a porter alone it would still be outstanding, with a medium-dark malt, chocolaty flavors, and medium body. Adding the slight sweetness of vanilla – enough to notice but not overpowering – offers a good balance and kicks up the interest level. Nothing super-complex – just an easy-drinking beer on a chilly fall day. And unlike some Beers of the Week it’s easy to find along the Front Range in cans, on tap, or at one of the two Dry Dock taprooms