Brewery Snaphot: Cerebral Brewing

One of the numerous breweries sprinkled along East Colfax, Cerebral Brewing isn’t content to just let nature take its course but instead uses a scientific approach to brewing in order to create exactly the beers they envision. Based on the beer lineup, the brewers mainly have visions of IPAs and other hoppy creations while they dream, which are served up in a hipster-friendly taproom with a large patio.

BEER LINEUP: Most of what’s on tap tilts toward hoppy including lots of IPAs and hoppy versions of other beer styles. You will also usually find a sour or brett, along with one or two darker/high-gravity offerings. Cerebral offers a large can and bomber selection that branches out a little further into darker styles, collaborations, and other exotic creations.

ATMOSPHERE: Even though it’s in an older building the taproom has a relatively modern feel to it and contains a number of long communal tables with built-in display boxes for various  beer ingredients, along with a small bar and a few other individual tables. The taproom opens to the brewery to display the brewing equipment and barrels, and there’s a generous patio out front.  On a Friday evening the taproom was high-energy and loud, but I’ve also visited on weekend afternoons that have a much more lazy and relaxed feel. The place was somewhat of a hipster haven and seems to have a relatively upscale, younger neighborhood crowd.20190308_192833_HDR

SERVICE: We received rather hit or miss service, likely because we visited on a busy Friday night. The bartenders were hustling and reasonably friendly, but with everyone packed in around the small bar there was a certain level of disorganization and getting a beer could take a while.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Near East Colfax and Monroe Street, Cerebral shares the area with a whole host of restaurants, bars, shops, tattoo parlors, and other interesting businesses. The Bluebird Theater is just a block away, which can make parking a bit of a challenge particularly on concert nights. Be careful, as much of the street parking is permitted although Cerebral does have a small lot. Given the Colfax location, public transit or ride-sharing are both viable options.20190308_194342_HDR

STANDOUT BEER: International Waters Pils. This light-yellow, light-bodied beer offers up everything that’s good about pilsners: crisp, hoppy, refreshing. While not overly complex, International Waters makes for a pleasant, easy-drinking beer that can also be somewhat of a palate-cleanser between some of Cerebral’s hoppier creations. 

 

Brewery Snapshot: Vine Street Pub & Brewery

Vine Street Pub & Brewery is part of the Mountain Sun family of Front Range restaurants and breweries that strive to make fresh food and beer using as many local ingredients as possible and working to offer the local community a place to come together. Vine Street is the sole Denver outpost, located along busy 17th Street in the Uptown neighborhood and features both a kitchen and brewery.

BEER  LINEUP: Vine Street offers a little bit of everything from traditional styles to high-gravity offerings. There’s nothing too wild and crazy but the two-dozen beers on the menu leave plenty of room for exploration.

ATMOSPHERE: Given its Boulder roots it comes as no surprise that Vine Street has a bit of hippy, mountain lodge feeling with lots of wood and funky art. The crowd seemed to be a mix of locals and people stopping by but everyone seemed to want to linger. For warmer days the two patios with outdoor bar games allow you to get some fresh air. The kitchen presents a menu of bar comfort food with lots of healthy options that can also fit most dietary restrictions.20180115_132222_HDR

SERVICE: At every Mountain Sun establishment I have visited the service has been excellent and Vine Street is no exception. The staff was friendly and considerate, bringing sharing plates without being asked, making suggestions, and reminding us that they have options for various diets. The servers seemed genuinely engaged in insuring that we had a wonderful experience. Note: All Mountain Sun locations only take cash.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The Vine Street location stands in an old storefront on the corner of 17th and Vine surrounded by many large, gracious old homes along with a number of multi-family buildings, giving it a true neighborhood-business feel. Between the residential area and the many other businesses lining 17th Street the area is truly walkable, which is probably good as it can be a minor hassle to find street parking.

STANDOUT BEER: Nitro Cleveland-Style Brown Ale. We visited on a cold, snowy day so a rich and creamy brown really hit the spot. The server wasn’t exactly able to explain the  “Cleveland” appellation but perhaps it has something to do with the co-mingled spice flavors that were difficult to single out – cinnamon? nutmeg? Asian? – hard to pinpoint. Although it was thick and so dark as to be opaque, the malt clocked in at only a medium roast which allowed the spices to peek through.