Brewery Snapshot: Launch Pad Brewery

With its quirky space-based theme, Launchpad Brewery offers a chill and comfortable vibe with a diverse beer selection including a good representation of higher-gravity Belgians.  Many folks would consider the far-east Aurora location a downside, but for those living in that brewery-deprived area Launchpad must be a blessing. Regardless of your starting point, it’s worth the drive to give Launchpad a try.

BEER LINEUP: Launchpad offers a diverse array of beers, many of which are experimental versions of traditional styles. In general I’ve found them well-executed, and not too “out-there” but I think it pays to sample before you buy. Though well made, beers don’t always taste the way you’d imagine from the descriptions.

ATMOSPHERE: The space-themed taproom displays model rockets, tvs showing launch video, space-themed beer names, and other launch memorabilia. The crowd seemed friendly and mixed – professionals, families, old, young, etc. – as well as more regulars than visitors. The taproom is rather small and fairly standard with rows of stout tables and chairs. It expands a little during warm weather when the small patio opens. Also, look out back for a food truck. We were hungry and puzzled at first but quickly figured out you have to walk through the production facility to get food. The bar is also dog friendly.

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SERVICE: Efficient. Despite the busy evening and crowded bar, the bartenders kept everything moving quickly in a friendly manner.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Buried in a strip mall far out in Aurora, there’s little charm here so unless you are in the neighborhood you’ll need to make this a destination bar. On the positive side, suburbia offers plenty of parking.

STANDOUT BEER: Key Lime Saison. This light and slightly cloudy beer offered a well-balanced combination between sweet, lightly-acidic key lime and farmhouse flavors. The flavors blended well without any unpleasant takeover by one or the other

Brewery Snapshot: Westfax Brewing Company

 

Ok, so trying out a new thing – focusing on a brewery instead of a beer since breweries stick around but beers come & go. Since I happened to visit Westfax Brewing Company last weekend trying out my brand new Pub Pass it seemed as good as any place to start.

Overall Westfax works as a neighborhood bar, sandwiched next to Casa Bonita, perhaps for parents who need a buzz to be able to deal with the crappy food and cheesy decor. I can’t say that anything about Westfax particularly stands out, and I don’t mean that as a slam. It’s a pleasant-enough place to hang out with good beers. If you live in or visit the area it’s well worth a visit, but if you drive across town for it you’ll probably pass half a dozen similar neighborhood breweries with a similar experience.westfax

BEER LINEUP: Westfax offers a wide variety of standard styles, with a slight tilt toward flavored beers using coffee, blueberry, asian spices and more (thankfully not all in one beer!)

ATMOSPHERE: Standard strip-mall industrial. There’s nothing too unique there. The crowd seemed pretty chill for a Sunday afternoon and the brewery has several tvs for sports. A food truck served hungry drinkers and Westfax seems to have a rotating truck schedule..

SERVICE: The bartender provided friendly service, some tasting advice, and plenty of samples to help with beer selection.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Westfax is in the gritty part of West Colfax full of strip malls and dollar stores. There’s  nothing much of interest closeby, although Seedstock is about a five-minute drive away.

STANDOUT BEER: Everyone in our party agreed that the Bluetylicious blueberry wheat stood out. It has an unusual honey-copper color and a thin body. The flavors start with slightly sweet blueberry that is not overpowering and finish with a typical clean, mildly bitter wheat-beer taste.

Beer Of The Week: St Patrick’s Strawberry Wheat

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Strawberry Wheat in the Backyard

In the sun, St Patrick’s Strawberry Wheat almost looks like a Bloody Mary, with a distinctly red color. It appears thick and cloudy but when actually sipping the beer it’s much lighter-bodied. Flavor-wise it’s fruit-forward, with a heavy strawberry flavor capturing the sweet essences of the berry vs. the sometimes bitter elements that berry beers can pull out. I’m a huge fan of strawberries so it was perfect for me, but perhaps starting with a taster would be your best bet if you’re on the fence about strawberries. The icing on the cake is St Patrick’s awesome backyard located right on the Platte River Trail – definitely a place to combine into a future ride with other near-trail breweries. And a great way to spend a hot July 4th afternoon under the gazebo!