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.
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
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 Companylast 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.
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.
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!