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. 

 

Weekend Beer Update

This first weekend of spring brings a diverse mix of events including some anniversaries, some openings and the first annual Big Reveal where participants do blind tastings of Colorado beers, with the winners revealed during the event followed by more tasting.

Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23: Head up to Loveland for the multi-day sixth anniversary party at Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project. In addition to the usual special releases, Thursday features a four-course Anniversary Dinner and on Saturday the big guns come out with more releases, brewhouse tours, cake and music.

Friday 22: Down in Colorado Springs Brass Brewing Co. kicks off their first anniversary party mid-afternoon with a beer release followed by food and music.

Saturday 23: What might be the most interesting event of the weekend, The Big Reveal at Union Station will serve 20 Colorado-made American IPAs in a blind tasting and attendees will get to vote on their favorite. Once the votes are counted the winners will be revealed and attendees can go back and re-sample all the beers. The event is sponsored by the Colorado Brewers Guild and PorchDrinking.com to cap off Colorado Craft Beer Week. Note: This is a ticketed event.

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Joyride Rooftop Patio Under Construction

Saturday 23: The long-awaited rooftop patio at Joyride Brewing Company makes its debut with great views over Sloan’s Lake on what looks to be a relatively mild spring day.

Saturday 23: One of my favorite breweries, Weldworks Brewing Co., celebrates four years with their Super-Time Great-Fun 4th Anniversary weldworks-can.jpgGet-Down. They’re thinking big and will take over their entire parking lot, put up a big-top tent and bring in multiple food trucks. All of that on top of the usual special tappings and release of two barrel-aged barley wines. Saturday’s gonna be huge!

Saturday 23: Taking over the former Caution space in Lakewood, Olde 121 Brewhouse holds their official Grand Opening with six of their beers on tap plus a collaboration with The Grateful Gnome as well as some live music. In addition to beer, Olde 121 plans to make their own craft soda and serve flavored hot and iced teas.

Sunday 24: Wrap up the weekend with some music and fun at Seedstock Brewery’s weekly Bluegrass Jam from 4-6 p.m. If you want to join in you can bring your own instrument, or just kick back and relax with a brew.

Brewery Snapshot: 14er Brewing Company

Part of the RINO herd of craft breweries, 14er Brewing Company pretty much conforms to the standard plan: industrial space, bunch of IPAs, bar games. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area, but don’t expect anything ground-breaking. 

BEER LINEUP: The small-ish tap list consists of four flagship14er sign beers and a number of rotating ones, tilted heavily toward IPAs. Virtually all of the non-IPA beers are lighter and many have a fruit component.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom is divided into several small rooms providing a somewhat cozy feel, although the brick walls and minimal decoration detracts from that a bit. The warehouse/dock serves as a patio of sorts with outdoor bar games like cornhole. Indoor games are available in a lounge area. On the weekend afternoon when we visited the taproom was crowded with what seemed like a neighborhood crowd of hipsters and older couples; no families or kids. With the full house, the hard rock music playing and patrons constantly coming and going the bar felt vibrant and energetic.

SERVICE: The servers were chipper and efficient, and took the time to explain both their core beers and the rotating options. Bar service only.14er Bar

LOCATION: Situated at 28th & Walnut in an old industrial building, 14er comes with all of the positives and negatives of any RINO brewery. The walkable district offers plenty of options for food, a pub crawl or other entertainment, however parking can occasionally be tricky. Fortunately the area is relatively convenient to public transit, pedicabs, and exploring on foot.

STANDOUT BEER: Rocky Mountain Saison. This 2016 GABF gold medal winner takes a typical saison and puts a Colorado spin on it by adding jalepeños, lime, and cilantro. The clear, yellow appearance aligns with the light flavor of the beer. The Belgian saison yeast and peppers give the beer a spiciness along the line of peppercorns without any jalepeño heat, and the yeast, lime and cilantro add a crispness and dry, refreshing finish.

Brewery Snapshot: Epic Brewing Company

This RINO brewery is the Colorado outpost of Utah-based Epic Brewing Company. The location in brewery-dense RINO makes Epic a great stop on a brewery crawl or a destination in its own right. The ultra-modern taproom seems to be hit or miss as far as crowds, but the beer is always solid and plentiful.  You could easily order off the expansive menu all afternoon without doubling up, as the list covers virtually every style plus multiple variants of the same base beer. Street parking is usually easy but if you’re pub crawling or intent on running the Epic menu, consider Uber or public transit!

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BEER LINEUP: Epic covers the spectrum and then some with their generous menu of over 20 beers. In addition to the expected, Epic does experimental beers, barrel-aged, sours, fruit beers, and more. Nobody should come away disappointed.

ATMOSPHERE: Epic has a relaxed vibe with a diverse crowd of hipsters, couples, older people, and others. The only un-represented group was families – not surprising given the RINO location. It definitely seemed like a place people stopped by for one, with quick turnover. The modern industrial taproom opens to the brewery on one side and a small patio on another. Some days they have food trucks.

SERVICE: Generally good, though we were there on a slow night. When it gets busier there tend to be traffic jams at the bar

NEIGHBORHOOD: Rino – need I say more? Epic is located far enough out to have ample street parking (for now).

STANDOUT BEER: The Santa Cruz Brown IPA stands out for its balance. The medium reddish-brown color and medium body serve up a good shot of hop bitterness with a bit of floral essence that is brought back to center by the solid malty foundation. All of the flavors intertwine to produce a complex and enjoyable beer.

Brewery Snapshot: Comrade Brewing Co

Tucked away in a strip mall in the far Southeast corner of Denver near Iliff & Quebec, Comrade Brewing Co specializes in IPAs and all things hoppy. The atmosphere is pretty basic and the location is a bit far out but if you either live in Southeast Denver or love IPAs it’s worth checking out, particularly on a nice day when they open the garage doors.

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BEER LINEUP: IPAs and more IPAs. Comrade has always specialized in this style and features numerous varieties. While they typically throw a few bones to the non-hophead crowd, IPAs are where they stand tall.

ATMOSPHERE: Somewhat uninviting. The former auto-body space is wrapped in concrete and rather dark with little in the way of decoration and charm, although the garage doors add some appeal on warm days. Comrade almost always has a food truck – usually a really good one too.

SERVICE: Excellent. Most of the staff has been there a long time and they really seem to want you to want their beer. Everyone is friendly and eager to share knowledge and samples. One unusual twist, Comrade doesn’t really do table service so you go to their service counter to get your beer. The counter has no seating or incentive to congregate so people get their beer and go and it works really well to keep the beer flowing fast.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Not much to speak of. Comrade lives between some auto-body shops in a strip mall complex surrounded by other strip malls and located in a suburban apartments-and-condos area of southeast Denver. Parking is generally ample and if you’re a biker it’s about two minutes off the Cherry Creek trail at Iliff.

STANDOUT BEER:  I’m going to punt on this one and say any of the IPAs. Comrade runs the table in this category from traditional to New England IPAs all the way out to Double IPAs. They all tilt toward the heavily-floral side so if that’s your thing you’ll feel the love at Comrade.

Beer Of The Week: Fiction Beer Company Logic Is Relative

fiction-ne-ipaFiction Beer Company  lists Logic Is Relative as a New England IPA, which differs from the more typical West Coast IPAs with lower floral characteristics and less bitterness. It still contains the hops bitterness one expects from an IPA – just a little more balanced and nuanced. The aroma offers a hint of citrus, which carries forward to the taste. The citrus flavor leans toward the sweeter side – think of oranges rather than grapefruit – without being actually sweet. Logic Is Relative has the typical body and color of an IPA, but with significant haziness. I found this beer to be a refreshing pause between super-hopped IPAs, and it would also likely work as a transition beer between very hoppy IPAs and other beers, or vice versa.