Brewery Snapshot: Dead Hippie Brewing

As most regular readers have figured out, I’m a huge promoter of local craft breweries and always try to give positive reasons to try a particular brewery, even if it’s not my favorite. However, a recent visit to Dead Hippie Brewing left me challenged for reasons to recommend it, particularly in light of the half-dozen or more breweries within a 10-minute drive. The highlight for our entire party was the funky, psychedelic taproom with interesting artwork, jam band artifacts and games – not so much the beer.

BEER LINEUP: The tap list covers a lot of ground, from a blonde through several IPA’s, a few Belgians, and couple of dark beers including a stout.  On the surface it sounds like a winning combination, however as our party worked through several sets of tasters we found that almost every beer seemed to be off to some degree from the style noted. Only a few were unpleasant but the descriptor that came up most frequently for the rest was “meh”.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom epitomizes the brewery’s name, with lots of hippie throwback artwork, Deadhead memorabilia and even pinball machines. The taproom and brewery share the same big and airy space. During our visit they had a jam band (big surprise there) but the mixed crowd of younger and older patrons plus a few families seemed to contain few actual hippies. The vibe was chill and relaxed. Dead Hippie serves snacks but has no kitchen and on our visit there was no food truck.

SERVICE: As one might expect, the service was dead-hippie-bar.jpgrelaxed and casual but friendly. The servers seemed obsessed with clearing empty glasses, but a bit more laid back about actually pouring fresh beers.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Dead Hippie is visible from South Santa Fe Drive but only accessible by driving through the big box hell on the corner of Santa Fe and Hampden Avenue. As a point of reference it’s hidden behind a Michaels. I suppose it could be convenient if you wanted to combine beer with some errands, and Boggy Draw Brewery shares the same retail/light industrial complex if drunk shopping is on your mind. Parking seemed decent and there are several restaurants in the area. The brewery is also close to the South Platte River bike trail so biking could be an option, but public transit seems inconvenient.

STANDOUT BEER: The Smoothed Out Stout is a dry Irish dead-hippie-flight.jpgstout on nitro and on the chilly evening it seemed like a comforting option. The dark color and medium mouthfeel give way to a heavily-roasted malt flavor with noticeable chocolate notes. The nitro kept carbonation low and smoothed the feel on the palate.

Brewery Snapshot : Blind Faith Brewing

The cottage and beer garden may look the same but the name and beer have changed. With St. Patrick’s moving to a distribution-only model, Blind Faith Brewing has taken over their Littleton brewery and taproom. Owned by the same folks as space-constrained De Steeg Brewing, Blind Faith looks to move beyond De Steeg’s Belgian focus into the full spectrum of brews and also take advantage of the Littleton taproom’s generous size and huge garden area. 

BEER LINEUP: On our visit the brewery was transitioning from St. Patrick’s to Blind Faith’s brews so it’s tough to say what the final tap list will look like. However when we stopped by they offered a dozen or more beers including straight-up traditional styles as well as more experimental beers with fruit, peppers, and some high-gravity offerings. Assuming minimal changes, the menu should have enough diversity to satisfy almost every taste and all the beers we tried were solid.

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom opens to the brewery and is divided into a bar, an area with regular tables, a cozy fireplace pit, and a game area with a ping-pong table and other games. The neighborhood and family atmosphere that St Patrick’s fostered continues, with a mix of old and young, singles, couples, kids, and dogs. Most people stopped in for one or two and maybe some to-go beers although the families seemed to be camping out all afternoon. At some points the screaming kids became annoying even in the bar.  For warm weather, Blind Faith also has a huge, shady Blind Faith Fireplacegarden area with picnic tables and outdoor games that overlooks the South Platte River. It seems like they generally have food trucks and Lucille’s restaurant is next door, though the hours don’t overlap much with Blind Faith’s.

SERVICE: At the bar, service was friendly but spotty. On the positive side, the servers were cheerful, informative, and occasionally opinionated about the beers they served. On the negative side, they were easily distracted on a none-too-busy weekend afternoon and we had to call their attention to our empty glasses to get fresh pours.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Located a few blocks outside the quaint downtown core of Littleton, Blind Faith is sort of marooned in the middle of the parking lot it shares with Lucille’s and Dish customer service. While there is no immediate “neighborhood” to speak of, it’s certainly walkable from downtown Littleton and could be a nice stop after strolling the shops. It has a huge parking lot too. The beer garden abuts the South Platte Trail so you could even reward yourself with a beer after a nice walk or ride. I suppose it could accessed via public transit by bus or blind-faith-strawberry-fire-taster.jpga bit of a walk from light rail too.

STANDOUT BEER: Strawberry Fire combines the up-front sweetness of strawberries with a little kick of hot pepper on the backside that quickly fades out. The pepper isn’t overly pronounced so even sensitive palates shouldn’t worry. The clear, light-yellow/straw beer has a light body and few other noticeable flavors besides strawberry and peppers.

Weekend Beer Update

It’s a smaller list of ideas this weekend, but I figure in a town like Denver there are plenty of opportunities to make your own fun at your local brewery or try something new! Check out the Brewery Guide page for some ideas.

Friday 24 – Saturday 25: Glendale host Bruises and Brews at Infinity Park featuring about 20 breweries each day along with a few ciders and liquor. The fest dates coincide with Rugbytown 7’s matches but the site makes it tough to tell whether games will take place during the fest or not. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Friday 24: Mark Halfpenny Brewing Company’s 20170315_185333_HDRhalf-anniversary with beer releases, bands, food and giveaways. They’re rounding the corner to a full three years in February!

Saturday 25: The fourth annual Colorado Plus Brewfest BBQ Bash brings tastings from around 20 breweries plus live music and lots of pork-based goodness. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 25: Get your crowler on at the Big Can Jam in Littleton. Over 15 breweries will crowler-up their beers for your drinking pleasure, including some rare and unusual offerings. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Saturday 25: Enjoy an evening outdoors at the Castle Rock Brewfest Under the Stars, serving up pours from a number of Colorado breweries along with light food and music  from 4 to 10 p.m. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Brewery Snapshot: Briar Common Brewery

I had heard great things about Briar Commons Brewery’s food and mixed reviews about their beer, so I jumped on a friend’s suggestion to head up there over the weekend to see for myself. As promised, Briar Common cooked up some tasty food, and the beer also exceeded expectations. Situated between The Highlands and Mile High, Briar Common makes a great stop by itself, or a good place to refuel on a brewery walking tour that could include Zuni Street Brewing Company and/or Little Machine.

BEER LINEUP: Briar Common’s beer list seems to focus on Belgians and hoppy beers, along with a few experimentals like Kimchi-Inspired Sour Chili Ale.  However if none of their offerings strike your fancy they also serve guest beers, wine, and hard liquor.

ATMOSPHERE: Located in a renovated old brick building, Briar Common seems both modern and cozy at the same time. The warmth of the brick combined with modern updates and brewing tanks at the edge of the taproom made for a low-key vibe. The brewery seemed to draw a younger, vibrant, neighborhood crowd meeting up for a beer, a bite, and some sports-viewing. Signage promised a rooftop deck coming soon.

SERVICE: Simply excellent. As soon as we walked in the door a server shepherded us to a table and after that a non-stop parade of servers checked in, answered questions, and was just generally friendly and attentive.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The area is a mix of new & trendy housing, old residences, and neighborhood businesses. You can easily park on the street and make a day of brewery-hopping or visiting local businesses, with the knowledge that the area gets nicer toward downtown/Highlands and a little less so toward Mile High Stadium and Federal Blvd. Access from downtown or the highway is easy, and I’d imagine RTD offers some public transit options too.

STANDOUT BEER: The golden-apple color of the Hobart Tripel promised great things even before the first smell or taste and it didn’t disappoint. Each sip offered up a wonderful Belgian with a tart apple and raisin component complemented by the breadiness of the Belgian yeast.

Brewery Snapshot: The Brew On Broadway

Part of the renaissance of The South Broadway Mile in Englewood, The Brew on Broadway (BoB) nicely complements the neighborhood of small retail business, restaurants, and The Gothic Theater. BoB’s comfortable taproom and large patio fit right in with the pedestrian-friendly vibe of the area and encourage a stop for a quick pint.

BEER LINEUP: BoB’s beers are not overly adventurous but each offers a generally pleasant experience of its style. The menu clusters around IPAs and fills out both ends of the spectrum with a few examples of both light and dark beers along with a few speciality beers like a sour, and imperial stout, and a seasonal Thanksgiving porter.

ATMOSPHERE: The good-sized taproom offers 20171209_152459_hdr.jpgvarious seating options including couches and feels like an industrial/ rustic combination with lots of exposed brick and wood. Outside there’s a large patio with a firepit. The mixed crowd seemed neighborhood-based with families, couples, and friends kicking back on a sleepy Saturday afternoon. BoB also appears to be dog-friendly based on the number of pooches running around.

SERVICE: BoB offers bar service only and the staff was reasonably efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Englewood has focused on making the surrounding neighborhood pedestrian- and small-business-friendly so there are plenty of shops and restaurants to browse if you want to combine beer with other pursuits. The area has reasonable street parking and BoB offers a small lot in back.

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STANDOUT BEER: Although it’s a bit gimmicky, the Thanksgiving Stuffing Spiced Porter was the most interesting beer I tried. Unlike some flavored beers, the spices were not overwhelming and provided a pleasant kick to a solid porter base with distinct malt and subtle chocolate flavors. The color and body were as-expected for a porter.

Brewery Snapshot: Locovore Beer Works

Locovore Beer Works bills itself as a small business, neighborhood brewery and that’s pretty much what you get when you visit. Friendly staff and customers, a comfortable taproom, and familiar beers. There’s nothing experimental or edgy here, but the large high-quality beer selection and low-key atmosphere make this a great place to hang out for an afternoon or evening.

BEER LINEUP: Diverse. The long taplist covers a lot of ground from light to dark and should satisfy most any taste from hophead to fruit-lover to high-gravity freak.

ATMOSPHERE: Locovore has the typical relaxed suburban strip mall taproom and crowd. On a weekday Happy Hour a number of people still worked on laptops while others met for a beer after work. The spacious west-facing taproom and outdoor patio fill with sun late in the afternoon and open to the brewing tanks. The brewery is dog-friendly and serves food from an attached catering kitchen (order from kiosk at front of brewery). 20171108_161432_HDR

SERVICE: The service was hit or miss, but friendly when it happened. Occasionally a server would swing by the table but often the best bet was to go to the bar where the servers generally seemed to group up in a protective huddle. Once at the bar, the servers were efficient at dispensing beer.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The neighborhood about a mile west of downtown Littleton is the stereotype of suburbia, with a few strip malls and many spacious homes. There isn’t much to keep you in the immediate area but downtown Littleton is quaint and a several other breweries are closeby if you want to make a crawl of it.

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Fresh off the nitro

STANDOUT BEER: Corker English Bitter. Locovore serves it on nitro so the mouthfeel is silky-smooth and thick-bodied, which seems a bit surprising for the golden-copper color. The beer gives off a slightly unpleasant nose at first that seems heavy on English hop flavors, but a taste gives way to a rich malt flavor with light bittering.

Brewery Snapshot: Grist Brewing Company

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