It’s Anniversary Saturday this weekend with three Denver-area craft brewers celebrating, not to mention some spooky post-Halloween beer-related events!
Friday 3rd:Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project brings the south of the border holiday Dia de los Muertos to life during the monthly Santa Fe Art Walk by tapping some of their Mexican-styled beers along with guest taps, tacos, and music.
Saturday 4th: Enjoy a barrel-aged quad tapping and their 4th anniversary celebration at Jagged Mountain Brewery downtown.
Saturday 4th: Not to be out-done, Mockery Brewing Co. in RINO will celebrate their 3rd anniversary with a block party featuring 20+ beers, food, music, games, special releases and more.
Saturday 4th: To round out the anniversary trifecta, Grist Brewing Company will celebrate their 4th anniversary at both locations in Highlands Ranch with hourly beer releases and a beer bus ($10) running between the locations.
Saturday 4th:Fiction Beer Company keeps the Halloween spirit going with their Descent Into Darkness featuring a simultaneous tapping of 10 of their dark beers at 5:00 plus a bonus mac & cheese cookoff.
Saturday 4th: If you feel like getting out of town, Estes Park is holding the Fall Back Beer Fest with 30 Colorado craft brewers, demonstrations, brew clubs and of course food. Note: This is a ticketed event.
You might think Mockery Brewing Co. would face stiff completion based on its location within view of Great Divide Barrel Bar and a couple blocks from Blue Moon. However the small taproom is always somewhere between full and insanely packed, probably owing to the diverse and interesting beers on tap. Getting there and parking can be a bit of a challenge at the moment, with major construction on Brighton and side streets, but if you can find a spot you’ll be rewarded with an interesting and tasty beer lineup.
BEER LINEUP: Mockery never fails to surprise, with a large taplist that includes traditional styles but primarily focuses on beers with their own unique spin. With offerings like a smoked wheat and a spiced imperial saison Mockery shows its willingness to push the envelope and generally succeed. This is somewhere I almost always get a flight because they have so many new brews that deserve a taste.
ATMOSPHERE: Very busy and energetic. In cold weather the taproom crowds could fill a place twice as big and in the summer often spill out onto the large sunny patio or into the game shed in back. The taproom offers just a few tables but outside has numerous benches and the game shed also has tables and bar games. The younger crowd appears to turn quickly and not make this a hangout place – people drop in for one or two and then move on. Without any restaurants in the area, Mockery brings in frequent food trucks for hungry drinkers.
SERVICE: The staff does their best to be attentive but when the taproom is standing room only it can take a few minutes to get their attention at the bar. However, no matter how busy they are the servers remain patient and friendly when you do get ahold of one.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Definitely not a place you’d stumble upon by chance, Mockery is a bit buried one block behind Great Divide Barrel Room in an industrial neighborhood offering little besides breweries. However the advantage of this is generally easy parking and quick access from either downtown or I70 via Brighton Boulevard (when it’s not under construction).
STANDOUT BEER:Sweet Darkness Cocoa Coconut Porter. While I generally steer clear of candy-sounding beers I tried a friend’s and simply had to get my own. It seems like coconut beers often assault the palate with artificial flavors and gagging sweetness, or conversely with weak flavor. However the Sweet Darkness tasted perfectly-balanced with natural-tasting coconut flavors offset by a slightly-bitter dark chocolate flavor. Some additional woody oak and dark roast flavors provided even more depth. As you might expect, the beer is dark and dense.
What was originally supposed to be a bike tour to a number of far-flung breweries, quickly turned into a local walking tour thanks to last Saturday’s snowstorm. While we still started at Great Divide Barrel Bar and ended at Mockery Brewing as planned, we changed our transit mode to the safer choice of walking and reduced the midpoint stop to just one – Beryls Beer Co.
Starting at Great Divide Barrel Bar off 35th and Brighton offered everyone a reasonable place to park and a creative start to the day. Despite the snow, the intimate taproom was packed. The place feels like a mountain ski lodge and offers, of course, barrel-aged beers. You can of course get the Great Divide standbys but for me the point of coming here is trying out their latest experiment in a barrel. Given the higher alcohol and pricepoint half-pours usually feel right and that seems to put the patrons in a happy mood to despite the packed-in, standing-room-only taproom. Continue reading “Snowy Rino Walk”
Recently some friends and I spent a chilly afternoon touring four RINO breweries on foot. Given the number of breweries practically side-by-side in RINO one could literally run them end-to-end, GABF style without any breaks. However in the spirit of getting a little exercise and not getting outstandingly hammered we threw in a few that required a walk.
We met at Epic Brewing Company, which usually offers decent parking if you choose to drive. The taproom sports the standard RINO-brewery decor – concrete & steel, lots of glass & garage doors, and an open brewing area. It also has the bonus of a cozy fireplace and a bunch of tvs with various games on. The beers lean toward barrel-aged and/or high-alcohol but there’s enough variety that anyone ought to be able to find something pleasing. Our group tasted some great IPA’s, an unusual lime lager, porters, fruit beers, and a barleywine. The Sage Saison stood out, seeming appropriately seasonal with light earthy flavors and strong sage, as did the Pumpkin Porter, with rich malty flavors and undertones of pumpkin spice.
A few Epic beers fortified us for the 20+ minute walk to the Great Divide Brewing Company Barrel Room on Brighton Blvd. Heading left from Epic you’ll walk down to 38th and go left, either up and over the tracks at the light rail station or under them on 38th itself. It’s definitely a developing area but seems more deserted than sketchy. The Barrel Room has a ski-bar vibe going, which would be cozy on a cold winter day. Even nicer are the warming high-alcohol barrel-aged beers. Great Divide seems to try different combinations and rotate frequently so it’s best to check out the chalkboard and chat with the bartender for the latest and greatest. Of course they also serve the traditional Great Divide offerings – Collette, Yeti, Claymore Scottish, etc. One caution is that their small space gets jammed if a bus or large group comes, which happened to us.
We started out atDenver Beer Co and as usual I think the best description is “adequate”. Yep, they have beers; yes, eventually you will get service. Probably the most interesting thing about it is watching the Highland Hipster scene play out. However it was the appointed start for our ride so after a bland Hefeweizen I tried the Night at the Duxbury Oyster Stout and was very pleasantly surprised with a full-flavored beer (see Beer of the Week)
From there it was a short but circuitous ride along the Platte past broken bottles and bathing homeless to Mockery and a much more flavorful experience. I tried too many to list but overall the whole experience was fantastic. Continue reading “Bike Tour Highlands to Rino”