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

Brewing For Justice

lady-justiceI recently had the opportunity to spend a few hours at a nanobrewery with delicious beer and a unique concept – nonprofit, community-supported brewery. Lady Justice Brewing in Mountain View (I70 & Sheridan) has the unusual dual mission of brewing great beer and giving all profits to women-focused charities. Their motto is “Great Beer, Better World” and the three ladies who founded the brewery have a longstanding commitment to building better communities and also to making great beer. Their current model is a subscription club, where subscribers pick up a bomber every month and often a sampler of a new recipe too. The brewery then donates the proceeds through a grant process.
While hanging out with Kate, Betsy, and Jen I had the opportunity to watch them brew, sample some of their beer, and meet their community supporters. They build their beers with the malt as the foundation, then layer on the yeast, and then other fruits & spices. I tried the Sage Saison, Cardamom Porter, and Peach Brown. Both the saison and porter were very clean, with clear, traditional saison and porter tastes spiked with the specific flavors of the spices. Unlike some beers, the flavors didn’t get muddled or distorted by other ingredients or the brewing process. The brown had a similar clean base, but I only got a hint of the peaches. Overall, the beers were very much my style although only half the fun. The enthusiasm and passion of all the Lady Justice ladies, along with their subscribers, made for a truly awesome afternoon of beer and good people.
There’s not currently a taproom so you have to become a subscriber if you want try their beers. They expect to start the next 6-month subscription mid/late spring and you can visit www.ladyjusticebrewing.com to get on the mailing list or just learn more about the cool business model that Kate, Betsy, and Jen have created!