Take a break from Christmas shopping to stop by one of the many holiday-themed brewery events scheduled this weekend, or better yet give the gift of beer or brewery merch!
Friday 8th: Break out your ugliest sweater for Strange Craft Beer Company’s release of their Ugly Sweater Belgian-style brown ale. Needless to say there will be prizes for the ugliest attire! Starts at noon.
Friday 8th: If tradition is more your style, visit Grandma’s House for old-fashioned cookie decorating in the evening. Free with the purchase of a beer!
Saturday 9th: One of the best deals in Denver returns this afternoon from 2:00-10:00 – the West Side Brewery Bus Loop! Ride between four breweries for just $5 and if you complete the loop with a beer at each one you get a free beer. So really, it pays for itself. Buy a tickets to start at any brewery. This month features Little Machine Beer, Hogshead Brewery, Zuni Street Brewing Co. and Joyride Brewing.
Saturday 9th: Come inside and warm up with Living the Dream Brewing Company as they host their 1st Annual Barrels of Brews. Enjoy four barrel aged releases on the same day paired with chocolates from 1:00-6:00
Saturday 9th: Join Station 26 Brewing Co. in celebrating their 4th anniversary with live music and special beer releases
Reminder that this coming weekend Wit’s End Brewing Company will be closing their 2nd Ave location to move in with Strange Craft Beer. They anticipate celebrating the completion of the move the following weekend. Given Strange’s already-cramped taproom I have difficulty envisioning how the combination will play out, but I suppose that’s just one more excuse to stop in and enjoy a few beers!
A lot has changed at Wit’s End Brewing Company since my last visit a couple of years ago. On the positive side they have broadened and deepened their beer menu by adding a number of darker beers, high gravity beers, and barrel-aged beers. They truly offer a curated menu where most beer drinkers will find a sweet spot. On the other, bittersweet, side they will shortly be closing their brewery/taproom and moving in with Strange Craft Beer Co. so while they will continue to brew and pour, they won’t be doing it in their own unique space. In recognition of that I’ve truncated the review below to focus mainly on the beer.
BEER LINEUP: Very broad and comprehensive with good variety of light, medium, dark, IPA, and barrel-aged. All the beers I tried were very smooth and easy drinking, sometimes dangerously-so on the high-gravity beers. Everything seemed very solidly-produced and true to style.
ATMOSPHERE, SERVICE, and LOCATION: Wit’s End is currently buried deep among growhouses in an industrial park off of 2nd and Federal, which may contribute some to its sleepy vibe. The small taproom sits in the same space as the brewery, giving the whole place a stripped-down industrial look. The service was great and the bartender happily guided our party through the variety of selections to help us make our selections. If you want to visit this location, you better hurry and get there before Thanksgiving!
STANDOUT BEER: Scotchy Scotch Scotch – 2015 and 16. You really need to have both of these Scotch Ales to appreciate them, although I would heartily recommend either on their own. Obviously from the dates they have been barrel aged, though surprisingly the 2016 has a much smokier and Scotch-like flavor. Both beers have a thick consistency and very smooth, sweet, and syrupy base. They feature big, intense hits of roasted malt and almost woody flavors. In the 2015 the sweetness wins out to the point that I got some marshmallow undertones occasionally. In contrast, the woody and smoky flavors dominate the 2016. Scotch-lovers would be all over 2016.
One of the older Denver craft breweries, Strange Craft Beer has remained tucked away below I25 for seven years in its industrial location near Mile High Stadium. Despite being off the beaten path, Strange draws a mixed crowd of regulars and visitors from throughout the city with its cozy taproom and eclectic beer lineup offering both traditional styles and interesting new brews. The central location makes it easy to head down for an evening or stop by on the way to another event.
BEER LINEUP: Strange offers a diverse and always-changing lineup from IPAs to stouts to farmhouse and fruit. They generally feature a few standbys like Cherry Kriek and Breakfast Grapefruit IPA combined with rotating favorites like Big Malty and a few new brews. Although the menu is unpredictable it would take an awfully picky drinker to not find something to like.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom has a very intimate feel and it seems like many patrons are regulars and know each other and the bartenders. The familiarity is good since the small taproom practically requires sharing tables and making new friends. During warmer weather the Biergarten behind the brewery opens with tons of seating and outdoor games which include raising a toast to each light rail train that passes by. Strange seems to always have a food truck out front.
SERVICE: Always super-friendly. While the bar can get jammed up and appear hopeless for getting refreshment, the bartenders do a great job of managing traffic while still offering samples and friendly chitchat about the beers.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Strange sits right below the 13th street bridge under I25 and next to a power plant in an industrial strip mall so the neighborhood offers little else of interest aside from maybe the distillery next door. Although within walking distance of Mile High Stadium you really need a good map app to navigate the twists and turns to find it. The area has a slightly sketch feel but it’s really more deserted than unsafe. Parking in the strip mall lot is usually available.
STANDOUT BEER: Big Malty. In an IPA-crazed world it’s refreshing to break the mold with this medium-dark beer combining the slightly sweet and roasty flavors of malt with essentially no hops bitterness. Best of all, it’s surprisingly light-bodied, unlike many stouts and other malt-forward beers. Better get it fast, though, as I think its season’s about ending.
May looks like a great month for beer and other drinking experiences!
May 7 is National Homebrew Day. If you’re already a homebrewer or want to give it a try a lot of brewing supply places are doing things to celebrate, such as The Brew Hut which is having brewing demonstrations and sales on equipment on May 6.
Mid-month is American Craft Beer Week from May 15-21 when you can expect numerous breweries to get in on the action with special events.
The Denver Bacon and Beer Festival hits Mile High Stadium on May 13. Bacon + Beer – is any more description needed?
May 20 is a two-fer. Starting at noon Strange Craft celebrates their 7th anniversary with a Backyard BBQ featuring food, bands, and of course beer from 10 different breweries! Then in the evening the Denver Beer and Music Festival kicks in at City Hall on Broadway with bands, DJs, beer, and other alcoholic beverages. Perhaps a good day for Uber, huh?
Thursday May 25th brings Colorado Corks and Cuisine at Four-Mile Park. This event celebrates local food, distilleries, and of course breweries including Comrade and Fermaentra. Tickets are cheaper in advance and coupon code GCCC gets you another 5 bucks off.