Brewery Snapshot: The Grateful Gnome Brewery

Located just off popular Tennyson Street in Northwest Denver, The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shop and Brewery combines a food and beer to create an interesting neighborhood hangout. The New Jersey and West Virginia history of the owners comes through in some of the food offerings, the college football flags, and game-day parties. Because of the emphasis on the food, Grateful Gnome feels like more of a restaurant than a hang-out brewery but they do make quite a long list of beers in a variety of styles.20181220_192947_HDR.jpg

BEER LINEUP: The tap list covers a lot of territory, from a blonde right through a stout, along with a few creative tangents like a gingerbread stout and hibiscus saison. The beers I sampled were solid representations of their style and most beer-drinkers will find something pleasant to accompany their meal.

ATMOSPHERE: The stripped-down industrial taproom has a few quirky decorations but feels a lot like a college sandwich shop. The lively and diverse evening crowd consisted of after-work office groups, families, couples and random 20181220_182108_HDR.jpgfriends getting together. The facility has sit-down table service along with a bar and food takeaway counter. The overall vibe was more restaurant than brewery and it seemed that more people were ordering food than treating it like a beer joint.

SERVICE: Our server was extremely friendly and chatty and seemed to know a lot about the food and less about the beer. Unfortunately all the chattiness got in the way of fast and efficient service and at times we were left waiting for our orders or having to repeat requests. While I wouldn’t count it as bad service, some allowances are required.

NEIGHBORHOOD: The Tennyson Street corridor is rapidly developing, with scrape-offs transforming small houses into packed-in condos. This has accelerated the area’s development with lots of shops, restaurants, and other small businesses moving in. Just across the street from The Grateful Gnome the Oriental Theater remains a neighborhood staple, and two other breweries (De Steeg and Call to Arms) are within a block. The area is great for strolling and with parking at a premium, it’s easiest to find a spot and leave the car for a walk.

STANDOUT BEER: I can’t say that I found one on this visit. All the beers I tried were pleasant but nothing really jumped out as special.

Weekend Beer Update

It’s a festival-filled weekend from the Front Range to the mountains, with three big fests rolling out the welcome mat. However if festivals aren’t your style, the weekend also offers plenty of options from music to brewery-hopping to food-focused events.

Thursday 10 – Saturday 12: Celebrate eight years of sour beers at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. Starting Thursday Crooked Stave will offer special beer releases, unique guest beers, food, and commemorative merch.

Thursday 10 – Saturday 12: If you can handle the weekend ski 20160721_201225_HDRcrowds, take a ride up to the Breckenridge Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival for brewing seminars, beer dinners, pairings, homebrew competitions and of course lots and lots of big beers! The main tasting event is Saturday afternoon, with the competitions, seminars, and food events going throughout the weekend. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Friday 11: In the Tennyson neighborhood, the Northwest Beer Fest takes over the Oriental Theater with beers from ten local breweries along with wine and cider. Note: This is a ticketed event.

20180212_171117_HDRSaturday 12: Celebrate five years of beer with Kokopelli Beer Company and enjoy their award-winning beers along with a special release, swag and prizes.

Saturday 12: The LowDown Barrel-Aged Beer Festival comes to South Broadway with 14 brews including several from Lowdown plus eight guest breweries. This festival is a bit different, as you pay for your beers as you go vs. getting one all-in ticket.

Saturday 12: Hop on the January edition of the West Side Brewery Bus Loop which will visit Little Machine Beer, Zuni Street Brewing Co., Joyride Brewing Company and this month’s special guest Briar Common Brewery. From 2 – 10 p.m. a bus will circulate between all the breweries. Tickets are $5 and you get a free future beer for completing all four breweries. This ride’s theme is 1980’s-1990’s.

Saturday 12: Get your gourmet fix at Living The Dream Brewery’s Charcuterie at the Brewery. From 3 – 4:30 p.m. enjoy a pairing of five beers with specialty meats and cheeses from Whole Foods. Note: This is a ticketed event (buy at the door).20180527_134218_HDR

Sunday 13: Bring a dish to share and enjoy live music at SomePlace Else Brewery’s Thom & Coley Concert and Potluck. It appears that the duo plays country music. The fun starts at 6 p.m. Note: This is a ticketed event.

Sunday 13: Enjoy food and music starting at noon at this month’s Bluegrass Brunch brought to you by Station 26 Brewing Co.

Free Belgian Beer Class – Oct 29!

A friend of mine is studying to be a cicerone and giving beer appreciation classes to help prepare. The next one – Beers of Belgium –  is Saturday October 29 at Smiley Library in the Tennyson neighborhood from 1:00-3:00. It’s open to the public and totally free. Afterward the class will adjourn to De Steeg Brewing to apply  lessons learned. Last week was German beers and was very informative, followed by great company and discussions. Stop on by! 20160723_162307_hdr

A Casual Neighborhood Stroll

The Tennyson neighborhood in northwest Denver has gotten more popular in the last few years and in 2015 gained a second brewery, Call to Arms, in addition to De Steeg Brewing. They each have different approaches to beer and fortunately a stroll of less than 10 minutes gives the opportunity to try both. First up: De Steeg. It’s a little hard to find, tucked in the alley off 43rd behind a yoga studio. Look for signs on the corner and once in the alley look for the barrels. Note: Due to ongoing construction only the south (43rd) approach from the alley is open – look for signs.

De Steeg makes French/Belgian-style beers and does a fair amount of barrel-aging so be prepared for heavy (but tasty!) high-alcohol beers. Generally their beers are full-flavored and not subtle. The tasting room is an intimate setting with numerous barrels on view, a small patio, and very friendly & helpful owners/brewers who happily explain their brewing philosophy and discuss upcoming releases. Continue reading “A Casual Neighborhood Stroll”

Beer of The Week: De Steeg Ginger Ale

20160907_184848_hdrHidden in an alley off of Tennyson St. in northwest Denver, De Steeg consistently turns out French- and Belgian-style beers with a sprinkling of liquor-barrel-aged offerings too. Their Ginger Ale is based on their French/Belgian-style beers and has a refreshing crispness for a hot evening. The ginger is very forward in the beer, finishing with hints of Belgian yeastiness and some farmhouse flavors. It makes for clean standalone beverage but also serves as a good palatte-cleanser between some of the heavier Belgians and barrel-aged offerings.