This first weekend of spring brings a diverse mix of events including some anniversaries, some openings and the first annual Big Reveal where participants do blind tastings of Colorado beers, with the winners revealed during the event followed by more tasting.
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23: Head up to Loveland for the multi-day sixth anniversary party at Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project. In addition to the usual special releases, Thursday features a four-course Anniversary Dinner and on Saturday the big guns come out with more releases, brewhouse tours, cake and music.
Friday 22: Down in Colorado Springs Brass Brewing Co. kicks off their first anniversary party mid-afternoon with a beer release followed by food and music.
Saturday 23: What might be the most interesting event of the weekend, The Big Reveal at Union Station will serve 20 Colorado-made American IPAs in a blind tasting and attendees will get to vote on their favorite. Once the votes are counted the winners will be revealed and attendees can go back and re-sample all the beers. The event is sponsored by the Colorado Brewers Guild and PorchDrinking.com to cap off Colorado Craft Beer Week. Note: This is a ticketed event.
Saturday 23: The long-awaited rooftop patio at Joyride Brewing Company makes its debut with great views over Sloan’s Lake on what looks to be a relatively mild spring day.
Saturday 23: One of my favorite breweries, Weldworks Brewing Co., celebrates four years with their Super-Time Great-Fun 4th Anniversary Get-Down. They’re thinking big and will take over their entire parking lot, put up a big-top tent and bring in multiple food trucks. All of that on top of the usual special tappings and release of two barrel-aged barley wines. Saturday’s gonna be huge!
Saturday 23: Taking over the former Caution space in Lakewood, Olde 121 Brewhouse holds their official Grand Opening with six of their beers on tap plus a collaboration with The Grateful Gnome as well as some live music. In addition to beer, Olde 121 plans to make their own craft soda and serve flavored hot and iced teas.
Sunday 24: Wrap up the weekend with some music and fun at Seedstock Brewery’s weekly Bluegrass Jam from 4-6 p.m. If you want to join in you can bring your own instrument, or just kick back and relax with a brew.
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.
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 friends 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.