Last weekend, I found myself in Five Points to hit up Snowboard on the Block. I haven't spent much time in that neighborhood over the years as it used to have a reputation of a place that you didn't go unless you had a specific reason to be there. And like much of central Denver in recent years, gentrification has swept through and left its mark. Now it boasts various versions of bars, restaurants, and concert venues. One of which is the Epic Brewing Company that showed up here in 2013.
I've got a special affinity for Dry Dock as it's basically in my old neighborhood. I took drum lessons as a kid in the same strip mall at Hampden and Chambers. However I never thought when I discovered my love for craft brew that I'd one day be able to make a legitimate argument around the statement that "Southeast Aurora brews best". It might not, but Dry Dock definitely put us folks from the plains east of Denver on the map. They opened in 2005 as Aurora's first microbrewery and taproom, and have been growing like gangbusters ever since. They built their rep on quality, consistency, and innovation.
This week's stop was a micro brew taproom in the far northeast section of Park Hill: Station 26. It's a renovated firehouse that sits adjacent to MLK Jr park on the corner of 38th and Pontiac street. They are a true microbrewery in that their menu is constantly evolving. What you had last week might have been replaced the next time you go by whatever they had on deck in their fermenters. No matter though, as the brews are good enough quality to satisfy most (their Colorado Cream ale just took a bronze medal at the Great American Beer festival for American-style cream ale).
This week in matters of fermented grains spiked with flowers and other various fruits, we’re staying home to drink. Yes, it’s fun to go to bars, but it can also get a tad expensive, so there’s no shame in staying in once in a while, provided you have some company, and Ska Brewing out of Durango has proven adept at providing that since their inception in 1995.
I’m honestly not all that familiar with Durango other than accounts of friends of mine who spent time at Fort Lewis College. The impression that I have gotten from their accounts is that it is essentially Boulder on a much smaller scale. The typical student schedule from fall to spring was described as “class in the morning, ride Purgatory in the afternoon, rinse and repeat” (although I think Purgatory now has a different name, this is Colorado Culture and we promote the local ways of life, including lingo) which basically sounds like Boulder, just no Boulder Freeride. And also like Boulder, Durango makes its own beer.
Ska Brewing is actually a fairly sizeable brewery considering the quaintness of the locale. They’ve got 8 beers in their regular lineup (their True Blonde Ale took gold at the Great American Beer Festival for English-style Summer Ale this year), as well as 6 seasonal brews. As I’ve stated in past posts, IPA is my flavor of choice, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi IPA is one of my local favorites. It’s unique because the aroma of the beer is that of citrus instead of hops like most other IPAs, and the variety of hops used is such that it gives the strong taste of pine that melds with the citrus as you drink it. At the back end there is a tinge of sweetness that cuts into the bitterness of the hops, tastes a bit like caramel. It’s a fantastic beer, and as always, it’s an IPA so the ABV is up there, 6.8% to be exact. You can find select Ska products at most local liquor stores that have a decent beer selection (if you’re in Central Denver like me, Argonaut is your best bet). I also recommend visiting them online as their site is laid out like a comic book, which is awesome. Or you can visit the brewery itself if you find yourself in the southwest part of the state. They’ve got tours, a beer garden, and a restaurant. Until next week, cheers!
Copper Kettle Brewing company is micro-brewery and tasting room located in an office park a little bit south of Mississippi on Parker road. This is an area of town which I’ve always thought was a little confused about its geography. The address says Denver, but for all intents and purposes, if you’re down there drinking that means you’re just in west Aurora. But, just like I stated about Durango’s Ska Brewing last week, don’t let the locale fool you. There is some serious goodness being brewed in here, and all you need to do is inquire within this family-owned brewery to find out for yourself.
It's almost Halloween. And with this season brings seasonal beer, namely pumpkin beer. I can't lie: I'm not a fan of pumpkin anything for the most part, let alone beer. And that opinion changed last year (yeah I'm cheating a little bit here) when I was coerced into drinking a "Rumpkin" ale made by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder.
This beer is a limited edition seasonal that they make every year during fall, and it's gained enough of a rep locally that it can be rather hard to find. If you're lucky you can catch it in places which usually carry Avery's lineup of products, but if you're hard up to get a hold of it, your best bet would be to make the trip up to the brewery itself. You can find all of their contact info at www.averybrewing.com.
Great Divide brewing started as a one-man homebrew operation in 1994. First operating in the shadow of the Coors Field construction site, they have grown exponentially in the 20 years since, now being the sole owner/tenant of the building at 22nd and Arapahoe. Along with the expansion in space came the expansion of their brew lineup, they now offer 26 beers in total: 10 year-round offerings, 12 seasonals (3 per season) and 4 limited releases.
Now, I know I mentioned vodka earlier. Don't judge me. For one, my friend makes those Fade-o-rades so that you can't even taste the vodka for the most part. And also, those are only drank for practical (or impractical) purposes. Beer is for enjoyment. And today I'm excited to share this spot with you all, because I was really surprised by the quality of the brew I found there.
For beer this week, I'm going to change it up a little bit. Instead of a beer review, consider this to be more in the vein of beer education. And we're stepping outside of the state for a little bit.
We're spoiled in Colorado when it comes to craft beer, both in the variety of breweries we have, as well as the quality of the beer produced. This is a good thing. The quality is such that the scope and reach of many of these brewers extends nationwide (New Belgium, Boulder Beer, etc), and deservedly so. But it's important not to let our state pride manifest itself into arrogance, and let that feeling keep us from sampling some of what other states have to offer.
I'm trying to draw a parallel between the passing of this past year and the refining of one’s own taste in beer. While a year might not make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, the passage of time brings with it more experience, and with more experience comes the opportunity to establish a personal preference. Personally, I laugh at how far I’ve come in that regard in my own right. I’m sitting here writing about craft beer when ten years ago I was slurping down bum juice like King Cobra 40 ouncers and Mad Dog 20/20. Those were the days!
That being said, I haven’t had a 40 since I became old enough (legally) to drink.(EDITOR'S NOTE: I have since drank many 40's in an effort to get back to my root's with our CEO. It was for research purposes only) That’s not just an Atmosphere line; in my case it’s 100% true. While cheap booze is OK if your goal is to simply get drunk as fast as possible, they have no place in the fridge of someone who’d rather have something enjoyable - and hey, if drunk is the end result - so be it.
At last year’s Winter Brewfest, I was steered towards Strange Craft's booth by a friend of mine who had heard about Strange Brew through some co-workers at Budweiser. We must have stopped back by there about ten times after the initial sample. IPAphany IPA is what we were drinking, and it was excellent.
I know I might sound like a broken record here at this point, and some might think that I need to expand my palette, by IPAs are still easily my favorite beers. And this one is up there with some of the best that I’ve had.
This week we’re going to forego the usual beer review and instead provide an interesting little vignette about a specific style of beer brewed by one of the vendors there; Sanitas Brewing Company in Boulder.
This brewery and taproom was opened in September 2013 by three friends already well versed in the craft business (their backgrounds include time at Boulder Beer and Oskar Blues), and their rotating tap list features 23 unique styles of brew, ranging from regular American ale, to more exotic styles like cherry stout and the beer in question; their 360 Tripel.
Tie between Lowdown Brewery and Kitchen’s IPA, and Gravity Brewing’s Tsar Bomba Russian Imperial Stout. For more on Lowdown itself, I’d like to invite you to check out the initial post of my esteemed Colorado Culture colleague Elaine’s Brew Review. As far as the beer itself is concerned, I know I keep harping on IPAs. But if you’re a TRUE hophead like me, this is one you must try. Usually extreme floral notes of hops and pine lead to extreme bitterness, but this was melded nicely with citrus tones of grapefruit and tangerine. 7.0 ABV. Easy, tasty and strong. So all of the best traits of IPAs brewed into one.
Gravity Brewing is a place that I am actually not entirely familiar with. It’s located in Louisville, just up the “Buffalo Highway” from the People’s Republic of Boulder, and is fairly new on the craft brew scene. But this Russian Imperial Stout (one of two beers they had to offer at their stand, so you know the owners are proud of their concoction) will no doubt put them on the map permanently. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to whet your palette with a brew such as this after snagging anything with the letters “IPA” in it for an hour, as it is almost the polar opposite in terms of flavor profile. While IPAs are sharp and bitter, stouts such as these are smooth and malty. This one in particular was nice and heavy on the molasses and brown sugar, giving it a mellow sweetness that can make you forget that you are drinking a beer that is 12% ABV. Check them out here: http://thegravitybrewing.com/
There is a runner up in this category, simply because the beer was so unique. Again, if you’d like to find out more about the Denver Beer Company itself, slide on over to “Brew Review” and see the experience that Elaine has written up for you all. But at the Brewfest, they had an offering that was one of the strangest brews you can find. Their “Raspberry Princess Yum Yum” is termed as an “American Pale Wheat Ale”, which is a combo that you won’t find often in a name. Its flavor profile is equally unique. Drinking this beer is like drinking some kind of liquid jelly donut. It was the strangest thing. But strangely good. So next time, you’re hankering for a flavored fat pill, skip Voodoo on Colfax and go to Denver Beer Company for a pint of this. It can’t be worse for you, and you can’t get drunk off of donuts anyway.
In terms of beer this week, there won’t be a review sadly. The reason for the aforementioned hiatus is that I’ve been a bit under the weather as of late, so the beer drinking has been kept to a minimum. Although I expect to be back on schedule here this weekend however, because I do it for YOU: the readers. With that in mind, I’d like to talk about some beer that I’m not sure if I’d have the guts to try in the event that I ever ran across it.
Hello Culture Heads! My name is Elaine and like most of you, I love a good Colorado beer. Luckily for all of us there are a multitude of impressive and innovative breweries here in the Denver metro area. I’m going to be covering a local brewery every other week and we will be posting the review just in time for you to make your weekend party plans.
This front-range micro-brewing establishment is located in downtown Golden, CO. It opened about a year and a half ago and is nestled off a main street of Golden, close to an intimate neighborhood setting. If you love seasonal takes on classic beers and craft beer creators who aren’t afraid to experiment, this is the brewery. The motto of this brewery is “Carefully Crafted” and I highly agree that each one of their unique brews is crafted quite carefully. While I was there I tried six of their seven beers on tap:
This December one of my best friends moved to Denver and almost immediately wanted to know what brewery he needed to add to the top of his to-do list. He had never been to the Highlands area and so, of course, I took him directly to Denver Beer Company’s doorstep for some quality brews and views.
I love many things about the setting of Denver Beer Co. The neighborhood is always bustling with many boutiques, sandwich shops, and bars around the block. The crowd is welcoming and this brewery is notoriously cyclist friendly, offering many cycling accessories with their brand proudly printed on them. It has been around since 2011 so if you haven’t checked out this popular locale yet, shame on you!
While visiting I sampled and shared eight different beers:
Unique and utterly entertaining, Slow Magic put on a great show this weekend at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. The man behind the colorful mask knew exactly how to excite and entice the crowd with his delicious beats. From songs like “Waited 4 U” to a his mix of Odesza’s “Say My Name”, Slow Magic’s set encapsulated it all. It was a great set coupled by his amazing drumming abilities and some great openers.
“Welcome to our church. Our helmets. Our religion.” Such is the mantra of Montreal natives Patrick Barry, Marc-André Chagnon & Julien Maranda, otherwise known as Black Tiger Sex Machine. Since it’s inception in the summer of 2009, the guys have continued to evolve, transforming from a DJ collective between three friends who shared common musical interests, to the version of BTSM that we all know and love today. Part of that evolution has been translating their idea of culture to their live performances.
Comprised of high school buddies AP Adair and Luke Sims, Bass Physics have been making a name for themselves with their combination of skilled production and live instrumentation since their formation in April 2012. They're both Colorado guys, having met while attending Cherry Creek High School, and are huge proponents of the culture that we all know and love here. They've toured across the country, and maintain that Colorado is the place where people seem to be the friendliest. Whether it's the combo of the music scene, mountains, or other unique activities offered in the cities themselves, people here are simply happier than in other places. We greet strangers with a smile. We're prideful and passionate about our home state and want to exude that as much as possible at every opportunity. AP and Luke recognize this, and their aim with Bass Physics is to harness that positivity and those good vibes and do their part to make sure that they spread. And their music is the best way that they know how to accomplish that.