Black Shirt Brewing Company – Denver, CO

Black Shirt Brewing Company is located in the River North (RiNo) district in Denver, near the intersection of Walnut and Downing. Just north of the brewery, maybe a couple hundred yards away, is a stop for RTD’s A-Line Light Rail line. Many travelers either heading out to DIA or coming from DIA to Denver, stop at Black Shirt Brewing to try a fresh Colorado craft beer. Due to their unique location, Black Shirt has loyal fans all over the country that enjoy stopping in when they visit Colorado. Black Shirt is one of the must-try breweries in the Denver area whether you live nearby or you’re planning to visit from another state.

History:
Black Shirt Brewing Company’s story began in 2011 when brothers Branden and Chad Miller along with Chad’s wife, Carissa, decided it was finally time to realize their dream of owning a brewery. The siblings had the idea to make this happen as far back as 1999, but like they say, “good things take time”. With help from Carissa’s brother, Aaron Holstad, they worked long hours to transition the old brick building into a functioning brewery. The building is thought to be from the 1920s and there are varying stories as to its exact history. From a furniture store in the 50s to a disco in the 60s-70s, to a brothel sometime along the way (not confirmed), the building had a lot of history.

The owners worked hard to begin the next chapter for the building as it transitioned to a brewery. For nearly two years (one year, 9 months) Branden, Chad and Aaron worked to renovate what they could as they were paying for improvements as they went. Due to the fact they had a small budget, every single piece of the brewery was touched by one of the three. There are some really cool touches to the construction that have unique stories. For instance, the barn wood was brought in from Branden and Chad’s hometown.

Black Shirt Brewing Owners Branden and Chad Miller are Colorado natives, having grown up in the Southern Colorado town of Westcliffe, CO. They will proudly tell you that they are in fact, 5th generation Coloradans. The brothers gravitated towards skateboards and the music of Johnny Cash, while preferring their clothes to be black. It wasn’t what all of the popular kids did, it was what Branden and Chad did. When they decided to open the brewery, Branden and Chad thought it was important to stay true to their style and design things to fit what they liked. When you walk in Black Shirt Brewing, you quickly notice pictures of Johnny Cash and many references to music on the walls. You will hear music playing and it might just be coming from the back patio.

The Beer:
One of the questions we like to ask at Colorado Craft Brews is what makes a brewery unique from the others. For Black Shirt this is an easy question to answer. Black Shirt specializes in Red Ales, a style of beer that is an uncommon focus among most breweries. Sure, most breweries brew a Red IPA from time to time, or a Red Ale for a seasonal, but very few focus on primarily brewing Red Ales. When we asked Branden Miller why he chose to brew Red Ales, he quickly told the story of his dad and the fact he believes it’s best to one thing and do it better than everyone else.

Branden and Chad decided to pursue brewing Red Ales for a number of reasons. Colorado is a Spanish adjective that means “red”. Early Spanish explorers named Colorado for the red that could be found around the state. A great example of this is the area in Southern Colorado where Branden and Chad grew up. This area is known for being the home of the Sangro de Christo Mountains. Sangre de Christo means “the blood of Christ” in reference to the red hues of the mountain range. Branden thought Red Ales were being done well but there was definitely room for improvement. Ultimately, it seemed fitting that in a state known for its red soil and red rock formations, he could brew Red Ales and brew them better than anyone else.

We sampled a number of Black Shirt’s beers and were impressed by the variety and quality of the samples. While difficult to pick a favorite, we thoroughly enjoyed the Frontmaniac IPA. Hop lovers will enjoy this big, bold IPA with a smooth finish. The Baritone Black IPA stood out for the earthy, piney notes – definitely a beer we will be trying again. The Colorado Red Ale (Black Shirt’s flagship beer) has floral and citrusy notes that make it a favorite for American IPA drinkers. If you prefer lighter, less hoppy beers, the Semitone Saison, Common Red Kolsch are great options. One thing we noted in trying some of the higher ABV (alcohol by volume) beers was that they were not overpowering, each was smooth and balanced. Often times, higher ABV beers can be either too hoppy or too malty. Overall, we enjoyed the tastings and would recommend Black Shirt’s beer to anyone from craft beer fanatics to those that are looking to try craft beer for the first time.

Beer List:

  • Born to Hula (Nitro) – Sour Ale: 6.5% abv – Sour Ale conditioned atop Pineapple and Coconut, dry-hopped w/ Citra
  • Common Red – Kolsch: 5.5% abv – Crisp, clean, and crushable
  • Semitone – Saison: 5.4% abv – Petit Saison brewed with sweet orange peel
  • Stringender Saison – Saison: 7.5% abv – An amplified, resonant and expressive Saison
  • Timekeeper Rye Pale Ale – American Pale Ale: 6% – A precise, balanced and crisp Rye Pale Ale
  • Colorado Red Ale – Amber Ale: 7.3% abv – The flagship beer, a floral citrusy Red IPA
  • Frontmaniac IPA – IPA: 7% abv – Hopped to a rate of over 5 lbs per barrel of Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops
  • Blood Orange – Double IPA: 8% abv – Double IPA conditioned atop fresh blood oranges and double dry-hopped w/ Mosaic and Amarillo hops
  • Ocean of Noise – Gose: 5.4% abv – Gose brewed w/ Yuzu, Lemongrass, Hawaiian Red Gold Sea Salt, dry-hopped w/ Equinox and Hallertau Blanc
  • Fourtrack Porter – Porter: 6.3% abv – American Porter w/ notes of milk chocolate, caramel and toffee
  • Baritone – Black IPA: 7.5%: Dark and brooding Black IPA inspired by the original man in black Johnny Cash. Warrior, Chinook and Simcoe hops
  • Black Beacon Storm Nitro – Imperial Stout: 8.5% abv – Imperial Rye Stout aged in a variety of bourbon barrels.
  • Frontman IPA – IPA: 7.3% – A mic’d up, hoppy and loud IPA brewed w/ Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic Hops.

Black Shirt Brewing distributes their beer in many liquor stores around the metro Denver area. You can also find Black Shirt in a handful of mountain towns including, Buena Vista, Gunnison, Salida and Crested Butte. If you want to find a location near you that sells Black Shirt’s beer try their beer locator. The best way to enjoy a Black Shirt beer is to visit the taproom. If you can make it on the first Wednesday of the month, you’ll be able to try a new release beer and help raise money for local charities. $1 from each sale of the special release beer is donated to a local charity. If you are not able to make it on the first Wednesday, you can still try the new release beer for the entire month, until the next special release (and your purchase still helps raise money for charity).

Events:
We mentioned that you may hear music coming from the beer garden at Black Shirt. They have a stage in the back that is a hot spot for artists in the local music scene. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Black Shirt hosts live bands on the stage and welcomes fans to enjoy music with a fresh craft beer.Be sure to check the schedule as there are many events going on throughout the spring and summer.

We would like to thank Branden Miller for taking time to chat about Colorado craft beer. It was apparent in our discussion how passionate Branden is about brewing high quality beer. We encourage anyone reading this to make a trip to Black Shirt Brewing to enjoy a delicious beer, you won’t be disappointed. If you would like to learn more about how they got their start, you can see Black Shirt in a craft beer documentary called Crafting a Nation.

Black Shirt Brewing Company
3719 Walnut St.
Dener, CO 80205
(303) 993-2799

Joyride Brewing Company – Edgewater, CO

Joyride Brewing logoJoyride Brewing Company is located in Edgewater, CO across the street from Sloan’s Lake, a popular Denver park for walking, biking and even boating. Due to their location, Joyride has become a hot spot for visitors of the lake. If you’ve never heard of Edgewater, it’s because the city is less than one square mile in size. The area has a unique history that Joyride embraced in many aspects of their operation. From the logo, to the names of the beer, there are some really cool facts about the area that have been integrated into the brewery and taproom.

History of the Brewery:
Joyride Brewing Company opened for business on July 16, 2014 to great fanfare. There was a great deal of excitement for the opening because the building had been vacant for a couple of years, and Joyride would become the first brewery in Edgewater. The first day was crazy as group after group kept coming and the staff realized they were not quite ready for the amount of people that showed up. Thanks to great support, and the amount of people that visited the brewery early on, Joyride streamlined their processes and can now handle large crowds.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Bergen, Brewmaster and Owner of Joyride Brewing. Dave went to college for management of business computers, but it wasn’t something he was really excited about. He ended up going into sales, but felt like he wanted to do something different. Dave bought his dad a Mr. Beer homebrew kit, but his dad wasn’t really into it. He got the kit back from his dad and started getting really excited about brewing, and the science behind it. He then got a second Mr. Beer kit and started brewing more and more. In late 2008, Dave reached the point that Mr. Beer was too limiting, and he got into all-grain brewing so he could try new things, and of course, brew better beer. Eventually he joined a homebrew club, Foam on the Range, and began gaining notoriety for brewing good beer.

After a few years of learning, and gaining experience brewing quality beer, Dave and two friends, Grant Babb and Brent Smith, decided they wanted to partner up and open a brewery. The trio decided to treat their goal like being in a band, and they dedicated regular time to brewing, much like a band having regular practices. After about three years they started writing a business plan, looking for investors, and searching for properties for the brewery. They found the location in Edgewater after walking about fifty buildings. They signed a long-term lease on an abandoned pawn shop that had been vacant for about two years. The building Joyride Brewing occupies had been various businesses, including a pawn shop, a record store, and Edgewater’s first grocery store and meat market. The building was built in 1910 and operated as Knoll’s Meat Market.

Sloan’s Lake also has an interesting history. Thomas Sloan, a cattle rancher, was digging on his land in 1861 and hit an underground aquifer, creating Sloan’s Lake (which people dubbed Sloan’s Leak when it first happen). Sloan would cut ice blocks from the lake in the winter and sell it to breweries. This fact inspired Joyride to name a beer “Ice Cutter Kolsch” in honor of the German breweries that were prevalent when Sloan was supplying them with ice blocks. Manhattan Beach opened in 1881 on the shore of Sloan’s Lake and was the first amusement park west of the Mississippi River. Roger the Elephant was the first elephant that P.T. Barnum (founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus) purchased, and he spent time at the Manhattan Beach Amusement Park at Sloan’s Lake. Roger had a woven basket on his back, and gave kids rides around the park. There was an accident and Roger was put down, then buried nearby at 20th and Depew. Joyride Brewing really embraced the great history of the area, and this why they have an elephant in their logo. Dave is very knowledgeable about the local history, and says that it’s a good reminder that life’s about the journey instead of the destination. Joyride Brewing1 (1)Another historic aspect of the Joyride story, is that their building had a mural detailing the history of Edgewater. Unfortunately, they had to tear off the mural to meet the city regulations for having windows for a minimum transparency from the outside looking in. Where the garage doors are now located, there used to be a mural detailing much of the history of Edgewater, and Sloan’s Lake. Joyride’s ownership was really bummed about taking down the mural, but they were happy to have helped bring more people to the area, which has helped many of the local businesses. I’m very impressed with the level of knowledge of local history, and the amount of history that Joyride incorporated into their operation.

The Beer:
Joyride boasts a diverse mix of beer, with options for people that like all different beer styles. They embrace having people visit that may not have a lot of experience with craft beer, and educating them on different beer styles. Dave loves the discovery aspect of craft beer, where he can try new beers. He even plans his vacations around being able to check out new breweries and brewing styles. The brewers at Joyride (Dave + three assistant brewers) brew six regular beers, but they try new styles, and are constantly looking to evolve their skills. They use a wide variety of hops in their beers, where some breweries use the same hops for many of their beers.
Joyride Brewing1 (2)Regular Beers (descriptions from the Joyride menu):

  • Ice Cutter Kolsch5.5% ABV, 25 IBUs: In the winter after Thomas Sloan flooded his farm, he would cut ice from the lake and sell it to local breweries. As most brewers in the day were of German decent, a Kolsch style beer could have been produced. Joyride’s Kolsch is a classic interpretation of the style, very smooth and drinkable like a lager with a light fruit flavor from ale fermentation. It has moderate levels of bitterness and noble hop flavor and a crisp, dry finish. Nothing pairs better with our Lakeside view than our Kolsch.
  • Bear Paw Oatmeal Milk Stout7.2% ABV, 45 IBUs: The Bear Paw is a deliciously decadent Sweet Stout that is robust and silky smooth. Seven different malts create chocolate, roast, caramel and coffee flavors, while five pounds of lactose sugar per barrel balance it out with a velvety sweetness. The flaked oats contribute to a luscious mouthfeel that will leave you wanting another glass. It may seem cute and cuddly, but at over 7%, this one’s got some claws.
  • Cougar Pale Ale5.1% ABV, 40 IBUs: Cougar Pale Ale is west coast inspired with English character. We use a method known as “hop bursting” and add all of the hops after the boil during our whirlpool. This gives the beer an extremely soft and pleasant bitterness while maximizing hop flavor and aroma. We also add Maris Otter malt as about 20% of the grist to provide a more toasty and bready malt backbone. The result is a very balanced American Pale Ale without the hops or malt being over the top. Take a Cougar home tonight!
  • Dry Hopped Antelope Amber5.3% ABV, 50 IBUs: Antelope is a bold rich and hoppy American Amber that leaps across your tongue. Antelope weaves caramel, nutty and dark fruit flavors from six premium malts with the citrus characteristics from four types of American hops to create a delicious Amber Ale. For this batch, we dry hopped with Amarillo hops to increase the grapefruit and floral aromas. Let this one run wild.
  • Edgewater IPA6.5% ABV, 70 IBUs: Edgewater IPA is a west coast style IPA that bursts out of the glass. We use obscene amounts of Apollo and Chinook with a touch of Amarillo hops to layer citrus, piney, resiny and floral characteristics across your palate. The hop explosion and dry finish make this extremely drinkable and enjoyable. Edgewater. This is our town. This is our IPA. Take it for a ride.
  • Joyride Double IPA9.3% ABV, 100+ IBUs:  Intended to be seasonal but the response was strong it’s now always on tap. Calling all hop heads, this beer is for you! We used three pounds of hops per barrel to give our Double IPA an aggressive and delicious hop profile. We used 4 different types of American and German malts, but the hops are definitely the star here. We did 7 different additions of Simcoe and Citra hops to layer piney, citrus, tropical fruit and melon flavors into this dangerously drinkable ale.

Seasonal/Rotating Beers:

  • Black Razz Blonde
  • Give Peach a Chance Berliner Weisse
  • Sloan’s Pale Ale
  • Emerald Irish Stout
  • Batch 69 Hoppy Wheat Ale

As described above, Joyride offers a diverse mix of beer to fit nearly any taste. I was impressed by a few of the beers, but my absolute favorite is the Antelope Amber. I’m not normally a huge fan of Ambers, but the dry hopping makes this one unique and flavorful. My next favorite is a tie between the Ice Cutter Kolsch and the Batch 69 Hoppy Wheat Ale. Both are simply easy drinking, complex, tasty beers. Joyride switches out their beer menu about once per week, so the list above may not be exactly what they will have when you stop in. They’re looking at doing limited canning through a mobile canning provider, but that has not been finalized. For now you can only get Joyride’s beer at the brewery. You can purchase a 64oz glass growler for $20, or a 64 oz stainless steel growler for $60. The cost to fill a 64oz growler is $12. You can also purchase a 32oz growler for $8.

I would like to thank Dave Bergen for sitting down and talking craft beer with me. The team at Joyride is extremely knowledgeable, and create a fun environment for beer lovers to enjoy a fresh local brew. I definitely recommend a trip to Joyride for anyone that is looking to try a new brewery. The taproom is a fun, open room that is normally full of people enjoying a beer and a conversation. Denver Westword recently awarded Joyride as the “Best New Brewery Taproom” and the “Best Brewery Taproom Ambiance”. So get some friends together and take a trip down to Joyride Brewing, you won’t be disappointed!

Joyride Brewing Company
2501 Sheridan Blvd
Edgewater, CO 80214
(720) 432-7560

Odyssey Beerwerks Brewery & Taproom – Arvada, CO

Odyssey Beerwerks logoOdyssey Beerwerks Brewery & Taproom is located in Arvada, CO near I-76 and Sheridan Blvd. Odyssey is known as a happening brewery with live music, great food trucks, and a fun atmosphere. The brewery is in close proximity to the Clear Creek Bike Trail, and has great access to a few of the major metro area highways. Whether on a bike or in a car, Odyssey is a popular place to stop in for a fresh Colorado craft beer.

History of the Brewery:
Odyssey Beerwerks opened for business on May 25, 2013. Owners, and Colorado Natives, Chris Hill and Josh Van Riper are longtime friends and homebrewing partners that had a dream of opening their own brewery someday. Chris and Josh had extensive homebrewing experience dating back to the mid-90s. Chris grew up in Fort Collins, a town widely known for it’s amazing craft beer. Josh grew up in Montrose, on the Western Slope of Colorado. The two met in Fort Collins, and developed a friendship that ultimately led to the creation of Odyssey Beerwerks. Over the years they honed their craft with help of a friend that brewed for, and helped open some of the CB & Potts locations in Colorado.

Initially, Chris and Josh wanted to open up a brewery in Fort Collins. After doing some research they decided it was best to look elsewhere – due to the high density of breweries in Fort Collins. Since Fort Collins was out, they began looking on the north side of the Denver metro area, and landed in a newly built industrial park on the eastern edge of Arvada. Odyssey Beerwerks is a great example of a team coming together with different skills to create an excellent product. Chris brought experience in marketing, while Josh brought engineering experience. Together the two designed, and built an impressive brewing setup at Odyssey. Josh was actually responsible for much of the wiring and setup of the controls for the fermenters. It should be noted that the wives of both owners have also played an important role in running the brewery, helping with bookkeeping and scheduling.

IMG_0545(1)About the Brewery:
While many new breweries simply open up with the intent of selling beer inside their facility, some like Odyssey open with bigger plans in mind. When Chris and Josh opened Odyssey Beerwerks, their business plan included distributing their beer to local liquor stores and taprooms. Odyssey’s brewery includes a canning line, a 15 barrel brewhouse, four 15-barrel fermenters, and two 30-barrel fermenters. The brewery has the capacity to have 120 barrels fermenting at one time. Josh has done a great deal of testing and tweaking the brewing equipment in order to maximize production, and ultimately distribution of Odyssey Beerwerks’ beer.

Beer List: Odyssey has a beer locator that can be viewed here. I’ve seen Odyssey’s beer in many local liquor stores around the Denver area, so it should not be difficult to find their beer somewhere close to home. While they will try many different styles of beer, Odyssey tends to stick mostly with ales. They do some season lagers – it just depends on the time of year for exactly which options will be available. You will always find a diverse menu at Odyssey, thanks to Josh Van Riper’s experience traveling, and learning about different beer styles along the way.

  • Psycho Penguin Vanilla Porter: ABV 5.4%, IBUs 36 –  Dark, silky maltiness will slide down the throat but not before the nose and tongue have picked up the smooth and smoky flavor of Mexican vanilla beans lurking within.  It’s an easy drinker and hard to put down.
  • Heliocentric Hefeweizen: ABV 5.5%, IBUs 12 – Very good, light, crisp, banana hints from the Belgian yeast strain. This was one of my two favorite beers at Odyssey.
  • Ghost Drifter Pale Ale: ABV 5.8%, IBUs 36 – Smooth flavor, hop forward, northwestern hops.This is a classic American Pale Ale, and was my favorite beer at Odyssey!
  • Clan Warrior Scotch Ale: ABV 8.7%, IBUs 29 –  A rich and sweet, and malty ale that showcases a blend of specialty malts. There is also a nice smokiness to this awesome scotch ale.
  • Eye of Ra Belgian Strong Ale: ABV 8.9%, IBUs 39 – Malty, yet not strong tasting for a higher alcohol volume beer, very smooth. Has a deep, crisp, and seductive fruit and spice notes. The Eye of Ra is worthy of devotion.
  • Seasonals: Rum Barrel Aged Olde Ale, *Hop Shot IPA, Lazy Gopher Dry Stout, Dubbel Down Abbey Ale,, Belgian Black Ale (always have stout and IPA), Seething Stout, Palm Tree Caribbean Pilsner Lager (hop note with peppery note).

Odyssey just came out with 12-pack mix packs, which you can purchased at the brewery, or in select stores. If you would prefer to purchase a growler, you can pick up a 64oz glass growler for $7. The core beers are $14 to fill, seasonals are more expensive depending on the style of beer. For the outdoorsy types, you can purchase 64 oz Hydro Flask Growlers, which will keep beer cold for 24 hours!

I had a good time discussing Colorado craft beer with Chris Hill at Odyssey Beerwerks. I would recommend a trip to the brewery for anyone that enjoys a fresh, locally brewed beer. You will find a wide variety of beer styles so everyone in a group should be able to find one that fits their taste. Bring a bike and check out the Clear Creek Bike trail, or simply stop in and hang out on the patio, you’ll enjoy visiting Odyssey Beerwerks!

Odyssey Beerwerks Brewery & Taproom
5535 W 56th Ave, Suite 107
Arvada, CO 80002
(303) 421-0772

Barrels & Bottles Brewery – Golden, CO

Barrels & Bottles is a unique craft brewery located just south of the Coors facility in downtown Golden, CO (literally across the street). While most of the country knows about Golden because Coors is located there, the small city with a population under 20,000 has become a hot spot for craft beer enthusiasts. Golden is a short 15-20 minute drive to Downtown Denver, but it has the feel of a small Colorado mountain town. Barrels & Bottles is one of a handful of craft breweries in Golden, and they bring a unique flavor to the local craft beer scene.

Barrels & Bottles Golden, CO

History of Barrels & Bottles
Zach and Abby George opened Barrels & Bottles in September, 2013. The idea to open a brewery came when the couple backpacked through Europe and fell in love with the beer and food. Zach was in the Marines, while Abby worked for the government. They thought it would be fun to work for themselves, and originally the couple planned to look into a 5-year plan on starting a brewery.

The original 5-year plan changed and Zach and Abby decided they wanted to open a bottle shop. The intent was to supply a wide selection of bottled craft beer that could be purchased and consumed on site. Due to some of the state laws, they could not do that. With the laws in place that would prevent the bottle shop from being a viable option, Zach and Abby’s 5-year brewery plan became their immediate plan.

They wanted to find a niche that made them unique to the beer scene. The motto at Barrels & Bottles is “why not” when thinking of ideas to make them different than some of the other breweries. One idea was to allow people to bring food in, or buy food from their own kitchen. This approach led to families bringing dinner so they can enjoy a family dinner while having a fresh local beer. They also include a selection of wine, and a really unique feature – wine slushies. I didn’t try a wine slushy, but I have heard great things from friends that have enjoyed a wine slushy at Barrels & Bottles. The selection of wine is pretty impressive for anyone that prefers wine over beer. While I didn’t try any wine, I did try a roast beef sandwich from the kitchen, and it was the perfect compliment to the beer samples.

Due to the open nature of their taproom, many people can come and have good time, even if they don’t like beer. They can enjoy wine, or there are many options for non-alcoholic drinks. The tables are European style where it encourages visitors to interact and have discussions, rather than sit by themselves. Guests range from ages 21-60s, and sometimes even 70s. Weekends can get pretty full with groups on bikes, so don’t be surprised to see a full house. There is some good news – as of last week, Barrels & Bottles is now open 7 days a week.

Barrels & Bottles Taproom - Golden, CO

Head Brewer Kim Collins
Having a woman as Head Brewer is another aspect of Barrels & Bottles that makes them unique to the Colorado craft beer scene. Kim Collins is the head brewer, and a very talented one at that. Kim enjoys brewing many different styles of beer, and is always looking to try something new. She relocated to Colorado from Indiana for the opportunity to be in the beer industry. Tommyknocker Brewery took her in as an apprentice, and eventually Kim was brought on full-time. After that she worked for Boulder Beer full-time for about 5 months, but it was a long commute. Next Kim got an opportunity to join Epic Brewing, where she brewed for about 8 months. Zach & Abby George attend Epic’s soft opening, where they met Kim. The trio formed a friendship, and Kim began helping Zach & Abby when they needed help with their beer. Kim loved the people, and the opportunity to brew at Epic, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work full-time with Barrels & Bottles. It was a difficult decision to leave Epic, but Barrels & Bottles offered the opportunity to be a head brewer, and work close to home. Below is a picture of Kim holding a growler.

Kim Collins, Headbrewer, Barrels & Bottles

The Beer
Barrels & Bottles, and Head Brewer Kim Collins embrace creativity and the idea of pushing the boundaries of traditional beer styles. While they enjoy trying new beers, they also have seasonal beers that are popular that time of year. The taps are set so the styles are balanced to fit beer drinkers that enjoy different types of beer. A cool thing about Barrels & Bottles is they include guest taps. If Barrels & Bottles doesn’t have their own IPA or Pale Ale on tap, they will normally have an IPA or Pale Ale from another local brewery available. They rotate through their taps frequently so that each visit you’ll have different options to try something new. Barrels & Bottles normally has 6-8 taps of their own beer and 10-12 guest taps. If you would like to purchase their beer, you can do so with a 32 or 64 ounce growler. The only way to enjoy Barrels & Bottles beer is to visit the taproom – they don’t sell their beer anywhere else. Below are the beers that were available for my visit. Keep in mind this list will change often.

  • Sinful Coffee Stout: Malty, balanced hoppy flavor, hints dried fruit. Made with coffee from local coffee roaster, Pangea Roasters.
  • Sure Thing IPA:  Citrusy taste with hint of grapefruit. I was not able to try the IPA, but it is a favorite of the Barrels & Bottles visitors.
  • Big Lebeerskie: Rich, Chocolaty with creaminess from milk sugar.
  • Pixie’s Stout: Named after the family dog. Full body aged with oak chips for two months. Has a subtle oakey flavor, but is lighter than most aged beers.
  • Billy Branch Brown Ale: Brown Ale with a Cider Blend. It has the taste of a cider with some maltyness from a brown ale.
  • Tequila Serendip Saisan: This one is really unique, as Kim used a tequila barrel. The beer has the taste of a margarita. The original beer went from a 6% to an 8% saison after barrel aging.

I had a great time visiting with Zach, Abby and Kim. Barrels & Bottles Brewery is a fun place to visit, and offers a unique experience to anyone that enjoys local craft beer, wine, or simply having a conversation in a laid-back atmosphere. I was really impressed with the level of creativity of the beer, and the open nature of the taproom. Barrels & Bottles offers an opportunity to bring together a diverse group because they have so many options for beverages, as well as a full kitchen for the lunch or dinner crowd. If you have not been to Barrels & Bottles, I would highly recommend making your first trip soon.

Barrels & Bottles Brewery
600 12th St #160
Golden, CO 80401
(720) 328-3643

Estes Park Brewery – Estes Park, CO

Estes Park Brewery Logo

History of the Brewery:
The Estes Park Brewery is located in Estes Park, CO minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, The Stanley Hotel, and many other tourist attractions. I had to opportunity to visit Estes Park Brewery after a day of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was impressed with the selection, and quality of the beer. The location of the brewery makes it a perfect destination for anyone that enjoys a beer after hiking, biking, or simply taking in the scenery in the area.

In 1993 Gordon Knight started High Country Brewery in Boulder, Co. That same year Ed Grueff opened the Event Center in Estes Park. In 1994 Ed and Gordon decided to combine the two businesses and the Estes Park Brewery was born. The original Brewing equipment which consisted of a 4 1/4 Barrel Brewhouse was moved to Estes. For the first summer the Event Center kept the main floor as a stage and dance floor. For the first summer the Estes Park Brewery offered four beers: Estes Park Porter, Estes Park Renegade, Longs Peak Raspberry Wheat and Estes Park Pale Ale.

In the fall of 1994, Gordon Knight decided to sell his half of the business. When Gordon left, Eric Bratrud took over as the head Brewer. The Brewery also expanded to a 14 BBL Brewhouse and moved out onto the main floor where is now located.

In 1995 the Estes Park brewery started packaging their beers in 12 oz bottles, which expanded their market. By this time they added a number of beers including Trail Ridge Red, Estes Park Gold, Stinger Wild Honey Wheat and Samson Stout. 1995 was also the first year of the Best of the West Brewfest held in the Brewery parking lot. Since ’95 we’ve continued to evolve both in our restaurant and with our brewing operations.

IMG_0435About the Brewery:
In 2003 Tyler Lemirande and Eric Bratrud took over as owners. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tyler and talking craft beer during my visit to the brewery. Tyler is a very nice guy that enjoys providing fresh craft beer to tourists, and locals alike. The atmosphere at Estes Park Brewery is unique compared to many of the breweries I’ve been to in the Denver area. Unlike many of the breweries around Denver, Estes Park Brewery has a restaurant with a pub-style food menu, a full bar, arcade games, and tons of seating. Due to its unique setup, Estes Park Brewery is a great place for the whole family to visit and enjoy a meal, or a fun gathering place for those only interested in getting a locally brewed beer.

The beer at Estes Park Brewery is comprised of quite a few different styles. There’s definitely a beer for all different types of beer drinkers available at the brewery. One of the really great things about the brewery is that visitors can try samples of different beers on the main floor before they head upstairs and order a beer. I’ve never been to another brewery that advertised free samples to visitors. Estes Park Brewery’s approach to samples allows visitors to try new styles of beer without buying a beer they don’t like. While I was trying a few samples, I overheard a lady say “she never tried anything like that, and it was really good!” As someone that’s grown to love beer in all different styles, I think it’s awesome to have a brewery promote trying different beers until you find one you like (up to 4 samples are free).

Beer List:
The list pictured below is the list of regular beers you will typically find at Estes Park Brewery. My favorite beer at the brewery was actually a seasonal, and one that can be found at The Stanley Hotel, the The Shining Pale Ale (in honor of Stephen King’s The Shining). From EPBrewery.com, “The Shining Pale Ale is brewed with rare British All-Star pale malt to give the beer a full body and unique flavor. We hop with Amarillo and Cascade hops. Of course this beer is named after the book “The Shining” by Stephen King. We don’t guarantee clairvoyance after after a pint or two we just hope you enjoy the experience.” I really enjoyed the pale ale, and look forward to the next chance I get to drink it.

The two top sellers at Estes Park Brewery are the Stinger Honey Wheat, and Bear Lake Raspberry Wheat. Both of these are great beers for those that enjoy lighter beers without much hoppiness. Of the two, I really liked the Stinger Honey Wheat, which is brewed with local Colorado honey. The honey taste is subtle and the beer is a really smooth, drinkable beer that is not overly sweet.

Estes Park Brewery Beer ListI want to thank Tyler Lemirande for taking the time to sit down with me and talk craft beer. I had a great time visiting Estes Park Brewery, and look forward to my next visit. I highly recommend visiting the brewery to anyone that’s able to make it to Estes Park. There’s a lot to see and do around Estes Park, and stopping in at the brewery should be on your list!

Estes Park Brewery
470 Prospect Village Dr.
Estes Park, C0 80517
970.586.5421
www.epbrewery.com

38 State Brewing Company – Littleton, CO

38 State Brewing Company is our first featured brewery in Littleton, CO, and they’re also the first brewery/taproom located in Littleton. The name 38 State Brewing is in honor of Colorado becoming the 38th state to join the union in 1876. I had the opportunity to get some background information on 38 State Brewing from Brett Blazek, VP of Marketing, and one of the 4 part owners of the brewery. 38 State Brewing Logo

38 State Brewing started much like everyone else (homebrewers), and decided to take their passion for brewing to the next level after friends and family gave them ample amounts of positive feedback about their product. Initially they began brewing as a hobby, never thinking it would escalate to anything more than that, but friends can be quite persuasive, so they decided to take 38 State to the next level and open their very own brewery.

38 State Brewing is currently located at 8071A S. Broadway in Littleton, which makes them the very first brewery/taproom in the city. 38 State is strictly a brewery, so they don’t have the capability of preparing any food on site (like the Old Mill Brewery/Restaurant – also in Littleton). The team at 38 State is quite excited to be labeled with the distinction as Littleton’s first true brewery/taproom, and look to cater to those locals who have desperately wanted a place to call their own. The brewery and taproom is located just north of C-470 & Broadway.

The four owners of 38 State Brewing are: Mike and Kim Keating, Jason Virzi, and Brett Blazek. When you take a married couple, high school friends, and literal neighbors… and put all of that together, along with their backgrounds (Mike – Master Gardener, Kim – CFO of a payment processing company, Jason – Aviation Project Manager, and Brett – a humble school teacher), you get the heart and soul of 38 State Brewing Company! 38 State Brewing is glad they could come together and give Littleton something that it has been missing, and hope they will continue to do so for decades to come. In my visit with Brett Blazek, it was evident there is a ton of passion behind what is being done at 38 State Brewing. Great beer, good friends, and a fun place to get together is how I would describe what the owners of 38 State have created.

38 State is about as small as a nano-brewery can get. The brewery is currently running a one-barrel system made by Ruby Street Brewing (out of of Fort Collins). Head brewer, Mike Keating, along with two assistant brewers put in long hours the one-barrel system to ensure that 38 State can meet the demand of its patrons. 38 State opened to the public on May 10, 2014 and had such a positive turnout that they actually went light on a couple of their beers due to demand being so high. This was great news for the brewery, but meant that they would have to crank up the production schedule.

38 State Logo

38 State Brewing’s  logo – spray painted mural in the taproom

The team at 38 State is quite fond of their little one-barrel system as it allows them to not only produce their staple beers, but gives them the freedom to try new things, recipes, ideas, etc. knowing that if lightning doesn’t strike, they’re only out one barrel as opposed to twenty. This freedom and creative approach is what they began with back in the garage while homebrewing, and they continue to keep the same thought process day in and day out. One of the many things that 38 State is proud of is the truly “hands-on” approach to what they do. According to Brett Blazek, “Each day our grains are milled by hand, and that hands-on process doesn’t leave until that beer is poured into a guest’s glass. Milling, steeping, stirring, transferring, pouring… it’s all done (by hand) by our fantastic staff who understands what it takes to make a great pint of craft brew.” Brett Blazek 38 State Brewing

The Beer: In addition to the list below, 38 State plans to constantly introduce new styles to keep their beer selection fresh and different. Since their opening they’ve also showcased a small batch of Broadway IPA (a traditional IPA), and have two others debuting within 10 days time. As Brett Blazek puts it, “Again, we have this creativity per our one-barrel system, and we couldn’t be more excited to give the people something new time and time again.”

One thing I think is really cool about 38 State Brewing is that they’re still figuring out which beers are the most popular. Since they’ve only been open about a month, they’re taking feedback from patrons to figure out which beers should become a staple. Visitors of 38 State have the distinct opportunity to help shape future beer offerings by trying different beers, and providing feedback to the staff. It’s pretty cool that the people coming in to try a fresh craft beer, may also be the reason one of 38 State’s beers becomes a local favorite.

38 State’s current stable of beers consists of a little something for everyone. Keep in mind that with the current system, styles will be rotating frequently. The beer listed below may not be available tomorrow. The good thing is that overall, 38 State brews awesome beer, so you’ll be able to pick at least 1-2 that you’ll really enjoy when you visit.

Beer List:

  • Golden Lemon-Honey Wheat: This beer is created using fresh lemons, organic lemon juice and local Colorado honey. This American style Wheat beer has a crisp and refreshing taste that will help you get through the dog days of summer – or any time of year! Not too tart, not too sweet, we dare you to have just one! ABV 5.4%
  • ColorAmber Amber Ale: This American style Amber Ale focuses heavily on the special blend of both Munich and Biscuit malts which create a flavorful beer that is unbelievably drinkable. Add to that the pairing of Fuggle and Willemette hops, and you have an Amber Ale complete with superb taste and feel, making it a truly well-balanced session beer. ABV 4.3%
  • Great Plains Scottish Ale: This ale undergoes an extensive boil to help achieve its remarkable flavor and crisp bronze color. The high levels of fermentable sugar in conjunction with the gentle hop balance make this beer a special blend of savory malts and rich aromas that is sure to satisfy. ABV 6%
  • Two Buttes Double IPA:  A brew for serious hop heads! This robust and genuinely flavorful Double IPA is inspired by the old world style of brewing, making it a favorite amongst beer drinkers. A strong Double IPA, this beer endures a lengthy boiling process to guarantee maximum flavor from its special blend of grains. This recipe’s meticulous attention to detail of both malt and hops creates a “beast” of a beer. ABV 9.2%
  • Chocolate Stout: This is a very creative recipe inspired by both classic English and Irish stouts. We use an awesome blend of chocolate and coffee malts. This stout is lightly hopped to complement the roasted flavors unleashed during the boiling process which leads to an easy drinking beer. ABV 6.5%
  • Littleton Kolsh: This one’s brand new! We’ll have a description and ABV soon!
  • Chocolate Oatmeal Stout: Chocolaty, a little smokey from the oatmeal, and a good choice for fans of stouts.
  • Dunkelweizen: Dark in color, smooth, refreshing beer for a hot day. Well, any day really.
  • Lunch Pale Ale: A great summer Pale Ale with a subtle hoppy flavor. This is a great beer for someone that may have avoided hoppy beers in the past. Try this one out, and you will see what you’ve been missing.
  • ESB: A smooth ESB, with a subtle bitterness.
  • IPA: We didn’t try this one, but it will be back soon.

After visiting 38 State Brewing, and sitting down with part owner, Brett Blazek, I can say without a doubt that beer drinkers will enjoy visiting the first brewery and taproom in Littleton. The atmosphere is inviting and the feel of the taproom is unique. 38 State is located in an area that is predominantly automotive. There are repair shops, dealerships, and other automotive business close by. The building they’re located in is actually an old garage that has been revamped, and now has the feel of a modern cabin. There’s nice woodwork on the walls, flights are served on hand-crafted wooden serving trays, and the old garage doors open to give the taproom an outdoor feel. Of course, if you want to sit outside, there is a nice patio in the front as well. It’s fitting that 38 State opened in an old garage, as that is how the owners began brewing together years ago. I look forward to seeing the growth of 38 State Brewing, and will definitely be heading back to try more of their outstanding Colorado craft brews. Check them out at the link below.

38 State Brewing Company LLC
8071A S. Broadway
Littleton, CO 80122
760-220-8580

Ironworks Brewery & Pub – Lakewood, CO

Ironworks logo - FINALIronworks Brewery & Pub is located in Lakewood, CO on Alameda Pkwy. Ironworks sits on the eastern edge of Green Mountain, a popular area for mountain bikers and hikers, and is only a 15 minute drive from Downtown Denver. Ironworks has been brewing craft beer for nearly 25 years, or as they describe themselves, “Suppliers of great beer to all beer drinkers of Lakewood, Colorado, since 1989” (www.Ironworkspub.com).

Ironworks Brewery & Pub was opened by a working class, blue collar iron worker that loved beer, and saved enough money to open his own brewery. The atmosphere at Ironworks is a direct reflection of the original owner’s blue collar roots, and has an industrial, hard-working feel. You’ve probably seen a movie where the main character works hard with their hands all day and can’t wait for the day to end. On the way home they stop at the local pub for a fresh beer from the tap, and have a beer with all of the other hard-working folks from the neighborhood. Ironworks could be the set for this type of scene. While Ironworks has an industrial, tough as nails appearance, their beer is outstanding, and as fresh as you will find anywhere in town.

Ironworks Brewery

Owner, Mike Mader (left), Master Brewer, Mike George (right)

I was able to meet with Owner, Mike Mader, and Master Brewer, Mike George. It was great to find out the background of the name, and the history of Ironworks Brewery & Pub. Ironworks was the first craft brewery in Lakewood, CO, and went nearly 25 years as the only brewery in Lakewood (Caution Brewing opened earlier this year). Ironworks has great history, and is a staple to those living in the Green Mountain area. The brewing equipment at Ironworks is the same equipment that was originally used in 1989. While the equipment is the same, ownership has changed, and the production at Ironworks is on the rise. Mike George was proud to share that Ironworks averaged 350 barrels per year, prior to last year. In 2013, Ironworks produced 852 barrels of beer! The goal is to increase this number in 2014, while keeping the same great quality that Ironworks currently offers its loyal beer drinkers.

Mike George has been brewing at Ironworks for two years. Prior to that he was a regular patron at Ironworks. Mike decided he wanted to try his hand at brewing, and started training at Estes Park Brewery. New to brewing, Mike worked at Estes Park Brewery and at Ironworks in order to learn as much as he could, often putting in 90 hour weeks. Eventually, Mike became the Master Brewer at Ironworks. Mike has been on a mission to improve the quality of all the beer at Ironworks, while also trying out new styles along the way. In my visit with Mike, it was obvious how much he loves beer, and that he puts everything he has into brewing great beer. He’s not happy sticking with the status quot, and is constantly stepping outside the box to try something new.

A cool new addition in 2013 was a hop garden in the back of the building at Ironworks. Ironworks has been busy growing hops of different varieties that will eventually be used in some of the beer at Ironworks. If you’ve never seen hops grown, you’ll have to check out the hop garden at Ironworks. Mike’s passion for hops is not just evident in the hop garden. He’s working on a coop with 30+ breweries in the Denver area to ensure they have great hops available to them. There have been shortages of hops in the past, that have made it difficult for some smaller breweries to have the hops they need. To find out a little about Mike’s hop coop, check out this link: http://www.hop.coop/.

The Beer! Ironworks has 9 beers available at this time. They rotate seasonals in addition to their regular lineup. Ironworks has a good assortment of different styles, and there is something for nearly any taste in beer. My neighbor, a beer lover and someone that visits a different brewery each week, says his favorite beer of any brewery he’s visited is the Green Mountain Pale Ale. I agree with him, the Green Mountain Pale Ale is an outstanding beer. Below is a full list of the current beers at Ironworks Brewery & Pub:

  • Alameda Amber (5.1% ABV): Employees and patrons have been having fun with this one! The Alameda Amber is an approachable blend of nutty malt character and a touch of citrus hops. It is a good all-around ale “with training wheels”. The hops won’t knock you out; nor will the malt sweetness glue your mouth shut. You will enjoy the subtle addition of Rye and Honey Malts that round out Alameda Amber.
  • Agave Wheat (5.4% ABV): Everyone’s favorite easy going style just got a new twist! This wheat beer includes the unique nuance of pure organic Agave Nectar and a hint of lime zest. The result is a sweet yet crisp and refreshing American Wheat. The allure of the agave leaves you wanting more.
  • Golden Crisp IPA (6% ABV):
  • Raspsody Rye Pale Ale (5.1% ABV)
  • Green Mountain Pale Ale (5.5% ABV): For those that enjoy hops but can’t commit to the extremes of India Pale Ale, we offer Green Mountain Pale. This Pale Ale is a pleasant blend of malt and hops. Enjoy the heady, mouthwatering aroma of citrussy domestic hops without the debilitating alcohol content. At 5.5% ABV, it won’t put you under the table before you’re ready!
  • Hop Killa IPA (6.8% ABV): The “Hop Killa” defies hop shortages, bringing you the resiny citrus blast that you crave in an American IPA. This beer has a fresh, clean hop presence that will leave you wanting more.Flavor and aroma additions include Summit, Mt, Hood, Northern and Columbus hops.
  • Krausen Kolsch
  • Chocolate Milk Stout (7% ABV)
  • The Bitchen’ Belgian White (5% ABV)

Ironworks brewed 32 different styles of beer in 2013. They plan on brewing 40 styles in 2014, as they’re constantly looking to try new things. The beer at Ironworks is extremely fresh. It goes straight from the fermentation vessels to the serving vessels, then over to the tap! At this time, Ironworks does not distribute their beer outside of the pub. They do fill growlers, or any 64 oz container for $11 (IPAs are $12.50). If you want to purchase an Ironworks growler, they go for $5.

Recently a bet between Colorado and California Congressmen included an Ironworks brew. If the Denver Broncos had lost to the San Diego Chargers last week, Ironworks would have sent their Pigskin Porter to California Congressman Scott Peters. According to Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter, “In Colorado, craft beer is as important as water to economic and job growth in our communities. As a Colorado Native, I’m confident the Broncos are going to Sic ‘Em when the Pigskin crosses the goal line.” While the Broncos won, and Ironworks didn’t ship off any of their beer, it’s pretty cool that they were included in this bet. I think it speaks to the quality of the beer at Ironworks that they were included in such a high profile bet.

Activities: Ironworks has many activities throughout the week. Below is a list of the activities included at Ironworks.
– Monday: Trivia Night
– Monday, Wednesday: Free Pool
– Tuesday: Service Industry Night
– Thursday, Sunday: Karaoke
– Saturday: Live Music

I had a fun visit with Mike George and Mike Mader at Ironworks Brewery & Pub. I was able to try out some of their beer, and really enjoyed the Battlecat Black IPA, and Green Mountain Pale Ale! Ironworks is a great example of a Colorado craft brewery that brews awesome small batch beers! I highly recommend visiting Ironworks, you will not be disappointed!

Ironworks Brewery & Pub
12354 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, CO 80228
Phone: 303-985-5818
www.IronworksPub.com

Featured Breweries

Featured-Breweries-HeaderWe’ve visited breweries around Colorado, and will be visiting many more. Find out about the history of our featured breweries, and the brewer’s that are responsible for brewing the craft beer they provide to Colorado beer drinkers.

Joyride Brewing Company – Edgewater, CO (May 2015)
Joyride Brewing logoOdyssey Beerwerks – Arvada, CO (May 2015)
Odyssey Beerwerks logo
Barrels & Bottles Brewery – Golden, CO
(March 2015)
Barrels & Bottles logo
Estes Park Brewing – Estes Park, CO
(February 2015)
Estes Park Brewery Logo
38 State Brewing – Littleton, CO
(June 2014)
38 State Brewing Logo

Ironworks Brewery & Pub – Lakewood, CO (June 2014)
Ironworks logo - FINALYak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub – Arvada, CO (November 2013) Yak and Yeti LogoProst Brewing Company – Denver, CO (May 2013)
logohorizontal2CAC Golden Brewing Company – Golden, CO (May 2013)
Colorado Native LogoBrewery Rickoli – Wheat Ridge, CO (April 2013)
Brewery Rickoli LogoRiver North Brewery – Denver, CO (April 2013)
River North LogoWit’s End Brewing Company – Denver, CO (April 2013)
Wits End Brewing logoOur Mutual Friend Malt & Brew – Denver, CO (March 2013)
Our Mutual Friend Malt & BrewArvada Beer Company – Arvada, CO (March 2013)
Arvada Beer Company LogoRenegade Brewing Company – Denver, CO (March 2013)
Renegade Brewing Logo

Golden City Brewery – Golden, CO: (February 2013)
Golden City Brewery LogoEddyline Brewing Company – Salida, CO (February 2013)
Eddyline Logo

Yak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub – Arvada, CO

Yak and Yeti Logo

The Yak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub is located in Arvada a few blocks from Olde Town. Yak & Yeti operates from within what was once a historic Victorian Mansion, and has been transformed into one of the most unique places in Colorado to enjoy a freshly brewed craft beer. On top of the fresh craft beer served up at Yak & Yeti, visitors can also enjoy Indian and Nepalese Cuisine that is among the best in the State of Colorado.

The original structure at the present day Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewpub was built in 1864 by a man named Eli Allen. Allen was the second postmaster in Arvada, having taken over for Benjamin Wadsworth, who was the first postmaster in Arvada (Wadsworth is also where the name for Wadsworth Blvd came from). Eli Allen lived and worked out of the home until his son moved in and added onto the original home in 1891. The story of the home is quite interesting and includes stories of being haunted. For more information on all the history of the Yak & Yeti mansion, visit the About Us page on Yak & Yeti’s website.

The story of Yak & Yeti Brewpub is much more recent than the building it is located in. Yak & Yeti celebrated its 5 year anniversary as a brewery in 2013. Prior to being Yak & Yeti, an English brewpub called the “Cheshire Cat” operated out of the building. When Yak & Yeti first took over the building, they were not a brewery and the Owner, Dol Bhattarai, nearly sold all of the brewing equipment that came with the purchase of the building. Yak & Yeti had been operating a successful restaurant in Westminster, and was simply looking for a second restaurant location. After considering the possibilities of running a brewery, Dol decided to keep the brewing equipment, and to hire a brewer. Many people wonder how an Indian restaurant got into brewing – now you know.

Adam Draeger has been the head brewer for the Yak & Yeti Brewpub since 2011.  A Wisconsin native, he did his undergraduate work in Engineering Physics.  After a decade of engineering and homebrewing, he took the plunge to change careers. adam draeger Adam studied at Siebel Institute in Chicago, IL and the Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany where he received his International Diploma from the World Brewing Academy.

When Adam took over the brewing operations, Yak & Yeti only had 3 beers on tap, and Adam made it his goal to change that. Adam is a fan of craft lager beers, but has done a great job of having a mix of different types of beers. I spent a couple hours taking the tour of the historic mansion, and getting a taste of many of the fresh beers Adam has created. It was evident in my visit with Adam that he’s a guy that loves beer, and he loves to talk about beer (he’s also very good at brewing beer). Yak & Yeti offers a well-diversified portfolio of beers on tap ranging from Belgian-style beers, German lagers, American ales, English ales and several specialty and seasonal offerings.

  • Wheat Beer Series – Brewed in the summer, a new beer is tapped weekly with fresh fruit served right in the keg.
  • Porter Series – a new beer is tapped weekly, but focuses on fruits, adjuncts and spices that compliment porters.
  • The Haunted Beer Series – Adam’s stage for debuting small experiment pilot batches that range from Russian Imperial Stouts to White IPA’s to spruce beers and many other. The series gets its name from the stories of Yak & Yeti being haunted.

Beer List: Yak & Yeti offers 6 standard beers, which are available all year. They also offer some great seasonals (including the Oktoberfest, which was awesome). Below is a list of the standard beers you will find at Yak & Yeti. To view the entire beer list, visit their Crafted Beer Page. Yak & Yeti won’t be found in liquor stores, but can be found around Denver at many taphouses that specialize in craft beer. If you want to take some fresh Yak & Yeti beer home with you, they have growlers available for any of their standard beers, and whatever seasonals they have on tap. 

  • Namaste Pilsner – 5.1% ABV. ~ 34 IBUs (available year round)
    Our Pilsner is a Northern German style hopped with German Tettnanger hops. Third Place winner at 2011 Colorado State Fair.

  • Himalayan IPA – 6.3% ABV. ~ 70 IBUs (available year round)
    Our 2010 GABF-winning India Pale Ale is dry-hopped with Columbus and Cascade hops right before being transferred into the serving vessel. This isn’t East-coast or West-coast style IPA but rather pure Rocky Mountain gold.
  • Chai Milk Stout(*has lactose) – 5.2% ABV.~30 IBUs (available year-round)
    This stout is our flavored version of the milk stout. The Chai tea spices are the Yak and Yeti’s own blend. A perfect dessert drink.

  • Jalapeño Lena – 5.1% ABV. ~ 34 IBUs (available year round)
    A light-colored but full flavored Jalapeño pepper beer. Huge fresh aroma from the pepper served right inside the keg! Some say it isn’t that hot, others can’t handle it. You decide. We also make red beers called Bloody Lena’s!
  • GF Apple Ale – 4.9% ABV. ~ 0 IBUs (available year round)
    GF stands for gluten-free as this ale is made iwht cider and sorghum. Looks like a cider, tastes likes a cider but is still technically an ale. (a hop pellet for good measure)

  • West-Coast Glutton (DIPA)- 9.5%ABV.~150 IBUs (available year round)You like them RED, BIG & Hoppy?! This Double Red/DIPA is a Centennial and Cascade-hopped behemoth that gives some unique citrus and resiny flavors/aromas.

Beer Festivals: Yak & Yeti is an active participant in beer festivals across the state. Here are a few places you will most likely find them:

  • GABF (Great American Beer Festival) – Denver, CO
  • Vail Big Beer Festival – Vail, CO
  • Brewers’ Rendezvous – Salida, CO
  • Epic Beer Festival – Denver, CO

Awards: For a small brewery, Yak & Yeti has picked up some big awards. Here’s a list of what they’ve won, and where the won it.

  • 2010: Gold Medal for the Himalayan IPA (American Style Extra Pale Ale, GABF)
  • 2011: Bronze Medal for the Namaste Pilsner (Pilsner category, Colorado State Fair)
  • 2012: Bronze Medal for the Honey Ginger Soda (Soda category, Colorado State Fair)
  • 2013: Bronze Medal for the Honey Ginger Soda (Soda category, Colorado State Fair)
  • 2013: Silver Medal for the Chai Milk Stout (Urban Spiced, GABF)
  • 2013: Bronze Medal for the Himalayan IPA (Fresh Ales/IPA/DIPA), Colorado State Fair)

I had a great visit with Adam and learned a lot about Yak & Yeti, and the awesome beer they brew. I would highly recommend a visit for the food, and of course for their beer. The atmosphere at Yak & Yeti is truly unique, and one that will impress anyone that has an interest in history. Even those that don’t drink beer will have the ability to enjoy a fresh brew – the Honey Ginger Soda is very good. The Chai Milk Stout is one of the most unique beers I’ve ever tried, and has won awards for good reason. If you love craft beer made in Colorado, a trip to Yak & Yeti is a must! Thanks Adam for the tour, and of course for sharing your fresh craft beer.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub
7803 Ralston Road
Arvada, CO 80002
(303) 431-9000
www.theyakandyeti.com

 

Prost Brewing Company – Denver, CO.

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Prost Brewing Company is located in the Lower Highland Neighborhood (LoHi) in Denver, CO. The brewery is just west of I-25 on 20th Street, directly across the highway from Coors Field. Prost Brewing is near a handful of other breweries, but the types of beers they brew make them stand out from other brewers in the area. Prost specializes in German-style biers. Not only do they specialize in German-style biers, they brew in German equipment that was brought over from a historic German brewery.

Prost Brewing Company opened its doors on August 23rd, 2012. The name Prost, is a German word that translates to ‘To your health’, or ‘cheers’. Prost’s name, equipment, and ingredients all add up to a distinct all-German style that is quite unique in the growing Colorado craft beer scene. Prost adheres to what is called the ‘German Purity Laws’, which are a set of laws that German biers should be brewed with. These laws started in 1516, and were designed to ensure bier contained only high-quality ingredients. The laws protected the public from poor standards, and potentially lethal, beverages. Reinheitsgebot, as the laws are called in German, also brought about a standardization in production well ahead of its time. Foreign brewers who wanted to enter the local market also had to stick to the law and so its influence began to spread far and wide. The laws have changed over time, but they still keep brewers focused on creating quality biers with quality ingredients.

Prost Brewing Copper Kettles

Prost Brewing’s Kopper Kettles

Prost Brewing has a plan and sticks to that plan. They want to provide the best German-style biers that can be found locally. They don’t care to brew big beers, or beer that does not fit in the German-style. When you do something well, why not stick to it? That is exactly what Prost Brewing has done, and they have quickly made a big name for themselves with Colorado beer drinkers. Bill Eye is the Head Brewer at Prost, and is a veteran Colorado brewer, with 16 years of professional brewing experience. Prior to joining Prost, Bill was the Founding Brewer at Dry Dock Brewing Company. Bill studied brewing in Germany, and developed a love of German-style biers. Bill’s experience and education played a major part in forming the way Prost brews, and the way the run their taproom.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with David Boone (he goes by Boone), VP of Sales & Events for Prost Brewing. Boone was happy to share the story of Prost, and of course the reason why they have grown so fast. It’s the fresh, great-tasting beers they serve from the tap. Boone has 13+ years experience in the brewing industry, and as he describes it, he “has the best job in the world!” Boone is yet another story I’ve heard of someone that didn’t set out to be in the brewing industry, but once they experienced it, they couldn’t get enough. Boone was actually a high school science teacher for five years prior to returning to the craft beer industry. The last brewery Boone was involved with prior to joining Prost was a four year stint with Bristol Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, serving as the State Sales Manager. To say Boone is passionate about Prost’s German-style biers is a massive understatement. He is truly a great ambassador for the brand, and will go out of his way to share Prost’s story with you. I met Boone at the Breckenridge Beer Festival and he was happy to take a few minutes to talk about the brewery.

Prost Brewing Controls

The original control panel, still used today!

The story of the equipment Prost Brewing Company uses is really cool. Prost brought over brewing equipment from a city in Germany called Grafenau. The equipment was originally built in 1963 by Ziemann GmbH, and installed at the Bucher Brau, where it was used until 1984. In 1984, it was overhauled and sold to Brauerei Hummer of Breitengubach, Germany, a village in the Franconian region of Bavaria. Brauerei Hummer started brewing beer in the Franconian village of Breitengubach in 1642. The brewery served the town for over 350 years until the spring of 2011. At that point, the brewing equipment was purchased by Prost Brewing Company, and brought over to brew German-style biers for the people of Colorado. This sounds easier than it actually was, the process was a major undertaking. Bill Eye had to disassemble the equipment to package it for transport. He then had to reassemble it in order to be able to use it. It’s a good thing Bill studied brewing in Germany because in order to use the equipment, you have to be able to read German.

Prost brought in German equipment for brewing, then added massive fermenters and lager vessels to complete their brewery. The lager vessels are actually converted dairy tanks, and hold 4,000 gallons each! You really have to see them in person to understand how large they really are. Once Prost brews their biers, they will sit for between 4-8 weeks depending on the style. Ales go to the lager vessels for 24 days to complete the aging process. Prost is proud to brew with German equipment, and all German hops and malts.

Prost Brewing lager vessels

4,000 gallon lager vessels

Prost Brewing Company offers great biers, and do so in a way most brewers would never try. Prost distributes their biers only in 64 oz. growlers, and kegs. There are no 6-packs of bottles, cans or 22 oz. bombers. You can visit the Prost taproom and get a fresh pour from the tap, or you can visit many taprooms, restaurants and bars around the state. You can also buy a growler from a quickly growing number of stores around the state. You will not miss the site of a Prost growler in the beer case at a retailer. It is uncommon in most stores to see growlers, and this is a way Prost stands out from other brewers. The growlers include labels that incorporate the colors of the German flags from the regions of Germany the bier styles come from. Another unique aspect to Prost’s growlers, is they offer a recycling program. If you bring back a growler to the retailer, or directly to Prost, you will get $1 off your next purchase. Prost is able to distribute growlers because they use a method of packaging where they heat flash shrink-wrap the top, which creates a seal that can last 60-120 days, depending on the style of bier. Typically beer in growlers will lose freshness in less than a week.

Prost Brewing has a nice, clean taproom, and offers a fun family friendly environment. Something of note is that Prost has a program for Rockies fans. If a fan brings in a ticket stub for that day’s game, they can park for free, and get a 1/2 price beer before and after the game. Coors Field is a short walk, so if you plan to enjoy a Rockies game, be sure to head over to Prost first. Prost also offers live music on Thursdays for those that enjoy fresh beer and music. There is no kitchen at the taproom, but they do offer Baker Street soft pretzels. Tony P’s, a local Italian restaurant delivers exclusively to Prost. Patrons at Prost are also encouraged to bring in their own food to pair with a fresh German style bier.

Events – Here’s a list of events where you can find Prost Brewing:

  • Colorado Brewers’ Festival (Fort Collins, June 22-23)
  • Colorado Brewers Rendezvous (Salida, July 13th)
  • Evergreen Summer Brew Fest (Evergeen, July 20-21)
  • Mile High Station Brew Fest (Denver, CO, July 26th)
  • Keystone Bluegrass & Beer Festival (August 3-4)
  • Winter Park Brew Fest (Winter Park, August 10th)
  • Autumn Gold – A Festival of Bands, Brats and Beer (Estes Park September 21-22)
  • Prost Brewing Event Calendar: http://www.prostbrewing.com/Events.html

I want to thank David Boone, Bill Eye, and all of the other partners for having me at Prost Brewing, and for the tour of the brewery. They truly are a unique brewery, and brew some outstanding biers! I really enjoyed the Prost Pilsner, which honestly might be the smoothest beer I’ve ever tried. It is light, and refreshing, especially on a hot day. My favorite bier of the day was the Maibock, which is a light, crisp and clean Spring bier. The Maibock is a seasonal brew, so it is not always on tap at Prost. I would highly recommend heading down to try this awesome bier!

Beer List: There is an Altbier in the works, as well as a Kolsch seasonal, and the Maibock is currently available for a limited time. The Altbier may become another staple in addition to the three staple biers Prost currently has.  

  • Altfränkisches Dunkel Bier – Brewed with a 350 year old recipe! This is a dark amber lager made in the world famous brewing area around Bamberg, Germany. They are characterized by their smooth malty flavor. The Franconian version differs from the dark lagers of Bavaria by being slightly stronger and drier. Dunkels have a distinctive malty flavor that comes from a special brewing technique called decoction mashing. We are reviving the Altfränkisches Dunkel Bier from the Hümmer Brauerei in Breitengüßbach, the brewery whose brewhouse now resides in Denver, Colorado at Prost Brewing. 
  • Prost Pils – This is a northern German staple and our flagship beer. This is a crisp, pale and dry interpretation of the style. Well hopped with noble German varieties and a special strain of yeast from a German monastery. Prost Pils is pale gold in color and capped with a thick, brilliantly white, dense collar of foam. With the first sip spicy hop flavors come to the forefront. As the hop begins to fade, the wonderfully soft imported pilsner malt is revealed. The finish, with its herbal, pleasantly lingering hop note balanced by a rich malt counterpoint, demands another taste.   
  • Weißbier – With flavors of banana and clove this Bavarian specialty is well known within our market. Our head brewer has won a number of medals with Hefeweizen including: Silver in 2009 and 2010 and Gold in 2011 at the GABF in the Southern German Hefeweizen category. As well he won the best of show with Hefeweizen at the Colorado state fair in 2011.
  • Marzen – Oktoberfest (Seasonal) – Marzen is a lager, orange/reddish in color, the style is characterized by a medium to full body, malty flavor and clean dry finish. Typically served in a Maß. 5.6 ABV (alcohol by volume) 22 IBU (international bittering units).
  • Seasonals Include: Marzen (Oktoberfest Lager), Kolsch, Export Lager, DoppelBock, Eisbock, Bock, Maibock, and any other German bier Bill can pull out of his sleeve!

Prost Brewing Company
2540 19th Street
Denver, CO 80211
303.729.1175