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

Brewery Rickoli – Wheat Ridge, CO

Brewery Rickoli Logo

Brewery Rickoli is located in Wheat Ridge, CO. on the Southwest corner of Wadsworth Blvd. and 44th Ave., just west of Denver. Brewery Rickoli opened up in November 2012, becoming the first ever brewery in Wheat Ridge. The idea behind opening Brewery Rickoli was to provide the local neighborhood a place to enjoy a fresh pint close to home. While the brewery has only been open a short time, it has already made a big impression in the community.

Brewery Rickoli is the creation of Rick Abitbol, a seasoned brewer with 10+ years of professional brewing experience. Rick has a unique brewing story. He started out in homebrewing, and entered his first contest at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. His Cream Ale did very well and was highly regarded among judges at the fair, it was even a finalist for the “Best of Show” award. Rick decided to approach a local brewery to see if they would be interested in letting Rick brew his cream ale. He was able to convince the owner of Shamrock Brewing to give him a shot, and Rick was able to get his first experience brewing in a brewery.

Later on, Rick joined Hop, Barley & the Alers, a well known homebrew club in Boulder. This club happened to be the same club Charlie Sturdavant (Owner of Golden City Brewery, and Tommyknockers), was also in. Rick met Charlie and basically begged him to give him an opportunity to help out at GCB. Rick started out doing anything he could to help, and eventually began helping brew. After gaining more experience, and the departure of the head brewer, Rick took over as head brewer at GCB. Rick worked at GCB for two years, then gained additional experience brewing at Rock Bottom, Denver ChopHouse and finally Renegade Brewing.

Over the years, Rick learned a great deal from his time brewing in several types of breweries. He developed tastes and methods that grew his love of brewing, and he began dreaming of starting his own brewery. With a bankruptcy looming, Rick began to make plans to open his own brewery. Thanks to financing from Rick’s dad, and the Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream Program, Rick was able to realize his dream. Rick officially opened Brewery Rickoli on November 28, 2012. Since then, locals have been enjoying fresh pints – some have visited as many as 80 times in the roughly 150 days Brewery Rickoli has been open!

Rickoli Black and Tan

A Black & Tan served especially for us!

Beer List: For a small brewery, Brewery Rickoli offers a ton of beer choices! Not only are all of Brewery Rickoli’s beers Gluten Reduced, they are great tasting. There are beers for every taste, and all levels of beer geekdom. From the lighter Cream Ale, to the hoppy Double IPA, the beers at Brewery Rickoli are very good. My personal favorites are the Aldo Red and the Black Pline! Although, it was a tough call to pick any favorites. Rick said it best, “Brewery Rickoli brews big beers to compensate for their small equipment!” Of course this is in reference to their small homebrew setup, that produces outstanding, consistently flavorful beers. Rick is proud to be able to produce the beers he does with what he calls, “the smallest brewery setup in the state.”

  • M.E.H. (Most Excellent Homebrew) Cream Ale – This is a very refreshing and light ale that is very similar to Genesee Cream Ale. This beer is only 4.3% ABV, so you can relax and have a few after work and still get stuff done. A malty leaning beer that has just the right kiss of hops! 4.3% ABV, 20 IBU’S. 
  • ALDO RED –  (Named after Rick’s Dad) This is a very flavorful derivation of a German style called ALTBIER. A little fuller boded than the German version, this beer has the depth of flavor of an Irish Red, but finishes cleaner.  This beer is 5.3% ABV and uses Munich, Vienna, and Pilsner malt with a little noble hop to give it character. 5.3% ABV, 30 IBU’S.
  • Totally EYE-P-A  –  Everybody has an IPA and we have a great one! Pale malt and a touch of Munich malt combine to provide a clean and sturdy base for the intense hop flavor and aroma in this beer. At 6.8% abv, This beer falls in line with the new wave of IPA beers on the market. 6.8%ABV, 65 IBU’S.
  • Rickoli’s Rye Stout – This is a hearty Rye Stout that satisfies the soul! Roast and coffee notes are combined with rye spiciness and the full body sweetness of malt to cradle the gentle American hop flavor that this beer takes advantage of.                 7% ABV, 45 IBU’s.
  • Social Lubricant – This is traditional Scotch ale.  Golden Promise malt with a touch of roast barley, boiled extensively to concentrate the caramel flavors with just the stingiest amount of English hops! 8% ABV, 30 IBU’S.
  • Disturbed Reflection Double IPA – This is our double version of Totally Eye-P-A! It reeks of pungent hops and alcohol and has a wonderful creamy mouth feel that lays the lupulin goodness across all of your senses.  9.7% ABV, 190 IBU’S – Whew!
  • The Black Pline – This is a very intense Imperial Black IPA! Extreme hop nose and flavor supported by just a kiss of dark malt that gives a subtle smoke in the profile. 9.8%ABV, 70 IBU’S
  • Session IPA Our second offering in our Single-hop Pale Ale Series.  We make a nominal Pale Ale recipe and change out the featured hop variety.  This month we combine Summit with 2 experimental hop varieties. 5% ABV, 65 IBU.
  • VannFaw Red Hefeweizen –  Inspired by the awesome folks in our homebrew club, the VannFaw Hefe uses a darker shade of caramel to compliment the banana-like esthers and reminds one of Bananas Foster on the palate while still light and refreshing! 4.55% ABV
  • Thrilla in Vanilla –  Rickoli’s Rye Stout spiked with vanilla!  The heartiness of this very approachable stout is balanced and softened by the subtle vanilla flavor.        7% ABV, 45 IBU’s.
  • Elke Brown – (Named after Rick’s Mom) An American-style brown ale, with an array of medium to dark caramel malts. Accented with English chocolate malt, which gives a full-bodied sweetness that cradles the Williamette hops used throughout this brew. 6.8% ABV, 45 IBU

Brewery Rickoli serves all of their beers from the tap. If you would like to purchase beer to take home, Growlers are available. I personally grabbed a growler of the Aldo Red, and can’t say enough about the great quality of the beer, and the freshness. Brewery Rickoli is working on distributing kegs to local restaurants and bars that specialize in providing quality craft beer from the great State of Colorado.

Events: Here are a few local events where you will be able to try Brewery Rickoli’s beers.

I had a great visit with Rick Abitbol at Brewery Rickoli. He’s created a nice local brewery and taproom, which is perfect for beer lovers in the Wheat Ridge area. Of course, Denver is only a few minutes away, so it is a short trip down to Brewery Rickoli from around the metro area. Rick brews awesome beers and the vibe in the taproom is positive and laid-back. Brewery Rickoli provides good music, fresh beer, and a simple, fun environment to relax and enjoy a pint. I highly recommend making a trip to see Rick and enjoy a beer at Brewery Rickoli. Keep an eye out as Rick has plans to add a beer garden area behind the taproom. His plans include a 4-tap system and live music! Thanks again for the hospitality, and keep up the good work Rick!

Brewery Rickoli
4335 Wadsworth Blvd
Wheat Ridge, CO. 80033
303-344-8988
www.BreweryRickoli.com

River North Brewery – Denver, CO

River North Logo

River North Brewery & Taproom is located in Denver, CO. a few blocks north of Coors Field in the ballpark neighborhood. The area around River North is a fun, lively and popular area with many breweries, galleries and restaurants close by. This area, called RiNO (River North Art District) was once a rough, mostly abandoned part of Denver, but has been transformed with redevelopment. RiNO includes many 100+ year-old brick buildings that have been renovated, giving the area a historic look and feel.

River North was started by Matt Hess, a former Engineer for Lockheed Martin. Matt was tired of the “cyclical nature of the aerospace industry”, and wanted to do something different. He had experience in homebrewing, and decided that starting a brewery was his ticket to doing something different. Matt had been homebrewing in 5 gallon batches, then splitting up the 5 gallon batch into smaller 1 gallon batches to try new ideas. Each smaller 1 gallon batch gave Matt an opportunity to tweak his recipes, or to add something completely new. With 2-3 years of experimentation, Matt was able to create some great homebrew recipes that he would eventually use to brew beers at River North Brewery. Matt has not only been the driving force behind the beers at River North, he also designed the logo. He has done a great job in creating a clean, distinctive brand that is easily recognizable. When he’s not brewing, Matt also handles deliveries and sales, manages the taproom, and many other tasks that arise in the day-to-day process of running the business side of the brewery.

Patrick Annesty is the Director of Communications for River North, and was nice enough to give us a tour and share their excellent beers. Patrick joined the River North team just after they officially opened last year. He came to Denver from Ft. Laurderdale, FL., after graduating from the University of Florida. Patrick was looking to move to a fun place with a good beer culture, and Denver was a prime spot for that. After coming to Denver, Patrick visited local breweries hoping to use his journalism and homebrewing skills to help out a local brewer. A few weeks after Parick visited River North, Matt Hess called Patrick and asked for help — opening weekend was bigger and busier than Matt ever imagined! Since then, Patrick has taken on a jack of all trades role, and does a bit of everything. Patrick is Matt’s right hand man, and does everything from generating buzz on social media to brewing to making deliveries.

River North officially opened in February 2012. In their first year, River North produced 300 barrels, and made a big name in the Denver community. The business plan for River North was different than many breweries that simply start a taproom and hope to distribute someday. Matt Hess started the brewery with the plan to bottle and distribute immediately. The facility behind River North’s taproom is huge for a smaller brewery, and provides a great deal of room for expansion going forward. If you visit the taproom, you will see just how big River North plans to become. The plan for 2013 is to produce 900 barrels, or 3x the amount of beer River North produced in their first year! River North Taproom

Matt Hess enjoys brewing Belgian-style ales, and American style ales with a Belgian twist. River North brews exclusively in the Belgian style, and is dedicated to always brewing quality beers. Ingredients are brought in from the best sources around the country in order to consistently brew high quality, great tasting beers. River North has an eclectic beer list, and does not focus on having all the American style beers that are typical at most breweries. We really enjoyed all of the beers, but especially the BPR (Belgian-Style Pale Red), the Hello, Darkness (Black IPA) and the Unified Theory (Oaked Imperial Wit).

Beer List:

  • River North White White Ale / Belgian-Style Wit 5.0% ABV
  • Hello, Darkness Black IPA: 6.2% ABV
  • BPR Belgian-Style Pale Red Ale 6.4% ABV
  • J. Marie Saison / Farmhouse Ale 7.5% ABV
  • Hoppenberg Uncertainty Principle Belgian-Style Double IPA 9.0% ABV
  • Quandary Quadrupel 9.6% ABV
  • Unified Theory Oaked Imperial Wit:  8.5% ABV
  • Avarice Belgian-Style Imperial Stout 9.3% ABV

Barrel Series (Limited Availability):

    • Barrel Series No. 1 – J. Marie Aged in Whiskey Barrels
    • Barrel Series No. 2 – J. Marie Aged in White Wine Barrels
    • Barrel Series No. 3 – Quandary Aged in Whiskey Barrels
    • Barrel Series No. 4 – BPR Aged in Whiskey Barrels
    • Barrel Series No. 5 – River North White aged in white wine
    • Barrel Series No. 6 – River North White aged in whiskey
    • Barrel Series No. 7 – Avarice Imperial Stout aged in whiskey
    • Barrel Series No. 8 – Barrel Reserve 2013 (currently available).

In Bottles (22 oz. bombers) Click here to see the River North beer locator

    • J. Marie
    • Hoppenberg Uncertainty Principle
    • Quandary
    • Unified Theory
    • Avarice

River North has a membership program for anyone that would like to become part of their local club. The program will be announced in July, and the details for this year are not available yet. Last year, members paid $50 and received a member’s only glass, $4 beers all day/everyday and had access to a special member’s only barrel aged IPA. The program for members will be different this year, but there will be great opportunities to get exlusive access to some cool offerings from River North.

Festivals: This only includes a couple that are already booked. To find out about all of the festivals and activities River North will be part of, check out their Facebook, and Twitter pages.

We had a great visit to River North, and look forward to seeing bigger and better things from them. They provide great beers, and a fun, laid-back atmosphere at their taproom. They recently opened up a patio which provides a nice place to enjoy fresh air and a little scenery. A great time to head to River North would be before a Rockies game. With the close proximity to Coors Field, it’s only a few minutes walk to enjoy a fresh beer. Thanks to Matt Hess and Patrick Annesty for their hospitality, and for sharing their story with us!

River North Brewery
2401 Blake St #1
Denver, CO. 80205
(On the corner of 24th & Blake)
303.296.2617

Golden City Brewery – Golden, CO

Golden City Brewery LogoGolden City Brewery is located in Golden, CO. next to the Colorado School of Mines campus. We had the pleasure of visiting the brewpub and sitting down with Sales & Marketing Manager, Derek Gilmore, and part owner, Andy Taylor. It was really fun finding out more about Golden City Brewery — “The 2nd Largest Brewery in Golden!” Anyone that is looking for a neighborhood brewpub with a friendly atmosphere and great beer, needs to visit Golden City Brewery.

Golden City Brewery was founded in 1993 by two geologists, Charlie & Janine Sturdavant. They filled the old machine shop behind their historic Golden home with used dairy tanks, and Charlie began brewing German-style ales. The tasting room was originally located in the sunroom of their house, and provided Red Ale and Pale Ale to the local community in 1/2 gallon growlers and kegs. The brewery started out with the help of investments made by many of Charlie & Janine’s friends. Andy Taylor was one of the original investors and thought that he would most likely lose money on the brewery. It took nearly ten years, but the investors started making money on their investment, and to this day there are still 23 part owners. One of the main factors that helped the brewpub take off was the addition of a beer garden. Customers started sitting in the grassy area next to the brewpub… eventually this area became the official beer garden at GCB.

When Golden City Brewery first started out, the craft beer industry was much different than it is now. It was difficult to get started, as demand for craft beers was not like it is today. In 1993, most Americans simply made their choice for beer between one of the two or three major U.S. beer producers. This was referred to as “BMB”, or “Before Microbreweries”, in our talk with Golden City Brewery. Things have really changed for the craft beer industry, especially in the last 10 years.

Over the years, Golden City Brewery has expanded at the same location (still the Sturdavant’s home). The carriage house became the tasting room, and the backyard is now the beer garden. The brewery is still in the machine shop, but a second level was added inside. All of the old equipment has been replaced with real beer fermenters and a slightly used gas-fired kettle. The Golden City Brewery now produces the legendary Red Ale & Pale Ale, in addition to a few other brews, which are listed below. Each beer has it’s own logo, which are very creative and unique to the taste of the beer. Here’s the logo for Clear Creek Pale Ale, which was a very good beer, one of our favorites!

Golden City Pale Ale Logo

Beer List:

  • Clear Creek Pale Ale: Ale might not be what miners were looking for in nearby Clear Creek, but Clear Creek Gold can always be found at GCB. This is a traditional German Kolschbier that is hopped with Czech Saaz for a pleasant floral finish.   4.8% ABV
  • Evolution India Pale Ale: Evolution IPA has become one of our most popular brews. It’s stronger, hoppier character was designed to survive the arduous overseas journey from Britain to its colonies in India. Today, brewers continue to alter the formula and produce bigger, even hoppier renditions like smooth, aromatic Evolution. 7.3% ABV
  • Legendary Red Ale: Legendary Red was the first beer ever brewed at GCB. Its award winning flavor is derived from a large portion of Munich malt, a touch of crystal malts, and just a pinch of black malt. A healthy dose of German hops balances this altbier of epic proportions. 5.2% ABV
  • Mad Molly’s Brown Ale: Our award-winning English Northern Brown Ale is inspired by the infamous brewery wench, Mad Molly. You’d be mad too if you served ale all day without a single drop for yourself. Hence the origin of the age-old adage: “Tip your wench well, lest she go mad. For rest nor ale has the sweet girl had.” Molly’s Brown is light and malty with a nice chocolate quality. 4.5% ABV
  • Lookout Stout: Named after Lookout Mountain, which overlooks Golden. This oatmeal stout is characterized by a dose of chocolate malt and balanced out with oats for body. It is dark, chocolatey, coffee-like, and smooth. 5.0% ABV

Golden City Brewery mainly sells beer from the brewpub, and is not sold in many retail locations. This is not due to a lack of demand for the beer, it is because the owners prefer to sell from their pub. You can purchase 22 oz. bottles of all the the beer types, except for the IPA. GCB beers can also be found at My Brother’s Bar in Denver, and Woody’s Pizza in Golden. Liquor stores that carry GCB beers include: Foss Building Wine & Spirits in Golden, Clear Creek Wine & Spirits in Golden, Canyon Point Liquors in Golden, and Union Wine & Spirits in Lakewood.

We really enjoyed our visit to Golden City Brewery. GCB offers a fun environment and great beer! We enjoyed all the beers, but our favorites were the Clear Creek Pale Ale and the Evolution IPA. We highly recommend stopping by this fun brewpub, especially in the spring/summer. The beer garden is located in the back of the brewpub and is a popular place when the weather is nice. We’re looking forward to a return visit when we can sit outside and enjoy a breat beer at GCB.

Golden City Brewery
920 12th Street
Golden, CO. 80401
303-279-8092
http://www.gcbrewery.com/