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New Denver Brewery For Social Good: The Brewability Lab

Among the new Denver breweries popping up, we can now expect a new one in the Lakewood district that not only aims to provide great beers, but also a commitment to jobs for an underserved population: developmentally disabled adults. Not only with this new brewery bring us great beer, but it will also help out some members of our community in a great way.

The Brewability Lab is a startup brewery by Tiffany Fixter that will be taking over Caution Brewing’s original location, complete with Caution’s original 5-barrel brewing system, grain mill, canning line, tap system, bar and glassware. Once Caution Brewery moves out later this year (and will keep its second location in Lakewood open while it finds larger brewing facilities), The Brewability Lab will expand the hours, and redecorate the site to take on a 1930s and 1940s chemistry lab design.

The concept behind the Brewability Lab is great and has already received lots of community support through Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Though these adults with developmental disabilities have a difficult time finding a job, a brewery is a perfect place for them: many of the tasks associated with brewing–from measuring grain to cleaning tanks and glasses, sanitizing equipment and pouring beer– are repetitive, and many of these adults can do this type of work consistently with ease. Some of the new crew has already started training for various beer brewing duties at Grandma’s House, and will help name some of the beers produced in the space.

The brewery will start off with an IPA, a cream ale, a Belgian dark strong ale, a saison, and an oatmeal stout for drinkers to enjoy. The head brewer who will be supervising the new team is Toby Gerhard, a longtime homebrewer, and Grandma’s House will continue to support training for the new employees.

Overall, it’s great to see a unique brewery in Denver that’s doing something different beyond the tap. For a great guide to breweries to visit in the Denver area, contact us.


falling rock tap house

Falling Rock Tap House’s Plans Give Denver’s Beer Drinkers Reason to Smile

 

The Falling Rock Tap House has long been a tour guide and craft beer connoisseur favorite. Accordingly, it has been a part of our Denver Microbrew Tours for ages. What’s our favorite part of the stop besides the beer? For one, the hospitality is outstanding. And the ambiance is great too but it’s about to get better. How so? Pick up your glass, take a sip and listen while we share the details:

The brewery’s relocating to another wonderful part of Denver. Do you want to guess where the new tap house is being built? Okay, our tour guides will tell you. It’s Washington Street. Why Washington Street? Well, why not? It’s a burgeoning community that is close to a light-rail station and Interstate-25. So beer drinkers will have no problems finding it.

And the Washington Park area in general is perfect for walking tours. The community was originally laid out by a famous, German architect back in the 1800s. As such, many of the community’s old buildings and public spaces have great, architectural details as well as a fabulous feel to them. Plus, there are modern shops, restaurants and other contemporary amenities available near the tap house’s new location too.

The new location hasn’t opened yet and when it does, we’ll be sure to let everyone know. In the meantime, our DenverMicrobrew Tours will continue as normal. As always, they’ll include a number of area favorites and we’ll factor in the Falling Rock Tap House’s new digs when the time comes. Beer connoisseurs may want to check out the Washington Park area on their own too. The community’s park is exceptionally fetching in the spring thanks to walking trails, outdoor sculptures and flower gardens.

To learn more about where we’ll be going in the weeks ahead, please contact us for the latest tour itinerary.

 


craft beer

Craft Beer Drinkers May Expect Plenty of Eye-Openings Sips Before Spring

 

Several breweries are planning to tempt craft beer connoisseurs with some very special offerings before spring. And many of those offerings have something in common. Can you guess which ingredient they’re hoping to focus on? We’ll give you an eye-opening hint. It’s something people tend to drink the moment they open their eyes. That’s right, it’s coffee.

Adding coffee to craft beer isn’t new. Creative brew masters have been doing for decades. However, this latest crop of coffee-loving, craft brew masters has come up with ways to elevate the classic pairing to whole, new, incredible levels. For example, have you ever heard of cascara sagrada? If not, you will in the next few weeks when brewers start releasing their finest.

Normally considered a holistic health essential, it is a natural ingredient found in shrub bark. One would think that adding bark to beer would make it bitter or negatively alter its texture. Surprisingly, it doesn’t do either of those two things. Instead, it tends to deepen the craft brew’s existing, coffee profile without adding unwanted aftereffects. And as we promised, cascara isn’t the only natural additive being used by 2016’s brewers.

Many are experimenting with the beer’s aging process to bring more to their coffee and cascara brews. For example, the young brews may be placed into wine or whiskey-soaked barrels to help give them a remarkable edge. Other craft beer manufacturers may skip the barrels and try adding a blend of exotic coffee beans or flavored syrups instead.

By now, you might be wondered where to get your coffee craft beer fix. One place slated to feature beanie beers in the months ahead is Copper Kettle Brewing Company. To learn more about them and other places to find excellent coffee beers in Denver, please contact us today for a tour.

 


history of denver, as it relates to drinking

The Interesting History of Denver, as it Relates to Drinking

 

The history of Denver, as it relates to drinking, extends to the city’s first permanent drinking establishment. The city’s first saloon opened its doors when Denver was still considered a frontier town. At that time, the location had already gone through the gold boom and had developed into a goods and supply hub for miners who had money to spare. Within its first 50 years as a city, Denver welcomed more than 400 saloons. Drinking has been a large part of Denver’s unique culture ever since.

A handful of Denver’s original historical drinking establishments still stand. For instance, the Buckhorn Exchange, founded in 1893, holds the distinction of being issued the state’s first liquor license. The bar was erected to serve migrant railroad workers, but exists today as an iconic Denver landmark that is a National Historic Landmark. A total of five American Presidents have dined at the Buckhorn Exchange, where they were given the distinct pleasure of being seated among the bar’s 575-piece taxidermy exhibit.

Gone are the days in Denver when one could only legally consume alcohol via a doctor’s prescription. Today, the city ranks fifth in the United States among the number of craft breweries per capita. There are currently approximately 15 craft breweries per 500,000 Denver residents. The numbers increase significantly each year. However, the older historical establishments retain the allure of their history.

If you are interested in finding out more about the drinking history of Denver, along with more recent and delightful microbrewery discoveries, please contact us to schedule a Denver Microbrew Tour, where our seasoned professional tour guides will entice you with interesting beer trivia as you sample local offerings.

 


downtown denver rock bottom brewery

A far cry from rock bottom in downtown Denver.

The flavor enthusiast who likes their drinks with an edge will be in for a treat at Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Denver, one of the breweries on our LoDo (lower downtown) tour. They started brewing beer in 1991 and after 25 years they have accumulated over 125 major medals and awards. There is a hop range designed to please every palate with IBU’s ranging from 8 to 85. The selection is not limited to the ever popular standbys but even these offer a distinctive mark. On tap presently at Rock Bottom Brewery per their web page are some of these pours:

  • Liquid Sun Saison, authentic French farmhouse style ale, with ABV of 8.1% lends itself to sipping slowly.
  • El Chupacabra, a Mexican style ale that boasts the sweetness of corn.
  • Chili Kolsch awakens the senses with jalapeno, serrano and poblano peppers.
  • The taps also serve up various IPA’s, black india ale, hefeweizen and barley wine.

Every Friday night there is live music that starts at 7pm. There are also special events monthly which are advertised on their website.

Not only are there great sips but great eats as well. The menu has a large selection of staple brew house appetizers such as pretzels and wings but also apps with a twist such as cotija cheese and chorizo sausage stuffed pretzel bites. The comprehensive menu has entrees, salads, desserts and a full bar menu.

Happy hour is Monday to Friday 3-6:30.

For more info on this or other stops on our brew tour, please contact us. Tours run Friday through Sunday, starting at varying hours.


history of denver, as it relates to drinking

History of Drinking in Denver: Traveling Back in Time Never Tasted So Good

The next time you drink a cold one in Denver, know that you are swallowing some hard-fought history. Legalized marijuana wasn’t the first time this Wild West city fought for its right to party. The similarities between both the liquor and marijuana battles lend to the cliché; history repeats itself.

In his book Moonshine and Murder: Prohibition in Denver, author James E. Hansen II describes the decades long battle between temperance groups, the city of Denver, and the state of Colorado. According to Hansen’s account, the battle began in the 1860’s, with Denver rejecting every attempt by the state and local temperance groups to “go dry” until well into the 20th century.

And if you consider all the interesting historical details about Denver’s loving relationship with beer to begin with, the sixty year battle makes a lot of sense. Or suds.

Traveling back in time never tasted so good.

Here are 6 interesting facts about Denver’s longstanding relationship with beer.

  1. Miners and pioneers brewed and sold beer right out of their tents and the back of their wagons since the city’s founding in 1859.
  2. Denver’s first city government was formed in a saloon called Apollo Hall located at 1425 Larimer Street; the building still stands today.
  3. After stowing away aboard a ship from Hamburg to New York City, Adolph Coors made it to the Wild West and founded the Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado (roughly thirty driving minutes west of Denver) in 1873. The brewery still uses the same original 44 natural Rocky Mountain springs to this day.
  4. In 1907, state legislature enacted a local option bill which permitted Colorado cities to decide whether or not to go dry. Denver resisted, and voted to keep their spirits.
  5. In 1914, Colorado decided that “no person or group could manufacture or import, except for medicinal or sacramental purposes, any intoxicating liquors”. Though the measure was successful throughout most of the state, Denver rejected prohibition once again with a local vote landslide. Note that liquor was legal if it was for medicinal purposes. Sound familiar?
  6. After 1916, Denver was forced into prohibition just like the rest of the country. Like many cities during Prohibition, the rules only applied to the people, never the officials who imposed them. Gahan’s Saloon, located at 1401 Larimer Street was known as the “Soft Drink Parlor” which was code for a liquor-flowing speakeasy that was frequented by cops, politicians, and reporters.

Conclusion

That same independent and entrepreneurial spirit that fought for the right to enjoy a beer or some liquor, still lives on in Colorado’s capital city. These days, Denver is known as the “Napa Valley of Beer”; and brews more suds on any given day than any other city in the United States.

Thirsty yet?

The Denver Microbrew Tour is a history-packed guided walking tour of historic lower downtown Denver and its world-famous microbreweries. Contact us today to learn more about how we can share even more cool history about the Mile High City – and buy you a pint.


denver-breweries

The Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: The Sour Beer Entrant Among Denver Breweries

Fans of Belgian-style sour beers will want to take note of the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and its taproom at the Source, which is at 3550 Brighton. Crooked Stave distinguishes itself among Denver breweries with its barrel-aged, limited release craft beers. These are not Belgian lambics, which are brewed in specific regions, but are instead a whole new approach to the burgeoning sour beer trend.

Crooked Stave’s brews begin with special yeast strains that impart the desired tartness, followed by aging in first-use red wine, bourbon, and other barrels, depending on the characteristics the brewmaster wants to impart to his beer. Barrels add both color and flavor to the brew, including vanilla, caramel and burnt wood tasting notes. Barrel aging extends the time required to produce a batch of beer. Some barrel-aged sour beers can remain in barrel for up to two years before their release. Sour beers in general are more challenging to produce, but for many people the resulting product is worth the challenge.

Crooked Stave’s beers are made in small, limited run batches. When a batch runs out, a new batch with different taste characteristics will take its place. Crooked Stave reserves some of its more limited release batch’s for members of its cellar reserve club. In 2013, the brewery gave purchasing priority to its cellar reserve club members for its golden, burgundy, and dark sour beers. Many of those beers remain available for sampling in Crooked Stave’s taproom.

Belgian-style sour beers will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, nor will they be an everyday staple beer for most people. The tastes are typically complex and full-bodied, almost demanding that they be relished slowly when a drinker can focus on the craftsmanship that went into brewing them. A recent tasting of Crooked Stave’s IPA-style sour beer, for example, revealed a unique blend of typical IPA hoppiness balanced against its sour overtones.

The Denver Microbrew Tour offers two-hour guided walking tours of breweries in and around downtown Denver. We support and encourage the growing microbrew trend that has made Denver the “Napa Valley of Beer”. Please contact us for information about our walking tours or other aspects of Denver’s beer heritage.


Wynkoop Brewing Company

Wynkoop Brewing Company, Historically Crafted

Wynkoop Brewing Company is so much more than Denver’s first brewpub; it’s housed in a building that is steeped in the city’s mining and railroad history. Though the J.S. Brown Mercantile Building was not built until 1899, the area it is built on and the owner, John Sidney Brown, had been doing business with miners, brewers and grocers since 1861.

It’s almost like history set the stage for Wynkoop‘s successful destiny: world-renowned craft beer and New American pub grub.

And, it’s as if the building itself was meant to be tied to historical events forever.

In 1868, J.S. Brown was among the men who broke ground for the railroad in Denver. A strong advocate and key player (alongside other historical names like George Morrison and Governor John Evans) in bringing the railroad to Denver, Brown lobbied and raised money until the completion of Union Station, 13 years later.

With his business located directly across the street from Union Station, the building was meant for success.

In 1902, the Mercantile building made the news again, and was named “a magnificent structure, fitted up in a perfectly modern style, having railroad switches in its front and rear, and every convenience necessary for the prompt transacting of business” by the Denver Times (Denver Post).

Fast forward 80 plus years, and the building is still making history.

In 1988, a relatively unknown and laid-off geologist by the name of John Hickenlooper started the Wynkoop Brewing Company inside the old Mercantile building.

Mr. Hickenlooper went on to become the Mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011. He was then elected as Governor of Colorado and assumed office on January 11, 2011.

But the political fame for the famous brewpub doesn’t stop there.

On a normal Tuesday in July of 2014, President Obama made a surprise visit to the unsuspecting brewpub. It was widely reported that Mr. Obama enjoyed a Rail Yard, the pub’s best-selling ale; and played a friendly game of pool with GovernorHickenlooper.

Wynkoop Brewing Company has and always will be connected to and making history. The experience of the historic atmosphere and the quality, crafted beer make this destination a Denver institution.

Want to experience the magic of Wynkoop Brewing Company in person and learn more? Check out these brewing tours today!


river north brewery

River North Brewery Moving with Funk The Man Celebration

When it comes to some of the best craft beer in Denver, River North Brewery has been a highlight staple in the RiNo district. But by the end of October, you won’t be able to visit the brewery in its famed 24th and Blake location of the neighborhood.

The building River North has called home for over three years will be bulldozed in order to rebuild on the lot some apartment dwellings. River North is now preparing to move, but they’re going out with a big celebration and a big beer. Called the Funk the Man series, these special beer releases are variation of the brewery’s brett saisons from their archived barrels. Funk the Man challenges what River North Brewery calls “insatiable redevelopment, growth for the sake of growth and cash over community.” In contrast to the new development, the Funk the Man wants to celebrate how breweries like River North help to revitalize the community through engagement, collaboration, and fun in the district. The neighborhood will miss this location, and we’ll miss the 24th and Blake stop on our craft beer tour.

But we don’t have to worry for too long about River North’s disappearance. Their new location will be at 6021 Washington Street, slated to reopen before the end of the year. The new location will expand production and provide more space in thetap room, giving more space for drinkers to enjoy the local brew. In addition, the Brewery plans to make a comeback in the neighborhood with a new pilot brewery and taproom.

So good luck to River North, and make sure you stock up before the move! To learn more about some of the best RiNobreweries like River North, contact us.


craft beer

5 Winter Craft Beers to Try This Year

 

The craft beer industry runs far and wide across our country. Sometimes, the popular beers on the East Coast aren’t even available on the West Coast. This has a lot to do with distribution and money — many smaller breweries don’t have the capital or the resources for wide distribution.

However, for those who can try all the winter beers (no matter their area), this post is for you.

From porters to stouts to IPAs, please join us as we profile five great winter beers that you should try this winter.

1. Stone Smoked Porter: Very few breweries have an ego like Stone, but very few can actually back it up like they can. Try their Smoked Porter and find out why they brag.

2. Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter: Deschutes has branched out to the East Coast as of late, but they are still making great tasting beers. Their Black Butte is delightful, creamy, refreshing and… well, you should just try it.

3. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale: Worried that Sierra Nevada has gotten too big for their britches? Don’t be. Try their Celebration Ale and discover why Sierra Nevada is an American original.

4. Lagunitas Brown Shugga‘ American Strong Ale: Lagunitas has made quite the name for themselves lately. But their beer is worth the hype. Test out their “ethos in a bottle” known as Brown Shugga‘ American Strong Ale and see why they are a popular choice this winter.

5. New Belgium Accumulation White IPA: IPA fans, we didn’t forget about you. White IPAs have long been associated with the winter season, and this IPA is a testament to why. New Belgium has done a great job creating a winter warmer without the knockout effect often associated with IPAs.

For more information on how we can help you, please contact us today.

 


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