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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.

 


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.


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.


A Much-Abridged History of Denver, as it Relates to Drinking

In 1919, the states ratified the Eighteenth Amendment and Congress adopted the Volstead Act, which made Prohibition the law of the land. An historian charged with writing a history of Denver as it relates to drinking would be excused from thinking that the city’s residents were a sickly lot back then. Taking advantage of a loophole in the Volstead Act, Denver issued over 16,000 prescription forms that allowed physicians to prescribe up to four ounces of alcohol to any patient that had a “medicinal need” for the same.

Denver’s religious congregations jumped through another loophole and routinely claimed “sacramental” exemptions from the Volstead Act, which that allowed them to continue to use altar wine and other spirits, perhaps doing wonders for church attendance at the time. In anticipation of the broader effects of prohibition, in 1917 Denver had the foresight to issue permits to almost 60,000 of its citizens who claimed a personal consumption exemption from laws that were then in effect, allowing each of them to consume two pints of wine and the equivalent of a 24-pack of beer every month.

Colorado’s agricultural heritage contributed to the efforts to keep a steady flow of alcohol into Denver and throughout Colorado during Prohibition. Moonshiners and other illicit Colorado producers used the state’s sugar beet crop to distill grain alcohols under monikers such as “Sugar Moon” and “Leadville Moon”. By 1932, when Prohibition was repealed, enterprising citizens could find alcohol for sale in Denver on almost every street corner. The city’s denizens no doubt raised a hearty cheer on April 7, 1933, when Coors restarted beer shipments from its Golden, Colorado brewery.

Fast forward to the modern era. By last count, Colorado has more than 200 microbreweries and brewpubs that produce their own craft beers and ales. Many of those breweries produce fewer than 50,000 cases of beer per year (which is likely far less than the amount of beer spilled in a single week at any national brewery). Do Denver’s and Colorado’s attitudes toward Prohibition teach us anything about current drinking practices?

Residents of other cities and states certainly took advantage of the Volstead Act’s exemptions, but little data can be found that allows a comparison of Denver’s and other cities’ reliance on those exemptions. Denver had slightly more than 250,000 residents in 1920. As noted, in 1917, 60,0000 of those residents (i.e. almost one-fourth of the city) claimed a personal consumption exemption, allowing them to consume generous quantities of wine and beer every month. The city’s and state’s enterprising citizens also used locally-grown sugar beets to make their own potent potables. If nothing else, Denver’s Prohibition-era history reveals a creative mindset that will search out and find creative ways to quench a thirst. The city’s new microbreweries and brewpubs are just continuing this tradition with new formulas, flavors and tasting rooms that cater to an ever more selective clientele.

The Denver Microbrew Tour will give you a new perspective on the city’s thriving beer and brewing culture and history. Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information or if you want to schedule your own tour with us. Eighty years has passed since the repeal of Prohibition, and you can enjoy the city’s microbrew offerings without looking for a Volstead Act exemption to keep you above the law.


denver breweries

Denver Breweries: Great Hang Outs For Novices and Cicerones Alike

 

People often wonder, “Do you have to be a cicerone in order to enjoy walking tours of Denver breweries?” In short, “No, cicerone status is not necessary when it comes to making the most of the Mile High City’s sudsiest of spots. Our guides have more than enough knowledge of beers, breweries and Denver’s finest venues to cover everyone who signs up for one of our specialty tours.

However, there are actions craft beer drinkers may take to help improve their knowledge of the brewing industry after the tours. For example, picking up magazines, DVDs and books about the topic may help. There are a number of them already in print and countless others scheduled to come out in the future. A few well-received ones that are already in print are listed below:

  • Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher
  • Beer Companion by Michael Jackson
  • The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks by Joshua Bernstein

And no, libraries, bookstores and online sites are not the only locations where such reading materials may be found.

Sometimes Denver’s breweries host book signings wherein authors bring their respective manuscripts. It happened throughout this year’s Great American Beer Festival and it’s likely to happen again. The list of authors known to have these types of events in Denver includes, but isn’t confined to Jeff Alworth, Christian DeBenedetti, Mirella Amato and BryanJansing.

And don’t worry, if one of them does decide to return to Denver breweries for another book signing, our tour guides will make a note of it. Depending on the pace of the tour, it may also be possible to speak with area brewers and get their perspectives on cicerone related topics too. To learn more about tours that cicerones would be proud to call their own, please contact us today.

 


craft beer

Don’t Let Craft Beer ABV Concerns Keep You from Sampling Denver’s Finest

 

Have you heard the latest froth blowing off the tops of pints across the nation? Law enforcement and various public health experts have been teaming up to discuss one element of craft beer, it’s ABV. As this FOX video proves, stories about the two groups’ concerted efforts to educate America’s hops faithful have been cropping up on major news networks since early October.

We suspect the timing of the push has a lot to do with four of the biggest, concurrent drinking holidays, starting with Halloween. All across Denver, craft beer manufacturers and thirsty residents’ favorite hang out spots have been gearing up for it as well as the other top three. You guessed it. We’re talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

People worry the characteristically high alcohol content coupled with amazing flavors will cause some people to drink and drive. We’re hoping that they drink and walk responsibly instead. At Denver Microbrew Tour, we don’t believe in drinking and driving. So, all of our brewery tours involve walking throughout scenic Denver. As a consequence, participants may drink in the autumn beauty too. And we’re not simply signaling out the leaves.

RiNo and other craft beer laden areas of Denver are blessed with more than fall colors. Many businesses choose to add autumn art work to the idyllic picture, including murals and outdoor sculptures. Some of the bar and brew pub interiors happen to be well decorated too. Thus, our autumn walking tours are truly a feast for craft beer lovers’ senses.

Scheduling a safe tour that allows everyone to drink and walk responsibly is easy. Merely reach out to our craft beer tourguides online or by phone, the sooner, the better. And we’ll set aside tickets to one of our most-loved, craft beer tours, which generally occur on the weekends. Hope to see all the holiday beer lovers at our starting locations this week!

 


Gluten-Free? No Problem At This New Denver Brewery

 

When it comes to Denver breweries, you’ll find many traditional ales, from strong stouts to crisp pale ales or hoppy IPAs. But there’s one thing most of these beers have in common: a heavy dose of gluten. One brewer is hoping to change Denver’s beer landscape with a new brewery: a gluten-free one.

Great Frontier’s founder and head brewer, Mike Plungis, was inspired to create gluten-free beers after his wife, Anne, was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. Their son, and other family members and friends, were also found to have a gluten intolerance or Celiac’s. Mike’s first gluten-free beer recipe was therefore the Blonde Annie, named after his wife. His gluten-free lemon pale won a gold medal at the 2001 Great American Beer Festival.

Great Frontier Brewing Company is opening its 15-barrel brew house and tap room in the Lakewood area on August 21st, in what was once a Meineke garage. The brewery will pump many types of beers, with 20 percent of the brewed volume serving its gluten-free menu.

The beers are defined according to strict FDA- guidelines on what constitutes gluten-free or gluten-reduced products. As explained on their website, Great Frontier’s gluten-free beers are made without wheat, barley, or rye and therefore contains less that 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Their gluten-reduced beers are made with malted barley, but processed to remove the gluten to below 20 ppm. In addition, Great Frontier also makes traditional (full gluten) beers besides their famous GF brews.

Having a brewery that specializes in gluten-free beers can help expand the horizons of all beer drinkers, gluten-tolerant or not. Overall, Great Frontier is joining a great team of local breweries that also brew a few gluten-free options, some whichcan be found on our microbrewery tour. If you want to experience more beer in the Denver area, contact us and join our walking beer tour of some of this city’s best brews!

 


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