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.
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.
When people think of Denver, they now think of delicious and innovative craft beer. This great beer reputation is in large part due to the efforts of incredible breweries like Great Divide. Great Divide was started in 1994 by brewer Brian Dunn, and Great Divide’s first batch of beer won an award at the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery went on to earn accolades and admiration worldwide, and was even named the 7th best brewery in the world by Beeradvocate.com.
With beers like Titan, Yeti and Colette, it’s not surprising to hear about Great Divide’s success. For years, Great Divide ran its brewing operations out of a small building located at 2201 Arapahoe St. in Denver, but has now completed the first phase of its major expansion effort in Denver’s River North district. The new facility has an awesome new tap room called Barrel Bar that boasts 16 taps and an awesome patio.
Their second location is also home to a new state-of-the-art packaging facility, canning line, barrel aged and sour beer storage(yum). Great divide is also rumored to be collaborating with Denver sour beer brewery Crooked Stave on a new beer soon. We can’t wait.
Want to check out awesome breweries like Great Divide? The Denver Microbrew Tour is a guided walking tour through downtown Denver, Colorado’s historic LODO (lower downtown) and Ballpark Neighborhood districts. The tour includes beer samplings at several microbreweries and a local tap room, info on everything you’d ever want to know about beer, a coupon for a pint of your favorite beer on the tour, and local Denver history. For more info on The Denver Microbrew tour,contact us today!
The early ’90’s may have brought us grunge music and a tech bubble, but they also brought us the beginning of the craft beer and microbrewery explosion. Since 1991, no tour of Denver breweries could be complete without a visit to Downtown Denver’s Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. Back before brewpubs were a thing, the folks behind Rock Bottom had the good sense to combine two of the things people love most in the world – great food paired with craft beer. Is it a coincidence that Denver exploded with growth and culture immediately after Rock Bottom opened its doors? Is it possible that Colorado’s T-REX project was necessary because of all of the traffic Rock Bottom was creating?
Maybe that’s a bit much, but the fact remains that Rock Bottom started brewing, and Denver began a renaissance period that they’re still enjoying today. You can draw your own conclusions.
The key to Rock Bottom’s greatness, at all of their locations, is their focus on the locals. Local brewers and chefs work together to create a unique combination of flavors in their menus. An IPA made with Belgian yeast? A Kolsch made with three kinds of spicy chilies? Yes, and yes, and so many more. It’s an atmosphere of quiet revolution, without the well-earned attitude of being the guys who were there when the revolution started. They’d rather just blow you away with their great beers.
As they like to say, “life begins when ‘You’ve Hit Rock Bottom‘,” so it’s not an accident that we start our tours there. Before the Rockies and the Avalanche came to town, along with the other million people who moved in during the ’90’s, there was the Rock Bottom Brewery. Please contact us if you want to experience Rock Bottom and some of the other great breweries in Denver.