I think that we all can agree that there is so much more to life than beer. I enjoy drinking beer, but it is always so much better with good friends. I had my friend Kent hit town for an evening as he was passing through on his way to Vegas. Actually, my brother and he were headed there so Kent stopped by to pick him up. Dave came up from the Springs and my nephew came down from Fort Collins.
Due to life constraints and flight schedules we got a late start. We wanted to hit a new brewery, Strange Brewing, but they close at 8:30pm. We needed food first. I respect a place that holds limited hours, and I will make it over to Strange (I have loose plans to get there in the next week with another friend), but we all hadn't eaten in all day.
We hit Wynkoop's instead. For a quick review, food was average, pumpkin ale was on tap, but not great, my brother liked the smoked porter, and the ESB was well received by all. Wynkoop's, for some reason, has always suffered from average food and beer, but the atmosphere is great. We went down to the Denver Chop House and Brewery for a nightcap. Again, two block walk, great atmosphere, good beer, great (awesome) service. Actually, I think that the Chop House has great beer, I just wish I liked it more. The Chop House focuses on some styles that aren't standards in the brewpub world. They have a great Dormunder Lager, they make a decent Trippel, and a wonderful Dry Stout, and an Irish Red. These are just not my favorite styles....other than that, these beers are great and a great atmosphere, and I loved our bartenders....we walked out of there having paid more in tips than beer (it was warranted). I also love the brewery set up at The Chop House. If I could choose to brew one of my beers at any location I have seen in Colorado (I have seen most of them), it would be here.
Why? It feels right. It is super clean. You can show up on a Tuesday afternoon, and you will see the assistant brewer scrubbing the outside of some tank...everything gets cleaned regularly. It is inside a historic train station. It is haunted....and our beers would fit into the lineup as a diverse mix of beers you don't regularly get everywhere. The brewery and beers seem to fit with my philosophy of cleanliness and intention in brewing. Nothing that is over the top, everything is very drinkable. It might be downtown Denver's best kept brewing secret. Nobody talks about it when they talk about where to go when in Denver....which is too bad.
Given the chance, I would brew our Porter at that brewery. It would fit in great, as it is so different from the Chop House's dry stout. Our Porter is slightly sweet and malty, it would beef up the dark side of the Chop House's offerings.....and after all, what is a brewery located in a historic train station without an awesome Porter on tap. (Porter is named after train porters as it was their drink of choice).
I need to do a segment about what makes a great brewery or brewpub, and get this....it isn't just the beer.