We are finally getting back around to posting more photos and information from our four day beer journey up Colorado’s Front Range. For our journey, we wanted to visit new breweries, establish contacts, say hi to a few folks, and to meet a bunch of people we’d only been in touch with via email…and have a blast. You can see our first stop at AC Golden, which really needed it’s own post. For this post, we’re still just talking about the first day of the trip, where we visited five more breweries!
Golden City Brewery / Golden, CO
We had a schedule but that quickly dissipated; after our time at AC Golden that schedule was already off so we had to just go with the flow a bit. We were in Golden, and we’ve heard really good things about Golden City Brewery, which they humorously call “Golden’s 2nd largest brewery.”
The brewery is small and quaint, has a very friendly feel to it, with an outdoor patio that has plenty of seating and a residential location. How nice for the beer drinking neighbors! We couldn’t stay too long but we ordered up a sample tray and quickly went through the beers. They had standard offerings of a Stout, a hoppy Red, IPA, Pale, and a Blonde. This was a solid lineup, all the beers were quite tasty. The Pale Ale, which I often use as a way to judge an entire brewery was my favorite of the bunch. It was refreshing, had a nice floral nose, crisp finish and tasty lingering bitterness. Beautifully done. All the beers were great.
We checked out the brewery and snapped a few photos. It’s really a quirky little brewhouse. The taproom, brewery, and cold storage are all in three separate buildings, each one is more or less the size of a garage. The brewery is the largest of the buildings, and has a large door that opens up to the neighborhood. The brewers ride their bikes to work and leave them sitting next to the Hot Liquor Tank without any worry that someone will grab it. If memory serves me correctly, they run a 10 barrel system in a beautiful brick-covered boil kettle (see background of above image). Then they have a 10, 20, and a 30 barrel fermenter. High recommendations for this fun little place. We didn’t get to try any specialty beers, but their standard lineup was rock solid.
Yak and Yeti / Arvada, CO
Our next stop was Yak and Yeti. We love Yak and Yeti. We’ve talked about them before, they are a Nepalese/Indian restaurant and they brew their own beer. The combination of the two is surprisingly awesome. Somehow we managed to not take any photos here, so I’m offering a photo that we took last time we were there. This time, we just needed to drop off a keg to brewer Adam Draeger, who participated in the first round of Battle of the Brewers. While there, we ordered the lunch buffet and I had a pint of the same beer I always order there…the Abominale, a 3.7% mild. The beer comes off as a thin brown, packed with a lot of caramely and nutty malts. Well, when we got up to leave we realized we perhaps ate too much food, which made the rest of the day a little more difficult than we would have liked. Thanks again Yak and Yeti!
Arvada Beer Co. / Arvada, CO
After filling ourselves we headed three blocks or so down the street to Arvada Beer Co. Arvada is a new place that opened about six months ago. They’ve got a prime location in what looks to be a downtown area that sees a fair amount of strolling foot traffic. Arvada provides visitors with a large and open seating area and a tap list with eight or so beers, five of which were their standard lineup, and a few seasonal/specialty taps as well. I believe they have tap space for 14 beers.
After Arvada we headed up to Boulder to hit the Avery Brewing taproom and meet up with the Marketing Director, Joe Osborne. We weren’t sure if we were going to hit another brewery after this one; at this point we were thinking we had come to our end. I ordered the Boulder Weiss, sipped it slowly and surprisingly my appetite came back. The Boulder Weiss is an extraordinary beer, based heavily on the tart German Berliner Weisse style, this beer, at 5% was a bit stronger than the style calls for, by at least 1% ABV (Avery will do this sort of thing, won’t they?). Traditionally these beers are served with a side of raspberry or woodruff syrup to help balance the tart beer. The Avery version came with a choice of fruit syrup from Colorado – cherry or peach. I love Berliner Weisse beers, but had never been served the traditional sweetner, so I was thrilled to give it a shot, I chose cherry, kept adding the syrup until I felt I had a good mixture of the two and sipped the beer almost the entire time we were there.
The Avery taproom, if you’ve never been, is a must-visit for any beer geek. Even if you’re newer to beer and you’re starting to enjoy different styles, this is a place that we’d recommend heading to. There’s about 20 or so different Avery beers on tap, including their regular line up if you need a fall back, some of their bigger specialty year round beers, and always a handful of some of their experiments or aged treasures. The place is ridiculous, the beer is insanely good. I sometimes forget how extraordinary the taproom is when there’s been a fair amount of time in between visits. We also ordered glasses of the delicious Eremita sour, and the passionfruit and very tropical Lilikoi Kepolo Wit. The beer that blew me away (besides the Boulder Weiss) was the untitled 3.5 beer, which was called an IPA, but sat at 3.5%, totally full of flavor, a delicious hop presence, and solid bitterness, this beer showcased Avery’s ability to push taste not just by building up the malt bill, but by shrinking it down to a number that most people aren’t comfortable with. Avery, if you’re reading this, please bottle that beer!!!
We talked to Joe about the upcoming expansion, which apparently will be located very close in proximity to our next stop, but a surprising distance away from the current location. The brewery will really be able to amp up production for their standard lineup as well as focus in on their already renowned barrel program. We’ll see if we can’t head up there during construction and get some photos for you all.
Asher Brewing Co. / Boulder, CO
After Avery we headed to Asher Brewing where we met up with Jennifer Morrison. Jennifer used to write a nice blog called Ales for All but has since stopped the blog and organizes beer events in addition to her regular job. We met at the Beer Bloggers Conference a couple years ago and she said she would billet us for the night. Thanks Jen!
So yeah, Asher Brewing was a pretty cool little hole in the wall place, hidden away in complex of buildings that house offices and lighter industrial business. They’re only 2.5 years old at this point, but they made a big name for themselves in 2010 when they became Colorado’s first fully organic brewery.
Their backroom has some pinball, cornhole (which we played a few rounds of), and also a line of about 10-15 barrels, it would be a good place to hang out with a group of friends. There’s a surprising amount of space in the game room, as well as the brewery in case the brewery needs to expand.
The front of the house has a very small bar with a handful of taps. The front patio sat about six tables in the parking lot, so on a nice day people bring their pets with them. I had a pint of their Kölsch, and Isaac had their IPA. I enjoyed my beer and would have liked to have had another pint, but we were just soooo stinking stuffed at that point. We met the brewer, Chris Asher, who has received a couple GABF medals. He showed us the brewery and talked a bit about plans for more experimentation and growth – growth seemed to be a very common theme with just about all the breweries we saw on our tour. Every brewery was finding it difficult to keep up with the demands presented in their own local markets and most were considering, or in the process of expanding.
That night we ate at a restaurant called Reuben’s, which had a pretty nice list of Belgian beers. We didn’t make it to some of our other favorite spots – Twisted Pine and Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, but we’ll get back there sometime. After dinner we headed back to Jen’s place, sat in the hot tub for a while and called it a night. I slept under the stars, a big friendly golden retriever slept next to me and I thought to myself that Day 01 of the beer journey had turned out pretty damn nice!