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Denver brewpubs

j
johnbycz Apr 27, 2011 01:18 PM

I'll be in Denver next week -- first time, can't wait. Been trolling the boards here looking for recommendations. We're looking for a brewpub rec, the best combination of beer and food, because some people are really big on beer and others don't drink beer. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  1. j
    johnbycz May 4, 2011 07:00 AM

    We ended up at Wynkoop, and enjoyed ourselves. We had five drinks but tasted probably 12 beers. I like to sit at the bar and get samples; bartender was great and the manager even threw in a shot of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey to boot. I drank the milk stout and Silverback IPA (their beer list is heavy on pale ales). At happy hour prices, five drinks and soft pretzels came to all of $25. Can't beat that with a stick. I'd go back.

    For dinner we headed to Euclid Hall, and were disappointed. The food was good; I had the short-rib kielbasa and grilled cabbage. The service was rough and and the loud European dance hall music seemed out of place. Lots of hipsters -- not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm not really Euclid's target audience. The draft list was interesting but didn't have as many local beers as I was looking for.

    4 Replies
    1. re: johnbycz
      p
      Pastajohn May 4, 2011 07:28 AM

      Interesting observation about Euclid Hall although when I look through the draft beer list, 9 of the 12 taps are Colorado beers:
      Oskar Blues - Longmont
      Steamworks - Durango
      Great Divide - Denver
      Avery - Boulder
      Stone -Escondido, CA
      Dry Dock - Aurora
      Boulevard - Kansas City
      Ska - Durango
      Crabtree - Greeley
      Left Hand - Longmont
      Odell - Ft Collins

      1. re: Pastajohn
        j
        johnbycz May 5, 2011 07:11 AM

        My apologies -- you're right. I guess I my view was slanted because it;'s not hard to find Left Hand and Stone back home. I was looking for beers I don't see as often (like the Avery). My view of the food (good but not special) and service (rough) stands.

      2. re: johnbycz
        DrakeRemoray May 4, 2011 08:07 AM

        Glad you enjoyed Wynkoop. Too bad Euclid Hall did not hit the mark for you. I imagine that since it is smaller (much less bar seating) and newer (and therefore more popular now), they were not able to give you the same level of attention that Wynkoop could.

        1. re: johnbycz
          m
          monopod May 4, 2011 12:20 PM

          Weird, I had a very different experience - great, very attentive service, a crowd with a lot of suit-and-ties, and they were playing Rodrigo y Gabriela for music (which I approved of). Must depend on when you go. Sorry it didn't live up to the hype. As for the beer, Pastajohn is right that there are a good number of Colorado beers on the list, but they're kind of dwarfed by the massive number of Belgians.

        2. j
          jcattles May 3, 2011 10:36 AM

          You might take a look at Jonesy's Eat Bar, Colt & Gray, & Argylle, Green Russell, Falling Rock Tap House, Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs has a brick & mortar site now, the beer list seems pretty good & so does the menu. These aren't technically brewpubs but they do offer locally brewed beer. You can look at their website's for menus & beer/cocktail lists. You could walk to most of them, but Argylle is in Cherry Creek which is quite aways. Good luck, Denver has some amazing places to eat & drink right now.

          -----
          Falling Rock Tap House
          1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202

          Jonesy's Eatbar
          400 E 20th Ave, Denver, CO 80205

          Colt & Gray
          1553 Platte Street, Denver, CO 80202

          1. b
            bens May 2, 2011 03:37 PM

            don't waste your time with any of the breckenridge brewery restaurants. The food is crappy, and while the beer is all right, it isn't worth it. There are better places with better beers. Worth grabbing a six pack, but the restaurants don't match the standards of the brewery. It's a shame.

            5 Replies
            1. re: bens
              m
              monopod May 4, 2011 12:17 PM

              I have to agree with bens and disagree with Lurker Dan - I've never been anything other than disappointed with the food at Breck Brewery and Dillon Dam Brewery. Pub food that's uninspired at best. Maybe I've ordered the wrong things; I've only been a couple of times, and decided it wasn't worth returning. Beer is decent, but not worth going out of your way for.

              -----
              Dillon Dam Brewery
              101 Little Dam Rd, Dillon, CO 80435

              1. re: monopod
                LurkerDan May 4, 2011 02:21 PM

                I never said he should go out of his way for it. I have yet to find a brew pub that has food that is worth driving out one's way for, I said if he's driving on I-70 it is, IMO, a better choice than TommyKnockers.

                As for brewpubs and food, where do you think is good? They're all pub food, they are what they are and follow a formula (which is what I said about Dillon DB, which I have eaten at countless times). I'm wondering if you think all pub food at brew pubs is "uninspired at best"? There are some variations on the formula, like Pug Ryan's which serves "nicer" food (but sometimes unsuccessfully) or the Mountain/Southern Sun/Vine Street, which puts a hippie spin on the formula (again, sometimes unsuccessfully and sometimes successfully).

                Brew pub food isn't "foodie" worthy, usually, so a place that serves a decent and filling burger, a good quesadilla, steak and chicken sandwiches, etc, is all I expect, and I'm satisfied when I get that consistently (along with good beer). I'd love to know where there is a brewpub that does better than that.

                1. re: LurkerDan
                  m
                  monopod May 5, 2011 01:56 PM

                  I just disagree with your statement that "Dillon Dam Brewery is good." To my tastes, the food isn't good. I think it's low-quality ingredients (Sysco, probably, and all prefrozen), prepared indifferently. Mountain/Southern Sun and Vine Street at least use good ingredients (freshly cut fries, organic beef, locally-made tortillas, etc.) and I think their food, while not great, is generally reasonably well executed and satisfying. I leave content, whereas I leave Dillon Dam and Breck Brewery disappointed.

                  You're right, though, about the lack of foodie brewpubs. Aren't there some "gastropubs" in Denver? Do any brew their own beer? Seems like a niche that ought to be filled...

                  Actually, I can think of one (kind of) exception: Upslope Brewery in Boulder, on Friday evening when the Comida taco truck parks outside. Excellent tacos and good, fresh beer. Not exactly a foodie brewpub, but close!

                  1. re: monopod
                    s
                    Strangewine May 6, 2011 05:48 PM

                    I've had plenty of OK meals at Dillon and lots of BAD meals at Mountain Sun. I think the Mountain Sun has far superior brews but I won't even order food there anymore. I don't know what they did to their burgers but a few years back they went from awesome to sawdust pucks and have never recovered IMHO.

                    I agree, it's hard to find a brewpup with above average fare but Dillon does decent wings, burgers salads and such. If you're in Summit County it's a worthwhile option (and superior to Breck Brewery for sure).

                    On a side note, Amica's in Salida actually does good beer and good pizza. Same can be said for the up and coming Eddyline Brewpup in Buena Vista - all local sourced ingredients and average to above average food.

                    1. re: Strangewine
                      LurkerDan May 8, 2011 11:08 AM

                      I'm glad someone agrees with me about the Dam! I also agree on the better beers at the Sun.

                      My favorite brew pub is Wild Mountain in Nederland. Small, locals feel, good bbq, good beer. Their Hop Diggity is one of my favorite beers anywhere.

            2. d
              Dave_in_PA May 2, 2011 08:51 AM

              I noticed that johnbycz says in a followup that he won't have a car, but could some of you local beer lovers give your opinion of Tommyknockers in Idaho Springs?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dave_in_PA
                LurkerDan May 2, 2011 09:20 AM

                Eh, I have never been very impressed with them or their beer, but have only been there a couple of times and have had their bottled beer a few more times. Are you going to be in Idaho Springs or passing through? If you're driving I-70 from or to the mountains, there are a couple of good brewpubs in Dillon (maybe 45 minutes from Idaho Springs).

                1. re: LurkerDan
                  d
                  Dave_in_PA May 3, 2011 05:24 AM

                  thanks, what do you recommend in Dillon?

                  1. re: Dave_in_PA
                    LurkerDan May 3, 2011 07:05 AM

                    Dillon Dam Brewery is good, it follows the "standard" brew pub format but I have always found the food and beer good. I also like Pug Ryan's, it is perhaps a little less consistent, but at its best it is a little better and a little less "formulaic", it's got more character and has a more locals feel. Either is a good choice, IMO.

                    -----
                    Dillon Dam Brewery
                    101 Little Dam Rd, Dillon, CO 80435

              2. LurkerDan Apr 29, 2011 09:22 AM

                When you say you are looking for a brewpub, is that just because you are looking for a place with plenty of good beers on tap that you can't find at home (wherever that is)? Or is it because you want to be at an establishment that brews their own beer? Because, as noted by others, there are plenty of places here that have great beer selections, but may not brew their own. I like brewpub food, but it rarely elevates to "foodie" status, so the people not drinking beer must want pub food to be satisfied. Much easier to find great food and great beer in the same place if you don't require that the beer be brewed on site.

                6 Replies
                1. re: LurkerDan
                  j
                  johnbycz Apr 29, 2011 12:50 PM

                  Thanks for all the suggestions. Specifically, I want local beer on tap. The food doesn't have to be high end, but fresh ingredients and some care in preparation would be appreciated. (For the record, I live in Ohio.) We're staying at the Crown Plaza downtown and won't have a car. Euclid was already on my radar. I was also looking at Great Divide, Breckenridge and Wynkoop. Was also looking at Bull & Bush but that's a little far away. We'll head to Fort Collins at the end of the week (would've gone to Boulder, but it's graduation weekend at UColorado and there's not a hotel room to be had).

                  1. re: johnbycz
                    LurkerDan Apr 29, 2011 02:04 PM

                    For local beer on tap, almost any good restaurant will have that! I am not familiar with the number of taps at all the downtown establishments, so will have to leave it to others. Euclid does look like a good choice, with 10 or 12 taps of local stuff. Never been a huge fan of the Breckenridge beers. Great Divide makes good stuff, and I'm not that familiar with the Wynkoop choices. Vine Street will have some tasty brews, and the food is ok in a hippy pub sort of way. Not walking distance, but not far.

                    1. re: johnbycz
                      DrakeRemoray Apr 29, 2011 02:10 PM

                      Avery makes some great local beers...be sure to look for their taps.

                      Maybe add Freshcraft to your list....great beers and food...

                      1. re: DrakeRemoray
                        LorenM Apr 29, 2011 04:22 PM

                        +1 on the Avery. The creme de la creme of locally brewed beers imho! I hear they have a decent tap room but they are in Boulder. I know The Wynkoop has been known to carry some of their stuff (had my first Avery Anniverary Ale there).

                      2. re: johnbycz
                        m
                        monopod May 2, 2011 08:24 AM

                        Keep in mind that Boulder is only a half-hour or so drive from downtown Denver, so it's easy to pop up to Boulder if you want to check out a place for dinner or drinks without staying there. The Kitchen and the Avery taproom are definitely worth the trip.

                        Since you're going to Fort Collins, you're signed up for the New Belgium brewery tour, right? Right????

                        1. re: monopod
                          j
                          johnbycz May 2, 2011 12:21 PM

                          i need to do that.

                    2. e_bone Apr 28, 2011 02:36 PM

                      I love the beers at Bull and Bush (Glendale) and the food is always pretty good too.

                      http://www.bullandbush.com/beers

                      1. p
                        pramjockey Apr 28, 2011 12:13 PM

                        If you're looking for an amazing selection of beer, the Falling Rock can't be beat:

                        http://www.fallingrocktaphouse.com/

                        they have beer that nobody else can get. Food is a second thought, but occasionally surprising.

                        A true icon is the Wynkoop, which has been an institution since the beginning:

                        http://www.wynkoop.com/

                        Decent beer, decent food, and an entertaining crowd.

                        There's always the selection of corporate "brewpubs" available, too, depending on where you want to be in town.

                        The nice thing about the Denver metro area is that most decent restaurants will have a reasonable selection of beer - you're probably safe picking the food you want and betting that there will be a drinkable beer there.

                        1. m
                          monopod Apr 28, 2011 08:38 AM

                          It's not a brewpub, but Euclid Hall (in Larimer Square) has an astoundingly well-chosen and large selection of beers (mostly belgians, but some others as well) and great grub - upscaled versions of poutine, schnitzel, handmade sausages, etc. Very fun place, not your typical brewpub atmosphere.

                          For an actual brewpub, try Vine Street Pub (in the Uptown neighborhood). It's basically an offshoot of Boulder in Denver (it's the same folks that own the iconic Mountain Sun Brewery in Boulder). The food is OK pub fare, nothing spectacular but it's cheap and fresh (burgers, burritos, etc.), but the beer is really excellent.

                          Finally, if you want some high-end food in a place that also has an incredible beer selection, head up to Boulder and go to the Kitchen. Huge beer cellar - a lot of local brewers like to come here and check out obscure belgian bottlings - and also some of the best food anywhere in Colorado.

                          -----
                          Larimer Square
                          , Denver, CO 80202

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: monopod
                            DrakeRemoray Apr 29, 2011 09:47 AM

                            I second the recommendation for Euclid Hall. It has a great beer selection (very carefully thought out) and great food too. And it is close to some other great spots as well.

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