Using the fantastic Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado Beer Passport that we picked up from Denver Bike Cafe, we went on a little Beerventure yesterday to 4 local breweries: Black Shirt Brewing, Alpine Dog, Epic Brewing, and Renegade Brewing. Read more for an in-depth account of these great places as well as a map you can follow for your own Beerventure!
Stop #1: Black Shirt Brewing
Black Shirt is one of our favorite breweries. If you remember, Steven checked out Black Shirt a few months ago, went on a tour, and hung out with owner and Red Ale Project fearless leader, Chad Miller. Read more about the Red Ale Project here.
This visit, we had a different goal in mind. Steven had learned via BSB’s Facebook page that the Black Shirt Common Red would be tapped at 2 pm sharp, and had to get a piece of it.
Upon arrival, we learned that this special beer was a part of Black Shirt Brewing’s Secret Beer Society, and was limited to members only. What to do? Well, become a member, of course! Not only was the Common Red a part of the elusive beer list, but pistachio is among the other unique flavors.
Although Black Shirt isn’t included in the Beer Passport, it is still a Brewery that makes the map & is very much worth visiting. The Red Ale Project is not only delicious, but warrants appreciation as a unique niche in Denver.
While Steve sipped his Common Red, I made sure to check out the Blood Orange IRA, one of their most popular beers since tapping about a week ago. The blood oranges were supplied by multiple local suppliers and are easily identified in this tasty, bold IRA.
To represent our fave Denver brewery, we bought a little swag – a fitted hat (shown above) and a Black Shirt. We will make sure to wear them proudly, especially when visiting BSB. Want to make sure they know we’re in the Secret Beer Society so we can peak at the society’s beer list for member’s only!
Stop #2: Alpine Dog Brewing Company
Located at Colfax & Ogden, Alpine Dog is the new kid on the block. The goal there is simple: Bold flavors in a variety of styles of brews. And honestly, they do it well. The ambience is simple – a vast front bar, high-top tables & chairs, with a glimpse into the brewery. A variety of games are provided to accompany your sipping enjoyment.
When visiting new breweries, or even revisiting old with new flavors on tap, we always suggest getting a flight. Usually, you can pick up a few 4 ozers for less than $10 bucks. Yesterday, I picked up 4: the Miss American Rye Rye Blonde Ale – 5.5%, the Gravity Check American Pale Ale – 6 %, the Cherry-Wood Smoked Porter – 6%, and the Coffee Blind Sherpa American Coffee Stout – 6.75%. Each had a very distinguishable taste, much like their descriptive names. I’m not big into smokey flavors for food or beer, so the Cherry-Wood Smoked Porter wasn’t for me, but Jeff and Steve raved about it. My favorite was the Coffee Blind Sherpa American Coffee Stout for a few reasons – Coffee IS my thing, the flavor was relevant and not overpowering, and I appreciate a Stout that’s done well. Breweries are popping up EVERYWHERE these days, and I find it especially offensive when “beer snobs” say it’s hard to mess up Porters and Stouts. Some of us have tastebuds and appreciate the complex over the basic, just sayin’. Thanks for going the extra mile, Alpine Dog.
In the words of one of the staff members, “We don’t fuck around here”. And, it’s true – they do an awesome job with their complex tastes and have a vast knowledge of the beer industry & brewing. Also, the staff is beyond hilarious – we enjoyed reminiscing of the days of Napster and the first friend getting DSL modems in order to “burn music”. Talk about flashback Friday.
Stop by and visit Alpine Dog – they’re a good time. This is also a Brewery not included in the Passport coupons, but is located on the map as a bad ass brewery to visit. And, it’s so close to Cap Hill! Thank goodness.
Stop #3: Epic Brewing Company
We have a lot of good things to say about this brewery – the huge fireplace is nice, the interesting half-moon shaped bar is cool, the staff is nice and prompt, and the beer is pretty spot-on. A fan of the fruity beers AND the dark porters and stouts, Epic Brewing delivers on both. We’ll forgive them for originating in Utah.
A little more commercialized than the previous two breweries, Epic is easy to find at your local AppleJacks and Argonaut, which has been fun for us while entertaining visitors – it’s easy to pick up their product and introduce it to those that are visiting who may not have the luxury of time to go visit the brewery. Their beer is also bottled and available at the brewery in large beverage coolers – you can’t miss ’em, they’re located directly in front of you when you walk in!
This isn’t a new brewery for us, but definitely one we appreciate visiting. In the Beer Passport, there is a coupon for a free flight – no purchase necessary. With this, I chose 3 brews (pictured right): Sour Apple Saison, Lil’ Brainless® Raspberries, and Imperial Stout. All arrived promptly in 4oz glasses for my drinking pleasure. The Apple Saison is so tart, and oh so good. – this is a sour we never get sick of (hence all of us ordering it!). I’m a big fan of ALL of their “Brainless” Projects including the Brainless on Cherries and the regular Brainless on Raspberries. I liked that the lil’ Brainless Raspberries was a lighter, brighter version. This will definitely top by summer beer shopping list to pair well with a nice, strawberry summer salad.
Beerventure Disclosure: By now, you’re thinking we’re alcoholics. Don’t worry, friends – this Beerventure spanned the entire day yesterday! Also, because many breweries do not serve their own food, they rely on many local Food Truck experts to feed their hungry patrons. We took part in much Food Truck awesomeness, and have saved those insights for another blog post! Stay tuned.
FINAL STOP: Stop #4: Renegade Brewing Company
Renegade is a cool, laid back brewery located on 9th in Denver. We’d visited this brewery on a brew & bike tour hosted by our good friends at Coco Bikes last summer, and really enjoyed ourselves. They provide a very chill atmosphere, also providing table games and letting patrons bring their pups in to hang out.
Using the Beer Passport, we each ordered a Free Pint with no purchase necessary for our first round (remember to tip well when receiving your free brewskis). Steve ordered the Hiatus, a cold-coffee infused Oatmeal Ale that he says was particularly light on coffee, but still resonated in the after-taste. He also remarked that it was a surprisingly light ale, despite the dark, bold color. Knowing that it’s a lighter option, he said there’s a better opportunity that he’ll drink it more often. Jeff and I both went fruity and ordered the Consilium Pale Ale, harping on the orange peel. Another light (5%), enjoyable beer, this will definitely be a summer favorite in our household. The pale ale portion definitely overpowers the fruitiness of the orange peel, making for a fresh flavor instead of an overpowering fruit jam after-taste.
Another thing we love about Renegade – the brew tour is only $5 bucks, and gets you a tour, a pint glass, 2 brews, and discounted cans! Check out Renegade on Facebook by clicking here – they’re always letting you know what’s new, what’s on tap, and what Food Trucks are hanging out for your noshing pleasure.
How did we get there?
Here is the route that we took for Alpine Dog, Epic, and Renegade Breweries in Denver via bike:
Stay tuned for our Foodventures during this Beerventure – we ate at two Denver Foodtrucks that are blowing up the scene!
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