Following a full day at the festival, we headed to The Source in Denver’s RiNo district, home to RiNo Yacht Club & Crooked Stave, then finished up the day at Biju’s Little Curry Shop. Despite having a craving for curry, it just so happened that right next door to the curry house was a cozy microbrewery – Zephyr Brewing Company. This appealing little brewery had a taproom packed with numerous people playing board games and enjoying Zephyr’s varied and interesting draft list, featuring a Pale Ale with blood orange, a Quadrupel with Belgian candi sugar and pomegranate molasses and even blends of kombucha.
A quick Uber led us back to our hotel where we popped open a crowler of Cerebral’s Rare Trait and called it a night.
Our final day in Denver proved to be the most eventful, as we traveled from brewery to brewery, sampling wares at every stop.
True to the name, TRVE Brewing Company had all the feeling of a place that would rather sacrifice a pig than change its craft ways, with vintage metal spurring the yeast to frenzied fermentation within the mash pits.
From the outside, Baere appeared a bit barebones, nestled in the bosom of a shopping center whose halcyon days likely coincided with Gerald Ford’s presidency. However, the inside was a sunny saturnalia of reclaimed wood and kettle-soured gose goodness. Coupled with a sprightly Berliner Weisse, we had found excellent replacements for our morning orange juice.
Call to Arms Brewing Company's I Need An Adult Double IPA highlighted an informative and enjoyable brewery tour hosted by founder Chris Bell.
Renegade Brewing Company was up next, and we got started with a few IPAs. With numerous options on tap, including a summer seasonal DIPA (Summer Tan), a West Coast-style IPA (Runaway) and a year-round Triple IPA (Endpoint), we were a bit spoilt for choice. In addition, the brewery was replete with sours and saisons, including Crixus, a strawberry rhubarb saison, and Beetnik, a saison with beets. With samples of all under our belts, it was time to move on to our next destination – Call to Arms Brewing Company.
We were met by Call to Arms “proprietor and controller” Chris Bell, who walked us through the brewery’s background. Founded by himself, Jesse Brookstein and Jon Cross (all three are transplants from Boulder, Colorado’s well-established Avery Brewing Company), Call to Arms focuses on beer styles the brewers want to make and share with the entire Denver beer scene such as Freedom Fries Saison, an imperial-strength Belgian beauty, Oats and Hose Porter, a smooth-drinking dark brew, and I Need An Adult, a Double IPA with lip-smacking hoppiness.
After a brief reprieve, it was dinner time. Work & Class Restaurant proved to be one of the hottest eateries in Denver, and we opted for the famous Southern Fried Chicken. Crispy, tender and well-seasoned, the meal lived up to the hype. Throughout the meal, this tiny, lo-fi, corner restaurant was packed to the gills with people clamoring for a taste of some All-American cuisine. It didn’t hurt that the beer list was solid too, though we opted for a whiskey barrel-aged apricot offering from Stem Cider with our meal.
Our last stop of the day was First Draft, “the largest self-serve draft system in Denver.” This novel concept for a bar featured 40 taps of craft beer from around the nation from which you could serve yourself. First Draft charges by the ounce, and when you enter, they provide a glass and a card that you swipe that keeps track of what you drink and in what quantity. After a long day of drinking fine craft brews, I finished up with a small pour of Pipeworks Brewing Company’s Lizard King Pale Ale, a highly-sought after brew that delivered an aromatic punch of grassy hops with a crisp, citrusy flavor and firm bitterness in the finish.
A self-poured sample of Pipeworks Brewing Company's Lizard King at First Draft rounded out our Denver trip.
Denver was an amazing trip, and we could’ve easily spent two weeks there without scratching the surface of the incredible volume of craft suds that was on display. The Passport Program runs from May 27 to September 5, so you still have plenty of time to book a trip and enjoy the benefits of using the Passport in any of the 12 cities where it’s available.
Colorado, the headquarters of The Passport Program, boasts the most choices for passports with Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins joining the capital. Numerous other locations scattered around the U.S. feature passports, such as Brooklyn, San Diego and Nashville. While beer was our main concern, the passport also provides discounts at bars, restaurants, wineries and distilleries in the city of your choice.
If you need an excuse to take a beer-, wine- or spirits-themed trip, look no further than The Passport Program. Find out more at www.thepassportprogram.com.
(All body photos by Chris Guest)