When I moved to Colorado seven years ago, I got an entry-level job at Great Divide Brewing Co.. One of my duties was driving around in a piece-of-shit van with a busted transmission, delivering kegs to accounts whose supplies had run out.
After a few months on the job, I was dispatched to the Wazee Super Club -- a Denver institution, I was told -- because the Samurai tap had just kicked and the bar needed a keg dropped off. What I wasn't told, however, was that I would be doing just that.
By now I had learned that keg delivery is a bit of an art form, especially downtown. Essentially, the older the building, the more difficult it is to maneuver a full-size keg of beer into its depths, where the keg cooler usually sits.
Keg delivery had quickly become one of my least favorite responsibilities, and I'll admit I wasn't in the best of moods when I pulled up to the corner of 15th and Wazee streets. But crankiness quickly turned to confusion when I learned how I had to deliver the kegs there.
The bartender led me outside to the sidewalk, pointed to a metal cover in the middle of it, and said, "Kegs go down there. Open the hatch. Drop the keg on top of the tires, climb down and drag it into the cooler." Turns out, the Wazee had taken advantage of its unique architecture by setting up a keg-delivery system through an old manhole that led to its basement from the street. And they've been using this system since the bar opened 38 years ago.
Nervously, I did what I was told. It's hard to describe what it's like to drop a keg down a hole onto a bunch of old tires -- it's frightening and exhilarating and, above all, satisfying. So much so that after the deed was done, I went back inside, sat down and had a beer at one of my new favorite spots in Denver.
So when I read that the Wazee was closing for renovations, I had to see if the ol' keg hatch was still there. It was, but it probably won't get used much anymore since a staircase to the cooler is part of the makeover. Thankfully, Wazee GM Shannon Baker was there and let me use the hatch one last time...for old time's sake.
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Witness what it's like to drop off a keg (okay, an empty one, but still) at the Wazee Supper Club: