Denver Beer Co doesn't have a kitchen, but the city's zoning inspectors may be tempted to double check.
The brewery, which opens today on Platte Street, serves Kaffir Lime Wheat as fresh and nuanced as any chef's signature appetizer, a rauschbier that smells and tastes like a plate of smoked bacon at one of Denver's popular pig palaces, and a Graham Cracker Porter as rich and soul satisfying as the specialty dessert at a Larimer Street eatery.
In fact, owners Charlie Berger and Patrick Crawford would like their menu to be compared with those at the city's chef-driven restaurants, full of seasonal flavors and specialties that come and go -- and no year-round staples. "That's the idea, anyway," says Berger, a former Wynkoop brewer who decided late last year that it was time to run his own place, as long as he was in the "keg washing business," rather than work for someone else.
"Craft beer drinkers are promiscuous," he adds. "They like to try a little of this and a little of that."
The two met as beer drinking classmates at Colgate University in upstate New York and renewed their friendship years later when Crawford, a home brewing engineer at Lockheed, discovered that Berger had moved back to Colorado and made a career out of hops, barley and yeast.
Six beers will be on tap today beginning at noon (the rauschbier won't be ready for a couple more weeks), an IPA, a pale ale, a rye IPA, the Kaffir Lime Wheat, a a stout and the Graham Cracker Porter. You can enjoy them at the long, inviting bar -- made from beetle killed Lodgepole pine -- at tables set in front of giant garage doors or outside at long tables designed like those in German beer gardens, where drinkers sit down with one another to start conversations over a pint.
Crawford, who toured Germany a few years ago, is especially proud of those tables -- which may be unique in the city's ever-increasing tap rooms -- for their addition to Denver beer culture. Berger and Crawford built the tables themselves.
Denver Beer Co will also serve enormous soft Bavarian-style pretzels that it gets from City Bakery, the bread and treat-producing specialty house run by Michael Bortz. The pretzels will come with a variety of mustards.
Located down the street from Paris on the Platte in a 3,400-square-foot auto repair shop, Denver Beer Co include a gleaming seven barrel brewhouse that Berger and Crawford acquired from a former outlet of the Hops Grill and Brewery chain in Newington, Connecticut, and three seven-barrel fermenters.
There will be beer drinking all day today and a ribbon cutting ceremony tonight at 7 p.m.