It’s not uncommon for vegans to miss a certain dish they used to love. For beer lovers, going vegan means saying goodbye to a beloved beer style: a slightly creamy, slightly sweet milk stout — until now.
Alternation Brewing, at 1539 South Broadway, brews a completely lactose-free almond-milk stout called For the Animals. Owner and brewer Brendan Pleskow wanted to create the same silky finish of a milk stout without the dairy so that vegans — and those who don’t do lactose — could enjoy the beer, too.
“We achieved the results through a high mash temperature and long boil to promote long-chain sugars and caramelization,” Pleskow explains, “as well as the use of a low attenuating yeast strain to promote greater residual sugar in the final product.”
He also added a small amount of organic almond meal and organic almond extract to create a bit of a fatty, creamy, nutty profile, similar to that of almond milk.
The South Broadway brewery opened the small, family-run brewery in December 2017 and has gained a following among locals, especially meat-free folks. A vegan himself, Pleskow didn’t set out for Alternation to necessarily be a vegan brewery. “I just want to make awesome beer,” he says. And with innovative, well-made brews like Killer Cam, an aromatic IPA with lavender and chamomile, and Chest Fever, an espresso Imperial Stout, he’s doing just that.
However, vegans are loving the cool, laid-back atmosphere with grub from regular food trucks like Vegan Van, Wong Way Veg, and SOS Catering. Everyone is welcome to bring in their own food, too, or order from nearby spots for delivery. Alternation also hosted a three-course dinner and beer pairing with Vegan Van that included a citrus salad with agave dressing with a farmhouse ale, pesto pasta primavera with a dry-hopped pale Czech lager, and cannoli, chocolate-covered strawberries and turtle bars with the espresso stout.
The brewery is also active in benefiting the local vegan community and causes that are dear to the hearts of many plant-based eaters (and drinkers). Pleskow has teamed up with Poser Dogs, a Denver-based company trying to open the first all-vegan hot dog cart, and also works with Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary to bring rescued animals to the brewery. Plus, a portion of sales from For the Animals stout goes toward the Humane League, an organization that promotes farm animal welfare.
A roomy patio (with outdoor summer movie nights), live music, fun events, great beer and a friendly staff makes this brewery a must-visit for everyone, not just vegans. Alternation Brewing is open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday from 1 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Visit the brewery's Facebook page for more details.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.