The palette of Denver's palate deepens and broadens today when Goed Zuur opens in Five Points, serving not just a vast spectrum of complex sour and wild ales, but a sophisticated range of small plates and unusual dishes.
Set inside a 120-year-old brick building with a carefully restored 1930s-era mural on the side, Goed Zuur, which means "good acid" in Dutch, boasts an interior look best described as Steampunk meets European chic. Long tables with elevated platforms for meat-and-cheese boards run along one side, while an artsy clock covers an entire wall on the other. In the middle is a copper-topped bar and custom draft tower made of industrial pipe, wood and lightbulbs.
But it's the menu that is going to change the game in Denver. Not only will Goed Zuur serve only sour and wild ales — becoming what is probably the first such bar in the nation — but it will pair those often polarizing, often exquisite niche beers with a complementary menu of charcuterie, hand selected cheeses and housemade bread.
On the food side, co-owner and chef Anthony Lopiccolo will prepare dishes like duck cassoulet and tonno di maiale, which is made with pork leg rather than the traditional tuna, and preserved and served in a jar of olive oil. Curated, upscale pairing menus like this aren't often found in Colorado beer bars.
There will also be a huge focus on the cheese, since "that is what pairs best with sours," says co-owner John Fayman. "Then you need the meat side of it to counteract the acid in the beers with fatty food."
While Goed Zuur would be perfectly at home in San Francisco, Portland or New York, co-owner John Fayman thinks it will find its best audience in Denver, where beer drinkers are educated and ready — ready to enjoy beers that are challenging and high-priced, often because they are rare and among the most difficult for brewers to make.
"If you put our breweries here that make those beers – and the amount of knowledge that the people making them have – against any other market in the country, and maybe in the world, we would come out ahead,” says Fayman, who owns Backcountry Pizza and Taphouse in Boulder and Backcountry Pizza in Nederland.
As a result, Fayman will line up local stars like Crooked Stave, Casey Brewing & Blending, Avery Brewing, Trinity Brewing and Epic Brewing alongside national players like Russian River, Almanac Beer, Prairie Artisan Ales and Jester King, and international powerhouses like Tilquin, Cantillon and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel. There will always be 24 to 26 beers on tap, along with a large cellar of bottled beers that Fayman is still putting together.
"The ratio of Colorado beers to everyone else will depend on what I have available. I always want to be pouring the best selection across the board that I can get, but I am certainly focusing on a lot of local stuff," he says. "It's rare to find a Colorado brewery today that isn't doing some form of sour, kettle sour or mixed-fermentation beer. And everyone is doing a lot better job and producing more. We will probably be half local at all times."
The beers will all be served in three stylish logo glasses specific to different kinds of beers: barrel-aged sours, for instance, will get large tulip glasses, while goses will be poured into taller, thinner vessels. All of the glasses are sixteen ounces, but the pours will be closer to ten so that people can enjoy the nose and aroma of each one. Most of the beers will also be available in 25-ounce decanters, which will be used for serving and pouring.
The bottled beers and kegs will be stored in a large stone- and brick-lined 1,200-square-foot cellar that includes a modern lift to the main floor. The basement, which stays at a cool 49 degrees even on hot summer days, was a real selling point for Fayman, who is used to seeing his European counterparts storing beer that way.
The building, at 2801 Welton Street, had been home to a variety of bars, restaurants and markets over the decades since it was built sometime around 1895. Most recently, it housed BJ's Port, which closed in 2007.
While the building was being renovated in 2015, developer Star Mesa Properties discovered an old mural, or "ghost sign," as they are called, underneath a beige stucco exterior. In accordance with a city rule for historic buildings, the sign, which advertises the Yuye Cafe and Coca-Cola, was preserved
Goed Zuur, with seating for eighty to one hundred people, opens at 3 p.m. today (May 8) and plans to feature a special beer tapping at 6 p.m. each night this week. Keep reading for more photos.
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