Beer Man

Drink These Uniquely Denver Beers on 303 Day

You can find 303 Lager at Station 26 Brewing.
You can find 303 Lager at Station 26 Brewing. Station 26 Brewing
Colorado has four area codes, but only 303 can lay claim to being the first (it was put into place in 1947), the oldest by far and the most palindromic. That OG vibe also gives it the most cachet, which is why people in Denver and its suburbs, which is where most of the 303 numbers are distributed, like to name their restaurants, auto shops, stores, publications and products after those magic digits.

When it comes to beer, Station 26 Brewing scored a major victory two years ago for all things local when it secured the trademark "statement of use" rights to 303 for beer and brewery-related products.

Across town, Factotum Brewhouse celebrates 303 Day — March, 3, of course — every year, and did so again by pre-selling pints of beer for $3.03 over the last few weeks; purchasers can show up and quaff their beers on Wednesday (try the brewery's Glorieta "Colorado-Style" IPA if you want to stay on theme).

And then there is Denver Beer Co., which is unveiling a new year-round beer on Wednesday called Love This City American Pilsner. The can label features artwork by Denver's Pat Milbery, who is painting a new mural at DBC's Platte Street taproom on Wednesday as well in honor of 3030 Day.

But there's plenty of Denver to go around this 303 day at breweries all over town: Whether it's local ingredients, brewery and beer names, or logos and labels, they are flying the blue, red and yellow.
click to enlarge DIEBOLT BREWING
Diebolt Brewing
Only a block from Factotum and its $3.03 beers, Diebolt Brewing has just released the Colorado Cache, a French biere de garde brewed for its 500th batch. But the awesome name ("cache" is a French word often used by fur trappers in the Old West in the 1800s) and logo are just the beginning. The beer was also brewed with yeast from Denver's Inland Island yeast company, grain from the Colorado Malting Company and Cascade hops from the Western Slope. It was then lagered for twelve weeks, half of that in oak barrels.

Plenty of other breweries around town use yeast from Inland Island — as well as Denver's other yeast company, Propagate. One of those is Goldspot Brewing, which is so very Colorado that it's named for the bright sun on the state flag and even includes the flag in its logo. As for beer, try the Centurion IPA; Goldspot keeps it local by donating $1 per pint of this beer to the Colorado Coalition got the Homeless.

click to enlarge GREAT DIVIDE BREWING
Great Divide Brewing
Of course, it doesn't get any more Denver than a brewery named for the Mile High City: Denver Beer Co., founded in 2011. Give Graham Cracker Porter a shot and feel those city vibes. Not too far from Denver Beer Co. is Great Divide Brewing, one of the oldest craft breweries in Denver. Great Divide lets its Colorado show every year by enlisting a local artist to design a new label for the brewery's Denver Pale Ale. This year's artwork juxtaposes old and new Denver in drawings by Denver-based Adam Vicarel.

Speaking of old and new, two Denver breweries have used names that hark back to the city's roots. Wynkoop Brewing, founded in 1988 across the street from Union Station, has been making its flagship Rail Yard Ale for decades as a tribute to the trains that helped Denver grow. Meanwhile, one of Strange Craft Beer Company's flagships is called Cherry Kriek, a fun word play on the waterway where the city was founded and the Belgian cherry-based beer style.

click to enlarge It doesn't get more Colorado than Goldspot Brewing's logo. - GOLDSPOT BREWING
It doesn't get more Colorado than Goldspot Brewing's logo.
Goldspot Brewing
Several breweries over the years have named beers after the longest, wickedest street in America, Colfax Avenue, one of this city's most well-known, most loved (and most hated) landmarks and thoroughfares. To honor the old U.S. Route 40, head to Alpine Dog Brewing (at Colfax and Ogden) for a pint of Colfax Gold, a Belgian-style golden ale with notes of fruit and spice — spice being the thing that Colfax life is made of.

Local streets, neighborhood and transportation round out this rundown of Denver beers, starting with Zuni Street IPA, which you can get at Zuni Brewing. Then there's the not-so-politically-correct Federal Tweaker, a pale that west Denver's Little Machine Beer Company says "casually jaywalks across your tongue with no regard for its own survival," and Broken Bridge Hazy IPA, which Briar Common Brewery + Eatery named for what it calls a nearby "horrible bridge" to the Central Platte Valley that is always in disrepair.

The D train runs just outside of Spangalang Brewery - SPANGALANG BRWERY
The D train runs just outside of Spangalang Brewery
Spangalang Brwery
At Raices Brewing, you'll find Valle del Sol Golden Ale, a beer named for the Sun Valley neighborhood in honor of the community and its rebirth. And at Spangalang Brewery in Five Points, order a pint of D-Train IPA, named for the light rail that runs chair-shakingly close to the brewery's windows.

Oh, and finally, give Crooked Stave's Von Pilsner a shot. Although Denver Broncos Super Bowl MVP and future Hall of Famer Von Miller may not be on the team much longer and is currently under criminal investigation, there's no question he's had a big influence on the city, so much so that Crooked Stave made a play on his name for this excellent version of the pilsner style. Can't stomach a beer while thinking about Miller? Raise your Von Pilsner to the east Denver mansion of Baron Walter von Richthofen instead.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes