What did we do on Day 2 of GABF 2016 and day 3 of being in Denver? We drank. We drank a lot of beer. We didn’t go to the Friday session, but we saw a bunch of people who were going or had gone.
Dave and I started the day with a bagel sandwich breakfast at Dudleroy’s Bagels followed by a great deal of lounging around and some work before we headed out to lunch and brewery visits. After an Uber ride with a guy who literally just moved to Denver this past Saturday from Daytona Beach, we had lunch at Snarf’s a local sandwich shop chain.
We walked from Snarf’s intending to go to Epic Brewing. On the way, we passed Stem Ciders and decided to go in and have a cider as a warm up. I had a nice semi-dry cider made from wild fermentation. After that quick stop, we continued our journey towards Epic.
I will say as an aside, the walk was a bit sketchy. These breweries are all in a former warehouse and industrial district still undergoing redevelopment so sidewalks don’t always exist.
Anyway, we walked onto Epic where there was a line to just get a spot at the bar. So, we made the quick decision that there was too much beer in Denver to waste standing in a line like that no matter how much we both like Epic’s beer. We took a short walk over to Bierstadt Lagerhaus a place that is pretty new in the Denver beer scene. As the name implies Bierstadt is all German style beer brewed in accordance to the Reinheitsgebot.
I had the Dunkel and the Oktoberfest, both were excellent. The best thing about the place was the atmosphere and the view. It is in an old printing facility and uses some of the old equipment as decorations as well as kept the hard industrial feel of the metal and concrete that fills that place. Also, it has one of the best views of Denver you can get.
From there we made another short walk to Ratio Beerworks. The thing that I love about the Denver beer scene is how different all the breweries are from each other. Ratio is a completely different experience then Bierstadt. Ratio has a punk DIY aesthetic that I fell in love with immediately. Also, as someone who has spent a month diving back into Fugazi, the first beer I got there had to be the Repeater extra pale ale followed by another great beer the French Saison, Dear You.
By then, Ginny had joined us from work and after our second round, she drove us to Hogshead where I had in order, the AK Ordinary Bitter, the Barge’s Mild, the Chin Wag ESB, and finally the 2013 Window Licker Barleywine. All on cask.
If anything, this week has shown me what the future of beer in Charlotte could be. Every brewery I have been to is different than the last and the next brewery. The great thing is they were all good. They seem to care most about the liquid in the glass (the most important part) yet come at the process in different ways. Charlotte is just starting to develop that feel where all the breweries are great yet still differentiate themselves. I’m sure there are mediocre breweries in Denver, but that percentage seems to be lower here because the beer culture is so mature and ingrained in Denver culture in general.