Vespa Your Way Through Vietnam's Budding Craft Beer Scene
1. CAUTION: Brewing Co.12445 E 39th Ave, Denver
2. Chain Reaction Brewing Co.902 S Lipan St, Denver
3. Coda Brewing Co.2101 N Ursula Ct, Aurora
4. Comrade Brewing Company7667 E Iliff Ave , Denver
5. Copper Kettle Brewing1338 S. Valentia St, Denver
6. Equinox Brewing133 Remington St, Fort Collins
7. Front Range Brewing Company400 W South Boulder Rd #1650, Lafayette
8. Station 26 Brewing Co.7045 E 38th Ave, Denver
9. Strange Craft Beer Co.1330 Zuni St, Denver
Caution’s the name, but it’s the exact opposite of the game at this two-branch outfit — especially on Thursdays, when head brewer Danny Wang usually unveils his latest experiment in firkin. We’re talking Gose made with black pepper to play on the style’s salty character. And saison fermented with Cabernet Sauvignon grape must, underscoring the appeal that the fruity farmhouse ale has for wine drinkers.
At the helm of this neighborhood hideout, cousins Zack and Chad Christofferson are a playful pair as it is, so you can bet Zack’s on the level when he says "the options for pushing the limits are endless". Think English mild aged with habañeros, mint-infused Belgian rye stout, or dark saison with coconut & peppercorns.
Coda Brewing, located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, is run by an actual chemist, named Luke Smith, and stocked with lab beakers and apothecary jars instead of pint glasses and snifters. Coda, in short, is all about experimentation, but it really ups the ante on Fridays, when the experimental elixirs flow in the form of dandelion saison with raspberry-blossom honey, and rum barrel-aged peach Kölsch.
David Lin and his crew aren’t that committed to Soviet tropes. On the contrary, the firkins they tap on a weekly basis will make you proud to be an American, loaded as they are with all the stuff that makes this country great — from Cocoa Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch to glazed doughnuts and, yes, apple pie.
A locally-owned mom-and-pop brewery/tasting room, Copper Kettle Brewing Company is dedicated to hold onto the American/Cheers-like spirit of the local neighborhood bar. They've got a rotating tap list, and a select few year-round styles, like their award-winning Mexican Chocolate Stout.
In Fort Collins, Colin Westcott and his team work with farmers, spice merchants, and other local purveyors to score the goods for their Thursday firkin tappings, each cooler than the last. One week it might be Rauchbier (smoked lager) conditioned with roasted chestnuts, the next could yield an IPA-gone-exotic with cardamom and grains of paradise.
Good things come in small-batch packages at this hidden gem tucked in the back of a suburban strip mall, which warrants discovery for its Wednesday series of one-offs: a cider or hibiscus saison here, a jasmine rice-laced IPA or brown ale inspired by Mississippi Mud Pie there.
Located in a former fire station, Station 26 keeps fanning the flames of success with Thursday firkin tappings that reveal creativity to spare, be it a brown porter with maple syrup & pecans, or a fruitcake dubbel aged on brandied oak chips.
Close your eyes on One-Barrel Wednesdays at Strange Craft, and you may as well be sitting in a farmhouse kitchen as an industrial strip center in the shadow of I-25. Zucchini bread cream ale, sweet potato-green chile pale ale, blackberry-bergamot golden ale — it’s like someone just burst through the door with an entire farmers market.