Visited on: Friday 1st June 2018
CO-Brew is of a genre that I have visited in other places in the USA, yet is a first for Denver. It’s a home-brew supplies outlet that is also a bar. Yet quite this pub is the only example of that style to be found in this brewing epicentre. Previously the nearest was in Aurora, a city to the east of Denver.
I was with wife Linda when we visited and I have to say that despite the rather austere surroundings we had some very good beers.
It’s to be found on Broadway south of the city centre and has off-street parking, a great advantage for a shop. The founders are Jamie and Janna Williams and they have had the idea since 2013. This culminated with its opening of the shop during May 2015. Jamie had left employed work with Audi cars to start up the enterprise.
The shop offers quite a lot as it is possible to purchase the ingredients for a fixed amount of money. The beer is then brewed on CO-Brew’s equipment and finally, when the beer has undergone some maturation, he will put it into keg, can or bottle at the customer’s request. He says that he does this to assist those who want to brew but are unable to so at home and the packages come in beginner, moderate and advanced level.
As for the retail side of his business, Jamie thinks it accounts for around 70% of his sales, so the true brewer-at-home still provides the majority of his trade.
The remainder comes from customers learning to brew and those propping up the tap-room bar, the category myself and Linda found us in that day. The premises is around 3,000 square foot with 2,000 devoted to the store and the rest for the tap-room and brewing equipment.
The premises has a long frontage along Broadway. On entering we could see that this was the main retail area with every type of equipment along with malt and hop varieties you could imagine. We took a zigzag route past some wooden wine barrels of maturing beer through to the bar counter area which had tables and seats in front of it.
xWe purchased some samplers glasses of beer and took a further look around the place. Around the corner we found the area where the brew-to-go beer is produced. Not one, but four small breweries in a row!
These were of the Glitchmann BrewEasy type and are electrically powered and each is capable of a twenty (US) gallon output. So it is possible for four groups (or individuals) to brew a beer simultaneously.
Owner Jamie was in attendance and we had a full discussion regarding styles of beer. There were eight available when we visited and these were: East Coast IPA (7.4%); Brett IPA (6.1%); Red Wine Barrel aged Imperial Stout (10.2%); Kottbusser (6.1%); Belgian Wit (6.2%); Root Shoot Pale Ale (6.2%); Czech Pilsner (6.0%) and Meyer Lemon Gose (4.6%).
There were certainly a very wide range of types amongst this list. Myself and Linda are not fond of sweet-tasting beers, so the Belgian Wit was out. Brett IPA would have been very sour as it is fermented from natural yeasts in the air. Gose is another sour beer, originally from Leipzig in Germany, although I don’t know how the lemon might have changed it. I’m not sure why we didn’t have the Czech Pilsener, but we didn’t.
This is what we thought of the remaining four. East Coast IPA surprised as we thought it was like a West Coast IPA with not much fruitiness, and was all citrus. Kottbusser is an old style brought back to life by modern US brewers. It came from the city of Cottbus in East Germany. It uses both wheat and barley malt along with other additions. Its description said it had a honey and molasses after taste. We got honey but not the molasses. It was like a less tart version of Grodziskie Pivo, or Grätzer Bier from Grodzisk (Poland) which I was lucky enough to try before the brewery closed in 1993.
We thought Root Shoot Pale Ale was very likeable without being assertive. Root Shoot are a Colorado based company that grows and sells grain products for the brewing industry. We guessed that it was made with a selection of their malts and hops. Saving the best till last, we then had Wine Barrel Imperial Stout, which was absolutely superb. You would have thought that this might have been a bit sweet, yet was exactly the opposite. It was quite dry in the Irish stout style, totally beautiful! This beer alone made our visit so worthwhile.
CO-Brew, 1133 Broadway, Denver, Colorado 80203. Tel: 720 485 4959. Web: cobrewdenver.com
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10.00-19.00; Sunday 11.00-17.00.
The frequent 0 bus is the best way to get here. From the city centre alight at Broadway and 9th Avenue.
Then go easterly along 8th Avenue and you will find the pub on the opposite corner one block over, at Lincoln. From the south alight from the 0 at the Lincoln Street and 11th Avenue stop.
Go forward in the direction of travel to the next road intersection which is 11th Avenue, turn left into it.
Then turn right into Broadway and the Shop-Pub-Brewery is on the opposite side of the road on the left.
The 0 bus starts at Union Station yet there are many other bus routes to and from this area.