Saturday 2nd June 2018
I might as well admit that I am not a great admirer of chain pubs. However I do have a soft spot for Rock Bottom. When I returned to the USA in the early 2000s after a ten year gap, I discovered the Rock Bottom name was to be found in quite a few cities.
All had their own on-site breweries of course, but the attraction was that they all sold cask-conditioned beer, and made a point of promoting it.
So, these days I like to seek out any of their outlets should I be in a city where they have representation. In Denver there is a down town location (see separate article) and this one, located in a separate city, a long way south of Denver itself. It would normally have been too far away for me to contemplate a visit if it wasn’t for the RTD.
This is the Regional Transit District formed of Denver itself and the many other cities that surround it.
The idea was to alleviate the road transport problems that bedevil Denver and other large US cities by constructing long rail lines into the ever-expanding suburbs. So the RTD was formed and it controls the normal bus lines, new rapid express bus routes, and both light and heavy rail lines. So we were heading south on a light rail train on line E to County Line station.
The station has been built close to the intersection of the east-west County Line Road and the north-south Interstate 25, a multi-lane route which is the main route south in and out of Denver. There are huge car parks and the station really does its job. It takes around forty minutes to get to Union Station or down town. And there’s more in the name. County Line Road divides the cities of Centennial and Englewood, once counties.
When looking at a map or travelling here, this can be confusing. The centre of Centennial is a couple of miles away, Englewood is much, much, further, yet the address is correct. The pub is situated in the bottommost south-east corner of Englewood and actually the station is in Centennial.
I found this confusing so don’t make it confusing for yourself if you visit. Note: even Rock Bottom says the pub is in Centennial and states it as such.
It was around 35°C as we stumbled towards the pub, through parking lots and other obstacles; we found a better way back. The pub-restaurant is very much like many out-of-town premises of its kind. Outside there is a nice shaded terrace. Inside we found one very large room with many areas. From the entrance we found the bar counter on the far right and settled there on a couple of stools. The brewery is located behind glass at the rear of the bar. The rest of the big room housed a mixture of booth and open tables.
We tried a selection of beers, which in Rock Bottom pubs nowadays is always changing. They used to have a basic list of four plus specials, but I don’t seem to see the core range any more. Here, there were eight beers available plus a cask offering.
Anyway, this is what we had and what we thought of them: Kölsch (4.8%) was very close to the original German style that emanates from Köln (Cologne); County Line Copper (5.6%) was well balanced and was like a hoppier version of red ale; Dark Matter Porter (5.5%) had a chocolaty taste but was a bit thin for a porter.
Love Tractor IPA (7.3%) was fiercely hopped with a very dry citrus / melon taste; it wasn’t balanced at all. This beer could be part of a new core range as it is to found in more than one of their pubs. Under the Tracks IPA (6.7%) was a much better beer. It was more balanced for a start with a peppery bitterness and a very bitter after taste. Finally we had the cask beer which was Brown Ale (dry hopped) (5.8%). It was served a bit warm yet we found it to be very smooth and quite bitter for the style; a good attempt.
The beers here are generally very good and make the trip out of town a worthwhile prospect.
Rock Bottom-South Denver, 9627 East County Line Road, Englewood, Colorado 80112. Tel: 303 792 9090. Web: rockbottom.com
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00
As mentioned above the best way to get here is by rapid transit. Three lines serve County Line Station.
The E comes from Union Station, the F from the city centre (16th and 18th Streets).
The R from Peoria on the A line to and from the Airport. The R line runs through Aurora.
All of these journeys take around 40-45 minutes.
From County Line Station exit to where the Park Meadows Center retail park is to be found.
Turn right into Park Meadows Center Drive. Go along it on the pavement (sidewalk) parallel to the transit line. You will reach County Line Road. You need to cross to the other side of this.
When we there this intersection was being rebuilt. You will see the LongHorn Steakhouse; head for it.
Go around the building in a right direction and you will soon see the Rock Bottom pub.