Denver (Lincoln Park), Colorado:
Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project
Visited on: Saturday 2nd June 2018
This pub has an unusual name that is intended to paint a picture of the former life of the co-owner and brewer. It is part of the revitalised Sante Fe Arts District of Lincoln Park.
The area is so named because it is on and either side of Sante Fe Drive, a major north-south artery that stretches down from the city centre, and is very arty with many restaurants and galleries.
The idea behind the brewery comes from Andrew Moore. His brewing story starts when he studied classical architecture in nearby Boulder and began home brewing on the side. Part of his course was to visit Eastern Mediterranean countries to participate in archaeological digs.
Here he came across other styles of beer here and picked up a desire to continue this interest. After all, the world’s very first beers came from the Middle East.
Eventually he was influenced by the rest of Europe and its fruits, spices, herbs and formulated a desire to brew with these ingredients. Then he was to discover the myriad of different styles and their associated malts and hops. So the Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project Taproom is a place where customers can relax with a beer, often exotic, as they plot themselves (literally) around a world of beers.
After finishing with archaeology he went to learn the brewing business. From 2014 onwards he worked with Boulder Beer Company, Castle Rock Brewing and 105 West Brewing Company providing him with a three year apprenticeship.
By 2017 he had teamed up with fellow founders Ben Gettinger and Nick Fredman and they had acquired the 2,200 square feet property on West 8th Avenue.
They started in mid-January and by early May 2017 they had completed the taproom and also installed a seven barrel (bbls) brewery. Just around a year later Linda and I called in to have a few beers. I must say the decor is very pleasant. Outside is a patio accessible from the pub only. This is normal as it prevents disreputable visitors from “doing a runner”.
On the right of the room is the bar counter, the top of which is a map of the Rockies. Opposite this are two large varnished wooden tables and a lot of chairs. Above these is a wooden motif of a world map, further emphasising the theme behind the brewery. To the left are more tables and chairs. At the end of the room is a wall display depicting various old suitcases. Below that are two wooden wine barrels for maturing barrel-aged beers. In an Inset into the front wall is a large bookcase containing many travel and pub and beer guides.
We selected four beers from the extensive list. We started with Finnish Sahti (4.5%) and it was a reasonable beer on its own, but I don’t think it resembles the style it is intended to portray. The colour is wrong, this version is far too dark. I have tasted a number of different brands, large and small, of this unusual beer whilst visiting Finland. The distinctive signature of this type of beer is that it is not brewed with hops, just rye and barley malt.
Hops are the predominate preservative found in main stream beers. So once Sahti has fermented out it is kept in containers under refrigeration to prevent deterioration.
In Finland unless there is a small sign on the bar, you have to ask for it specifically and the pub may or may not have it. It’s heavily flavoured with Juniper berries and the resulting taste is fruity with traces of biscuit. This is because it is started with bread yeast. Here, the Juniper was detected, but nothing much else.
It was served on draught which I’ve not seen in its homeland so I guess that it would mean pressurisation. As it comes from a keg it is almost certain that some hops have been used for flavouring and preserving. The strength is also to be taken into account as in Finland it is usually 7+% abv. Don’t let any of this put you off as it is a decent beer in its own right, just not Finnish Sahti, more like a brown ale!
Other beers illustrate Andrew’s love of travel and the next is yet another first for me. Kölsch with lemongrass and ginger (7.0%). There was no beer taste at all but a hell of a lot from the two additives. I wasn’t with it, also too strong for a Kölsch; Linda liked it though!
The next was a beer I’d been looking forward to as it is said to be Andrew’s signature brew, Turkish Coffee Stout (7.0%). Which, along with coffee, also contains cardamom and sweet orange peel. I thought it was thin and wishy-washy and really didn’t much like it at all, sorry.
However, all was redeemed with Folk Devil (7.0%). This is a black IPA, an oxymoron I know. Yet it was a very good beer with a good balance and I loved it. Quite frankly, you could be met with any beer when you visit the Intrepid Sojourner, and that is some of its charm. So, if you are in Denver, why not give it a try?
The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, 925 West 8th Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80204. Tel: 720 572 5172 Web: Sojournerbeers.com
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11.00-23.00
You can walk from the RTD 10th Avenue and Osage Street station. This is served by the C, D, E, F and H lines. From the station walk directly ahead along West 10th Avenue. After two blocks turn right into Mariposa Street. Go for three major blocks and turn left into West 8th Avenue, the pub is on the left after two more blocks.
The best way to get here without walking too far is the No 1 Bus route.
It is basically an east-west route that just happens to run north-south through the Sante Fe Arts District.
In the City centre it runs along 17th (South) and 18th Street (North) in opposing directions.
Alight at the Klamath Street and West 9th Avenue stop. Walk forward in the direction of travel.
Then turn left into West 8th. Avenue. The pub is on the left side.
Bus 1 returns northbound on Sante Fe Avenue.