Denver (River North - RiNo), Colorado:
First Draft Taproom
Visited on: Tuesday 12th June 2018
Just for once Linda and I weren’t visiting a brew-pub. First Draft is a bar. Sure, there’s hundreds of bars in Denver. Why this one? Well, it’s the first self-service bar I’ve been to.
It opened on 24th July 2015 and is the brainchild of Mark Slattery who is a self confessed “beer ticker”.
If you don’t know, a ticker is someone who collects new beers for tasting, trying to get as many different as possible.
Well, this is certainly possible at First Draft which has 32 taps dedicated to beers, a lot of them from out of state. It is all made possible with dispense equipment from ipourIt, a company founded in 2009. Apparently their technology is in over thirty pubs in the USA. It’s the first time I’d used it
You start your beer exploration by purchasing a house “Credit Card” from the bar counter. I played safe with a starter for $10.
I went to a selected tap, placed the card on the screen and poured the amount that I required, it can be anything from 1 ounce to 10 ounces.
You then go back to your seat to drink, finish, then repeat the exercise with another beer. As there were two of us it was no problem for the staff to give two glasses.
Going in to the building we noticed the extensive patio out front. The pub is quite pleasant. The small bar counter is along the back wall along with a cabinet of empty glasses. The food menu is displayed above.
There is a flight of stars on the left side that take you up to a mezzanine level. This can be booked for private parties.
The accommodation downstairs is “biergarten” type tables and benches. The taps are arranged in a line along the right wall. Incidentally, cider and wine also can be tapped.
We had five beers and they were as follows: Pure Project Brewing (San Diego, CA) Irish Dry Stout (5.7%) at $0.70 per 1 oz pour. Odd 13 Brewing Company (Lafayette, CO) American IPA (6.5%) at $0.60 per 1 oz pour.
Then a specially commissioned beer for First Draft: Outer Range Brewing Co (Frisco, CO) New England IPA (7.6%) at $0.60 per I oz pour. Declaration Brewing (Denver, CO) Hardtack Copper Ale (5.2%) at $0.50 per 1 oz pour. Declaration Brewing (Denver, CO) American IPA.
What did we think of these beers? Pure Project Irish Stout was very close to the style and was well liked. Odd13 American IPA lived up to its name as it was very odd indeed. It was cloudy and tasted like cream and orange, not like a beer at all! Outer Range New England IPA was also cloudy with a strong citrus flavour, but we thought it was OK. Declaration Hardtack Copper Ale was a well balanced beer that was quite bitter. Declaration American IPA had a strong citrus taste, very typical of the style.
We thought that First Draft was more than a novelty bar, providing genuine choice at a reasonable price. There is an interesting menu with many foods that go well with beer. A recommended pub.
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen, 1309 26th Street, Denver 80205. Tel: 303 736 8400
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00–22.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00; Sunday 11.00-21.00
The only public transport that might be useful is the 44 Bus Route which runs through all of the RINO district. It operates from Wheat Ridge, west of the city to the 40th and Colorado station on the RTD A line, in the east. It runs through the downtown area along 15th or 17th Street, depending on the direction of travel. It also operates on two separate streets through RINO. Going north-east it is Lawrence Street.
So, coming from the centre alight at Lawrence and 27th Street. Go back a block and turn right into 26th Street. Go two half blocks and you will see the pub on the right.
Returning to the city centre the 44 runs along Latimer Street. The nearest stop is Latimer and 25th Street.
Turn left out of the pub. Then turn left and turn right into Larimer Street.
The stop is along here on the right.
The route 44 runs half-hourly Monday to Friday, hourly after 19.00. On Saturdays and Sundays it is hourly.