Denver (Civic Center), Colorado:
Pints Pub Brewery & Freehouse
Visited on: Wednesday 13th June 2018
Even if the name is not a big enough clue, there is no doubting which nation has inspired this brew-pub when you look at it from the street.
The huge Union Jack flag painted on the one of the outside walls and the red telephone box are substantial clues. The idea is recreate an archetypical English pub in the mile-high city. Yet, does it work. Well, yes it does, but not quite completely in my mind.
It is also a survivor as its history goes back to 1993, so it must have been one of the first brew-pubs in Colorado. The inspiration of Scott Diamond, I personally think it’s nice to have a replica English pub. The Irish have had an almost monopoly on this sort of thing for far too long! Although of Irish heritage himself he is very much an anglophile.
Scott has been in the restaurant and pub game for some time. He previously owned Dozens, located nearby, and still owns another pub of that name in Aurora, east of Denver. Another former location operated by him was The York Street Café which is now the Three Lions, another English-style pub.
When he purchased the rather handsome building in 1993 it was occupied by a number of apartments and was very run down.
It was completely rebuilt with the cellar and brewery occupying most of the lower street-level floor (basement).
The floor above houses the main bar room which is reached via some outside steps with a porch. There is also a side room named the Jury Room because it can accommodate just twelve people. It’s strange when fact follows a sort of fiction. In the early days of the pub the Denver County Court often reserved the room for real juries to discuss cases in more privacy than the court could provide.
I was with Linda on the day we visited. We immediately noticed the impressive décor as we entered. There is solid wooden furniture with varnished table tops throughout the pub. There are many old paintings on the walls. There is a second red ‘phone box inside as well.
The darts board is the real deal, not an electronic version. There are also two Bar Billiards tables one of which is said to date from 1939. This game has fond memories as I played in a pub league a very long time ago.
We noticed there were also many booths. There is a fire-place which no doubt enhances the atmosphere when a fire is lit during the winter months. The small brewery is visible from the room through a windowed door. The bar counter is quite long and is a lazy L-shape.
The shelves of the back bar are almost exclusively loaded with bottles of single malt whiskies. They claim to have the largest collection outside of the UK. Probably the most notable pieces of equipment are the two hand pumps situated on the counter, see below.
As mentioned it is a small brewery but one notable aspect is that all brewing is made with authentic English malts and hops.
I don’t think they do many specials here as the list of beers remains at twelve most of the time.
One disappointing thing is that they don’t do sampler flights of beers. So we just had two pints of the cask beers.
Please see below for the beers on sale and then our opinions of the two cask beers.
Phone box (4.4%), a session red ale; Airedale (5.0%), an English pale ale; Gael Force (5.0%), a Scottish export ale; Alchemy (5.5%), an ESB served on nitro.
Plus Czechmate (4.6%), A Czech pilsner; Black Ajax (4.0%), an Irish dry stout; Idyllweiss (4.2%), a wheat beer; Bitchcraft (4.2%), a blonde ale; Sour Brexit (4.8%), a Flanders Red Ale and John Bull (5.2%), a brown ale.
Then there were the two cask ales: Dark Star Ale (6.4%), a Yorkshire style old ale. We thought it was very thin in body and a bit sharp. It was malty and was said to taste a bit like treacle, but it didn’t.
Lancer (5.8%) was an IPA and a good example of the style that we liked a lot. It had a good body taste and a lingering bitterness.
Pints Pub is within ten minutes walk from most of Denver’s civic attractions. It is one of the best representatives of the English pub that I have seen in a foreign country and, or course, it has cask beer! Well worth visiting.
Pints Pub Brewery & Freehouse, 221 West 13th Avenue, Denver 80204. Tel: 303 534 7543
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00
The pub is around ten minutes walk from the Denver Civic Center Bus Station with its multitude of routes.
There are two bus routes that have stops around five minutes walk from the pub. These are route 9 and 52.
The pub is within ten minutes from Clyfford Still Museum, Denver Art Museum and Denver Central Library.