Denver (River North - RiNo), Colorado:
Bierstadt Lagerhaus and Rackhouse Pub,
also C Square Cider
Visited on: Friday 15th June 2018
As you can see from the title of this piece there is a lot packed in this large building that was formerly a book binding warehouse. There are three separate businesses operating from it.
Bierstadt is a brewery that brews exclusively German or Czech styles of lager. In the middle of the building the Rackhouse pub can be found. This moved to here from another location in the city. Finally on the other side of the pub is C-Square Cider.
We will start with the brewery. As implied by the name they only brew high-quality lagers using German ingredients. To ensure the authenticity of this they have imported the equipment directly from Germany. It comes from the small town of Ammerndorf, near Fürth in Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia).
I believe it was once used at the Dornbräu Vach brewery which was taken over by Brauerei Kaiser of Neustadt / Pegnitz. The old brewery building in Ammerndorf is still standing, being converted into apartments.
There is still one brewery left in Ammerndorf and this is Dorn-Bräu H. Murmann, trading as Ammerdorfer Bier. Note the similarity in names, both having Dorn included in their titles. This is quite a common name throughout the region yet it used to cause confusion in this small village. So, the old brewery ended up in the USA through the efforts of Ashleigh Carter and Bill Eye, formerly of Dry Dock and Prost Brewing.
They made the journey to Germany in 2014 and purchased the brewery and all its associated plumbing.
It was a complex task to ship it and reassemble it in Denver. It was built in 1932 and is 35 barrels (bbls) capacity. It is now the centrepiece of the Bierstadt Lagerhaus.
It often takes 30 hours to complete a brew. The normal range is a Pilsner, a Dunkel (dark) and a Helles (standard light beer). They also brew a seasonal beer.
The Rackhouse pub arrived at this location on 12th December 2015 and Bierstadt Lagerhaus was established in 2016, C-Squared Cider was already on site.
The Rackhouse pub was founded by Chris Rippe in October 2009 at 208 South Klamath Street. It was associated with Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey distillery and it was the main pub outlet for its products.
The pub closed in 2015 prior to its move.
I was with wife Linda and one thing we noticed in the Rackhouse and all other bars and pubs that sell Bierstadt beers are the branded glasses. The company is very strict about this and will not allow pubs to stock their beers unless they have stocked the correct glassware. They are also very strict about pouring the Pils, stating that the glass had to be half poured then placed on side, later to be filled to top with a large head.
Now to C-Squared Cider whose founder Charles (Andy) Brown had been involved in brewing for around twenty years before he crossed to cider.
A native of Portland, Maine he moved to Colorado in 1997 to pursue a career in brewing. Starting at the bottom with bottle washing, he worked his way upwards, gaining qualification on the way, to becoming head brewer at several companies.
The other director is Chad Hatlestad who graduated in Industrial Technology. He later went on to earn Brewing Certification with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London during 1999.
He too, worked his way up through Colorado’s many breweries before combining with Andy Brown to form C-Squared. Eric Hatlestad was the last piece in the jigsaw of management. He started on opening day, 1st July 2015, and is responsible for promotion, product development and sales.
As it was undoubtedly a beer day so we couldn’t mix things up and also drink cider. So this review sticks to the beers of Bierstadt.
The Rackhouse does not do taster flights so we were on full measures. Of the standard range, only two were available, not an inspiring start. Dunkel was not on, so we had a glass each of Slow Pour Pils and Helles.
The Pils was undoubtedly good, but nothing special, but I suppose that is the nature of the style. The Helles was better, being close to the Munich Hell style of lager.
There were no less than three specials and these were 1910 St Louis Lager (5.3%), Rauchbok (7.2%) and Maibock (7.5%). We didn’t try them.
The pub is well worth visiting to try something a little bit different.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus, 2875 Blake Street, Denver, Colorado 80205. Tel: 720 372 3791.
C-Squared Cider, 2875 Blake Street, Denver, Colorado 80205. Tel: 720-570-7824. Web: csquaredciders.com
The Rackhouse, 2875 Blake Street, Denver, Colorado 80205. Tel: 720-570-7824. Web: therackhouse.com
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 24.00
The 44 bus route is very useful as it travels through the RINO district with its many breweries and brew-pubs. It goes through the city centre on 15th and 17th Streets then goes north till it reaches 44th Avenue.
The 44 runs half hourly on weekdays, hourly from 19.00, and hourly at weekends.
Coming from down town alight at the Lawrence Street & 30th Street stop.
Walk a back a block to 29th Street. Turn right into it, walk for four blocks.
At the end you are in Blake Street and the Pub/Brewery is opposite.