I’ve frequented the Old South Pearl Street district of Denver for decades. In the early eighties my friends and I would see Art films at the Vogue and then spend some time at the Float to Relax just down the block, trying to recreate the experiences from Altered States. Later in the decade, one of my band mates lived at Louisiana and Washington where we’d drive the neighbors crazy during our band practices. It was around the corner from there that the fourth annual Blues and Brews was held on July 10th, 2010.
Set-up between Buchtel and Louisiana, it was a short walk from the Louisiana Light Rail station which aided in a safe drinking experience since the organizers offered a dollar off admission with a Light Rail ticket or bus transfer. With the requirement of purchasing beer tickets, this was more of a street festival with good beer rather than a beer tasting event. The participating breweries included many of Colorado’s finest, including Ska, Left Hand, Del Norte, Oskar Blues, Strange Brewing, Deschutes, Great Divide, Wynkoop, Odells, New Belgium, Flying Dog, and Blue Moon/Coors.
The atmosphere was laid-back since we arrived early, allowing us to talk to our servers about what was on tap and Craft Beer culture in general. We especially enjoyed our conversations with the folks at both Del Norte and Strange Brewing. As mentioned in the Rails and Ales post, I was impressed by Del Norte’s Manna red lager, and on this day both the wife and I were enamored of their Orale lager. The owner was on hand to converse eloquently on their mission to brew Mexican style lagers and the local brewing community.
For anyone new to Craft Brewing, or those who just visit brew pubs and breweries, I encourage you to seek out the owner or master brewer and strike up a conversation, you’ll not only learn what makes them tick and why they brew what they do, but you’ll find out about the rich local beer culture. Every brewer/owner I’ve talked with is knowledgeable about not only the varied styles of beer, but also are familiar with their competitors’ offerings, and are appreciative of them. There are no sales talks, no “we’re better than them” mentalities you get with the Evil Empire of massed produced swill (I’m looking at you Anheuser Busch), when you talk to people who really care about brewing quality beer. More often than not, if they know you like someone else’s particular offering, they’ll point you to something else to try, and not always one of their own. Such was the gist when we talked with John Fletcher and Tim Meyers, President and Head Brewer at Strange Brewing, both of whom waxed proficiently on the culture of Colorado brewing.
The only drawback on the day was that Oskar Blues only brings cans to events like these; while still good, it’s nothing like what you get on tap. They did the same thing at the Summer Brewfest which I’ll elaborate more on in a future post. We recently visited the original location in Lyons and thoroughly enjoyed both the brews and food at OB; yet another post to add at a future date.
You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned the other half of the event, Blues. While my wife and I truly love the Blues, much of the day it was just background music to us; we were that engrossed in our conversations. The music was good, I just couldn’t tell you who played and who stood out. Maybe next year I’ll pay more attention to the sounds than the tastes.
Until next time, as always, stay thirsty my friends.