Once again, a taste of Boulder has come to Denver.

As a CU graduate and Denver resident, it’s comforting to know that I can grab a slice at Cosmo’s or a roast beef and provolone sub at Snarf’s and just slip into a nostalgic food coma. Vine Street Pub, with its refreshing beers and my absolute favorite French fries, is no exception.

Vine Street, the sister pub of Mountain Sun and Southern Sun in Boulder, opened in Uptown Denver in 2008. Unlike its predecessors, the new location did not have an in-house brewery and all the beers needed to be produced in Boulder and then transported down south.

The Mountain Sun owners had a two fold mission when they founded their company: to serve 21 beers on tap at each location and to turn out 50 different styles of beer – quite a daunting task with three pubs and two breweries.

To solve this problem, the owners recently broke ground on a 3,500 square foot brewery adjacent to the Vine Street location. The new brew house is expected to produce 5,000 beer barrels (BBL) each year, taking the heat off of the other two pubs and giving the brewers more time for creativity.

Last week, I was invited to check out the brewery’s progress and to meet head brewer Brian “Hutch” Hutchinson and managing partner Paul Nashak.

Hutch has an incredible passion for beer and he’s pouring lots of love into the new brewery. Instead of inheriting the efforts of a former head brewer, Hutch now has the luxury of a blank canvas and incorporating his own floor plan ideas into the brewery’s design. The addition to the pub will also feature extra large windows facing Vine Street and a beer garden, which sounds perfect for a burger and  a pint of Raspberry Wheat on a beautiful Denver day.

Hutch at the construction site of Vine Street's new brewery

During my visit, I was also offered a few beers to taste. I ordered a full glass of Blackberry Wheat which was crisp and refreshing after a long day of work. Of the other beers I was privileged enough to sample, I’d say the Smokescreen Porter was the most interesting. This is an aggressively hopped and strongly smoked dark beer – probably a “love it or hate it” brew for most people. Consider me in the “love it” category. It’s like a backyard BBQ in a glass (and it smells like it, too). Find out more about their beers here.

Although I love the Mountain Sun folks for their beer, their burgers and fries and their cozy at-home feel, hearing about their “team system” philosophy has me hooked for life. At all three locations, everyone hosts, everyone serves, everyone buses tables, and everyone cooks. One big happy family. Who wouldn’t want to come here and kick back?

The owners hope the new brewery will be finished by fall 2011. In the meantime, come out to help Vine Street celebrate their three-year anniversary on April 20. Their “Smokin’ Hot Anniversary Party” will feature Hutch’s new creation – the Chupacabra, a Mexican lager dry- hopped with mint leaves and aged in oak. You can also catch some live music and BBQ on the patio. All proceeds benefit Judi’s House, a charity whose mission is to help children and families who have lost a loved one.