There are breweries opening all over Colorado every single weekend. Each brewery brings something different to the table and the hype can be wrapped up in the style or the location. There is, to be honest, a certain formula that new breweries can follow to ensure a big opening. Denver Beer Company — the folks behind Cervecería Colorado — looked at what was going on around them a forged a different path.
Instead of chasing of everyone else, Cervecería Colorado was based on intrigue – in fact, it would be fair to call it a passion project. It is a brewery based and focused on bringing the brewing styles and techniques of Mexico to Colorado. The project is about appreciation, understanding and a drive to find something new in the marketplace. Jason Buehler – the head brewer at Denver Beer Company spent time in Mexico and got his first taste when he went to Puebla, Mexico to judge a beer competition.
“My eyes were opened to an entire culture of fruit, spices, and ingredients that were unfamiliar to “me. Experiencing them for the first time in the presence of brewers and chefs was incredible,” he said. The passion that they showed for the traditions of their culture was contagious and I couldn’t wait to have the opportunity to apply those ingredients to my personal brewing style.”
He later returned often packing a variety of hops and yeast in his suitcase – as part of his trade for knowledge.
As a result, the beers flowing at Cervecería Colorado are different than what you’d find at Denver Beer Company. Primarily they are products of collaborations with breweries from Mexico such as Cerveza Cru Cru or a representation of similar experiences and partnerships.
“The relationships that I have formed with some of the best craft brewers in Mexico has been incredibly valuable to the beers at Cerveceria Colorado. Many of the beers you’ll find on tap at the Cerveceria are collaboration brews with these same Mexican brewers. I can only hope that they have also benefited from the experience that I’ve shared with them as an American brewer,” he said.
The small space is right next door to the original Denver Beer Company location and it aims to be authentic in its décor, its vibe and the beers. The patio up front is just feet away from the original Denver Beer Company patio — they nearly touch. And while the two are very different in style, there is a certain harmony that encourages people to cross the boundary and explore the other side.
Whether or not this is intentional, it is certainly an idea we can all learn from. Our neighbors might be different but we can find and respect the common ground.
For some people, it might be the concept that brings you in the door but it will be the beers that keep those people and brings in everyone else. We made our way through most of the menu and we can tell you there is a beer for everyone. Not only that but it beer can stand on its own with or without the extras you might find along the way. Señor Piña is a blonde ale which is fermented with pineapple and is solid on its own but can be kicked up a notch with a rim that is made up with lime and lemon along with a piece of Mexican candy called Banderilla which is a fruit candy with salt and chili. It might feel extra but it’s anything but – it’s addictive.
The poblano pils is what people want in a pepper beer. It’s aggressive on the aroma but blends perfectly with the Mexican lager base – it turned this skeptic into a believer. Of all of the menu beers, our favorite by far was the cocolimón which is a kettle sour beer accented with lemons and then aged on shredded coconut. It’s tart, tropical and a touch of sweet – it’s a beer meant for the patio.
The pastry stout chasers will show up for the churro stout – it’s good but there is an even better version. The barrel-aged churro stout wasn’t on the menu during our visit but certainly, on tap, there was a special version – the barrels were subdued and allowed the cinnamon of the churro to shine. Also, we want to let you know, this isn’t the only beer that might not have been on the menu. Make friends with the stellar staff and you will learn about all the good stuff.
The official grand opening is set for May 5, 2018, but don’t wait. It is open now and the hours are the same as its neighbor, Denver Beer Company. It’s going to be crazy for Cinco de Mayo for all the right reasons so if you are looking for something with an authentic feeling for that Saturday – don’t let us stop you. Keep an eye out for the events too – there is a dedication to building bridges instead of walls that is worth supporting. Each Friday at 5 p.m. the brewery is partnering with a non-profit organization for a celebratory happy hour when proceeds benefit that particular non-profit. The non-profits announced so far include the Latin American Education Foundation, the National Latino Peace Officers Association Denver Colorado Chapter, the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition and the Challenge Foundation to name a few.
Don’t fall for a skeptic’s argument– this brewery is creating something different while also producing authentic Mexican style beers in Denver. It deserves the appreciation for doing both.
Cervecería Colorado is located at 1635 Platte Street, Denver. It is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
All photography by Alysia Shoemaker, unless otherwise noted.