With the depth and breadth of Colorado’s craft brewing scene, there are a plethora of unusual experiences beer drinkers can have at breweries, whether it’s trying a special concoction poured from ‘a firkin, to enjoy nitro styles, to dive into a slushy beer in the hot summer. or attend a special event that lets you try wood-aged beers straight from the barrel.
But some of the quirky experiences you can find are also based on drinking traditions that date back generations, if not centuries. While a few could theoretically be replicated at home, it’s best to revel in the fun and community of beer culture at the bar.
Here are four styles of beer you can — and should — only drink at the brewery.
czech style mliko
Where to find it: Cohesion Brewing (Denver), Wild Provisions Beer Project (Boulder), Hello Brew Co. (Ft. Collins)
In the Czech Republic, pouring beer is an art – a tradition so beloved that there are competitions to see who can do it best. Believe it or not, one of the main skills is the ability to pour foam. But not just any froth: Czech bars use spout taps (often made by a company called Lukr) that have a screen and variable opening to create a rich, almost latte-like froth that’s pleasant to drink. In fact, there are names for all three ways of pouring beers: “hladinka” is a normal pour; “šnyt” is about half moss; and “mlíko” is an almost full glass of the sweet, creamy head you’re supposed to drink quickly.
When Cohesion Brewing opened in Denver in 2021, it was the first to bring this kind of Czech culture to Colorado, and its well-trained staff offers all three pours of Lukr taps.
Don’t want to try a whole mug full of foam? Cohesion also sells foam pics which are great for Instagram pics and might even give your friends a little FOMO – or should we say Foam-o.
german fairer beer
Where to find it: Bierstadt Lagerhaus (Denver)
Bierstadt Lagerhaus is one of the leading producers of German-style lagers in the United States, and the owners already have something special with their Slow Pour Pils, which are served in a tall, thin glass and topped, like a small cake, of a tower of foam. But one Saturday a month, the brewery invites anyone who orders half a liter of beer to return to the brewery where one of Bierstadt’s owners or managers will pour it straight from the tank or TO DO (barrel), and before it has been carbonated or filtered. The specific beer depends on what the brewers think tastes good during that weekend – and trying one out with the brewer is a great way to understand how beer flavors change during the brewing and packaging process.
hot poker beer
Where to find it: Primitive Beer (Longmont), Ursula Brewery (Aurora), Burns Family Artisan Ales (Denver)
The words “hot” and “beer” aren’t a favorite combination for most people, but that wasn’t always the case. During the cold winters of 18th century England and colonial America, drinkers would sometimes heat the liquid in their cups with hot pokers from a fire to keep warm. And while it sounds bizarre, the process is quite dramatic. If the poker is stirred, it caramelizes the beer, creating an aromatic, frothy head and adding sweetness. Technically, you could do it in your own backyard, but why risk putting a hole in your flannel shirt or your Melly? Let the experts do it for you: Ursula and Burns each host special winter events, while Primitive hosted a monthly Hot Bierfest last winter – and will likely do so again this year – where hot pokers are used to caramelize several different styles of guest beers.
English draft beer
Where to find it: Hogshead Brewery (Denver), Wynkoop Brewing (Denver), Bull & Bush Brewery (Glendale), Pints Pub (Denver), Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing (Ft. Collins), Phantom Canyon Brewing, (Colorado Springs)
Few things conjure up the UK more to me than a group of friends standing in the street outside a pub drinking heady, barrel-poured, extra-special bitters from tall imperial beer glasses. cut. So what makes a beer on tap? Well, it’s unfiltered beer that has been transferred to a small steel or wooden barrel and then served by pumping it through a beer motor using a hand pull. No CO2 is added, resulting in a thick head of foam and unique sweetness that can make it (too easily) easy to consume a whole pint in three big sips. Draft beers are also served at warmer temperatures than other beers, sometimes giving them a richer flavor.
Draft beers aren’t so easy to find in Denver, but Hogshead Brewery specializes in them, with a few on tap at all times, including porters, bitters, heirlooms, blades, and beers. browns.
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