Reminiscing Beer in Denver

I recently had a Twitter conversation with a few folks about a long gone Denver brewery.  It got me thinking about when I first moved here and how the beer landscape (beerscape?) has changed over the years.

I moved to Denver from Buffalo, NY in the Summer of 1996.  In Buffalo, I was introduced to “microbrew” and was an avid drinker of Pete’s Wicked Ales, JW Dundee’s, and others.  Once I arrived in Denver, I found some new brews.  But back then, there wasn’t nearly as many as there is today.

One of the first “microbrews” I tried in Denver was Tommyknocker.  The beer from Tommyknocker I remember the most was the Maple Nut Brown.  I can actually remember going to the Mayfair liquor store, which was a great beer store even back then, and finding brews from Great Divide, Odell and Boulder Brewing.  But nothing like they have today.  Most beer back then lingered in the 6% range and rarely went above that.  Bombers didn’t exist (at least, to my knowledge).  Beers were not big like Yeti, nor super-hoppy like Hercules.

I still remember my first exposure to New Belgium’s Fat Tire too.  Back in the late 90s, locals (aka, natives) were going nuts over it buying it instead of the states flagship beer; Coors.  I remember being at a friends house where they had just bought a case, and everyone was very excited.  It was damn good too, different than anything else out back then.

Back in those days, I visited Estes Park brewing and Mountain Sun, The Wynkoop was around, and Flying Dog had large bar in the current River North Brewing location…but there wasn’t much more than that.

Heavenly Daze was a Steamboat Springs brewery famous for a raspberry wheat and their “hemp” beer.  They opened a Denver outpost located in the current Rackhouse/Stranahan’s pub location, but did not last long.  The Denver location lasted maybe 2 years, then closed shop along with the main brewery in Steamboat.  I’ve searched the web to find out what happened, why they closed, but found nothing.

Another brewery that is now long gone is the Pyramid Brewery in Boulder.  I remember going there a few times and being impressed with the inside.  It was decorated in old Egyption adornments, with large fans made of palm tree leaves (fake, of course, but still impressive) and faux marble counter tops.  I don’t remember the specific beers they had, but do remember they had good food.  It’s unclear to me if this is the same Pyramid from CA (there is little to no information on the web), but I do believe it was an outpost for the CA brewery though.

There’s really no point to this post, just some reminiscing about Denver beer when I first moved to town.  Feel free to post any stories of your own in the comments.

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One thought on “Reminiscing Beer in Denver

  1. I believe Havenly Daze had a posting for unpaid taxes. Used to love the Steamboat location and the Kalamath location, but really didn’t like the lingering smoke.

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