"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

When Breweries Don't Count: Vine Street Celebrates 4 Years

If you’ve read more than, say, three Beer in Colorado posts then you’re doubtless aware of Nicole and I’s mission to visit every brewery in the state (we’re at 79).  We realize it is a daunting task.  So daunting, in fact, that we never intend to complete the goal; for every new brewery we visit, two or three spring up elsewhere.  Furthermore, there are tons of tiny, mountain-town breweries that are well removed from the beaten path thus making for a difficult destination. 

There are ways of alleviating the enormity of the situation, though.  Foremost, not every brewery in Colorado “counts.”  Some breweries have subsidiary locations sprinkled throughout but these outposts are not included in our overall total.  For example, the Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge does indeed count but the Breckenridge Tasting Room on Kalamath Street in Denver does not count; it may be the main production facility but it wasn’t the first to operate under the “Breckenridge” name.  The same goes for SandLot Brewery at Coors Field as it is, unsurprisingly, a Coors-owned facility.  Likewise, C.B. & Potts, Hops Grill & Brewery, and the Anheuser-Busch InBev facility in Ft. Collins do not count as their corporate headquarters are located out-of-state—we do have standards, you know.  Downtown Denver’s Rock Bottom kind-of, sort-of counts because, although the parent company is based in Tennessee, the very first Rock Bottom to exist was the one on 16th street.  It’s a bit of a gray-area. 

Which brings me to the point of this post: not long ago, I received an e-mailed press release concerning Vine Street Pub & _______.  Why the blank space?  Because, for years, that’s what their sign advertised; they had beer but they didn’t have the means of making it.  That changed this past weekend when a 4th anniversary party was held in honor of Vine Street’s new brewing system.  Usually, that means our brewery count rises but, according to our self-imposed rule, we remain at 79 since Vine Street Pub & Brewery is an offshoot of Boulder’s Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery.  We may refuse to consider it among our list of Colorado breweries visited but that doesn’t mean we refuse to have a good time.

Hopefully their brewing facility is more permanent than their sign

The party started on April 20th at 4:20 (this family of breweries is known to be exceptionally hippie-centric) and featured live, outdoor music complements of By All Means Band, BBQ from Chef Annabelle Forrestal, beers donated by Great Divide Brewing Co., Brewery Ommegang, and Green Flash Brewing Co. in support of Judi’s House, and a special beer release known as Capital Saison.

The new equipment

 Everything about this event was great except that our schedules wouldn’t allow us to be present for the party's kick-off—a huge annoyance to Nicole and I whose punctuality is so ironclad that our friends have turned it into a running joke.  Alas, we couldn’t attend until a little after 7pm and, by then, the party was in full swing—crowds inside and out, the band rocking the whole neighborhood, and BBQ smoke wafting through the air like ascending spirits.  All of this was great to see as it makes me happy when local breweries succeed but it’s much easier to be present for the transition from quiet get-together to raging party than to interject one’s self into the mayhem after the fact.  That’s where Nicole and I found ourselves: on the outside looking in. 

I was still going to get a celebratory beer, though, so I ordered Hooligan Oatmeal Porter (6.1%), a beer that’s black when sat on the table, dark, ruby-red when it’s held to a light, and topped with a mocha-brown foam.  It smells of sweet milk chocolate and the flavor is a bit smoked, a bit roasted, and all-around chocolate-y.  A velvety mouthfeel rounds out this beer.


Aside from a mighty tasty Cuban sandwich, that pretty much sums up our time at Vine Street.  If it sounds like I’m cutting this short, I am.  Don’t worry, though, I’m currently working on a more intimate look at the new Vine Street facilities.  Stay tuned, folks.



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