"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, June 7, 2012

Porch Beers to the Extreme

To be a craft beer mecca, one must, of course, have great beer.  There’re other factors that go into the creation of a beer hotspot, though.  For one, you must have the support of the people.  It’s a chicken-or-the-egg situation in Colorado: do we love beer because there are so many breweries or are there so many breweries because we love beer?  Whatever the reason, we’re packing our state full of ales and lagers and—greedy little beer geeks that we are—we keep asking for more.  Decent weather is also a major plus.  There’s something romantic about drinking a strong, dark beer beside a crackling hearth as a rainstorm rivaling Noah’s deluge falls outside—it’s just so classically English to drink in such situations.  However, given the choice, I’ll take shorts, sandals, a porch, and a sunburn with my beer.  Colorado has all the makings: great beer, great support, and great weather.  The new Lowry Beer Garden, located on the old Lowry Air Force Base, has wisely capitalized on all of these assets.

Last weekend, Nicole and I visited my brother and his family and, considerate people that we are, kidnapped their oldest child and whisked her off to the playground so that her parents might have a few hours to rest, work around the house, and dote upon the new baby.  After much swinging, sliding, climbing, and failed ransom attempts, we returned their daughter and celebrated the reunion with a trip to the week-old (at the time) Lowry Beer Garden located next door to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.  Generally, I’m not an aeronautical aficionado but there’s something awe-inspiring about sipping suds in the shadow of a stationary (but nonetheless intimidating) giant, silver cargo plane.  Or is that a bomber?  I don’t know—It’s a big, flying thingy; that’s the extent of my aircraft knowledge.    

I don't know what kind of plane that is, I just know it's badass

On the other side of the Lowry Beer Garden is an old hangar that’s been converted to storage units.  Being surrounded by aviation history, the Lowry Beer Garden has picked up subtle inspirations from its environment.  Take, for example, the gently curved roof that mirrors that of the neighboring hangar.  Let me just say that, when I make my millions, I’m building an overhang just like that at Lowry Beer Garden; it’s huge, it’s beautiful with wooden beams, and it just looks like a great place to throw a party.  If Colorado were a rainier state, it would be nice to sit under that immense span and listen to the rain pitter-patter on the roof as one stays warm and dry underneath with a finely-crafted beer in hand.  But, Colorado is pretty darn dry so the aforementioned situation will be a rare occurrence.

We entered under a bold and sturdy gateway, showed our IDs, and stepped into an open expanse populated with picnic, patio, and ping pong tables.  Before we could enter, though, my brother had to put the kids’ stroller back into the car as it was considered a fire escape impediment.  This didn’t make much sense to me because, hey, we’re outside; the only thing keeping us in the beer garden is a waist-high decorative chain.  If a fire comes ripping through this joint, I’m not lining up single file and heading out the front gate—there’s three completely open sides to this square.  I’m hoppin’ the nearest chain and getting the hell out of there.  The law’s the law, though, and Lowry Beer Garden has to follow the rules even when they don’t make sense. 

I ordered the Dortmunder from Copper Kettle Brewing Company and took a look at the food menu.  The choices are essentially limited to brats, burgers, and snacks (including one big-ass pretzel) but there are many choices within those two categories and they’re all pretty much awesome.  I had a burger with chili and a fried egg that made my eyes roll back into my head when I bit into it.  I’m looking forward to the elk and jalapeno brat on my next visit.  A heads up to the newcomer: a server will take your beer order and bring it to you at your table but you have to go up to the counter to order and pick up food. 

Lowry Beer Garden is not a brewery but it supports Denver’s status as craft beer capital not by making its own beer but by providing a stellar environment in which to imbibe fine beers from Colorado, the U.S., and the world.  Plus, it encourages communal drinking.  When we went it wasn’t too crowded but I can only imagine how many new drinking buddies one could make on a busy night or—good Lord—during Oktoberfest.
When the weather’s nice, head out to the Lowry Beer Garden and soak up some sun as beer soaks into you.  When the weather’s not so nice, still, head out to the Lowry Beer Garden and find a seat under that big, curved overhang.  Anytime you want a porch beer brought to the extreme, Lowry Beer Garden’s got the ticket.  Check them out next time you’re in the neighborhood.



I'm building this in my backyard as soon as I win the lottery

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