"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!

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Baby's a-Brewing: A Brewery/Pregnancy Photo Project

Something’s brewing but it’s not fermenting in any stainless steel tank, plastic bucket, or carboy.  It’s something Nicole and I hope will be low in IBUs—sweet rather than bitter.  It’s something that won’t fit in a keg, bottle, or can, it’s advised you don’t shake it, and it will hopefully be 0% ABV for its first 21 years.  That something is our first child.

Indeed, we’re about to become parents!  While Nicole has been eating for two I’ve been busy upholding my end of the bargain by drinking for three (the horrors of fatherhood!).  As we are such lovers of quaffable libations, we decided to the contrary of conventional wisdom; we’ve not decreased our number of new brewery visits, we’ve increased our visits.  In fact, we’ve brewery-hopped pretty much every weekend since discovering our impending offspring.  How else could we put together this clever little photography project we concocted?  NOTE: before you call social services, I remind you I said that I’m drinking for three; no beer for Nicole.

First, I’ll quickly get you up to speed; we’ve written about many of breweries since discovering Nicole’s pregnancy but weren’t yet prepared to make our grand announcement.  So, I’ve retroactively posted them below.  Once we get to breweries I haven’t yet posted about, I’ll provide a short blurb.

Catching Up

New Breweries

Storm Peak Brewing Co. is a welcome addition to Ski Town, USA (AKA Steamboat Springs).  The off-the-beaten-path resort town has made due with Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill for far too long.  Not to say Mahogany Ridge isn’t a decent enough brewery but Steamboat has often billed itself as the anti-Vail—down-to-earth, inclusive, and free of pretension.  Mahogany Ridge’s name alone evokes a certain hoity-toity characteristic, calling to mind a greasy executive’s high-polished corner office, thus undermining Steamboat’s image of cowboy culture.  The addition of Storm Peak, a less-touristy operation in an industrial building on the outskirts of town, harkens back to that storied, genuinely Western past.  Storm Peak is decorated sparsely save for a few old-school pieces of ski memorabilia adorning the wall and is the kind of place in which the lovable losers of an 80’s ski comedy would plot their hijinks against the snobby, turtle-necked, European developers who seek to raze the locally-run youth center and build a multimillion dollar condo complex. 

Granted, I haven’t written about Tommyknocker Brewery recently but it was, in fact, among the first breweries we profiled when starting this blog.  Click here for a blast from the past.    

We visited Declaration Brewing on one of its soft openings.  It’s a brewery practiced in the art of juxtaposition.  The warehouse surroundings suggest a biker bar or otherwise slummy watering hole may await drinkers at Declaration’s address but the artfully painted exterior and vast biergarten quickly dispel that assumption.  Far from a cheap-o dive, it’s apparent that the proprietors of Declaration began their business venture with a sizeable chunk of money.  It’s a massive building (even if only a portion of it is customer space) with many and diverse decorative flairs such as a beer menu printed on skateboards, outdoor lighting encased in beer mugs, the ubiquitous Edison bulbs hung above the bar, and lots and lots of reclaimed wood.  Try their Belgian table beer for a classic take on session beer.

Unlike Declaration, we didn’t go to Ratio Beerworks on their soft opening; we went there on the grand opening and, as such, were crammed in there like nine of Kevin James’ relatives in an eight-man gondola.  You can’t get an accurate bead on how good or bad a brewery may be when constantly dodging elbows and slipping between people sideways, trying to squeeze through the crowd and grimacing every time asses and crotches inadvertently rub against each other.  From what I saw, though, it seems a decent place, a worthy addition to the jam-packed River North brewer scene.  It’s got the much sought-after barrel-roof, lots of garage doors, a moderately-sized outdoor space, and a few notable conversation pieces such as the theatre marquee-style beer menu hoisted high above.  Smart and simple detail: they designate one area of the bar for walk-up orders, meaning those who are already seated at the bar need not worry about other customers barging in between.  Plus, it ensures fairness of service; if five people walk up to the bar in five different spots, it’s impossible for the bartender to tell who was the first to arrive.  Having everybody line up in the same spot, however, makes the task much easier.

And, yes, we realize we got some of the math wrong in that photo.  It was crowded, we were distracted, and sometimes we just aren't good with numbers. 

I’ll let my beer blogging colleague The Beer Drifter tell you about Factotum Brewhouse; I can’t describe it better than he (click here).

We’re at Week 16 and still have plenty more to go!  Stay tuned for more updates.



When first I found I was pregnant, I wanted to incorporate brewery visits as often as possible. A weekly baby-bump picture at a brewery seemed appropriate. It was weird at first, taking pictures in front of breweries where any stranger on the street could see our big news, while our family and friends were still in the dark. My fear was that someone we knew might see us. Well, that fear became a reality at Storm Peak Brewing Co. After taking my picture and ordering a beer, Chris and I sat down with the chalkboard laying out on the table for all to see only to realize Chris' mom and sister were sitting a mere three feet away from us!  Coincidentally, they happened to be at the same place at the same time. I quickly whisked the chalkboard away, hiding it in the car. Our secret was safe!  Our planned surprise announcement: intact.

Now that I can't actually consume those delicious brews, I've begun noticing other things about breweries.  For one, I'm discovering one of my favorite non-alcoholic beverages to be root beer, especially fresh-brewed root beer. However, very few breweries actually make their own. My hope for the future of this photography project is to find a few more that do. Secondly, I love breweries with food trucks or at least snacks of their own. It gets boring watching Chris enjoy his beer as I sit drinking water (or root beer, if available). If I have something to snack on, I enjoy my time a little more. 

It's been fun coming up with the sayings for our weekly chalkboard. But, um, I wish I could draw a little better. My crafting skills lie elsewhere (e.g. knitting). 

With about 24 more weeks to go, there's a lot more brewery visits ahead. Luckily, there are so many great new breweries opening in the Denver-Metro area as well as a few that have been open for a while that we haven't yet had a chance to visit.  This will be one epic series of photos!


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