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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Boulder (Table Mesa), Colorado:
Southern Sun Pub and Brewery

Visited on: Monday 11th June 2018

Bob Thompson

Southern Sun 1I’d like to give you a treatise on the history of this pub, but it’s hardly got any! It was opened by the owners of Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery in downtown Boulder. That was one of the first of the new-wave breweries to open in Colorado back in 1993.

It proved to be a success yet was very small (and still is) so the expansion was made to South Boulder and the Southern Sun opened in Table Mesa during 2002.

It is housed in a modern building and once through the door we found ourselves in a very large room. The bar counter was on the far side. The furniture was wooden and there were a few leather sofas. One noticeable thing is that there were no televisions. This is the policy in all of their pubs. Another policy is that they don’t take credit cards. Yet, there is an ATM in each pub with a transaction charge of $2.50!

Southern Sun 2The original Mountain Sun pub had a brewing capacity of six barrel (bbls) and the Southern Sun equipment is capable of turning out 10 barrels (bbls) per brew.

However, as the new outlet was considerably larger in seating area it consumed most of its own beers so the two pub breweries continued producing side by side, supplying their own pubs.

The big change came in 2008 when the company acquired the Vine Street Pub.

The Vine Street Pub is in the City Park West district and was purchased with the whole block surrounding it. This enabled the company to build a brand new brewery behind. The new brewery was of 12 barrels (bbls) capacity. This enabled it to supply the Vine Street Pub and bit more. After settling down it was decided that Vine Street would produce the core range, leaving the other two breweries to brew specials and seasonals.

Southern Sun 3It is possible that the Mountain Sun brewery might have closed by now, still leaving the pub open. Irrespectively, in this pub we had to order different beers as we realised that the beers we drank in the other Boulder pub were all from the core range.

Here the choice was from the Vine Street brewery: Number One Belgian-style Triple (9.0%); Big Krane Kölsch-style Ale (5.3%); Raspberry Wheat (5.2%), a wheat Ale (5.5%),

American wheat beers; Annapurna Amber Ale (5.9%), an American amber ale; Colorado Kind Ale (6.2%), a hoppy amber ale; Illusion Dweller IPA (7.2%), an English IPA; Isadore Java Porter (5.8%), a coffee porter; F.Y.I.P.A. (7.5%), an American IPA and XXX Pale (7.5%), a strong American pale ale.

Southern Sun 4But more interesting were their own beers. Here is what we had with our comments on each: Antero American IPA (6.7%) was a typical West Coast IPA with a very dry finish. Lemon Song (7.1%) is described as an American IPA, which it is, yet there was no overtly lemon aroma, flavour or after taste. It had a dry finish though.

Farmers’ Tan India Red Ale (7.5%) had the real red ale taste plus a bit more bitterness. Vagabond IPA had a nice medium bitterness and did not have citrus taste.

The beers brewed here were all very good and the pub should be visited for these alone.

Important Information:

Southern Sun Pub and Brewery, 607 South Broadway, Boulder 80305. Tel: 303 543 0886

Hours: Monday-Friday 11.30-01.00; Saturday-Sunday 11.00-01.00

The pub is reached by the FF1 and FF2 Flatiron Flyer Express buses to the Table Mesa Drive / 39th Street stop. It is possible to arrive from either Denver Union (Underground Bus Mall) or Boulder (Downtown Bus Station). Please note that in the direction from Denver to Boulder the stop is named Table Mesa Drive / 40th Street.

From either stop walk in the Boulder direction. You need to be on the south side of Table Mesa Drive.
Turn left into 38th Street. You will see a pedestrian road crossing to the other side of South Broadway.
Cross and turn right into a large parking lot. Keep on the right side and you will soon see Southern Sun.

The Flatiron Flier bus route FF1 runs from Denver to Boulder every fifteen minutes all day including weekends. It is even more frequent in peak periods, Monday to Friday.
Route FF2 is quicker and runs during peak hours Monday to Friday 05.30-09.00 and 15.00-19.00.
Its frequency is every ten minutes most of the time.