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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

West Flanders 1Visited on: Monday 11th June 2018

Bob Thompson

Judging solely by its name I must admit I thought this brew-pub would offer a full menu of many Belgian styles of beer, and little else. Anyway, I was wrong and although their specialities are still of Belgian origin they can still can muster a number of good English / American style ales.

The pub itself has a commanding location on Pearl Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, of which a considerable length of it has been pedestrianised.

There is a floor above ground level which forms a mezzanine inside the pub and has views out onto Pearl Street. It’s a good-looking building, see photograph.

On entering the first thing you notice is the bar counter on the left with loose tables and chairs on the right. Then the brewing equipment starts on the left and continues to the end of the long room with the bar counter in front of it. Along this section is where the oak barrels which are used for barrel-aged beers are stacked.

West Flanders 2The story of West Flanders starts a lot earlier than its opening. In 1996 Mark and Chris Heinritz opened a brew pub on Pearl Street called the Red Fish. Their brewer was Brian Lutz. After a while they moved away from the business, the Heinritz brothers establishing a bar named the Sink. The Red Fish eventually closed.

Meanwhile the national brew pub restaurant chain B.J’s Restaurant and Brewery had opened a branch on Pearl Street.

B.J’s moved out in 2012, transferring their Boulder outlet to a much larger premises. This was the opportunity for the Heinritz brothers who re-connected with Brian Lutz and moved into the vacant building and installed a 15 barrel (bbls) capacity brewery. They teamed up with restaurateur Barry Wolfman who has produced a very adventurous menu that can be paired with certain beers if required.

West Flanders 3Brian Lutz, the Head Brewer has been working in micro-breweries since 1993 and has developed beers for Red Fish, Left Hand Brewing and the Oskar Blues Brewery.

The brewery also connects with home brewers in a big way. Every year they have a competition for the best home-brewed beer with the winner getting to brew a full batch of their beer in West Flanders’ plant.

West Flanders 4
They offered a good range of both Belgian and other styles as follows: Trippel Lutz (8.0%), a Belgian trippel ale; Black Immaculate (8.8%), a black IPA; None-Ya (5.5%), a New England style pale ale; Third Kingdom (6.7%), an IPA; Mountain Blue Lightning (8.5%), an IPA.

Daisy Cutter (9.0%), a Belgian strong dark ale; Hoffmeister (6.0%), a Czech pilsner; Lion Heart (7.7%), a foreign export stout; St Marks Dubbel (7.0%), a Belgian Dubbel, Angry Monk (6.8%), a Belgian pale ale and E.S. Bueno (6.2%), an ESB.

West Flanders 5We had four of these and here is our opinion on them: None-Ya was very good with a dryish hop taste and it had a strong aftertaste. Third Kingdom IPA was a true American IPA, lots of US hops in the body and after taste.

Black Immaculate was a black IPA with a burnt taste throughout which was almost overpowering. It was also very bitter. Mountain Blue Lightning Double IPA was a very good example of this style being super bitter (102 IBU) yet also a bit fruity.

If you are a fan of Belgian beers you’ll love West Flanders. Actually, they are not my personal favourite, but I am aware that a great many people love them. Nevertheless, I thought that their pale ales were superb and would go back there any time.

Important Information:

West Flanders Brewing Company, 1125 Pearl Street, Boulder 80302. Tel: 303 447 2739

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00-22.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-23.00; Sunday 11.00-21.00

Pearl Street is the “Main Street” of Boulder and is very close to the bus terminal.
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.
Flatiron Flyer routes run from the underground bus mall at Denver Union Station to Boulder Bus Station.