Denver (River North - RiNo), Colorado:
10 Barrel Brewing Company
Visited on: Tuesday 12th June 2018
If you had told me that this brew-pub was owned by AB-InBev I wouldn’t have believed you, yet it is true! That wasn’t always the case, as the first pub in what was to develop into a small chain, opened in Bend, OR, during 2006.
In 2009 they inaugurated a distribution depot in Portland, OR which gave them access to the big city. And in 2010 they created a brew-pub in West Bend, OR, the other side of the river to the original brewery.
As they expanded a new and larger brewery was built in Bend and this is where bottled and canned beers are produced. Building commenced in 2011; it opened in 2012. The next new opening was in Boise, ID during 2013. In the same year they started distribution in Idaho and Washington. Anheuser-Busch come on to scene during 2014 in what is referred to as a “partnership”. I would imagine it was more like a takeover. However I better not be too harsh as they might just be acting as bankers for a split of the profits.
The fledgling chain then expanded quicker, opening a brew-pub in Portland, OR in 2015. They also started distribution into California and Colorado. 2016 saw this pub in Denver open its doors.
In 2017 they established a brew-pub in St Diego, CA and a second in Bend, OR, this time in East Bend, adjacent to the brewery. That’s how this small empire stands at present (early 2019), yet it will surely get larger in the coming years.
It was the usual fine day when we approached the premises of 10 Barrel Brewing. We are in RINO, as the River North district is abbreviated.
It is an area of former small industries and warehouse. It is referred to as an arts district. Well, we didn’t see any galleries but there must be some. However, we did see a large number of bars and restaurants, along with some artisan food shops. I haven’t counted but in the one and a half mile length of RINO there must be at least twenty brew-pubs and cider makers.
The outside of 10 Barrel is a little deceptive as, inside it is huge. The bar and brewery are in the middle of the room. The bar counter with its many taps faces the windows at the front of the building. There is a bit of counter either side and thereafter the shining stainless steel brewing equipment occupies the central “island”. On the right, inside the main door is a merchandise counter.
There are shelves with stools around part of the brewery. The rest of the pub has bench-type seating or loose wooden tables and chairs.
Parts of the walls are very colourful. There is a glass-sided “box” with wooden barrels containing maturing beer in a temperature-controlled environment.
There was a huge draught beer list. It didn’t state which were regulars and which were seasonals and specials. So the following is what we could have had.
Joe (6.9%), an American IPA; Cucumber Crush Sour (5.0%), a Berliner Weisse with cucumber; Sinister (5.7%), a black ale; Apocalypse (6.8%), an American IPA; Callista (6.2%), a saison; Snake Joose (7.7%), an American IPA and Blackbelly (4.0%), a hickory sea salt gose.
The list continues with Talisman (12.0%), a barrel-aged strong Belgian golden ale; Coast Trip (5.3%), an American cream ale flavoured with guava; Southern Hospitality (6.2%), a saison infused with sweet tea.
Then Biggie Smalls (4.2%), an Irish dry stout; Gravel Pit (6.7%), an American brown ale; Wild Thang (6.4%), a dandelion flavoured saison and Secret Sauce #1 (6.9%), an American IPA, a one-off brew.
And there were more: Supernova (7.6%), an American IPA; Prinz Pils (5.0%), a German Pilsner, the only lager on the list; Goggle Tan (5.6%), an India red ale (?) with apricot; Easy Tiger (4.5%), a session ale, actually a Bitter; Power to the People (7.0%), an American stout; Fly Vixen (5.8%), a saison flavoured with preserved lemons and First Trim (5.5%), an American IPA served by nitro mixed gas. Although some of these beers ruled themselves out for our tasting session, there were quite a few traditional styles that we were interested in.
So, we had five and this is our opinion of them: Biggie Smalls was a nice session stout with medium bitterness. Sinister was another stout, this time in the English style. It wasn’t as bitter as the previous offering yet was very pleasant with a slight liquorice taste.
Secret Source #1 was a fruity and bitter IPA with a dry after taste. Joe was an IPA with a very dry and peppery taste, a bit over the top. Apocalypse was another IPA which was very bitter yet with a soft finish, very good.
There is a food menu and the beers we tried were very good so it is a recommended destination.
10 Barrel Brewing Denver, 2620 Walnut Street, Denver 80205. Tel: 541 585 1007
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 1100-2300, Friday-Saturday 11:00-24.00
The only public transport that might be useful is the 44 Bus Route which runs through all of the RINO district. It operates from Wheat Ridge, west of the city to the 40th and Colorado station on the RTD A line, in the east. It runs through the downtown area along 15th or 17th Street, depending on the direction of travel. It also operates on two separate streets through RINO. Going north-east it is Lawrence Street.
So, coming from the centre alight at Lawrence and 27th Street. Go back a little and turn right into 27th Street. Go four half blocks and turn into Walnut Street. You will see the pub on the left.
Returning to the city centre the 44 runs along Latimer Street. The nearest stop is Latimer and 25th Street.
Turn left out of the pub. Then turn left into 26th Street. Go two half blocks and turn right into Larimer Street. The stop is along here on the right.
The route 44 runs half-hourly Monday to Friday, hourly after 19.00. On Saturdays and Sundays it is hourly.