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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Denver (Lower Downtown), Colorado:
Denver ChopHouse and Brewery

Visited on: Tuesday 12th June 2018

Bob Thompson

ChopHouse1Considering it was built as a warehouse and freight house you would think that the look of this building would be considerably more utilitarian.

It was constructed for the mundane purpose of providing dry storage for goods arriving by rail and awaiting distributing throughout the city by road transport.

The Union Pacific Railroad started work on it in 1922 and it opened the following year.

I suppose that because it was built in the 1920s it has that solid functional yet purposeful look that characterised the decade and the next. It is slightly sobering to realise that it was still a working entity for the railroad when I first visited this city in 1980.

ChopHouse2It was as long ago as March 1995 when it was acquired by the Rock Bottom restaurants group. I believe it was opened in July of that year. Rock Bottom are owned by the Craftworks group that operate more than 350 restaurants, many with breweries. Apart from Rock Bottom they also control the Gordon Biersch, Old Chicago and Logan’s chains of restaurants.

Outside the building looks fine with pin-striped shades on the lower floor windows. Inside it has been divided into a multitude of rooms. The lighting is low so it takes a minute or so to get used to it.

Near the entrance is the large bar counter and behind you can see part of the brewing equipment through glass. These windows have transfers depicting some of the beers and each is surrounded by the crest of the Union Pacific Railroad.

After settling down I had a look around at some of the rooms, although there were others I didn’t visit. There are lot of booths, more than most restaurants. Having said that there’s a lot of loose seating as well. I was particularly attracted by the many railroad posters and paintings, all of the classic years of the 1930s with many illustrations of streamlined steam locomotives on luxury trains that ran daily, the like of which we only see on private operations these days

ChopHouse3Let’s not forget that this is a restaurant above all else. It specialises in steaks and you can expect to pay from $30 and northwards for one. There are many other dishes, yet there is nothing will suit if you are on a limited budget. However, you get what you pay for and I have heard nothing but praise for the ChopHouse.

They are proud of their brewery so it is no problem to go in for a beer. There are plenty of stools along the bar and you can ask the server for a non-dining table, as we did.

The choice of beers on this occasion was: Belgian Dubbel (6.5%); Dry Stout (4.5%), in the Irish style; Doppelbock (6.0%); Pale Ale (5.5%), an American style pale ale; Red Ale (4.6%), an Irish style red ale; Dark Munich Lager (4.8%), a Münchner dunkel; Dortmunder Lager(5.5%), Pilsener Lager (4.5%); Equinox Double Pale Ale (6.8%) and Bourbon-conditioned Stout (7.5%).

ChopHouse4We tried four of them and this is what we thought: Pale Ale was a little bit sharp yet with very nice bitterness. Equinox Double Pale Ale we liked a lot, it having a good bitter flavour and after taste.

Dry Stout (4.5%) was the real deal with a dry taste and a dry finish. Bourbon-conditioned Stout had very smooth, slightly smoked flavour with a whiskey taste with a fruity body and soft bitterness.

Well worth visiting for its beers, especially for the stouts. Just one block to Coors Field.

Important Information:

ChopHouse and Brewery-Denver, 1735 19th Street, Suite 100, Denver, Colorado 80202. Tel: 303 296 0800

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00; Sunday 11.00-22.00

The pub is about five minutes walk from the main concourse of Denver Union station.
Turn left out of the front entrance. You will see the Wynkoop Brewery on the opposite corner.
Keep walking a bit further till you reach 19th Street.
You will see the ChopHouse on the left. Turn left to enter.

Denver Union is served by Amtrak’s California Zephyr running from Chicago to Emoryville near San Francisco. Denver International Airport is connected to Union Station by the RTD A Line commuter rail line. Other routes also terminate here.

A five minute walk from Union Station concourse will bring you to the RTD rapid transit station.
The connection between the two stations is accomplished walking through the underground bus station. This is served by a large number of routes.