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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Denver (Downtown), Colorado:
Rock Bottom - Denver Downtown

Visited on: Wednesday 13th June 2018

Bob Thompson

Rock Bottom Denver Downtown 1As can be seen from the title of this piece this Rock Bottom Pub is located in Downtown. However it is technically in the Central Business District. I hope that this doesn’t come over as pedantic.

The reason for mentioning it is that most maps show it as Central Business District which is an actual City of Denver administrative district. However, it is Downtown to locals and visitors alike and that’s what it is in BeerVisits!

If you have read any articles by myself on the Rock Bottom pubs you will know I have a liking for them based on the simple fact that they serve a cask ale (most of the time), sometimes two (if you are lucky). Please see below and you will see that two were offered in this pub yet only one was actually available. However in this scene, something is better than nothing.

Rock Bottom Denver Downtown 2These days Rock Bottom is a chain of around thirty brew-pub-restaurants spread throughout the country. They are part of the BrewWerks Company that also owns Old Chicago restaurants, ChopHouse restaurants and Gordon-Biersch.

Apart from the latter the other chains all have their origins in Colorado. Gordon-Biersch started in Palo Alto in California, see a separate article in BeerVisits.

The Rock Bottom chain has its origins with the Walnut Brewery in Boulder, founded in 1990 and so named because it is in Walnut Street. It was opened by the partnership of Thomas A. Moxcey and Frank Day.

Rock Bottom Denver Downtown 3Their next venture was in Denver where they opened a brew-pub in the newly-built Prudential Plaza. This was built by Prudential Insurance who had an office building there. Their advertising slogan was “get a piece of the rock”. As the pub was at street level under their building it became Rock Bottom.

Inside Linda and I found it a fairly typical Rock Bottom pub. Not surprising really as it was the prototype for the rest!

There is a large area at the front looking out on to 16th Street. There is a long bar counter on the left with booth-type tables facing it. As is usual in Rock Bottom’s city centre pubs, the brewing equipment is behind the counter and can be seen through glass on a mezzanine level. On this occasion you can see the brewers working away. There is a lot more room at the rear of the pub.

Rock Bottom Denver Downtown 4As usual there was a good and varied selection of draught beers available and these were: Bottoms Up (4.4%), a Kölsch; Weissen (4.6%), a German wheat beer; Red Rocks (5.1%), an American red ale; Falcon (6.6%), an American IPA; Otis (7.0%), an IPA: Sweetchuck (5.1%) a guava and passion fruit sour; R.I.P.L. (6.1%), a rye India pale lager; Terminal Stout (7.5%), an American Stout. The menu continued with Chili Kölsch (4.5%), self-explanatory; Liquid Sun (7.9%), a saison; Java Pale (5.5%), a coffee ale; Basset Hound (5.9%), a southern English brown ale and Sam URye (6.6%), A rye IPA.

Finally what Rock Bottom are famous for (in my mind anyway), a cask ale. It was Falcon (6.6%).

Rock Bottom Denver Downtown 5We tried several and this is what we thought; OTIS was intensely bitter with a peppery dry taste. R.I.P.L. was surprisingly good, not harsh at all. Terminal Stout was dry which is the way we like it, very good. Red Rocks had the right taste for an Irish red ale, yet with a very mild flavour.

Falcon IPA tank version was full of citric hops, yet smooth and not harsh. Cask Falcon IPA was so different, being more malty with a nutty wood taste but still good. You wouldn’t guess it was the same beer! Cask Stout was offered but not available.

I think this is the only brew-pub in the Downtown area, which is quite large. However, it’s worth a journey to visit on account of its excellent beer. And don’t forget, there are normally two cask offerings.

Important information:

Rock Bottom-Denver Downtown, 1001 16th Street, Site A-100 Colorado 80202. Tel: 303 534 7616

Hours: Monday-Sunday 11.00-02.00

Many bus routes criss-cross the Downtown area, many no more than a block or two away.
16th Street is pedestrianised so there are no vehicles with the exception of the Mallride, a free bus route.
It runs up and down 16th running between Union Station Light Rail Station and the Civic Center Bus Station. It is extremely frequent; often it is possible to see three buses moving in the same direction at the same time!