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Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Denver (River North - RiNo), Colorado:
Great Divide Barrel Bar

Visited on: Saturday 16th June 2018

Bob Thompson

Great Divide Barrel Bar 1The origins of the Great Divide brewery are described in the article about their “head office” brewery and bar which is located around a mile away in the Lower Downtown district and is known as “Great Divide Ballpark” because of its proximity to Coors Field, home of the Denver Rockies baseball team.

That was a former dairy processing plant and it was purchased in 2001. This piece is about the newer Barrel Bar that has been built as an extension to their kegging, bottling, canning building in RiNo.

Since the turn of the Century the original brewery had been in a process of almost continual expansion and by 2011 it was becoming clear that something would have to change to keep up with. In 2013 they bought 5 acres of land in the RiNo neighbourhood, probably not realising that this area would develop into the city’s most prolific brewery and brew-pub district.

Great Divide Barrel Bar 2Work started on the new packaging plant / barrel aging warehouse in 2014 and it came on stream in 2015.

The adjoining Barrel Bar opened in June of that year. This then kicked off the second phase of brewery’s grand plan. This involves moving every process except for brewing itself to the RiNo building.

The original (Ballpark) brewery is only a mile away so that transfers of beer are not a problem.

The Great Divide Barrel Bar is an extension of the main building painted grey. There is a small fenced terrace outside. Inside Linda and I found a smart bar counter with a varnished wood top on the left. There were a number of high wooden furniture around the room.

Great Divide Barrel Bar 3There was a good selection of beers to be had and they were: Samurai Rice Ale (5.2%); Collette Farmhouse Ale (7.3%); Strawberry Rhubarb Sour Ale (6.2%); Hazy IPA (6.2%), a New England IPA; Heyday Modern IPA (5.8%); Hercules Double IPA (10.0%); Velvet Yeti Nitro (5.0%); Yeti Imperial Stout (12.0%); Hibernation Barrel Aged Old Ale (11.1%); Roadie Grapefruit Radler (4.2%); Rumble IPA (7.1%); Flanders Sour Beer (6.0%); Mexican Chocolate Yeti Imperial Stout and Vanilla Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (9.5%).

We tried three of these and this is what we thought: Heyday Modern IPA (5.8%) had a very bitter lemon and melon flavour with a very bitter finish. Hazy IPA (6.2%) was in the New England style and had a very soft and dry taste and a dryer after taste. Finally, we had Double IPA (10.2%). This had a very complex hop taste that was quite mellow with a good strong finish.

This bar is well worth visiting if you are in the RiNo district.

Important Information:

Great Divide Barrel Bar, 1812, 35th Street, Denver, Colorado 80216. Tel: 303 296 9460

Hours: Sunday-Tuesday 12.00-20.00; Wednesday-Saturday 12.00-22.00

RTD Bus 48 is a useful service as it runs along Brighton Boulevard, the heart of this part of RiNo.
From the downtown district it uses Curtis Street on the way out of town and Champa Street on the way in.
On weekdays it is very 30 minutes until 19.00, thereafter every hour.
On Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays it is every thirty minutes till 18.00, there after it is hourly.

The stop to use is Brighton Boulevard/35th Street. Arriving at the stop you will find the pub opposite.