Denver (Berkeley), Colorado:
Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery
Visited on: Friday 15th June 2018
As the name implies, this is two retail outlets under the same management. Both deal with their own separate customers, who use the main bar room. It is to be found in the upwardly moving Berkeley district of Northwest Denver, almost on the crossroads at the centre of the suburb.
It finally opened on 11th April after a long gestation period. So, here we were, myself and Linda visiting just two months after it opened.
It has been established in a former antiques showroom and is to found directly opposite the iconic Oriental Theater. It is the brainchild of Dan Appell and Bess Dougherty who have opened it after many setbacks in the conversion process. Dan is a native of the Northeast coming from the New York / New Jersey area where his father owned a deli.
That is where the inspiration comes from as the Grateful Gnome is modelled on that shop, a genuine East Coast deli in Colorado. The original was Bangiola’s Sandwich Shoppe and Catering in Parsippany, New Jersey. After graduation Dan worked there.
He was also interesting in bars and worked as bartender in many noted bars in New Jersey. He then wanted to know about the supplier side of the business. His next move was to move to Anhauser-Busch at High Grade Beverage in Randolph, New Jersey in their Sales department.
Then he upped sticks and moved to Denver. There he worked in a sales capacity for Upslope Brewing (Boulder, Co), Wonderland Brewing (Broomfield, Co), C-Squared Cider (Denver) and finally Wynkoop Brewing of Denver.
Bess Dougherty has been involved with the brewing industry for over ten years. Starting in Sales she then undertook a brewing course at the Siebel Institute. After that she was offered a full time brewer’s position at Wynkoop Brewing of Denver.
Within five years she was the Senior Brewer. Here she met Dan who was in their Sales team at the time. She started Wynkoop’s Barrel Ageing scheme and is very keen on that type of beer.
The grey-painted building has a central entrance door with a large garage-type window on either side. As this was a warm day one of them was open.
Once inside we could see that it contained a mixture of high and low wooden furniture. The bar counter is found on the right side of the building with the beers being displayed on a hand chalked board hanging on the back wall.
Moving around the room in an anti-clockwise direction we come to the deli counter which is quite long with a take-out only section on the left. The menu is displayed on the wall behind. Then we come across the refrigerated display cabinet for all the cheeses and meats, etc.
Then, in the corner, the most important part of the pub, the brewery! In the left wall there is a door out to a terrace.
There were seven beers from the home side on offer and these were as follows.
Giggity IPA (7.0%); Brown Ale (4.6%); Blonde Ale (4.5%); Stout (4.3%); Pale Ale (4.4%); Belgian Blonde (7.8%) and Tangerine Wheat (4.6%). One unusual aspect of these beers is that most of them are at reasonably low strengths. We appreciated this as beers around here tend to be much stronger, precluding a session.
There were also several from other breweries: Kokopelli (Westminster, CO) Berryana (5.0%), a Bavarian-style Strawberry Weisse beer; Ratio Beerworks (Denver, CO) Stay Gold Märzen (5.3%).
Crocked Stave (Denver, CO) Sour Rose (4.5%); Westbound and Down (Idaho Springs) IPA (9.2%); Call to Arms (Denver, CO) Belgian Waffle Fries; C Squared (Denver, CO) Semi-sweet Cider (5.5%) and Wynkoop Root Beer (0.0%).
We tried four of these beers and this is our opinion on them: Giggitty IPA was a true US West coast version, with plenty of citrus notes. Blonde Ale wasn’t as bitter as expected but nevertheless quite drinkable. The Stout was almost in the dry Irish style but could do with a bit more bitterness. Finally, we had Pale Ale, which was a good example of that type of beer.
A great pub to visit if you are near Berkeley.
The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery, 4369 Stuart Street, Denver, Colorado 80212
Tel: 720 598 6893. Web: thegratefulgnome.com
Hours: Monday-Friday 11.00-23.00; Saturday-Sunday 10.00-23.00
Kitchen / Deli closes at 22.00 every day
The 44 bus route is very useful as it travels through the RINO district with its many breweries and brew-pubs. It then goes through the city centre on 15th and 17th Streets then goes north till it reaches 44th Avenue. It continues along 44th in a westerly direction to the terminus in Wheat Ridge passing Berkeley on the way. The 44 runs half hourly on weekdays, hourly from 19.00, and hourly at weekends.
From the city centre alight at the West 44th Avenue and Tennyson Street bus stop. Go back from stop, cross over Tennyson Street. At the Oriental Theater cross 44th Street, the pub is opposite.