My Beercation To Beer Mecca & Beyond: More Denver Gems

After spending some quality time drinking with my favorite cousins-in-law, it seems hard to imagine having more fun in Denver. I always wonder when I am on a beercation where the tipping point is going to be. When will I have my fill of a city’s beer splendors? Well, that is definitely not today as you will see if you continue reading.

Novel Strand Brewing Company

There are certain people you come across on the beercation trail that are incredibly memorable.  At Novel Strand Brewing, Tamir Danon is one of those people. Not only is he incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to brewing beer, but he understands what beer should and shouldn’t do.  Thanks to Max Filter, I am able to sit down with Tamir and taste through his lineup of beers at Novel Strand.

Our conversation is enriching, humorous, and insightful experience to meet and chat with Tamir. His perspective on beer speaks to me. Tamir doesn’t chase trends. Tamir is also a quote machine. The beers at Novel Strand are liquid illustrations of his passion and understanding of how to deftly use ingredients. For Tamir, good beer is not everything and the kitchen sink.  Beer is best when it is simple. 

Beers With Style

The beers at Novel Strand are not labeled by style.  The method behind this is madness comes from a realization of what beer is supposed to be. “Beer is civilization, it is the reason we sat down to hang out.”  Tamir explains that back in Sumerian times, there were no double IPAs. “3% was enough to get you crunk.” Tamir believes that beers that are sessionable should still be what we all drink. . “Good beer is where you get drunk by accident.”  His tap list is an indication of this belief.  

Speaking of tap list, usually, I order a flight and they bring it out all at once.  I am not sure if Tamir does this for everyone, but he brings the beers out two at a time in the order he wants me to enjoy them.  

First up is Southern Lights, a beer showcasing hops from the southern hemisphere-Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.  He uses Moutere, Enigma, African Queen, and Nelson Sauvin. The beer has an herbal and lemon aroma. The beer drinks fairly bright and crisp.  There is a nice flavor of grassiness in the hoppy finish. The tartness is muted and I am not sure if that is because of the hops, but I like it a lot.  

Nit Wit is a refreshing take on a Belgian Wit.  I like the clove aroma and it is perfect for summer thanks to its effervescence.  The Contains Hops has a fresh tropical fruit aroma. It has a light body with a little tart and dry finish.  This contains little to now sweetness.  

The Strata Weapon of Choice has a grassy and pineapple aroma.  There is a nice hit of hoppy bitterness and yet it finishes remarkably clean.  This is not the case in many of the other hoppy beers I have tried on this trip and I am somewhat in awe of how Tamir finishes these beers.  The Green Showers is Tamir’s baby. The aroma has a chive aroma to it. Flavorwise, it is fruity with a nice hint of sweetness. There is a nice white wine quality to the beer.  

We end with Udderworldly, a dark and malty treat. This is an oatmeal milk stout that has a unique depth to it. Despite its onyx color, this beer is not heavy. It is supercharged with chocolate aroma and delivers wave after wave of delightful roasted malt. It flirts with bitter, but is a lovely beer. Perhaps the best part of this beer is its slight 4.3% ABV. This is a malt-lover’s happy hour beer.

Good Things Come In Small Packages

After working my way through the beers I ask Tamir if I can snap a few pics of the brewhouse. He gives the ok and I head back. For the size of the place, he has maximized every square inch to put it to use. I am flabbergasted that they can have so much beer on tap with such a small brewhouse.

I urge you to check out Novel Strand if you want a memorable craft beer experience. As I was there, they were gearing up for their 1 year anniversary party. I think that given the passion and people behind the brand, they will be celebrating many more years of adding to the Denver beer scene.

Woods Boss Brewing Company

One of the owners of Wabasha Brewing Company in Saint Paul, MN, told me Woods Boss Brewing Company is well worth a visit. After drinking their beers and spending time in their amazing taproom, he is right. On a lazy Sunday, Chad and I make this one of our stops as we check breweries off my every shrinking beercation bucket list.

The taproom is huge. There are tall ceilings, and wood everywhere! It almost feels like a mountainside lodge in the heart of the city. I love all the different areas to sit. Both of the garage doors are wide open as the Denver sun shines in on some happy drinkers. Being from Minnesota, this reminds me of some of the breweries in Central and Northern Minnesota.

Woods Boss Beers

We order up a flight of beers and it is just a fraction of what Woods Boss Brewing has on tap. The Start’n Early Light Lager is a nice gateway beer. I wonder how many non-craft drinkers there are in this Beer Mecca of a state? If there are any, this would be a beer that could get them to plant their flag firmly in the craft beer soil. It is crisp and clean. There is a light breadiniess from the malt which elevates the flavor. This one is refreshing and would be a wonderful softball alternative to Mich Golden Light.

The Sauerkraut In My Lederhosen Vienna Lager has a roasted malt aroma of toasted bread. The slight coppery and metallic hint in the aftertaste is off-putting. The Belgian Blonde smells like a subtle bouquet of honey and apricot. It drinks effervescent and light. The crisp and dry finish is the classic Belgian Blonde calling card. This is a good beer and I would happily enjoy an entire tulip of it on a warm day.

The Draw Knife Porter is my favorite beer of the bunch, by far. It has a fantastic roasted malt aroma and flavor. It is rich and satisfying with a little hint of vanilla to balance out the roast with sweetness. The roasted malt comes across a little like coffee which I really enjoy. The Kerfish brown ale is also full flavored with coffee and roasted malt. I liked that it is not heavy and has a nice medium body to it. Like the Draw Knife Porter, each sip is delightful.

Last, but certainly not least, the Oswald Full of Hops is an amalgamation of chive, freshly cut grass, and passionfruit in the aroma. It has a substantial body with a punch of bitterness at the end. This punch of hops is enjoyable because it is just the right amount for me.

I can easily say that Woods Boss Brewing is a place I would gladly visit again. I can see why Chris liked it so much. Chad and I both agree that the beers here are quite impressive.

Spangalang Brewing Company

Another Denver hot spot that I missed the last time around. I make sure to include Spangalang Brewery in the beercation itinerary this time around. Located in the River North neighborhood, Spangalang has a great patio and a very fun taproom, complete with one of the coolest murals of animals playing instruments I have ever seen.

One of the wonderful things about my beercations are the people I meet at the bar. This is one of those instances because as I am snapping pictures, a gentleman with a beard and some very cool glasses frames asks me what I am shooting. Unfortunately, my Nikon 510s is nothing to write home about. It does look like a film camera and I think that is what catches his attention. This man’s name is William Collins and he is a local street art photographer. We chat about photography a bit and he mentions that Spangalang is a wonderful place to take pictures because of the afternoon light that floods the taproom.

We exchange Instagram info and we follow each other now. I strongly suggest following the Instagram account of @williamrcollins. You will be treated to an amazing collection of photographs that illustrate an artistic and creative look at Denver.

Spangalang Beers

I will start off by saying that Spangalang’s beers are impressive. Being that I am visiting them on the tail-end of my time in Denver, I have already been lucky enough to drink a lot of spectacular and quality beer. However, if this beercation to Denver is showing me anything, it is that this incredible beer destination is full of surprises.

The Clair de Lune Farmhouse Saison has a slight tang to it. There is an essence of white grape skin that give a complex dryness and vinous element. Clair De Lune is one of those beers that makes you think and you really want to allow yourself the time to savor and enjoy it. It is easily one of the best saisons of the trip.

The Birth Of Cool Gose with cucumber water is refreshing and bright. The tart salinity up front gives way to refreshing and cooling cucumber notes. Akin to the saison, this gose is an excellent example of the style. The D-Train IPA is the total package as far as I am concerned. The piney and resiny hops are subtle and balanced with some honey sweetness. This is all dried out with a perfect finish that makes you eager for the next sip.

The Hop Colossus has an aroma that is a combination of pineapple, freshly cut grass, chive, and onion. The flavors of grapefruit and pineapple come across wonderfully. The mouthfeel is smooth and this does not taste like an 8% ABV beer.

The Night Walker stout has an enticing aroma of roasted malt. Flavors of chocolate cake, molasses, fig, and cherry are absolutely peerless. I would kick back with this and some smooth jazz for the night and it would be fantastic.

The beers at Spangalang are sensational. I can definitely understand the hype around this brewery. As a matter of fact, all three of the breweries that I visited on this leg of the trip are worth your time. Each place delivers in its own special way.

Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer.  Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged.  If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at dan.beaubien@beerploma.com .