First review: Locavore Beer Works

Glad you’re here, again! Pull up a chair and grab a pint…

We thought that, until we schedule our next outing, we could review some of the places we’ve already been so far.  So, we’ll start with December, 2018 and our trip to Locavore Beer Works in Littleton, CO. Let’s break it down for you…

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AMBIENCE

This brewery-pub at the corner of Bowles and Platte Canyon is in a little strip mall area off the southeast corner of the intersection. When you walk in, the feel is a little bit industrial, a little bit rustic, and very much welcoming, open plan. There are some long tables to share, and some smaller, round four-seaters. However, considering the open space and high ceilings, this place didn’t feel overly loud. Maybe it was this particular Friday night, early holiday-season crowd, but it never felt like the space was too noisy or echoing to prevent us from hearing our own conversations.

There’s a nice patio facing the parking lot, which has a fire pit but was nevertheless really not an attraction for us in early December. It would be nice to try it in summer, though – especially during a nice late sunset over the mountains, as the patio faces west.

By the way, it appears they allow dogs… 😉

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FOOD

Now, when we go out together, we’re usually looking for food along with our bevvies. In this, Locavore is rich, as they have a partnership with Roberts Italian-American Pizzeria, Restaurant & Deli. In fact, that’s part of Locavore’s MO – their whole point and purpose is supporting local businesses and suppliers. Now you can see where they got their name… 

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Okay, so back to the food. There’s a little kiosk right in the pub where you can order and pay and get a little table stand with a number – and the food is then delivered right to your table from the kitchen next door! No standing in line outside at a food truck (which was nice for this chilly time of year) and the selections were varied. Great appetizers, pizza, and sandwiches work out to be excellent options to pair with the selections on tap.

Which, by the way, are the main feature in this post. The friendly and open vibe and the food are a nice perk of this place, you might be saying — but what about the beer? Well… 

BEER

To start with, Locavore has a great tasting process. It starts when they bring out their six-per taster trays. You can then take your time, flipping through their menu — cards for each beer currently on tap, placed on binding rings. You use a dry erase pen to write the beers you want to try next to each hole in the tray. Your friendly staff member then takes the tray back and fills it with the samples to bring back to the table.

We all have to say, it was nice to have such convenience. No waiting in line while your friends are back at the table chatting it up. The only real line was at the food kiosk, but even that was quick — so Erin missed only a little of the conversation when she went to plug in our orders.

Oh… sorry. Back to the beer. Locavore has a lot of options, and each is described in full — including ingredients — on its menu card. There were, if memory serves, 18 brews on tap, of which we ended up trying 12. That gave us a lot of good options without having to try something we really weren’t into (like the really hoppy stuff — of which they also have lots of options for those of you who do like your beer on the rabbit side). 

Not to say that we didn’t try the hops, by the way. Erin selected a few, as she does, just for the sake of a balanced taster. In fact, we were pretty amazingly balanced for this night out, picking a good variety of most types of beer, considering what was available. 

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This post is going to set our precedent for how we present our tastings. We’ll list what we tried, along with, to the best of our memory, what we thought (calling out specific notes where warranted or for fun). We’ll also list who ended up choosing the beer as their final full pour at the end of the night, and go into a little more detail about why. At least, that’s the plan. Depending on the situation, we might change it up a little…

So, without further ado: for our 12 selections at Locavore, we had:

Loggerhead American Lager (flagship):
We all appreciated this beer, which is a pretty straightforward lager. 

Lilly Hammer IPA (flagship):
As is often the case with IPAs, most of the crew didn’t warm up to it (as we have said, we tend to not enjoy hoppy beers). Erin found the hops to be mostly balanced with the malt. 

Sugar Magnolia Wit (flagship): Becky’s Full Pour 

This sweet, smooth dip was exactly Becky’s speed. A little sweet, a little fruity, and very flavorful while still drinkable. We all enjoyed this taster, and Dave actually considered having it as his full pour, too. The key to it is the slight coriander spice and the orange peel that gives it fruit with just a little complementary tang. And it came with the tallest, most unique glass. 

Blackberry Betty Belgian Wit (flagship): 
Blackberries and very light spice. We found it quite tasty. 

Edward’s Wee Demise Scotch Ale (seasonal): 
We all enjoyed tasting this scotch ale, named for the brief king of Ireland, brother of Robert the Bruce. Edward was drawn and quartered. Ew. Thankfully, this beer does not taste like defeat. 

Black Pearl Barrel Aged Imperial Porter (barrel-aged rarity): Warren’s Full Pour

This beauty is aged in bourbon barrels, and we could tell. Dave actually almost liked it, even though he’s doesn’t go for porters. You can really taste the bourbon influence on this tasty beer. And that’s what Warren liked about it: it didn’t taste like coffee or chocolate; that bourbon essence made it feel almost like a beer cocktail — in a good way.

Cobblestone Brown Porter (seasonal): 
Brown porters are rare, so we definitely wanted to try it. The flavor was good, and it’s robust. 

Bloch’s Bounty Milk Stout (flagship): 
Becky and Erin both enjoyed this milk stout, and Erin might have had it as a final pour if it hadn’t been for… well, you’ll see. Even Warren didn’t mind the relatively light chocolate.

Sister Christian Belgian Blonde Ale (seasonal): Dave’s Full Pour

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Dave always enjoys a good Belgian, and this fit his bill. The honey smoothed it out without being too sweet or cloying, and the tasty malts gave a rich, wheat flavor. Very light on the hops, but still able to hold its own, Dave found it to be just right to go with his tasty pizza and fried mozzarella. Exactly the kind of beer he loves best.

Friend of the Devil Schwarzbier (seasonal): 
This traditional German black lager was fairly clean, with a touch of bitter chocolate.

5th Season Pale Ale (flagship): 
This and the Lilly Hammer turned out to be the hoppiest of the bunch. As a pale ale, most of the group wasn’t into the 5th, but Erin cheerfully finished it.

Santa’s Secret Sauce Spiced Stout (seasonal): Erin’s Full Pour

Erin loves stouts, but also admits to being a sucker for an appropriate seasonal beer. Yes, she sometimes buys based only on the label. But this delicious, chocolatey orange-and-spice stout made it worthwhile. The orange isn’t overpowering, but it is present. And the cinnamon gives it just enough holiday spirit that Erin couldn’t resist.

Side note: at least a couple of us were disappointed that they had tapped out of 8675309, a cream ale. We’ll have to get back there and hope to find it available, as it is one of their seasonal/rotational beers… Same with the Tooth and Ale, a bitter that Erin wanted to try.

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Hey, so there is Locavore — overall living up to their name, with a welcoming, community vibe, and both service and beers that made it a really enjoyable evening. Gotta say, we’d be happy to go back there again soon. But for now, we have more new places to try! So, along with catching up on some other places we’ve already been, we’ll be letting you in on another pub or distillery very soon!

Until then, Prosit!

BWDE

What are we doing, here?

a6e5f571-ac8a-4a78-95b2-318fe1019b16Hey! Glad you can join us. Pull up a chair and grab a glass. The beer is flowing, the mood is jovial, and the conversation is easy.  

Oh… you might be wondering who we are. Well, for a more general introduction, we’re just four people who like to explore craft breweries around the Denver Metro area (and maybe even beyond). We like to try distilleries, too, when we have a chance, as well as the rare winery in the area. And during one of these recent outings, when we were having lots of fun, we thought maybe we could start a blog about it. 

As such, we hope to share our insights, and perhaps lead you to a place you’ve never been before, where maybe you just might find your new favorite beer. Or maybe you’ll discover a great place to meet friends on a regular basis for drinks, food, and fun. 

By the way, we originally wanted to call ourselves Through the Drinking Glass — an obvious play on the trippy old Lewis Carroll classic. Well, first of all, someone already had that name. But more importantly, we want this to feel like a place where people feel comfortable taking a seat at the table with us to share company and laughter. And we won’t just be reviewing the beverages. If there’s a food truck, we’ll talk about it. We’ll let you know about ambience – including noise, games, welcome, comfort, and so on. We want to share the all around experience.

Now, to get more literal about who we are, here are some introductions:

Becky — the Smooth One

Becky likes smooth flavors. She’ll drink just about any type of beer as long as it isn’t too strong or biting, and doesn’t linger unpleasantly on the tongue. Obviously, that disincludes anything too hoppy or bitter. She’s also dubious about sours. A slightly sweeter fruit beer or a mild coffee or chocolate porter is a good bet for her. That smoothness translates to other drinks, too. Whiskeys and vodkas should be easy-drinking and not overpowering. See, Becky’s all about the smooth. Be aware, though – she’ll be flat out honest if something doesn’t hold up to her expectations. But true to her nature, she’ll be the first to laugh about it and pick up the next taster.

Warren — the Sexy One

Warren prefers a beverage that oozes sex appeal. He loves dark, sexy beers, as long as they’re not too heavy on the coffee or chocolate (they should still taste like beer, not breakfast or dessert). He enjoys most everything else on the beer menu, too – excepting the IPAs and pale ales. Anything too hoppy is a turn-off. On the other hand, a well-structured lager or ale makes him happy, and he’ll try the sours and fruits. He’s man enough. Warren’s a big fan of a smoky whiskey or scotch, but his true sex appeal transcends paper umbrellas – he will not reject a cocktail just because it seems a little fru-fru. He’s not judgy that way.

Dave — the Refined One

Dave will try just about anything — but he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like. He’s a fan of wheat beers, Belgians, and some ambers, if they’re not too heavy or bitter. Forget anything harsh or hoppy, like a porter, stout, sour, or IPA. But don’t you dare think Dave’s just another smoothy — he also loves an smoky, peaty Islay scotch or a smoky, strong whiskey. His vodka should have a bite to it. His gin should be strong on the juniper. He likes a black-pepper tempranillo. But Dave will still taste other things. He wants things the way he wants them, but he’s easy. It’s complex.

Erin — the Adventurous One 

Erin’ll be the first to admit that she hasn’t found an alcoholic beverage she flat out refuses to drink. She’s not a huge fan of pale ales or IPAs, but is still the one at the table who is most likely to try, appreciate, and finish those samples. Favorites include chocolate or coffee porters and stouts, but she also enjoys a brown ale, scotch ale, or amber, and is open to sour and fruit beers — as long as it doesn’t go too sour or sweet. Erin loves a floral gin, highland scotch, smooth bourbon or rye, and various floral and fruity liqueurs, but also enjoys a bitter aperitif or well-made sazerac. Just pass it down. She’s game to try it.

Disclaimers: we readily admit we’re not balanced, and we might be biased. None of us likes anything too hoppy. We’re mostly red wine drinkers (though Becky will be the first to choose a white, and Erin admits to liking the sparkly stuff). We’re not experts or connoisseurs. We just like going out and tasting beer and liquors – and occasionally wine. We also enjoy tasting new foods from various kinds of food trucks and restaurants available around the breweries or distilleries. 

Sometimes, we’ll even do an in-home tasting if we have a fun collection of, say, bourbons. Or rums. Or vodkas. Or whatever. In future, we might even return to some of these places to try their seasonal offerings, taste new things, or find out whether the ambiance or experience (including available foods) has changed. The key is, we don’t make any claim to being a well-rounded group. We just want to taste stuff and share what we think.

But that’s enough about us. Get yourself a pour and have a seat. Let’s share some good times Around the Drinking Glass!