By Bobby Bush
Up early Saturday morning in Denver, we set out to see if the rumor was true. Sure
enough, there in south south Denver, off the beaten path, Heavenly Daze was open. The
huge brewpub originally opened in June 1998 but fell on bad times and was forced into
bankruptcy, as was it’s mother brewpub in Steamboat Springs. After being closed many
months, new owners brought new life to this Heavenly Daze in May 2000. Brewer Rick
Whitehouse mans the brewhouse..
A former construction worker and our now-bartender, Dave enjoyed his new job
much more. Previously a Bud drinker, he favors ESB and Porter today. And so it was
that we asked this interested lad for a Heavenly Daze taster tray. GABF banners awarded
to the Steamboat Springs beers were draped from rafters nearby. We worked on eleven
brews. El Rey Cervesa was a light pils lager, fizzy, thin with a hint of Saaz hops.
Colorado Raz-Wheat, sweet with berry dry finish, wrapped up the short tricycle beer list.
At 5.9% abv, Mineshaft Marzen was a clean, fairly traditional German-style lager, while
Amber Daze, previously known as Colorado Cream Ale, was copper in color and malty
from its five grain bill. A stylistic hybrid, Dog’s Breath Brown Ale worked in spite of a
slightly sour ending.
A holdover from the past, Steamboat Scottish Ale led a smooth malt attack on the
tongue. Derailer ESB wasn’t bitter until the last half of the swallow. It departed with a
hint of horehound candy flavor. Crop Circle Red, which boasted a “small portion of crop
circle barley,” bounced with roasted and caramel malt taste which concluded with a Sugar
Daddy smack. East Kent Goldings and a little Cascade hops created the puckering
bitterness of Backpacker IPA, while Paramount Porter was classic English in style, full
bodied, malty not sweet. Foregoing a house-made rootbeer and dark creme sodas, Trout
Stout closed out the set. It was complex, opaque black with heavy coffee taste.
Heavenly Daze is open seven daze (sorry) a week and seems to be doing great
business. The menu features homemade bread, salads, burritos, pasta, pizza and etc. The
nachos are killer and the beer isn’t bad. Let’s hope business goes better this time.
We didn’t have much time left, so we hurried to Flying Dog Brewpub, which had
only been open three weeks. Created from the remainder of defunct Broadway Brewing, a
collaborative microbrewery venture partly owned by Wynkoop, this Blake Street place
looked familiar the minute we walked through the door. The bartendress confirmed my
suspicion. This was the site of the short-lived Mile High Brewing Company, which in
itself is a long, long story.
While Bailey the brewpub dog checked us out, we tasted the beginner Tire Biter.
A golden kolsch, the ale was too cold and flavorless, perfect for a budmillercoors drinker.
Ha! Snake Dog was a light pale ale, nicely hopped but too thin for my big mouth. Tangy
carbonation and light malt taste gave Doggie Style Pale Ale moderate punch. An ale
fermented lager-like at lower temperatures, Old Scratch was medium bodied with berry
mouthfeel. Its finish was tangy caramel done quickly. Railyard Ale, which also happens
to be a Wynkoop staple (what’s going on here?), made a nicely balanced amber session
beer. Road Dog was deep brown, a hybrid of Scottish Ale and Porter which carried the
Ralph Steadman-authored “Good Beer, No S--t” slogan until the feds cracked down upon
these bad Denver boys. Seasonal K-9 Cruiser was a strong winter ale with warming malt
flavor and succulently sweet closure. Copper brown and deeply malty, the 8.5% abv
Barley Wine was blissfully satisfying. Several guest beers, including Crested Butte’s Red
Lady, were also available. Pizza, sandwiches, salads filled the food menu.
Flying Dog Brewpub is of to a flying start. This one deserves to be watched.
Check ‘em out at www.flyingdogales.com.
This article is the last of a four-part Colorado 2001 tale. Backspace to Cheshire Cat
This article first appeared in Focus, a weekly paper published in Hickory, North Carolina.
© Bobby Bush