Patrick Dawson | PatrickD@northdenvertribune.com
SLOAN LAKE — In the summer of 2012, the Highlands’ neighborhood was in for an exciting surprise: a new craft brewery of their very own. Finally someone understood that an honest to goodness brewery and tap room would be many a local’s wish. And since that summer, Denver has warmly embraced Hogshead Brewery and Tap Room.
Compared to many of their Denver counterparts, Hogshead focused their brewing efforts on the lesser known “traditional English style beers”. What you get with this style is generally maltier, fruitier, lower ABV options that don’t have the overpowering hoppiness found in many American beers. In the traditional English style they also offer a number of cask conditioned options as well (unfiltered, unpasteurized, and naturally carbonated).
While these were assuredly new styles for many of Hogshead’s patrons, North Denver quickly grew to love them and the tap room has been packed since.
Having garnered such popularity, it was inevitable that the brains behind Hogshead’s beers would be noticed and in demand. And that demand came recently with the advent of a new brewery and taproom in Idaho Springs, known as Westbound & Down Brewing Company.
The connection between these two breweries actually began when Hogshead Head Brewer and Co-Owner Stephen Kirby welcomed one of their very first customers to their Sloan’s Lake taproom, a man by the name of Dan Brown. Fast forward a couple of years and Brown became part of the duo founding Westbound. A conversation between Brown and Kirby about potential contract brewers led to Kirby offering his services. Adding Jake Gardner, another of Hogshead’s brewers to the deal cinched it and brewing began.
With Westbound in a unique location when considering demographic, they’ll concentrate the majority of their tap offerings on lower ABV (alcohol by volume) beers. (Also an apt choice due to the recent surge in demand for session brews). This is exemplified in their first few batches, such as Denver Day Trip, a 5.1% session IPA and Seven Sisters Stout, coming in at 4.7%. Understanding the variety of palate preferences traveling between Denver and the mountains, not to mention the local crowd, their tap list will include a number of other styles.
While the question of what styles to brew will be a joint decision between the owners and brewers, spending a little time outside of Hogshead should be a bonus for Kirby and Gardner. Not only will they ultimately design the recipes and brew them, but they’ll have the chance to step outside of Hogshead’s realm and show off more of their brewing prowess. “They’re known for cask-conditioned English ales. This allows them to show on a different platform, how good they are at making other styles,” concurs Brown.
Some of you may be thinking this might put Kirby’s future are Hogshead at risk, but according to Brown, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “It’s a great collaboration…there are no plans for this relationship to change.” So rest assured that these Hogshead brewers are staying put in our hood.
And with that sign of relief, you can celebrate the fact that the next time you’re heading up I-70, you’ve got not only a new brewery to stop into or grab a growler, but a conveniently-situated restaurant in which to grab a bite. With Hogshead’s Kirby and Gardner behind the libations, you know you’re in for a treat.
Hogshead Brewery | 4460 W 29th Ave. | Denver, CO 80212
Westbound & Down Brewing Company | 1617 Miner St. | Idaho Springs, CO 80452
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