Saturday, April 20, 2013

A visual tour of Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar

Crooked Stave Beer LabelsSome times it pays to be slow, and by slow I mean by several months. I've been looking for an excuse to drop by and visit the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Barrel Cellar and Taproom in Denver. After all, I had purchased a 2012 Cellar Reserve Membership but had only picked up about 20% of the bottles from that year. I called up the taproom and they said my bottles were still there waiting for me. So I drove down to Denver (1 hour away from my home) and found the taproom hidden behind a small sign at 1441 W. 46th Avenues (Unit 19) in Denver, CO and went inside.

The taproom is small compared to many Colorado brewery taprooms, but what they have on tap there makes up for it by a long shot. For a Saturday, the taproom was surprisingly not that busy. Most likely it was because there were other beer festivals going on that day. Luckily for me, my stockpile of beer was there waiting for me and I was able to immediately order a glass of Vieille Apple Whiskey Barrel Aged brett beer and start sipping. Ah, it was like poetry in a glass.

Crooked Stave taproom Crooked Stave taproom

Since the taproom wasn't too busy, the guys minding the taproom graciously agreed to give me a tour of their barrel room facility in the back. Here is where the operation really opened up into something a beer nerd like me can really appreciate.

Crooked Stave exterior Crooked Stave Barrel Room

The back room was not only filled with bright tanks, fermenters and bottles, but it was also stock high to the ceiling with wooden barrels (small and large) and some giant wooden foeders that held nearly 2000 gallons of aging beer. It was amazing to see just how many barrels were being stored there and the volume of beer that Chad Yakobson had aging away.

Crooked Stave Barrel Room Crooked Stave Barrel Room

Crooked Stave doesn't actually brew their beer on premises as they haven't yet opened up their own brew house yet. Currently, Crooked Stave is under contract to make their beer at both Prost Brewing Company and at River North Brewery - both in Denver. Later this year, if all goes according to plan, Crooked Stave will open up it's own brewhouse in another part of Denver. The plan then would be to do their own brewing operations at the new facility, but keep this taproom for barrel storage and possibly expand it as well.

Crooked Stave Barrel Room Crooked Stave Barrel Room

After a short, but fascinating guided tour of the facility, I sat back down to enjoy my Leopold Brothers barrel-aged beer. There were about a handful of patrons in the room and all were really enjoying the tappings that day as I was. Long live Saisons, Brettanomyces and sour barrel aged beer! Thanks to the staff for their great hospitality and for the awesome tour of the facility on short notice.

Crooked Stave Barrel Room Crooked Stave Barrel Room

I couldn't stay as long as I liked, as I had a long trip back home ahead of me, but at least I took home nearly a case full of beer plus two large stemmed tasting glasses. I'm glad now I didn't get these beers earlier last year as they would have been gone by now. And now, they've aged a bit more and had even more time to develop. I'll look forward to sampling those beers and posting some reviews in the weeks to come.

Crooked Stave Barrel Room Crooked Stave beer menu

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Barrel Cellar and Taproom
1441 W. 46th Ave. Unit 19
Denver, CO. 80211
Phone: 720.508.3292
Open hours:
Tues-Thurs 12pm to 8pm
Fri-Sat 12pm to 10pm
Sun 12pm to 6pm

Cellar Membership bottles Cellar Membership bottles

Related articles:
- Crooked Stave plans Origins bottle release.
- Crooked Stave Blackberry Petite Sour review.
- Crooked Stave readies their Cellar Reserve Memberships.

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