Friday, October 18, 2013

Step outta the alley and into De Steeg Brewing

De Steeg BrewingGABF Week in Denver is one of the most extremely busiest weeks for Denver breweries and gave an opportunitiy to hit up a place that I hadn't visited before. De Steeg Brewing normally didn't open at 2pm on a Thursday but had special hours just for GABF week. That's probably why when I dropped in just at the stroke of 2:00pm I had the place mostly to myself. But by the time I left two hours later, the place was quite busy.

De Steeg Brewing is listed as being located at 4342 Tennyson Street in Denver, but if you drive down Tennyson Street you won't see it. The reason? The brewery and it's entrance is in the back of a building with the entry way in an alley. Hence the name of this brewery, De Steeg, which in Dutch means The Alley. De Steeg opened just 8 months ago on February 1st, 2013 and has already garnered a reputation for brewing up big ales. There was quite a number of cars parked along the side roads and the alley was being blocked by a huge truck that day, so I opted to park a block or so away on a residential street. (Click on any image below to enlarge)

The entire place is small, hidden and meant to be so. You won't see big letters showing "De Steeg" outside, just a small black and white sign with the image of a beer goblet. Just enough to tell you that you've found a place to drink. Inside, they could fit around 40 people comfortably in this tasting room. The small brewhouse is tucked in back behind the tap well and huge blackboard with the day's beers listed.

Upon arriving, I was met by the owner Craig Rothgery and his assistant Todd and was given a fresh printed beer menu for the day. Craig was just heading out to get to GABF so I spent some time talking with Todd. On this day, they had 8 beers on tap including a couple that just want on tap for the first time that day.

Today's beers included: Het Huis (The House) - a dry hopped beer with Simcoe, French Saison (a fan favorite Saison), 7 C's Pale Ale (another dry hopped ale), Imperial Pumpkin Ale (a new big pumpkin ale lightly spiced), Session IPA (one of their hoppier ales), Oak Aged House (a barrel-aged version of Het Huis), Russian Imperial Stout (a powerful black stout), and English Mild (lower ABV with a light roast).

I opted to get a taster flight of all 8 beers. Each sample glass cost $2. I wanted to get the full spectrum of taste from De Steeg and was glad I did. My favorites ended up being their French Saison, the Imperial Pumpkin and the Russian Imperial Stout. I even tried blending their pumpkin ale with the stout and absolutely loved the combo.

Todd took me on a short tour of their brewhouse. They brew on a modest 1 barrel brewing system with 3 tanks. One for hot water, one for mashing and one for boiling. They also had quite a number of small conical plastic fermenters in the back and a couple of oak barrels that they were aging beer in. While the area was filled with equipment, I had the feeling they could easily replace their existing fermenters with bigger ones if they had to.

Surprisingly, the vast majority of these beers were above 8% ABV. That means you're going to feel it quicker than drinking regular beers. They did have 3 of their 8 beers around 5% ABV, so for those who want to go easy they can choose to start off with those. Full size pours came in a nice snifter glass and that helped bring out the full aromas of their beers.

The bar top was made from an old bowling alley lane. They got it from an old bowling alley just about a block away from their location. It looked great and had a nice finish on top. The rest of the room had several small 4-person tables with high-backed stools. A popcorn machine also appeared against one wall. They had local artwork from locals adorning the walls as well. During the warmer months, you could enter using the two big double glass doors. In colder months they have a smaller side door to use to help block out the cold air.

I was really impressed with all of their beers. The plastic fermenters did not affect the taste of their beers at all. I had heard from others that they made some great strong brews and I was very pleased with how their beers tasted. I ended up getting a couple more full glasses before leaving.

I heartily recommend that you seek out this small hidden alley brewery. It's a cozy comfortable tap room and the beers were all wonderful. Sometimes the best things are hard to find. Seek this one out, but use an online map first to know where this one is found.

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