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Colorado has four area codes, but only 303 can claim to be the first (introduced in 1947), by far the oldest and most palindromic. This OG vibe also gives it the most stamp of approval, which is why the people of Denver and its suburbs, where most of the 303 numbers are distributed, name their restaurants, car dealerships, stores, publications, and products after these magic numbers.
When it comes to beer, Station 26 Brewing scored a huge win for all local things two years ago when it secured the “Declaration of Use” trademark rights to 303 for beer and brewery products.
Across town, Factotum Brewhouse celebrates the 303rd day each year – March 3rd, of course – and has done so again in recent weeks by pre-selling a sip of beer for $ 3.03. Shoppers can show up and have their beer on Wednesday (try the brewery’s Glorieta “Colorado-Style” IPA if you want to stay on-topic).
And then there’s Denver Beer Co., which is introducing a new year-round beer called Love This City American Pilsner on Wednesday. The can label features artwork by Pat Milbery of Denver, who is painting a new mural in the DBC taproom on Platte Street Wednesday in honor of 3030 Day.
But there’s plenty of Denver to spend that 303 day in breweries across the city: whether it’s local ingredients, brewery and beer names, or logos and labels, they fly blue, red, and yellow.
Just a block away from Factotum and its $ 3.03 worth of beers, Diebolt Brewing has just released the Colorado Cache, a French beers de garde brewed for its 500th batch. But the great name (“Cache” is a French word that was widely used by fur trappers in the Old West in the 19th century) and logo are just the beginning. The beer was also brewed with yeast from Denver’s Inland Island yeast company, grain from the Colorado Malting Company, and Cascade hops from the Western Slope. It was then stored for twelve weeks, half of it in oak barrels.
Many other breweries in town use Inland Island yeast – as does Denver’s other yeast company, Propagate. One of them is Goldspot Brewing, which is so much Colorado that it is named after the shining sun on the state flag and even has the flag in its logo. Try the Centurion IPA for beer. Goldspot keeps it local by donating $ 1 per pint of this beer to the Colorado Coalition that got the homeless.
Of course, there’s no more Denver than a brewery named after Mile High City: Denver Beer Co., founded in 2011. Give Graham Cracker Porter a chance and feel that city vibe. Not far from Denver Beer Co. is Great Divide Brewing, one of the oldest craft breweries in Denver. Great Divide has its Colorado showcased each year by hiring a local artist to create a new label for the brewery’s Denver Pale Ale. This year’s artwork juxtaposes old and new Denver in drawings by Denver-based Adam Vicarel.
When it comes to old and new, two Denver breweries have used names that go back to the city’s roots. Founded across Union Station in 1988, Wynkoop Brewing has been making its flagship Rail Yard Ale for decades in homage to the trains that grew Denver. One of the Strange Craft Beer Company’s flagships is called Cherry Kriek, a fun pun on the waterway the city was founded on and the Belgian cherry-based beer style.
There’s no more Colorado than the Goldspot Brewing logo.
Several breweries over the years have named beers after America’s longest and baddest street, Colfax Avenue, one of the city’s most iconic, beloved (and hated) landmarks and thoroughfares. To honor old US Route 40, visit Alpine Dog Brewing (in Colfax and Ogden) for a pint of Colfax Gold, a Belgian-style golden ale with notes of fruit and spice – spices are what life is made of Colfax exists.
Local streets, neighborhoods, and transportation round out Denver beers on offer, starting with the Zuni Street IPA, which you can get at Zuni Brewing. Then there’s the not-so-politically correct Federal Tweaker, a pale one that the West Denver-based Little Machine Beer Company says “casually pokes the tongue, regardless of its own survival,” and Broken Bridge Hazy IPA, the Briar Common Brewery + Eatery named for a nearby “terrible bridge” to the Central Platte Valley that is always in disrepair.
The express train runs right in front of the Spangalang brewery
At Raices Brewing, you’ll find Valle del Sol Golden Ale, a beer named after the Sun Valley neighborhood in honor of the community and its rebirth. And order a pint of D-Train IPA at the Spangalang Brewery in Five Points, named after the light rail that shakes its chair near the brewery’s windows.
Oh, and finally, give Crooked Staves Von Pilsner a try. While the Denver Broncos Super Bowl MVP and future Hall of Famer Von Miller may not be on the team long and are currently under criminal investigation, there is no question that he made a huge impact on the city, leaving Crooked Stave a piece of it played his name for this superb version of the Pilsner style. Can’t you take a beer when you think of Miller? Instead, increase your Von Pilsner to Baron Walter von Richthofen’s mansion in east Denver.
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Jonathan Shikes is from Denver and writes about business and beer for Westword.