Denver/Boulder visit: Beer at Left Hand, Avery, and Oskar Blues

Left Hand Brewing Company has been on my radar thanks to their smooth Milk Stout (which I first had in Chicago), so when I had to go to Denver/Boulder area for some customer visits for work, I made it a stop on my list. List? You betcha. The way I travel for work is that I map out the customer locations, pick a hotel convenient to them, and then immediately look for highly rated reviewed restaurants in the area- I don’t leave it to chance to just find a place though I can flex that way at my coworkers’ discretion. I may be working, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some of the local specials.

At Left Hand, you can make your own sampler at the Left Hand tasting room, four tastings for $4, from the tap list of a dozen-  and in additions one of them you will have a choice of nitro or normal tap. When you pick out your tasters, they have little laminated cards from an index card box the bartender will pull so you can enjoy your mini-snifters with a description as well.

For my sampler I went the dark beer route with the Milk Stout on nitro- both the cream and the nitro made it quite smooth and silky indeed; the BlackJack an English style porter that was quite chocolatey; the Wake Up Dead whose licorice aftertaste in the Russian Imperial Stout gave it a kick, and the Fade to Black 3 Pepper Porter that had a very small hint of a taste of spicy tobacco but mostly darkness as appropriately titled.

I should also say there was NO ONE in the bathroom which is why I was ok with taking this photo of what the stalls looked like in the (of course) ladies room… glass filled with grains! They have very minimal food- just snacks like chips and pretzels, nothing that could even be a meal- so keep that in mind and eat beforehand or have plans to eat nearby. If you are looking for a suggestion, try SugarBeet which is where we had local seasonal American cuisine for our dinner.

The next day, we had dinner at Avery Brewing, which I saw had excellent reviews from those who visited. Opening the beer menu to see 21 beers listed was quite eye opening- as is the fact that you can get any of these in a tastings so you make your own flight. For the picture I borrowed my coworkers’ beer to show the rainbow at our table of tasters, they aren’t all mine.

I tried out the Hand Drawn Ellie’s Brown Ale, Out of Bounds Stout (if it wasn’t for dinner and not wanting to be up from caffeine maybe I would have braved the Out of Sight House Blend that adds a cold coffee toddy to the beer), Hog Heaven Barleywine style ale, and Freckles Saison (a wedding ale brewed with rosehips, cherries and orange peel). I would have had the Fumator which is a strong ale that is smoked and aged in whiskey barrels for 3 months but they were unfortunately out. It was amazing we found this as it is way back from the main street with a small sign, but we felt like we had found a hidden secret and were happy with our experience. They serve food here, though it is mostly appetizers and burgers and sandwiches.

Oskar Blues’ Liquids and Solids was conveniently located across the street from the hotel, and offers beers in the pint, half sized for half price, and also beer flights of 5 tasters. I enjoyed the Honey Badger Smoked Porter, which unfortunately spoiled me for the One Nut Brown I had second.

So close to the several Marriott hotels that you can walk there and back, just be careful crossing the local highway. Of the three breweries, this one was most friendly to family dining as it can offer a full meal and had a big menu that could satisfy anyone, including mostly southern food but also healthy and vegetarian items (even if it’s tongue in cheek, such as an item named “There’s a Hippie in My House” for one vegetarian sandwich and a Margherita pizza includes “yuppies unite” in the description even as their pizza dough uses beer as part of the dough to give it a bit of hop).

The only food I remembered to photograph was a fast food lunch that I had picked out as we were in a tight timeline between appointments: Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. The atmosphere showed its history from the original Freddy with pictures on the wall and the semi-nostalgic 50s diner fashioned feel that I hadn’t seen since. And, they are insanely generous with their crispy thin cut shoestring fries, which you can have with ketchup or add their own special seasoning or their cheese sauce. The meat is lean sirloin rather then just ground beef and thin so when grilled they become sorta crispy, especially the edges which are so thin they are almost like lace made of meat or burnt cheese on a grill.

Next stop: Boston



  1. Tyshawn Davey

    Awesome article post. Really Cool.

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