Our first stop on our spontaneous Saturday brewery-crawl was Del Norte Brewing. To decide where our next stop would be, we just looked at the next closest brewery that we had never visited before. We drove around a while before I could get my iPhone to cooperate with our search, but luckily we wandered right towards Wits End Brewing Company. We have heard a lot about Wits End Brewing, most recently on American Craft Beer Radio, but we had never tried their beers. Obviously something needed to be done to rectify this, and fast!
Like Del Norte, Wits End Brewing Company is in an industrial park in Denver. Unlike Del Norte, the taproom is pretty big. In fact, the taproom space is clearly larger than the brewing operation, but more on that later. The taproom is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and if the weather cooperates the garage-style roll doors are open to let in the fresh air. Unfortunately, weather was not on our side that day, and the doors were being closed just as we pulled up. Still, the taproom is nice, with an industrial feel and a view of the brewing equipment. Beer to go is offered not in your traditional growlers, but in 40 ounce stainless steel “fourties” bottles. I really wanted one, but knew we weren’t heading home right away so reluctantly passed on one (this time!)
Wits End seems to keep four core beers on tap, plus some one-offs based on availability. Since this was only stop 2 on our beer tour (with an unknown number of stops ahead of us) we stuck to only two beers. First was the Jean-Claude Van Blond, a blond made with Belgian yeast, which is unlike any blond I’d had before. A hazy light yellow beer, the taste was very fruity, predominately banana, with a yeasty finish. It was good, but if I had to choose again I may have tried the Wilford Belgian Oatmeal IPA. I guess I thought I was in the mood for a blond, but not so much.
Jeff had the Green Man Ale, and after all the light lagers we’d had at Del Norte was happy to have some serious hops in his beer. He loved it so much that if we had gotten a “fourtie” to go, this would have been it. Plus, who couldn’t love a name that makes you think of Charlie Kelly? The color would make you think this was an amber, but the aroma and hops were more reminiscent of an IPA. Whatever you want to call this, it was one tasty beer.
Did I mention that this brewery is small? I mean seriously, this place is tiny. Considered a nanobrewery, Wits End brews their beer one barrel at a time. That’s 31 gallons in a barrel, people. That is small. It’s amazing and inspiring that such a small operation can crank out such unique and tasty beers. Seeing the tiny brewery was like seeing a cute puppy or baby. If the brewery had cheeks I’d want to pinch them while saying in my best baby voice, “aaaawwww… look at the cute little brewery!” But as the saying goes, it’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it. I can assure you that Wits End makes very good use of their equipment, and everyone who tries their beers most definitely leaves feeling satisfied – wink wink, nudge nudge, know what i mean?
Even though we only had two beers at Wits End, we left knowing we really liked this place. The staff was all super friendly and knowledgable, the location is cool and comfortable. Plus we really like to support small-scale brewing. Keep a “fourtie” ready for us Wits End, because we will be back!