Update: In May 2017, Walnut Brewery was purchased by Boulder Beer Company. The Walnut Brewery location that we write about below has now closed.
On President’s Day last month, we made the trip to Boulder for the grand opening of the new Avery Brewing Co brewery. We figured if we were making the drive to Boulder we may as well hit a few more breweries still on our “need to visit” list, so we left for Boulder early in the afternoon. What we didn’t consider was that many craft breweries are closed on Mondays, especially when that day is a federal holiday. We drove by one place after another, all closed, until at last we found our savior – Walnut Brewery.
It’s crazy that we hadn’t been to Walnut Brewery yet, given that it’s just a block off Boulder’s Pearl Street and near one of our favorite Boulder restaurants, The Mediterranean. How could we have passed this place so many times and not stopped in for a beer?
We arrived early on a Monday afternoon and the place was pretty quiet. Perhaps it was the holiday or the snowstorm outside, but there were only a handful of people at Walnut when we arrived. That was fine by us, it meant we could easily get a spot at the bar and chat up the staff. We learned that Walnut Brewery opened in 1990 and was the first Brewpub in Boulder (Boulder Beer Company was still just a tasting room at that time.)
The ambiance of Walnut Brewery felt really familiar, and we couldn’t put our finger on it until we realized that Walnut Brewery is owned by CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc, the same company behind Rock Bottom, Old Chicago and Gordon Biersch. Walnut feels a whole lot like a Rock Bottom, from their look to their menu. Like Rock Bottom they brew on site, and their flagship beer is the Buffalo Gold. We were both familiar with Buffalo Gold, likely named after the buffalo mascot at Boulder’s University of Colorado located just a few miles away. Buffalo Gold is an easy-drinking golden ale that is light enough to be a gateway into craft beer for those fizzy yellow beer drinkers who don’t think they like craft beer. It’s a good beer, but we were in the mood for something different.
With just enough time for a couple of pints we settled on some beers we hadn’t already tried. Jeff had the 1123 IPA,which was piney and citrusy, very tasty. It was bitter enough to make Jeff happy but not too bitter for me to enjoy. I had the Glacier Ale, an American brown that was also very good, nicely hopped and not too sweet. Finally we did a sample of the Nutstrap Nitro, a collaboration beer that Walnut brewed with Bootstrap Brewing in Niwot. Get it? Walnut + Bootstrap = Nutstrap. Yes it’s a clever name, but it was an even better beer. It was a fantastic Imperial Coffee Stout made with Ozo coffee. Yummy.
We paired our beers with a snack, some spinach queso and chips. There is no such thing as bad queso (that we’ve found) so of course it was delicious, and it was a perfect complement to the beers – especially the IPA.
Overall, Walnut Brewery was nice and the beers were tasty. Next time we’re in Boulder enjoying tapas at The Med, we’ll try to stop by for a pint or two.
About Walnut Brewery
The Walnut Brewery, Boulder’s original brewpub, opened its doors on Walnut Street in Boulder, Colorado in 1990 with the promise of bringing guests great handcrafted beer served alongside brewery fare with an upscale twist of originality and comfort. Today, the Walnut Brewery continues to serve up a large selection of fresh beer and delicious food, all in an atmosphere that brings friends and family together to celebrate and share the good things in life. They are open Sunday-Thursday from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM, and Friday & Saturday from 11:00 AM to midnight.
1123 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302