I know it seems like all we do is visit great breweries and drink craft beer. If only that were true. In reality we both work totally beer-free desk jobs Monday through Friday. We sit at our computers all day long, trying to solve problems and put out figurative fires for our employers, all without a single craft beverage in sight. To be honest we both really enjoy our day jobs, at least most of the time. But like many cubicle dwellers, the daily grind begins to wear on us as the week slowly drags by. By Thursday afternoon we need a break from the meetings, the conference calls, and the nonstop problems that land on our desk. After several days of work the last thing we want to face is a long, hot, bumper-to-bumper commute home. If we’re going to survive one more day until the weekend we need a time out. We need a brief escape from our daily obligations. We need a cold craft beer.
This past Thursday was one of those days after one of those weeks. We left our offices feeling worn out and weary, knowing that we still had a full day of work between us and the weekend. We agreed that we needed a little respite from reality, so when slow traffic forced us off the highway at University Boulevard, we took it as a sign. And that sign was telling us to take a break and stop at FERMÆNTRA.
FERMÆNTRA Brewing is a 7-barrel brewery that opened last fall on in the University of Denver (DU) neighborhood. The name may be hard to say, and don’t look to us for help because we’re not sure how to say it either. Fortunately the brewery itself was easy to find, just a few blocks west of University Boulevard on Evans Avenue. Parking was our concern initially, since much of the neighborhood parking around DU is limited to one hour. Fortunately since school is out for the summer we found a space right on Evans, just a quick walk from the brewery. With no reason to rush we knew we’d have ample time for some beer sampling with and dinner at one of the neighborhood restaurants.
The FERMÆNTRA tap room is pretty awesome. It’s large and open, with big tables made for friendly socializing and smaller tables for when you just want a bit of privacy. There are no walls between the tap room and the brewery, so the only thing separating the drinkers from the brewers is the bar itself. This means that no matter where you sit, you can see into the brewery. The overall ambiance is hip and industrial, with interesting artwork lining exposed brick walls, and natural wood and medal furniture. The front of the space features garage-style doors, both of which were open wide to let the beautiful sunshiny day in. You could sit right at these windows to take in the hustle and bustle of Evans Avenue and quietly mock the commuters who didn’t have the common sense to stop for a cold beverage. Suckers.
It was our first visit, so upon looking over the menu board we quickly settled on a taster flight of 8 beers. There were 11 beers on the FERMÆNTRA menu, but two were out during our visit. That meant we got to taste all their but one of their offerings that day. (Sorry Belgian Golden Strong Ale, we’ll get you next time.) The beers we sampled were:
- Sidereal Blonde Rye
- Terrarum English Amber
- Demiurge Belgian Witbier
- Prisma West Coast Pale Ale
- Accentor Rye Pale Ale
- Hyperbole Blonde IPA
- Meristem Russian Imperial Stout
- Archfiend Double IPA
- Machination Dry Hopped American Strong Ale
Jeff and I both love most styles of beers, but we definitely have different preferences and favorites. With that in mind we took notes so that we could share our individual recommendations this time around, and hopefully in future brewery reviews. Here’s our thoughts on the FERMÆNTRA beers:
Jeff’s Recommendations: All 8 of FERMÆNTRA’s beers are really solid. There isn’t one I wouldn’t drink again. The Archfiend Double IPA, dry-hopped with Citra and Columbus hops, was a big, in-your-face, hop forward beer, so of course I loved it. The Prisma West Coast Pale Ale, dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Columbus hops, was equally great. I also loved the Demiurge Belgian Witbier. I can’t pick a favorite, so it’s a three-way tie for my favorite FERMÆNTRA beer. Try them all.
Chris’ Recommendations: I have to agree with Jeff that all the beers were pretty great. The Archfiend was a bit too bitter for me, but I’m not a total hop-head like Jeff. I did really love the Prisma, it was excellent, with lots of citrus hop flavor and aroma, but a bit more approachable for me than the Archfiend. I also really loved both of the FERMÆNTRA blondes, the Sidereal Blonde Rye and the Hyperbole Blonde IPA. Too often breweries make blondes that are just plain, pale and boring, but not these blondes! They were both complex, delicious, and really refreshing on a sunny afternoon.
FERMÆNTRA doesn’t serve food, but you can often find food trucks parked out front and there are no shortage of great fast-casual restaurants nearby. Snarfs is right next door, Illegal Pete’s is across the street, and if you’re willing to walk a few blocks more there are lots of other great food choices. You can even pay a visit to the first ever Chipotle restaurant location, just a block away. There are lots of great food choices all around FERMÆNTRA.
FERMÆNTRA is currently open Tuesday through Sunday, and closed on Mondays. To view their daily business hours or to find out about special events, new tappings, and their food truck schedule, visit them online or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. If you pay them a visit, let us know what you think and which FERMÆNTRA beers are your favorites. Maybe we’ll see you there next Thursday!
1715 East Evans Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80210