Part 1: A Family Saturday Afternoon at Brewery Rickoli
I’ve been pretty keen on the topic of context lately, and specifically observant about the way the “when and where” I’m drinking beer changes my enjoyment. This was made particularly clear to me in a recent article that talked about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Once a hop-head favorite (before there were hop-heads), fans of this Pale Ale now claim that “the beer has changed.” While the recipe for Sierra Nevada may have changed slightly, it’s more likely that our palettes have rapidly evolved. What was once considered “hoppy” no longer compares to the hop-bombs available today.
Similar to changing palettes (as individual beer drinkers and as a customer base on the whole), I think atmosphere dictates a little bit of our enjoyment and experience with beer as well. And this couldn’t be more true than in three of Metro Denver’s newest breweries to open. This mini mini-series will cover Brewery Rickoli (today), Black Shirt Brewing (tomorrow), and Our Mutual Friend (Thursday).
Brewery Rickoli is a quintessential neighborhood brewery hidden away in a strip mall off Wadsworth. And like its neighbor to the north, Arvada Beer Company, and its neighbor to the southeast, Hogshead 54, Rickoli has found an area of Metro Denver that needs a local brewery. Well-lit with a large selection of beers on tap, boardgames to play at the tables, plenty of space for large groups to gather (a high school reunion was happening during our visit), and the opportunity to bring in food from the surrounding area, a spot like this will surely continue to draw crowds of local beer fans and families alike.
We tried a whole tasting tray of their brew (which we recommend for any first time visitor to get to know a brewery’s depth), including some well-balanced beers like the MEH (Most Excellent Homebrew) at 4.3% and 20 IBUs . . . a high carbonation, easy drinking session beer; the Aldo Red, a nice red with tasty malt characteristics and an interesting finish . . . 5.3%, 30 IBUs; the Social Lubricant Scotch Hale, balanced at 8% and 30 IBUs . . . one of our favorites on tap; the Rye Stout, noted quite accurately on their menu as filled with roasty, coffee notes, and at 7% and 45 IBUs, this beer makes for a great winter warmer.
And then we dived into some of their major hop bombs: the Totally Eye-PA at 65 IBUs and 6.8%; the Black Pline at 70 IBUs and 9.8%, (also served on the beer engine); and finally, their disturbingly high 190 IBU, 9.7% Disturbed Reflection, which definitely gave us our hop fix for the weekend and cleansed our palettes of anything else that might be lingering.
With such a wide selection of beer, and all the elements that make for a very relaxing place to drink good brew with friends and family on a Saturday afternoon, Brewery Rickoli will surely become a Wheatridge staple in no time at all.