Part 3: Anchoring a 5 Points Beer Scene at “Our Mutual Friend”
The name is not the only thing that stands out at one of the newest breweries in Denver. While River North, Great Divide, Breckenridge, and several happening bars have been in this area for a while, Our Mutual Friend is part of a growing beer scene in a somewhat forgotten industrial stretch of Larimer Street. And with an incredibly welcoming atmosphere, the folks who work here will definitely be our mutual friends after your first visit.
Offering a mix between the hip vibe of Black Shirt Brewing just up the street, and the family-friendly hospitality of Brewery Rickoli in Wheatridge, Our Mutual Friend is a nice place to end this week’s mini mini-series on atmosphere. Large tables and a wide open space provide plenty of room for friends and families to gather, but the relatively late night weekend hours invite in those interested in drinking good beer during a Saturday evening binge.
The decor behind the bar is possibly the most stellar feature. Bookshelves filled with albums, a guitar, books and an assortment of stuff, makes you feel like you’re in someone’s personal reading room/library or a comfortable living room, (though I do really want to know when they’re going to open the can of sardines sitting on one of the shelves). Feeling at home, locals love this place: a bartender from another neighborhood establishment was taking her shift break at Our Mutual Friend, a Proletariat ale in-hand and laughter on her face.
What’s On Tap?
The Proletariat and the Saison seemed to be the customer favorites. I spoke to regulars and first-time visitors, and everyone was ordering at least a second pint. The Pale Ale was also a popular selection. And the IPA, much darker in color than we usually see, offered a nice twist because of the malt style being used.
I tried a taster of the Brown Ale, a crisp, and not overly sweet version of this style. Brown’s tend to bore me, but I liked this one. I then ordered a pint of Coffee Stout on Nitro, which received a collective “OMG” from the crowd. This is not a piece of texting vernacular I’m fond of, but in description of this stout: yes indeed, OMG.
And if that Coffee Stout doesn’t warm you up enough, the Winter Warmer, a complex English Old Ale, makes for a lovely nightcap and the perfect compliment to this frigid weather. I love seasonal offerings.
Like Black Shirt and Rickoli, Our Mutual Friend is doing a lot of things right. Depending on your mood, or what you’re looking for in a drinking experience, each of these three breweries offer a unique twist. If you’re only headed out to one brewery, as a regular or as a newbie, consider the atmosphere that you’re looking for, in addition to the type of beer you want to drink. And no matter what, enjoy!
Mini Mini-Series on Atmosphere Description: 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 hob-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 covered Brewery Rickoli (see Monday’s post), Black Shirt Brewing (see Tuesday’s post), and Our Mutual Friend (today).