I love this place.
It’s customary to lead up to a proclamation like that after a few paragraphs of descriptive foreplay, but it seemed appropriate on this occasion to just confess love at first sight.
Do I have any biases? I suppose so as it’s less than two miles from my home, thereby making it one of the most convenient breweries (for me) in the state. But there are several others breweries nearby as well, thus making that particular bias somewhat irrelevant.
No, the simple fact is Chain Reaction does everything right. Everything.
The space they are located in may be a “typical” warehouse brewing environment, but they’ve managed to carefully create a cozy, intimate and inviting area where you can sit virtually anywhere and feel like you’ve found the best seat in the house. It’s a beautiful yet earthy taproom complete with soft couches, hand-cut wooden tabletops and sunbeams magically aimed at wherever illumination is needed. Furthermore, it’s nestled in a real Denver neighborhood, one where actual working-class families live, not a boutique neighborhood for the privileged upper-class. It feels like a place that should be filled with folks that may have spent the day working in an auto body shop and not just college kids out spending their disposable income.
The heart and dedication that went into the construction of Chain Reaction isn’t where the owner’s enthusiasm stopped, thankfully. You may have heard about the old Bedouin tribal culture wherein desert travelers are invited into the tent as honored guests and given a night’s respite from the elements — well, that is the kind of treatment visitors can expect to receive here. We were greeted and had long chats with practically every brewer, employee and owner and never once felt that their kindness was shown out of business obligation, but instead out of genuine concern for our comfort and satisfaction while in their “home”.
Of course, none of the above niceties may be your primary concern — Perhaps the quality of the beer is your solitary focus. In that case, you’ll still be in a state of absolute bliss. Offering no fewer than 10 brews right out of the gate, Chain Reaction has nonetheless ensured that every last one is refined and ready for critical evaluation. Unlike the recent spate of breweries that have opened their doors prematurely and served beers that felt half-baked, every item on tap was finely crafted and 100% fine-tuned. Among the standouts were the incredible IPA, the rye stout and the orange cream. Although spanning a vast spectrum of flavors and styles, each managed to taste like the kind of exquisitely crafted beer that any other brewery would be proud to call their “flagship” brew.
What else to say? Complete with a spacious beer garden, room for local food trucks, a pet-friendly attitude and even sound-dampening ceilings to prevent the dreaded concrete cacophony so commonplace elsewhere, Chain Reaction is very nearly perfect.
Recommended? Hell yes.