It’s about damn time: parts of Denver are finally seeing a rapid growth of craft brewing facilities that had thus far been somewhat isolated to saturated neighborhoods such as River North and Five Points. For those of us that either don’t live near downtown Denver (or simply don’t feel like dealing with the parking and crowds), we now have options on the south and east side, the most recent of which are the newly opened Comrade Brewing Company and Blue Spruce Brewing Company.
Situated in the near side of Aurora (close to Evans and Quebec), Comrade not only has a small monopoly on the neighborhood, but also on a clever theme. It seems we’re finally far enough away from the Cold War paranoia of the 50’s-to-80’s that we can have some fun with communist-inspired art design and wordplay. It all makes for a unique brewery experience and gives the taproom aesthetic a real sense of identity. On this front, Comrade Brewing succeeds brilliantly.
As for the beer, unfortunately it was far too hoppy and bitter for my liking. While I’m certain there is a large faction of beer drinkers who will be thrilled at the prospect of a taproom that doesn’t fear bitterness in their brew, I prefer my hops to be balanced with a fair amount of malt (or at least some level of soft, roundedness to offset the bitter punch to the tastebuds). On the bright side for us malt-forward types, they also have a sweet coffee stout that is pretty spectacular. I could see myself visiting the taproom again for that beer alone.
After a short trek to the south end of town (near County Line Road) we found ourselves at the best new brewery in the Highlands Ranch area. Although this neighborhood has finally started to see a few breweries emerge, Blue Spruce Brewing Company is the new undisputed king.
Offering damn near perfect service, great ambiance, extremely tasty food and quality beer, this long-in-the-works brewery blows other recent Highlands Ranch newcomers out of the water.
In a craft beer scene packed to the gills with enthusiastic upstarts, it’s almost unthinkable that a brewery could display this much outright joy in their business, but Blue Spruce’s employees seem so contagiously happy to be doing what they do that you can’t help but love them for it.
While we live nowhere near Highlands Ranch, Blue Spruce will undoubtedly be seeing repeat business from us. Service this good is worth a few more minutes on the highway.
Blue Spruce gets our highest recommendation.