Knock knock! Who’s there? Day 7 of the 12 Cheers of Christmas, that’s who!
That’s not remotely funny but we did have fun stopping an old favorite in the quaint, Victorian higgledy-piggledy that is Idaho Springs – Tommyknocker Brewery. At 11:05am on a recent Monday, the barstools were filled even as most tables in the attached restaurant awaited customers. We like the priorities in this town! Warm and rugged, the taproom opens wide to the active brewing room providing a rich, brewery ambiance. The gurgling of various biological chemical reactions, the scurrying and clattering of a busy brewer plying his trade – it was a soundtrack blending the mystery and hard work of transforming dry grains into craft beer elixirs.
From the menu board, full of options, the barkeep suggested the Cocoa Porter as their seasonal holiday brew. Smooth, rich and very drinkable, this was a great choice for sipping and walking around the bright and airy seating area to observe the brewing process. We spotted a fella scraping mash grains out of an enormous, handsome copper and brass kettle, and asked him to chat with us a bit.
A new addition to the Knocker brewing staff, Skyler described the different types of malt that give unique flavor profiles to their beers; a darker type is used for the Cocoa Porter we savored. He told us another holiday cheer of choice would soon be available: Pine Bough Pale Ale. Skyler explained that Colorado spruce pine tree needles were harvested near Loveland Ski Area to impart a unique nose to this seasonal ale. Imagine that – the same Rocky Mountain pine trees you just timber bashed at Loveland could be the ones flavoring your brew! We can’t wait to return for a sip of this high country herbal infusion.
Fun fact: in an act of international brewing goodwill, they opened a brewery in Helsinki, Finland!
To Skyler for being so friendly and generous with his time, and to all the fine Knocker folks – cheers!
Skyler suggested these other Colorado brewers to explore:
Left Hand Brewing – this Longmont brewer is widely available in bottles at your local liquor emporium. – check ‘em out!
Avery Brewing – in Boulder is also widely available in liquor stores across Denver. Their “Old Jubilation Ale” is one of our Christmas seasonal faves!
Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub – This Salida brewer is very small scale, and Skyler appreciates their small batch approach and focused passion that results in satisfying brews.