Denver’s latest craft beer offering, Cervecería Colorado, opened for business Thursday on Platte Street, with a grand opening set for May 5. Its debut signals another stage in a maturing local beer industry, coming at a legislative turning point for small craft brewers and also just on the heels of the Colorado-based Brewers Association naming a new ambassador of diversity.
This isn’t the first Latin-focused brewery in Denver; Cheluna opened at Stanley Marketplace in 2016. But at Cervecería Colorado, owner Denver Beer Co. provides another destination taproom with niche offerings, and brewer Jason Buehler creates another cultural bridge, highlighting Mexican ingredients as well as Mexican breweries. To hear him talk about the project is to hear that the world of craft brewing is perhaps not so saturated, and that there’s still room left for growth, change, and innovation.
“It’s been such an awesome partnership, truly, with these other brewers,” Buehler says, describing a cultural exchange of sorts, between American and Mexican craft beer, with their distinct ingredients, techniques, and styles. A little over a year ago, Buehler visited Puebla, Mexico, for a slow beer (think slow food) competition. The event took place at a culinary school, and there he began to see the connections between beer and sapote fruit, piloncillo sugar, and nopal cactus, among other traditional and innovative flavors.
“As a creative brewer, I thought, ‘How can I get this shit home!’” Buehler says now, still excited. He returned from the trip with a suitcase full of maguey syrup and began experimenting. In the months leading up to Cervecería Colorado, Buehler traveled back and forth between the countries, he met brewers across Mexico, they traded recipes and ideas, and then he asked them what they thought about a brewery in Colorado that could serve as a tribute to the whole experience. He wanted to do it right. “How can we help?” was the response he got back from them.
Now Cervecería Colorado’s Churro Stout is a collaboration with Casa Cervecera Cru Cru in Mexico City — a milk stout made with real churros, cinnamon, and vanilla beans. Cocolimón is a lime-zested sour beer aged with shredded coconut and made in partnership with Cervecería de Colima in the same city. Fresh nopales, or cactus pads, are mashed into a wheat beer, Nopalito, made in partnership with Cirquera brewery out of Querétaro. Horchata beer is next on tap, with cinnamon, rice, and vanilla, and brewed with the help of Cervecería Cholula outside of Puebla.
For a look inside the new space, Eater photographer Jonathan Phillips dropped by Cervecería Colorado on opening day. Around the taproom, mural art was created by Pedro Barrios and Jamie Molina, and Ramona Burns designed the interior. For its first six weeks, the brewery will hold Friday happy hour fundraisers for charities benefitting Latino communities around Denver.
Status: Cervecería Colorado is now open at 1635 Platte Street, next door to Denver Beer Co. A grand opening will be held on May 5. For more information, visit the website.