A New Denver Brewplace: FERMÆNTRA

This is the first in the Beer In Situ series, reviewing the places great beer is produced! 

We find ourselves spending a lot of time in brewpubs, brew places, breweries, and tap rooms now that we are doing the visa waiting game for our next move abroad. It’s amazing to have so many places available to us in the Front Range of Colorado. Every time I come back from living abroad, new places have opened and new beer is waiting to be discovered. Our latest travels in beer saw me getting a week’s worth of adrenaline in Presidents’ Day traffic on I-25 in Denver, to meet friends for a couple brews.

The Pertinents

The red brick exterior
The red brick exterior

Their Self-Description

“We are a 7bbl brewery that produces bold, artful, inspired craft beer. We are located in the heart of the University of Denver area at 1715 East Evans Avenue, in Denver, Colorado. Our brews are rooted in traditional style, yet amplified to embody the evolution of American craft beer.” fermaentra.com

The Space

FERMÆNTRA is less a brewpub than a brewplace, with plenty of airy sunlight on the day we visited. There are some of those trendy and practical garage doors that were flung open to let the unseasonable 65 degree sunshine into the space. It’s clean, sparsely decorated, and open. You can see right into the brewery itself behind the bar, which is a great reminder of how close the production is to the enjoyment in this place. I especially liked the giant “CAUTION: HOT” sticker on the brewing kettle, which made me giggle.

From our seat
From our seat

We arrived at 3:30PM, and it was already a steady crowd for the bartenders. As the night drew in, it was busier than any place on Evans in that block, with plenty of folks standing and sitting to enjoy a Friday night beer.

My only criticism was that the music was loud and bumping for afternoon drinking. It made it a little hard to hear one another, and felt more like 11PM Friday night levels of volume.

The Beers

Nine beers on offer the day we visited, with a further four in the fermenters and coming up soon. I had been excited to try a black saison, but unfortunately the keg kicked just before we arrived. My friend who lives in the area and suggested the place told us that each of the beers have a slight twist on the traditional style, and that became apparent as we worked our way through the menu.

Four new ones coming up soon!
Four new ones coming up soon!

Between Russell and I, the only beer that we didn’t sample was the Amalgam hybrid beer (which I assume is either a cream ale or a steam ale?). I’ll be putting up the tasting notes from the ones I actually ordered only below, but overall the styles were well-crafted and refreshingly intense. The house yeast appears to be clean and not too phenol-y, and all of the beers were right up my alley with their kick-you-in-the-face flavor. Special props for dry-hopping with Nelson Sauvin.

They offer branded 34 and 64 oz. growlers for take away beer.

Black as night never is in London
Black as night never is in London

Tasting Notes

Brabble

  • Style: Robust Porter
  • Geekery: 5.9% ABV, 36 IBUs, SRM = so dark it might be sucking light into it from as far away as Pueblo
  • Delicious, massive robust porter. Chocolate and dark toast flavors with a certain creaminess mixed in. An excellent example of the porters from Colorado and the West of the USA in general; not typical at all of English Porters.
  • Interesting tidbit: 100% UK ingredients, except the water. You can taste that it wasn’t made with Thames Water.
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 pints (out of five pints)

IMG_7134Meristem

  • Style: Russian Imperial Stout
  • Geekery: 10% ABV, 60 IBUs, SRM = about 35
  • Creamy imperial stout with an interesting grassy middle taste. Served for me in a $2, 2 oz. pour in the cutest little tulip glass ever (needed to be able to drive back with the weekend warriors on I-25). Relatively high carbonation for an imperial stout, possibly lending a certain lightness to this 10% beer. Smooth, persistent aftertaste.
  • Overall Rating: 4 pints

Knicker Twister

  • Style: English Barleywine
  • Geekery: 9.3% ABV, 39 IBUs, dark caramel color with a rosy undertone
  • Sweet, but not funky like some English-style barleywines. Candied fruit and caramelised sugars from the strong malt backbone. Worryingly drinkable.
  • Overall Rating: 4 pints

The Munchies

No kitchen in the brewplace, but a rotating group of food trucks that park outside and serve customers. More info on the website.

IMG_7127

Russell’s One-Line Review

“I think it was good.”

See all the Beer In Situ posts on one page! Make sure you come back for next time, the review of Avery’s brand new brewery in Boulder, CO! 

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Beer In Situ

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