There are a lot of breweries in Denver, not to mention throughout the entire state. So many in fact that I just realized I’ve only visited about one-third of the breweries in Colorado. Having a full-time day job and doing my best to keep up with the myriad chores and errands that come with being an adult, I don’t often have a lot of extra time to get out and explore all the breweries around me. But last weekend I made it to one I’d never visited, and I am so happy I did!
I was familiar with the name Banded Oak Brewing Co. (470 Broadway, Denver), as I’d heard nothing but positive comments about its focus on barrel-aged beers. And I love barrel-aged beers. So I finally stopped into Banded Oak last Sunday afternoon.
The home page of its website says it loud and clear, “Barrel-Aged Beers For All,” which you’ll also find painted on the wall inside the taproom. I’ve never been one to have the best of luck, and as it turns out they’d had a particularly busy Friday and Saturday, leaving them with only one barrel-aged beer on tap by Sunday. But I didn’t let that hold me back! I had intended on trying several different styles anyway, so I was excited to build my flight.
In addition to barrel-aged, I also tend to favor IPAs, sours, and dark beers. While I didn’t find any sours, I was very pleased to see an IPA, Double IPA, and Cabernet Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Strong. I needed one more for my four-taster flight, so I chose something out of the ordinary for me: a French Lager Bièr Ambrée. I’m not typically a big lager fan, as many of them are just a little too light for my taste. But the French Lager was different, very flavorful with a hint of something slightly sweet. I was pleasantly surprised! The IPA was a solid, middle of the road IPA (not overly hopped, not too malty), and the Double was just right—hop forward with a resinous aroma.
I especially enjoyed the Cabernet Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Strong. It wasn’t extremely heavy on the Belgian yeast flavor, which was perfect for me. At 12.4%, it was definitely strong, and I could taste it; some beers with a high ABV can be deceiving in taste, but this beer reminded me of its strength with each sip (yes!). Its sweetness reminded me a bit of a doppelbock, which was quite interesting. Lots of complexity here.
Banded Oak’s tap room is small and cozy, and its large garage-door-style windows open up to the patio, giving it a more spacious feel and adding plenty of additional seating for guests. They offer crowlers to-go and usually have at least one style of bottled beer on hand.
I had hoped to sample more their barrel-aged creations, but hey—this just means I’ll have to stop in again soon, right? And I know the perfect opportunity to do so: Banded Oak is celebrating two years with a 2nd Anniversary Party on Saturday, June 9th! There will be seven barrel-aged beers, live music, and Areyto Puertorrican Food will be on-site serving up delicious fare. I’m thinking some Bolas de Queso (Gouda Cheese Balls) with a Pinot-aged French Lager! Whether you’re a regular or if you’ve never visited before, this is one party not to miss!
If you haven’t checked out Banded Oak, stop by any time for well-crafted, tasty beers. Barrel-aged or not, they are sure to have something to please your palate!