The Thin Man and Mountain Toad, Denver
After drinking through the bulk of the beer list at Vine Street, Haven and I walked across the street to The Thin Man and St. Mark’s Coffee Shop. They are two storefronts but one business, and you can order beer in both places. Being a fan of the coffee-meets-beer concept, I immediately approved.
The Thin Man is a gem. Walking by, it appears fun and interesting, but going through the door is like a long exhale. It is one of the most inviting places I have ever enjoyed a beer. The lighting is warm, the bartender was all smiles, and behind the bar looks more like an apothecary full of curiosities than a liquor shelf.
We stepped up closer to the marble bar to order beer. I opted for a Telluride Face Down Brown, something local that I wouldn’t get to try at the source. The rain had started up again, but we sat by the open window anyway, occasionally getting splashed.
Partway into our long chat about Minnesota, Traveling, and Couchsurfing, I ordered Epic’s Blueski Lager. It was reminiscent of a pre-prohibition style lager that uses Pilsner malt and has clean but complex character. Noble hops truncate the finish nicely. I would definitely drink it again.
I was wrapping things up as another hail storm hit. We went directly next door and finished our beers at St Mark’s Coffee instead, while the worst passed over. As we were finishing up, I turned to Haven and suddenly said, “something smells hoppy.” His response? “Oh, I just burped.” Priceless.
I gave Haven my Summit Great Northern Porter to take home and made my way back to the bus.
That evening I put myself in the hands of my host, who took me to explore Red Rocks and then to the lovely town of Golden. It is the birthplace of Coors and a college town with a heck of a lot of charm. Golden is also home to a craft brewery called Mountain Toad.
Mountain Toad was totally unexpected on my part. The place was very busy with an almost-full bar, an outdoor patio and a food truck. The taproom felt like it was full of regulars, including at least two dogs.
I tasted six Mountain Toad beers, the best of which were the White Ranch Wit, Ryrish Stout, and Mount Zion IPA.
The White Ranch Wit, on the far left, was very floral and pleasant with a strong honey component. It was extremely drinkable. The cloudy wheat character softened the subtle sweetness and mild peppery spice.
The Ryrish Stout (darkest) is, as you may have guessed, an Irish-style stout with rye. The rye adds a sort of zest to the dry beer, and also acts in a synergistic way with the hops creating more spice and bitterness. As the same time, roasted malt and English yeast balance the profile with an itty bit of sweetness and dark fruit.
Finally, try the Mount Zion IPA (far right). It screams “West Coast” and is broad and full in mouthfeel with not too much lingering bitterness. The ratio of early addition hops is appropriate, leading to a citrus aroma. It is one of the more balanced IPAs I have had recently and I was very impressed.