Rock Bottom Brewery

While grossly commercial in scale compared to many of the more recent craft-beer houses in Colorado, Rock Bottom earns my appreciation for its trailblazing in raising the broad appeal of better beer in the state and beyond. We wound up going there with a large group on a Saturday, when the other options thrown out were P.F. Chang’s and On The Border. You get the picture. This was a good choice.

Part of the CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries conglomerate, Rock Bottom keeps a local brewmaster at each of its locations, which include seven in Colorado. The beers win awards and play off of the regional tastes, such as the Molly Brown Ale (named after Denver heroine Molly Brown, who survived the sinking of the Titanic).

After a hot morning painting a giant compass rose on the asphalt at a local airport (it’s what pilots do), I began my liquid lunch with a pint of Maibock, a refreshing bock-style with plums on the palate and hibiscus on the nose. A very good place to start (along with a very large ice water). To get on with the meal, I had the veggie mac & cheese (highly recommended) and a flight of five tastes. My boyfriend enjoyed a pint of the Bottom’s Up Kolsch as well–light and lively citrus lager to fight his post-painting thirst.

From the flight:

970 IPA, a mild IPA with a floral bouquet and a moderate amount of bitter.

LearningToFlyIPA, a very balanced sour, with citrus notes. 5.8% abv

Lumpy Dog Light Lager, mild but present maltiness, with toast and a hint of Marmite. 4.4% abv

Molly Brown Ale, featuring black strap molasses and toast on the palate. 5.2% abv

Udder Goodness Milk Stout, with a profile not unlike Guinness with a touch of cardamom. 5% abv