When driving on I-25 the exit to Santa Fe used to lead to one thing, Stranahans Distillery, known for fine Colorado bourbon. Further behind that on Santa Fe is the art district known for all the art displays on the first Friday of every month. But amidst all that lies a small microbrewery opened in the Summer of 2011 by avid home brewer Brian O’Connell and his wife Khara. In such a short time this brewery has not only developed a loyal following but has also recently been named the best new brewery in Denver. With a variety of unique beers it is only fitting that this establishment be named Renegade Brewing.
The taste room is small, and the décor is minimal. A patterned wood top bar, merchandise rack, and a bright red wall with the Renegade logo are the highlights, but the history of the building is where the story is at. The building that houses Renegade is historic being over 100 years old, and one that was left abandoned. When Brian and Khara moved to Colorado they found Renegade in this location and brought back to life this historic building. Currently at the moment none of the staff of Renegade is from Colorado but all wound up in this state becoming part of the craft beer craze in this state. With so many unique craft beers at Renegade there is a variety for fans of all styles to try.
When it comes to making a signature beer it needs to not only be unique but also something that people are familiar with, and at Renegade that beer is none other than the Ryeteous a Rye IPA. Copper in color this beer has all the qualities of an IPA that Coloradans have come to love. It is a dry beer, with plenty of bitterness, and a slight citrus flavor from the hops. But then there is the addition of rye with balances out those flavors with a nice spicy note. The flavors combined balance each other out to create a complex beer full of bitter, hops, citrus and spice all in one sip. With a beer this good it is no wonder it has a loyal following and has become the flagship beer of this brewery.
Other times guests will go to a brewery seeking a beer that is so unique that they will not be able to find it elsewhere. While banana splits are popular at ice cream stands during the summer months the brewers at renegade took that and turned it into a beer. Take a hefweizen base in which the yeast gives off a natural banana flavor and infuse it with chocolate. Then at the very end add some vanilla beans for good flavor and the end result is a full flavored beer that reminds you of that childhood favorite. The banana is the primary flavor, and the chocolate adds a little bitterness to the beer. The vanilla beans are the last flavor and don’t add sweetness, but instead a subtle floral and fresh note. As odd as this beer sounds it was complex, not too sweet, and all the flavors worked together. So unique that it is a must try for the adventurous beer fan.
In addition to those two there is plenty more Renegade has to offer including a 5 o’clock Blonde that has a slight bite of the hops, but is an easy drinker. Also available is an imperial pilsner that is light, bitter, and everything you would expect out of a pilsner, just slightly stronger. For fans of the dark beers there is the Hammer and Sickle Russian Imperial Stout with a bold, and strong flavor that is a beer that needs to be sipped. For the true hop heads out there in Colorado there is a Triple IPA, and also a barley wine for people’s enjoyment. Clearly the variety is wide, and there is a beer for every pallet that anybody can enjoy.
A great area for art now houses a great brewery where the art of craft beer is being experimented with on a regular basis. What was once an abandoned building is now buzzing with life again as one of the new hot spots in Denver. With a few awards already to their name, and more to come it is no winder Renegade was named the best new brewery in Denver. With them bringing back to life a historic building it is good to know that the history in this area will only enrich, and the next time you are exploring the Santa Fe Art District take a side trip to quench your thirst at Renegade Brewing.
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