September 7, 2012

Prost Brewery

In 1516, the German region of Bavaria passed a law  that would forever alter the course of brewing and beer. This law, called the Reinheitsgebot (pronounced rhine-heights-gee-boot), required that all Bavarian beers be made only from four ingredients: barley, water, hops and yeast. The Bavarians believed so strongly about the Reinheitsgebot that during German unification in 1871, they would not agree to join unless it became German law; which it did until 1993.

Enacted mainly for various (now meaningless) economic reasons involving bread, the law also to ensured that hops alone were used as the preservative ingredient. Prior to 1516, it would not have been unusual for brewers to use soot, mushrooms or even stinging nettles in lieu of hops. Over the centuries though, by eliminating rye, wheat, sugars, spices, fruit and various other “specialty” ingredients, the law drastically reduced the types and styles of beers that German brewers could produce. It’s almost akin to reducing your spice rack to just salt and pepper. While that may seem boring, it gives flaws nowhere to hide; demanding perfection.

Okay, so what in the world does this have to do with the North Denver beer scene? Well, a little piece of Bavaria has just sprung up in our neighborhood in form of the Prost Brewery. Their plan: brew solely German beers, all in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot. The folks at the helm are betting that balanced, easy-drinking German beers will be the next big thing. Time will tell, but it’s a good wager considering the pedigree of their head brewer.

Heading brewing operations is Bill Eye of Dry Dock Brewing fame. While at Dry Dock, Eye made a name for himself creating stellar German-style beers, notably the Dry Dock Hefeweizen. But with Dry Dock’s expansive style portfolio, the German lagers that Eye loved to brew made up only a small percentage of their beers. So when the opportunity for a 100% German beer focused brewery arose, he leapt at the chance.

The tap list at the brewery is planned to be limited to four beers at any given time: Prost Pils (German pilsner), Wiessbier (hefeweizen), and Dunkel (dark German lager), plus a rotating seasonal beer (currently a dunkelweizen). While keeping at only four beers may seem a bit unusual for a Colorado brewery, this is the norm (or even more) than you would expect at a legitimate German beer hall.

The layout of Prost, however, is where things really shine. They definitely aimed for an genuine beer hall feel and, while maybe a bit smaller, the traditional beer tent flags, huge steins and antique beer signs adorning the walls hit the mark. Long, community tables made from Colorado beetle kill pine, fill the space, encouraging easy conversation with friends; both present and future.

The brewery, however, is the pinnacle of authenticity of the whole project. Eye and his partner’s sourced all of their brewing equipment from a now-defunct Bavarian brewery. Having been disassembled, shipped across the Atlantic, and reassembled here in Denver, the gleaming copper kettles are a thing of beauty.

So, while the brewing equipment and taproom load the bases, it’s the beer that really hits a home run. Each is just as a good as what’s being poured in German beer halls, yet doesn’t require a $1000 plane ticket. And having a chance to drink these beers fresh allows the intricacies of these delicate styles to truly shine.

For those looking for a hoppy beer, go with the Prost Pils. Crisp and bitter, it has an almost spicy, floral hop finish. Dark beer fans should love the toasted-bread crust complexity of the Dunkel and its supreme drinkability. Anybody who enjoys the wheaty, clove and banana combination of a hefeweizen will certainly be happy the Wiessbeir, an excellent example of this South German style.

Beer are available in either half-liters ($5) or full-liter steins($10-$11) also known as a mas. Food is limited to pretzels in the taproom, but various vendors are planned for the outside patio.

In German, Prost means “cheers” and given the great beer, authentic beer hall atmosphere and community mindset, I couldn’t think of a better name myself. With Oktoberfest just around the corner, I’m giddy with excitement. Next time you’re out for a beer, head down to Prost, order a mas-sized stein, and perfect that Reinheitsgebot pronunciation.

On a side note, Great American Beer Festival tickets sold out in a record five minutes this year, truly showcasing craft beer’s rise in popularity. In case you got shut out, be sure to enter the various ticket contests around town. Radio station KBCO (, Denver Highlands-based band, Lost Caravan (, and beer-centric app Beergram ( are all giving away tickets to this can’t-miss event. Prost!

Prost Brewery

2540 19th Street

(303) 729-1175

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