March 7, 2013

De Steeg Brewing


North Denver’s newest brewery may also be one of the hardest to find. Its address, 4342 Tennyson Street, would seem to indicate a spot right next to Swing Thai at the intersection of 44th Ave. But go ahead and walk the entire 43rd block, and you won’t find a single shred of evidence of the place. Nope, to find De Steeg Brewing, you’ll have to stroll down the alley behind the action on Tennyson and even then the place is only marked by a small wooden sign with a beer goblet carved in it. Dutch-speakers might already have been clued-in (De Steeg translates to “the alley”), but the rest of us have to rely on word-of-mouth to track it down.

So is De Steeg a beer speakeasy? Not really, just brewer/owner Craig Rothgery’s spin on the best way to utilize a unique piece of real estate. After all, coming across an available space in one of Denver’s hottest commercial areas sometimes demands some improvisation. Once the idea was born he decided to run with it. “At this point, I don’t plan to add another sign.” he said, “People seem to find us.” And he would be right. On each visit to the tap room, the place was nearing occupancy, with hardly a place to sit.

Once inside, any illusion of a beer speakeasy is quickly dispelled. No passwords required. No dim lights or nook booths. You’ll instead find a simple, bright, and airy tap room with yet-to-be-adorned white walls, a bar with plenty of room for multiple customers, and a smattering of high tops. On the other side of the bar, the brewery’s collection of fermenters stand bubbling away; promising more beer to come. Beverages can be supplemented with serve-yourself popcorn, otherwise food can be ordered from the many surrounding restaurants.

While around eight tap handles sit at the bar, high demand has so far limited De Steeg to only three or four in use at any given time. The most recent choices have been an English Mild, a French Saison, and a Pomegranate Acai Wheat. Served on nitrogen rather than CO2 (think Guinness), the English Mild especially stands out. The nitrogenation allows subtle notes of coffee and chocolate to truly shine and hold their own with the malty nuttiness. Using nitrogen yields something more like “real ale”; the beer’s bubbles aren’t so harsh, allowing some of the more delicate flavors to come through. Nitrogen taps are relatively rare and De Steeg’s commitment to installing one so early on could be a good sign of things to come.

In regards to Rothgery’s other beers, the Pomegranate Acai Wheat was solid, even if the fruit notes were a bit mild. Those looking for a super fruity beer may wish it was a bit more intense, but restraint can sometimes be a good thing.  The French Saison had a strong yeastiness with wafting notes of bread dough, black pepper and pears atop a honey-like malt body. It was pleasant, but had a bit of a young taste, hinting that it may have arrived at the tap a little early; not too surprising for a brewery scrambling to keep up with an already large demand.

De Steeg looks to implement a “one and done” brewing philosophy of continuously creating new concoctions, rather than producing the same beers; and approach that does have it perks.  Never knowing what will be on tap can be fun, though there is certainly something to be said of perfecting a recipe. However, Rothgery’s beer has been enjoyable enough as to not worry this beer drinker much. Head over and check them out; they’re worth the hunt.


De Steeg Brewing

4342 Tennyson St

(303) 484-9698

Only Open Fridays and Saturdays

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