Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Inside the Sandlot Brewpub at Coors Field

By William Brand
Thursday, September 28th, 2006 at 11:08 am in Uncategorized.

At the GABF…

Despite the hype, Denver isn’t really Beertown.USA, take a one block walk from the clubs and brewpubs around Coors Field and you’re back in regular America.

For instance, I’m staying at the Holiday Inn and the beers offered at dinner last night were: Bud, Miller, Coors and Heineken. I ordered a Blue Moon, Belgian-Style Ale** by Coors.
They served it was a slice of orange stuck on the glass.

It was served too cold, but once it warmed up, it was an OK Belgian style wit or white wheat beer. Spicy, lemony nose. Decent malt flavor.

Then, I looked up at the TV screen, realized the Rockies were playing at nearby Coors Field, which has, I believe, the only brewpub in a Major League ballpark. It’s open evenings only when the Rockies play. Hey! Maybe this is Beertown, after all.

I jumped on the hotel shuttle and 10 minutes later I was at the gate. (It’s fairly easy to get around in Denver). I convinced the ticket taker that I was here only for the brewpub and they GAVE me a ticket. (This is truth.). It’s a great place to see a ballgame. Seems a lot more accessible than the Giants park. You walk in the front gate and you are there. The field’s right below with seats extending down to field level.

The brewpub’s in a back corner and you can’t see the field from a barstool, which is unfortunate. But there are TV screens with the game on everywhere. Place was fairly full, kids are allowed. Nobody was watching the game – The Rockies were losing.
The Rounders Pub, which is the restaurant-pub part of the brewery is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and during Rockies games. It opens 90 minutes before each game. During games, you can’t enter from the street.

The brewery is a test brewery for Coors, which is in nearby Goldon, CO. Brewplant’s on the left as you go in, the kitchen-grille’s on the right. They offer simple stuff, Sandlot Smoked Sirloin Sandwich, $7.75 was the highest priced item I saw.

At the bar, there were the standard Coors beers on tap, plus five beers brewed at the pub. A pint’s $6,25, a deal compared to the Bay Area. Gordon Biersch is $7.50 at the Coliseum and I believe craft beer’s $8 at the Giant’s park.
The beer at Sandlot was served way too cold and on C02. But the beers brewed here were excellent.

It’s always a shock to try craft beer away from the West Coast, where our best beers tend toward mega-hops, mucho malt. Sandlot’s won a string of metals for its beers. But the emphasis in each beer was on dryness and balance. Even the high alcohol (8 percent) Strong Ale** special was fairly dry with no hops to hide the alcohol.

Blue Moon*** brewed here and served unpastuerized, unfiltered was a hazy lemon color with a clean nose, malt and wheat, topped with creamy foam. A very different beer than the one in the bottle.

The other ran the standard brewpub range, with the emphasis on drinkability on a hot day – Right Field Red Ale**, a decent amber; Ballpark Brown Ale*** was excellent, a dark brown with a roast or some kind of dark malt nose, dry finish with the roast malt taste lingering on the tongue.

My favorite was Slugger Stout***+: a hit of burned malt, a rush of harsh hops in the nose, but the malts and hops come together beautifully in the taste and the finish has a haunting, smoky quality that I really liked. I don’t know which hops, which malts are in it – but the brewers, Tom Hall, John Legnard and Bill xx , are hold an open house Friday afternoon and I’m coming and I’ll ask.

As I sampled the beers, a group of guys from tjhe Postal Brewers Club in Concord, NH, here for the GABF, came up to the bar. After samples, they agreed about the stout and each ordered a pint.

Club member Mike Hogan advised me to go on over to Wynkoop, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s pioneering Denver brewpub and try the Triple 6 Strong Ale, brewed for the GABF. I really like Wynkoop, it’s easily one of my favorite brewpubs. However, I chose to watch the Rockies lose and I’ll hit Wynkoop today.

Sandlot Brewing and Rounders Pub at Coors Field

22nd and Blake Streets, Denver, CO.
(3030 298-1587.

Brewer Tom Hall at the tap handles at
Rounders Pub in the Sandlot Brewery
at Coors Field in Denver.
Credit: www.classiccitybrew.com.

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