Gonzo on Blake Street
Denver is just a couple of hours from ski country, and two breweries born in the mountains now call it home. Breckenridge Brewery and Pub (2220 Blake Street) is the offshoot of a brewpub in the resort town of Breckenridge. It offers something for everyone: the barroom in front caters to the pint and pub grub crowd, while two spacious dining rooms in back serve up burgers, barbecued ribs, and Tex-Mex favorites. Its location, cater-corner from the ballpark, makes it an ideal destination before or after the game. Or, for that matter, during the game. If the weather is nice (odds are good—Denver has more sunny days per year than Miami Beach), grab a seat on the patio and listen to the roar of the crowd.
Big changes are in the offing on Blake Street. Breckenridge plans to replace the current brew house with a smaller system and give the brewing staff plenty of room to be creative. In the meantime, favorites like Avalanche Ale and specialties like Ballpark Brown are “imported” from the main brewery south of downtown and from the original brewpub in Breckenridge.
LoDo’s other establishment with ski-country origins is the Flying Dog Brewery (2401 Blake Street). It began life as a brewpub in Aspen, but grew so popular that its owners moved the brewing operation to larger quarters in LoDo. Flying Dog also owns the distinction of being the world’s only Gonzo brewery. According to legend, on a hot summer night in 1983, writer Hunter S. (“Fear and Loathing”) Thompson was drinking Doggie Style Pale Ale with brewery founder George Stranahan. The result was “induced” visions (don’t even ask) of the Flying Dog, as well as Road Dog Ale, described as a “Scottish porter.” Thompson’s fans might have flashbacks of their own when they see Flying Dog’s surreal labels. They’re the handiwork of cartoonist Ralph Steadman, best known for illustrating the covers of Thompson’s books.