It turned out to be the coldest day of the week as I scampered into Barrels and Bottles for the first time. This Golden city hideaway has been around for 5 years, but the moment I was inside, a familiar comfort washed over me. Still recovering from that frigid-might-sneeze-feeling perched on the tip of my nose, I caught the eye of no less than four unbelievably welcoming people posted up behind the bar. Ready to become my pals for the night. From the starting gun, it was clear that this place valued customer service and their well-educated staff knew all the answers. I was delighted to find out that all their staff was level one cicerone. Quickly, I found myself falling in love.
On expert recommendation, I tucked into tasting their Comb-Over Kolsch and their Lunch-Break IPA. Both of these beauties were light, crisp and easy like a Sunday morning– all things one searches for in a perfect porch beer. Both blessed with low ABVs, I certainly wouldn’t mind kicking back and hanging with these two pints. As it was much too cold for porch drinking, we settled into at a farm style table in their welcoming taproom. This bad boy was sturdy enough to dance on, though I held back since it was my first time at Barrels and Bottles.
Zach and Abby, the most kick-ass adorable husband and wife owners of this charming place, met while serving in the armed forces and moved to Colorado not too long after. Homebrewers initially, they progressed into opening Barrels and Bottles. With introductions underway, I was underway with their imperial golden milk stout, The Big LeBEERski. This beer was a silky and seductive homage to a White Russian. It had a coy saccharine smile and musingly distinct coffee base. Proceed with a little caution, guys; it’s a big beer with an ABV of 9%. You might want to treat this one just like The Dude (“Careful, man, there’s a beverage here!”).
Looking around, I couldn’t help but be completely astonished at the diversity of selection. This place had all my wildest beer dreams coming true. I’d be pressed to find another venue that had a killer atmosphere, lovely staff and barley wine on tap. Zach explained that their mission is to provide beer drinkers with choice, but not indiscriminate or overwhelming choice.
Allow me to explain. Their goal, expertly accomplished, is to round out whatever desire you might have. If they didn’t brew it in-house, they tracked down the best guest taps from around the nation to supplement their offerings. They don’t offer twenty stouts, but one or two impeccably picked stouts and it’s perfectly acceptable if they aren’t brewed by them. They aren’t in it for the ego—they’re in it for their customers. They even go so far as to offer Coors, their next-door neighbor, to those patrons who crave a little nostalgia. To them, it’s less about competition and all about community. I was smitten as hell to find out their next community event is a vow renewal for Valentine’s Day called “Hoppily Ever After” with their bartender performing the nuptials. Barrels and Bottles is also huge on educating the novice beer drinker and will be offering sensory classes to the public this coming year.
I would have been in heaven if they stopped at the beer, lucky for me they didn’t. With a full-service in-house kitchen serving up eats for all, they also offered a vast and equally thoughtful selection of wines and meads. Say it with me, ladies and gentlemen- 24 bottles on tap! Still bedazzled, I had to compose myself when I was presented with a wine slushie. No need to backtrack, you read that correct. Wine slushie. They offer these tasty, organic treats year around and in dealer’s choice of red, white or swirl. When you purchase one of these babies, you also contribute to a local charity that feeds kids suffering from food insecurity (The Golden Backpack Program). Melt my icy heart on a Tuesday in January, why don’t you!
Immersed in effortless conversation, it was infectious to see the couple’s eyes light up as they talked passionately about this world they live in. If it were a woman, Barrels and Bottles would be the girl next door and Golden the neighborhood she lives in. It’s all homegrown and wholesome there; from bike tours of local breweries to guest brews for charity. This place had all the right moves. When it comes down to brass tacks, Barrels and Bottles is a love letter to local businesses. It feels like home and these people feel like family. Abby summed it up best, “good food, beer, wine, and people”.
The Denver Hopper Notes:
Barrels and Bottles Brewery has a ton of events that you can find at the website mentioned below or on their Facebook!
Barrels and Bottles Brewery
Address: 600 12th St #160, Golden, CO 80401