Visited on: Wednesday 13th June 2018
Some pubs are close to public transport, others require a bit of a walk. Well, it’s doubtful whether you can find anything closer than Spangalang. It is right outside the 25th Street / Welton Street station.
Look carefully at the photograph of the pub on the right and in the foreground you will see the slope leading up to the platform of the station. The station is served by the RTD Light Rail line L. More details can be found below.
It is in the Five Points district which previously did not have a good reputation. I have no doubt this true. Yet it was very difficult to reconcile that viewpoint with our experience.
One block up Welton Street was a beer café that specialises in sour and saison beers. Close to that is a boutique café. Both of which implies “gentrification”. However, as I took the photograph mentioned above an old lady told me to be careful not to get my camera stolen. Maybe there is something in it. Possibly this neighbourhood is not so safe at night.
Once upon a time the Five Points district was known as one of the best areas in the whole country to listen to Jazz. With that fact there is a direct link to the name of the brewery as Spangalang is a term for a jazz cymbal sequence. The brewery was founded by Darren Boyd, Austin Wiley and Taylor Rees. They all met up when brewing for Great Divide Brewing. Please see separate article on that brewery.
After deciding to join ranks to start their own business they opened Spangalang in April 2015. It is housed in a former DMV office. This is the Colorado state government department for licensing of road vehicles.
I wonder how many great personalised or designed plates first saw the light of day within these walls. It is a good fit for a brewery and tap. One big room with a brewery at one end and space for a small outside terrace.
Linda and I got off the tram and within a minute we were in the pub. Through the entrance door we noticed the 10 barrel (bbls) at the front of the building overlooking Welton Street. There’s a lot of empty space and we ordered at the bar counter on the left. A few loose tables and chairs face the counter. At the far end the wall displays a lovely bit of artwork, please see above.
Obviously it depicts a jazz band with all the instruments played by animals. Looking at the creatures I think they represent many of the many wild species found in Colorado: Bison on clarinet, Red Fox on trombone, Brown Bear on drums, Bald Eagle on vocals, and many more. Paul Vismara is the artist, we liked it a lot. To the left of this is a large area for the storage of wooden barrels containing maturing beer. There was a reasonable range of beers to be had.
These were as follows: Sugarfoot (3.5%), a session Belgian table beer with coriander, orange and lemon peel; D-Train (6.5%), a West Coast IPA; Moonlight in Vermont (7.5%), a New England IPA; Dry Rye Ruins (7.4%), a dry red IPA; Laser Tone (6.2%), a hazy IPA; Nor-Ouija (5.0%), a “Norwegian farmhouse ale”.
And there were more: The Ambassador (5.8%) a dry-hopped lager, Rod and Todd’s (7.0%), a cherry sour; Miss Bliss (6.5%), a barrel-aged sour with raspberries, plums and cherries; Be Bop Hop (abv unknown), a pale ale and Nightwalker (9.7%), an imperial stout.
We tried four of these beers and our opinions were as follows: Nor-Ouija Farmhouse Ale was very creamy, possibly made with some wheat malt, not as bad as expected. The Ambassador Dry Hopped Lager was very good being quite bitter but is it lager? Be Bop Hop Pale Ale was very nice, a session beer with medium bitterness. D-Train IPA was bitter tasting with a very bitter after taste and a slight citrus flavour in the finish. Since our visit the Light Rail line serving the pub has changed from D to L, so look out for a new beer soon.
Spangalang is a very interesting brewery producing some excellent beers.
Spangalang Brewery, 2736 Welton Street, Denver 80205. Tel: 303 297 1276. Web: spangalangbrewery.com
Hours: Sunday–Tuesday 12.00–20.00; Wednesday–Saturday 12.00-22.00
As mentioned earlier the RTD Light Rail L line trains stop outside at the 25th Street/Welton Street station.
The L line runs from 30th Street/Welton Street to a loop around the Downtown area.
The loop runs outward via California Street and returns via Stout Street.
There are stops at 18th and 16th Street outward and return.
In the central district connections can be made with other light rail lines (D, F, & H) and many bus routes.