It was a Sunday evening, and I had planned to attend a concert at The Bluebird Theater, so I perused the internet for a new brewery to check out in that vicinity and came across Cerebral Brewing. I am definitely a bit of a nerd (if you can’t already tell) and the word “cerebral” stood out to me. Upon further inspection, I found that Cerebral Brewing was a science-themed brewery. If you think about it, brewing beer is absolutely a science, and, in my keen opinion, an art form. I wanted to see for myself what Cerebral Brewing was all about and geek-out on the science of beer.
Located on the corner of Monroe and Colfax, Cerebral Brewing has an industrial vibe, with garage doors facing Monroe Street that open up to a patio strung with lights and filled with picnic tables. Upon entering, to the left, there is a serious brewing operation happening. There are barrels and vats and all sorts of scientific materials for brewing craft beer. A large television playing Sunday football divided the brewery sitting area from the scientific brewing operation. To the right there is an entire wall covered in old science magazine and textbook pages in addition to illustrative science prints, giving this brewery a bit of a vintage and hipster feel. The crowd matches the juxtaposing sides of sports television and vintage prints; patrons filled the brewery with a smattering of thick beards and edgy haircuts along with black leggings and sports jerseys.
Next door is the restaurant, Humble Pie, where one can order a sweet or savory pie to nosh on while sipping some refreshing beers. Cerebral Brewing was founded in 2013 by two homebrewers, Sean Buchan and Chris Washenberger, along with Dan McGuire, a beer enthusiast and “financial wizard”. Together, they opened a brewery with the philosophy of combining, “scientific methodology with an artistic viewpoint to create extremely drinkable beers spanning a broad spectrum of styles.”
I decided to settle in near the wall covered in old science prints. There was a skeleton in the corner nearby where I sat that reminded me of old episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy: the science vibe was on point! Then I looked at the beer list. Names like Muscle Memory, Cheat Code, and Flared Lens tickled my inner Albert Einstein as I purchased my first beer, Silent Film.
- Style: Wild Ale
- ABV: 6.4%
This wild ale, served up in a 16 oz. tulip glass poured a rich plum color with a fast fading head that completely dissipated as I drank it. The aroma was extremely subtle and hardly fragrant. On the nose, I could pick up minor hints of berries and grapes as well as lemon zest. The beer itself was wonderful. It was tart, like a sour, and fruity; my lips puckered as I sipped it. I tasted flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and strawberries. It tasted very summery and reminded me of my childhood science experiments of making homemade popsicles in the summer with grape juice. The beer had medium carbonation and the combination of sweet and tart flavors melded harmoniously together. It was an absolute joy to drink this one.
- Style: Dry Hopped Gose
- ABV: 4.7 %
Then I went for the Future Tense. This dry-hopped gose poured a lemon-gold color also in a 16 oz. tulip glass. The beer had a thin white head. On the nose, the aroma was light and fresh with traces of hops, citrus, and salt. The flavor was crisp, tart, brimming with bright lemon tangs. It tasted dry-hopped, medium bodied, with low carbonation. This beer made me wish it was June again as the sun began to set outside and the brisk fall wind snuck in through the garage doors that opened up to the outdoor patio.
- Style: India Pale Ale
- ABV: 6.4%
Finally, I switched it up a bit, moving away from the tart brews to something a little different. I asked for a 10 oz. pour of the Rare Trait, an India Pale Ale that came in an elegant tumbler glass. Did I mention the brain logo on all of the glasses? I loved the graphic, and it definitely played up the artistic and scientific theme this brewery is going for. If you go for a flight, the beers are poured into small glasses that look like beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks. Very clever. Rare Trait poured a hazy yellow-gold color with a thick, foamy white head that thinned out while drinking. On the nose, this beer’s floral and herbal hoppy scent wove into the citrusy perfume and muddled orange notes. The beer tasted sharp, earthy, and slightly bitter from the yeast and hops. There was a mineral taste to it as well that overpowered any fruit profiles of flavor that the description suggested, such as tangerine or mango. I ended up not finishing up this one because the mineral flavor and bitter bite was too intense for my taste and tasted a little off; I wondered if it was a bad batch.
Overall I really enjoyed this spot. The diverse crowd and the wall covered in old science prints sold me. The sour beers were delightful, some of the best I’ve had in a while, piquing my curiosity about the brewing process of sour beers. What makes a great sour? Cerebral Brewing clearly knows. Brewing is a scientific process, and the field of science deserves to be recognized not just in how they are researching medicine or the environment, but also in how food, drink, and of course, beer are indeed a science! This cool spot is perfect to sip a few beers before a show down the street or to ponder some of life’s greatest scientific inquiries, like why is the sky blue or how does the theory of relativity work?
- Address: 1477 Monroe St, Denver, CO 80206
- Phone Number: (303) 927-7365