These days, a new brewery isn’t just a brewery. A few neighborhoods still in need of a local watering hole aside, there’s too much competition for hearts, minds, and shelf space to start a new brewery without some sort of angle or twist in mind. Some breweries seek to specialize with their on-tap offerings: hophead-seeking IPA establishments have been on the scene for years now (although the trend toward Northeast-style pales and IPAs is changing the hop game considerably), alongside those carving out exciting niches with sours, or farmhouse beers, or lagers. Others seek to bring more than suds to the table, such as today’s stop, Endo Brewing Company of Lafayette: a brewery and bike shop. The goal? A place to grab a pint or two while you get an expert tune-up (or repair) for your bicycle.
With their soft open at the end of August, Endo is now serving beers brewed on premises in a number of styles – I tried all six on tap when I visited in their first week. The bike shop side of things doesn’t yet seem to be in full swing – I didn’t see any repairs happening onsite yet, and the website still lists related info as coming soon – but the beer (and the patio!) are ready to roll.
- Style: English Mild
- ABV: 3.3%
- IBU: 17
Post Ride Ultra
- Style: Kölsch
- ABV: 4.6%
- IBU: 30
Moving on to the Kölsch, a nose of straight honey dominates in this beer, leaving just a little room for a hint of style-appropriate hoppiness. The fruity honey perception continues through the taste with not too much else jumping out from a light malt base. The only blemish that jumps out is a slightly cloying note on the finish, but this beer is nice and approachable and should give a great introduction to the brewery for those who haven’t yet drunk the Kool-Aid and bought into this whole craft beer thing.
- Style: Belgian Tripel
- ABV: 8.7%
- IBU: 43
- Style: American IPA
- ABV: 6.2%
- IBU: 72
On to the first of two IPAs. The nose on this beer is great: a modern IPA noseful of bubblegum and tropical fruits made me really eager to try this one. On the flavor, though, I initially got some graininess that I didn’t really expect. That harshness faded as the beer warmed up a bit and the hops opened up to bring the flavor a bit more in line with the scent. Inexplicably, I picked up a second taster of this toward the end of the night and didn’t get the same light malt flavor dominance, even though the bartender swore nothing had changed (and Endo is principally serving from big brite tanks, not kegs, so it can’t be a keg-to-keg issue). A taste of beer left too long in the lines? Operator (drinker) error? Your mileage may vary.
- Style: American IPA
- ABV: 6.6%
- IBU: 65
Endo shows they’re about more than just checking off boxes for different styles, as this beer is fairly different from Shop. Not to damn with faint praise, but the most striking thing to me about this beer was the clarity – I could read the newspaper through a pint glass of this, which is no mean feat, especially for an IPA. I had to take a minute to double check that I hadn’t mixed up my tasters. A solid fruity and resiny west coast IPA in aroma in flavor once I actually moved on to drinking it, this IPA doesn’t stick out at me in any way in particular, but that may be a strength – without a gimmick to mention and get tired of, I wanted a second taste when I was done (and got one). More than being a beer to talk about, this is a beer to shut up and drink, and I can easily imagine going through quite a number of these over the course of a night out with friends or at home on the couch.
- Style: Milk Stout
- ABV: 5%
- IBU: 30
In a word: roasty. This may say more about me as a non-stout-lover than about the style itself, but to me, a stout is more about a nice and elegant execution of fundamentals than it is about breaking new ground. Strong cocoa in the nose with a dark coffee roast overlaying it, the lactose that gives the milk stout its name keeps this dark beer from getting too acidic and harsh. The lingering sweetness meshes well with the dark roasty grains and makes this a solid choice as a standard dark beer. Milk stouts almost inevitably draw comparison to the popular offering by their Longmont neighbors to the north, and if this beer comes across a bit lighter, it is by that same token also highly sessionable.
The greatest thing about the profusion of breweries in Colorado is the freedom to be different, and I need to give some space here to talk about Endo on its own terms. Apples fare very poorly when judged as oranges, and it’s easy for me (with my focus on craft beer so myopic) to focus too much on the beer itself and not give ample room for the other aspects of the experience. A brewery taproom is more than just a delivery mechanism for tasty alcohol – it is a place to enjoy for itself, and focus on good times with friends, not just beer for beer’s sake.
If Endo Brewing – its tap list, its atmosphere, its bicycle motif, its freedom to bring whatever food you’d like to munch on – can be said to make a unified statement so far, it is an argument for beer in the service of having a good time. Among their beers, the Penny Farthing, in particular, stands out, but the focus overall seems to be more on facilitating good times than romancing beer geeks. I really like that atmosphere, and want to bring my friends so we can all enjoy each other’s company with a drinkable beer at hand.
Besides, I hear they just tapped a Saison and Hefeweizen. I can’t wait.
- Address: 2755 Dagny Way #101, Lafayette, CO 80026
- Phone: (720) 442-8052