As a college lit major and avid bookworm, when I heard about Fiction Beer Company, the name alone drew me in, and I had to check it out. Upon driving up to the quirky brewery, located in South Park Hill, Denver, I was relieved, as an awful parallel parker, to find a parking lot with spaces designated for brewery patrons. The building the brewery is located within feels fresh and new amidst old shops and buildings that line Colfax.
As you enter the brewery, you immediately see giant wooden barrels at the front of a large brewing space. Turning the corner this open, well-lit brewery, bursts with bits of witty fiction and bookish references. The tap handles behind the bar look like book bindings with the brewery’s logo on them. Nothing but beer and water to drink here. The beer list hosts bookish names for the brews such as “Petty Vexation,” “Logic is Relative,” and “Written for Film.” Each name falls under a category of beer, like a fiction category. There are “Classics,” like IPAs or Wits. The “Mystery and Adventure,” beer list is home to seasonal type beers and beers with varying styles and interesting flavors. And finally, the “Fantasy and Sci-Fi,” beer list catalogs brews like limeade sours and Gose fermented with cantaloupe. As an enthusiastic writer, reader, and beer-drinker, I felt right at home.
Sunlight spills into the warehouse-like brewery, complete with a bookshelf, and bright wooden tables engraved with author quotes about beer. Most of the indoor tables have repurposed book covers with informative descriptions about the literary inspiration behind each beer on tap. On a Monday afternoon, the brewery hosts writers with laptops and notebooks drinking beer and letting their creativity flow out onto the page. Some people sit solo, others in groups, mingling, editing, critiquing.
The back wall of the brewery opens up to a patio complete with picnic tables and twinkle lights strung overhead. If you aren’t a bookish type, there is plenty of space to set up one of the many used board games, like Boggle or Jenga, to play with friends and chat. Additionally, next to the bookshelf is a vintage-looking popcorn machine for free munchies while sipping your beers.
Fiction Beer Company is the product of husband and wife, Christa and Ryan Kilpatrick, both book lovers and beer nerds. They teamed up to bring a brewery that merges their two interests to the surrounding east neighborhoods of Park Hill, Montclair, Stapleton, Mayfair, and Lowry. Opened since 2014, the brewery regularly rotates beers, offers open mic nights as well as trivia events, and hosts different food trucks parked out back Wednesday-Sunday.
- Style: American Blonde Ale
- ABV: 5%
I am a fan of the classics, so I first went for the Tiger Lunch, an American Blonde Ale infused with blood orange. Inside the small booklet of beer descriptions, I read that this beer was inspired by Yann Martel’s book-turned-movie, Life of Pi. Fiction Beer Company pours the honey-colored, opaque ale into an imperial pint glass. The pour finished with a medium-sized, beige-colored head. The aroma boasts delicate notes of citrus and herbs. Orange zest infuses the beer, and I found out that Fiction Beer Company brews the beer with over a pound of blood oranges per gallon. Upon tasting the brew, I noticed flavors of peach and orange with toasted notes. The beer had low carbonation and a slight mineral taste. It was crisp, light, and refreshing: a great way to start out at Fiction Beer Company.
- Style: IPA
- ABV: 6.3%
For my next pour, I went for an American IPA also listed under the “Classic” beer list. Titled, “Sly Boots,” this IPA is inspired by a short story author from Washington state hop country. In the description of the beer, Fiction Beer Company states, “This IPA is like a short story: strong character development, simple plot line, no gimmicks and incredibly satisfying in its brevity.” I have to hand it to them with the seamlessly clever ways they interlace fiction and beer. Poured into a Belgian beer glass, this brew was the color of marmalade finished off with a thick, off-white head. On the nose, traces of citrus, zest, and bits of herbs and flowers weave into the aroma. Upon sipping the brew, I noticed hops at the forefront with flavors of grapefruit, orange, and caramel. The beer had a quick, dry finish. This beer was perfect for slow-slipping, perhaps while journaling or leafing through a book of short stories.
Written for Film
- Style: Oktoberfest
- ABV: 5.2%
With the cooler days and the clever title, I finished my visit off with their new Oktoberfest listed under their “Adventure” category. The name for the beer was inspired by a short story not written to simply be read, but written to be seen on film. I love watching some of my favorite books come to life on the big screen about as much as I love a good Oktoberfest pint. Gold, amber-colored beer filled this imperial pint glass, topped off with a small cream-colored head that receded as I drank the beer. The aroma of the beer melded sweet and toasted hints of biscuits and fresh-cracked malt. Upon tasting the Oktoberfest, it is full-bodied, with slight fall flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg and subtle notes of hops. This crisp lager doesn’t disappoint, offering the drinker everything you would expect and hope for in a lager fit for Oktoberfest.
I will definitely be back to this brewery. I mostly geeked-out over how cleverly beer and fiction were woven together throughout various aspects of the brewery. If you live near the neighborhood, this brewery is a wonderful gathering space for drinking and good conversation. If you are a bookie, writer, or artistic type looking to check out a new neighborhood and quirky tap room, Fiction Beer Company is the place to be. The open space, delicious beer, and plethora of literary references make this brewery unique and delightful.