On a busy downtown corner at the 16th Street Mall, Denver’s ROCK BOTTOM BREWERY is one of the large chains’ busiest and roomiest franchised restaurant-pubs. A large railed patio at its entrance provides beautiful views of the city and a wonderful outside dining experience. Dark wood furnishings get scattered throughout the multi-section interior. Large glass-encased copper brewtanks spread across the large expanse.

A casual sportsbar atmosphere (multiple TV’s; three billiard tables) keeps the general bar customers happy. The menu serves typical pub fare. A private banquet room is available for special events.

My friend, Dennis, brought back to Jersey two fine specialty beers October ’13. The first one tried, Rock Bottom Double Down Double India Pale Ale, attached perfumed fruiting to resinous pine hops. Its gin-like juniper bite and yellow grapefruit rind bittering mellowed to a sweet orange peel misting before reaching its floral citric-sugared finish.

On deck, ambitious Rock Bottom The Gnome Baltic Porter went beyond the usual stodgy stylistic souring most Baltic dark ales mistake for mocha sweetness. Its fudgy brown chocolate and maple molasses overtones allow less obvious black grape, black cherry and blackberry illusions to emerge alongside sharp hop toasting (causing less discriminate tasters to compare the rich suds to a Black IPA).

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