Briar Common Brewery + Eatery opened up in Denver’s Jefferson Park neighborhood in October 2016. It is the brainchild and long-time vision of brothers Kent and Greg Dawson.
The concept is different and unique enough to really standout in a sometimes crowded Denver craft beer market. First, they want to be neighborhood focused and give a place back to the locals. At the heart of the brewpub are their beer and food pairings. It’s a place that provides elevated food options, while staying true to being a brewery, as the guys say “their soul is in the beer.” The kitchen is adventurous and has a beer-first mentality, often including beer in the cooking process. The only thing not currently made in-house, from scratch, are the hamburger buns!
Kent and Greg have been homebrewing for a long time, with Kent going on 20 years since his “first batch of crappy beer” and Greg honing his skill while working in Seoul for about 10 years. At Briar Common, Greg has assumed all brewing responsibilities, working on a 7bbl system, while Kent, with his business background is the head of operations.
The beer program consists of 3 core “American” styles, 3 Belgian styles, plus seasonal offerings. They are in the works of creating a Brettanomyces program as well.
Briar – Pale Ae
Thistle – IPA
Rochus – Porter
Joyce – Saison
Lanham – Dubbel
Hobart – Belgian IPA
Alison – Winter Warmer
902-Bravo – Straight Brett
Although Greg had only homebrewed prior to starting up the brewery, he is a Certified Beer Judge (BJCP) and certified Cicerone, so he knows about creating approachable, drinkable beers that are meant to accentuate a great meal. He has decided to use the same yeast strain for all the American styles and similarly all of the Belgian program uses a single yeast strain.
The team at Briar Common was gracious enough to have me in for a beer pairing, and it did not disappoint! I am guilty of walking into a newer brewery, sampling a couple of things, probably drinking a full pour of one beer, and then moving on to the next spot. You should NOT do this at Briar Common. Whether you are looking for a full meal, or need an after work happy hour snack, they have designed their menu with pairings in mind. Their idea is to match intensities, meaning don’t let the beer overpower the dish or vice versa.
The menu has something for everyone’s tastes, here are a few of my favorites:
- Mussels paired with Joyce. These were rich, with the perfect amount of kick and paired perfectly with the Saison. There is some yak chorizo involved that really tops off the dish.
- Duck Breast with Joyce. Cold smoked duck breast, guajillo demi glaze and the kicker here for me was crispy duck skin topping it all.
- Beets + Sweets with Rochus. This is a great starter dish made of root vegetable chips, rosemary and orange salt with a roasted garlic aioli dip. The roast chocolate Porter definitely complements well.
- Beef Tartare with Thistle. The citrus and zesty notes of the IPA pair well with the delicious beef tartare as it sits atop a crispy wonton chip.
As you can see they are very creative with their menu and not afraid to experiment. When you do pop in, be sure to ask the staff for pairing recommendations, but don’t be afraid to try to create your own favorite pairings too. My advice is to go in ready for some really nice beers and excellent food. Cheers, thanks so much to Briar Common for having me!
Follow Briar Common Brewery + Eatery on Facebook for updates and events. They’re located at: 2298 Clay St, Denver, CO.
By: Matt Morris