Located in the up-and-coming RiNo District, just north of downtown Denver, First Draft, the first self-service brewery in Denver, opens its doors to the public today with more than 40 draft beers, wines and ciders on tap.
Even though self-service breweries aren’t new to the beer world, they are in Denver, a place where it seems as if a new brewery is opening up every week. First Draft’s goal is to bring something different to beer lovers with their wide variety of craft beers from all over the U.S.
“It’s something different and unique in Colorado and is going to hopefully make us stand out even more,” First Draft’s general manager, Mark Slattery said. “To create a nice experience for people is what we’re trying to highlight. We’re a tasting experience. You can try a ton that you want, and our food is designed to pair with it.”
First Draft’s long tap wall, with large communal tables, gives the guests a welcoming experience, and it’s great for large groups. Drinkers have the freedom to drink as little or as much as they want, with First Draft’s high-tech system. The tap wall’s wide variety of alcoholic beverages has something for anyone, and it changes regularly. Only one keg of each beer, which ranges from IPA’s, wheat’s, pale ale’s and even fruit beers, makes it to First Draft. Once one keg runs out, it’s time to get a new one.
“We want a wide variety of flavors, styles and breweries at any given time,” Slattery said. “We only have about a third from Colorado. We do have about five taps that are super local.” Slattery got his inspiration for First Draft from a similar brewery in San Diego, and from the company with the technology, iPourIt.
Each guest is given a wristband, or in the future a card, that is scanned on top of each tap. The screen above the tap shows how many ounces are being poured and how much beer is left in the keg. Rather than buying full beers, you pay by the ounce. Every time your wristband (or card) is scanned, it records how much you have drank, and you pay at the end.
Employees or “beer ambassadors” are there to help with your pour, since not everyone is a pro. After getting your beer, you can head to the back wall, and order something from their eclectic food menu. The chef, who previously worked at Jax Fish House and The Kitchen, has created a menu that has something for almost everyone. Their brunch menu ranges from pork shoulder Benedict, Moroccan baked eggs and also has small plates to shares. For dinner, simple items like grilled cheese are on the menu, and you can even get rabbit leg confit.
First Draft is open seven days a week starting today. During the week it is open until 10 p.m., and the weekends 12 a.m. It’s located on 26th and Larimer in the River North District. This place is bound to be a hit, giving craft beer lovers an experience like no other in the Mile High City.