A new arrival on the brewery scene is a particularly welcome one in the Golden Triangle/Capitol Hill neighborhood. Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen at 8th and Lincoln has been open for a couple of months, and what a destination it is already proving to be.
Taking the place of the former maps store, Lowdown is spacious but simultaneously cozy. The exterior is understated, with a smallish sign announcing the doors on both Lincoln and on 8th. Those with an ironic sense of humor may be amused that they have to enter by a gym on the south side (why work out when you can drink beer?). The interior features high unfinished ceilings, concrete pillars, large communal tables, smaller tables, booths, and bar seats. It feels warehouse-y, but it works. The bar’s capacity is large, yet the place is often humming with busy buzzy beer drinkers.
Lowdown brews beer, and quite good beer it is. The go-to beer on the menu is the Selfish, a pale ale made with Pilsen malt. This beer is made to be downed on a warm spring day, though it holds up as a winter beer as well. Featuring a nice balance, the ale is slightly bitter with a finish of tart fruit. Others on the lighter side of the spectrum include the Patio-Pounding Pilz and the white ale (no clever name for this one). The former showcases a lightly fruity hoppy aftertaste, and the latter has the traditional clove and banana scents of an unfiltered Belgian wheat.
Moving deeper into the beer spectrum, Lowdown also pours both an India and an Irish red ale, an apricot-y gingery tripel, and the Lowdown IPA. The last is a gem, featuring a nice finish of floral hoppiness and a subtle tartness. Delicious! Pints of most beers are $5.25; $5.50 will get you a pour of the heartier stuff. Growlers are also available in 32 and 64 ounce sizes.
Lest you think Lowdown only offers lighter beers, fear not. The selection of lighter-in-flavor-and-alcohol is solid, yet there are some heavier and richer hitters as well: milk stout, black IPA, saison, Scottish ale, rye porter, and barleywine, for example. The milk stout on nitro was a delicious creamy treat; the barleywine offers smooth balance and a high alcohol content. The rye porter, however, shines as an unusual combination of flavors, not too heavy on either the rye or the coffee/chocolate notes of a porter.
Beers rotate rapidly, so don’t get too attached to any one beer. As the seasons change, no doubt even more delicious seasonal beers will be making their appearance.
Lowdown also showcases some awesome local guest taps. These rotate often as well but have included such entries as Crooked Stave, Firestone, and Prost. A few wines are available by the glass, as are basic spirits (an option each of well and call).
There are two facets of Lowdown that make it extra-special in the high-stakes brewery world of Denver. One is its phenomenal wait staff. Seating is first-come, first-serve, but you’ll never be waiting long for a server to notice and approach you. Water is always offered immediately. On a recent visit, a server was careful to warn of a newly brewed beer that had some hop flakes in it. It’s a diligent server who will notify you of such potentially undesirable quirks. Additionally, servers are always in good humor and are well informed about the current beers.
The second shining facet should be evident from the latter part of the name: Kitchen. That’s right, a brewery that is more than a tasting room! This would be exciting enough in and of itself, but Lowdown’s kitchen also happens to produce some well-executed, esoteric, and yummy plates. The appetizer menu is extensive; if you don’t end up ordering the Kurt Brussel, hope that someone does during your visit. The aroma is tantalizing. The salads highlight fresh, bright flavors, using such ingredients as herbed quinoa, farro, various root vegetables, and numerous nuts in addition to greens. This is not your grandma’s iceberg salad. Pizzas are a prominent feature on the menu, with both set toppings or build-your-own options. Menu items are noted if vegan or gluten-free.
As mentioned, the ambiance is cozy and welcoming. Both patrons and wait staff alike always seem to be having a good time. Music plays in the background but is not so loud as to inhibit a conversation. You may even have a chance to chat with one of the owner/brewers, Scott and Phil, who may be wandering around and checking up on your experience.
Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen is striving to be the best brewery in the neighborhood. It is well on its way. Pay it a visit before its popularity explodes.