Three beer geeks walk into a bar.
So starts my conversation with Nick Nunns, owner and metal-head behind Denver’s soon-to-be-newest brewery, TRVE Brewing, and one of his bartenders Monica Ignaszewski. We sat down at El Diablo to replenish Nick’s caloric depletion after a long day brewing, in hopes that he might tell me something special. One whole Tecate and a few enchiladas later, the stories started rolling like a hot knife through molasses on a cloudy day – you know, nonsense.
All non-funny jokes aside, we started talking shop back at the brewery, one block north of El Diablo. Before I got into the normal “so how’d you get into brewing” questions, I had one pressing query: why does Nick Nunns hate the letter “u” so much?
“She’s an oppressive, curvy bitch.”
With that out of the way, we were able to get down to the hard-hitting questions. Mainly, “What the fuck, Nick? Why is this cool?”
“It’s cool because it’s a great thing that this neighborhood needs. There isn’t any craft beer around here. We’re filling a gap. And we hope that the people will appreciate what we’ve got going on. So far, people are pumped. There’s finally a place to get good beer in this area.”
The area is already pretty cool. It’s a welcome reprieve from the LoDo / downtown repetition, and quite a bit different from other bar-heavy hotspots like Uptown, City Park West, LoHi, Highlands, etc. The Broadway / Baker area has a grip of awesome shops, bars, and venues. And many of them are stoked to have TRVE in their northern midst.
Spots like Fancy Tiger, Happy Coffee, Ironwood, Lowbrow, and Sweet Action are all within a keg’s throw. One of the co-owners of Ironwood did the electrical for TRVE. Lowbrow promises accessible art of the street variety, supplies, and classes. Along with TRVE, Lowbrow is helping to push the area’s commercial border north. While Lowbrow participates in First Fridays, Nick is playing with the idea of Thirsty Thorsdays. Because why not.
TRVE will open with four brews: Wanderlust, Prehistoric Dog, Black Cascade, and Tunnel of Trees. While the tap wall shows eight taps, TRVE will open with these four. Someday, and Nick obviously hopes this day is soon, all eight will flow.
Wanderlust is a Belgian-American pale ale, brewed with some experimental hops. The hops, cultivated by Hop Union, might one day hold a common name; for now, they’re only referred to by codename, and that’s a secret. At least to me.
Prehistoric Dog is a salted wheat beer. Nick prefers to stay away from the standard style names, and instead describes beers by what you will taste, rather than what a guide says the beer should taste like.
Black Cascade is an India Black Ale, a heavy on the hops roasty brew. “A hoppy ass porter, dry-hopped beyond repair,” says Nick.
Tunnel of Trees is a pine-forward IPA, brought to life with tons of Chinook. All the brews besides Black Cascade are single-hopped – as in they use one kind of hop, not that there is only one hop addition. This isn’t an intentional portfolio-wide recipe decision. It just happened. So get over it.
These metal-themed beers are brewed on a newly fabricated three barrel system from Stout Tanks and Kettles. TRVE is starting with three fermenters and a brite tank, with plans to expand as soon as possible.
Nick is obviously and appropriately excited about opening his own brewery, but his excitement over his bar staff verges on euphoric. “They’re fucking awesome. What more do you need to know?” Nick gushes. “Every person has either worked in a notable beer bar or brewery, or is super excited about the whole deal. They are all fucking awesome. They all have something interesting and different to talk about.”
They’re fucking awesome. What more do you need to know?
Who are these people? Two-thirds are New England ex-pats, like Nick.
Wil, the tap room manager, comes from New Hampshire. He currently works at Joy Wine & Spirits, as well as Fruition. You may remember him from his time behind the bar at FreshCraft as well.
Monica spent some time slinging pies and crafting designs over at Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza in Ballpark.
Sydney moved to Denver specifically to get into the beer industry. She did it right.
Shea hails from the Publick House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jason, the most legitimate metal head in the bunch, besides Nick of course, most recently worked at Hi-Rise in Ballpark.
And Nick? His story is similar to many others: ex-engineer, hated the desk job, liked beer. How Nick got into beer is a different story. Most of us have our epiphany beers, the friend who convinced us to put down the Natty Ice and pick up something a bit more local, a bit more flavorful. Nick started well ahead of the pack. On his 21st birthday, he dropped the straight-edge cred and picked up his first beer, and the only beer his friends thought was appropriate for someone like him: a Stone Arrogant Bastard. “It blew my mind,” he recalls. “It was nothing like I expected, and I was super into it. I haven’t looked back since.”
TRVE is slated to open Wednesday, June 27, at 4pm. But you can get a taste this Saturday during the CVLT Initiation. Starting at noon, Nick and crew will be pouring samplers of Wanderlust and selling memberships to the CVLT. Membership, which is priced at $50, grants you the following privileges:
- A 32oz growler, hand numbered and signed
- Five free growler fills
- $7 growler fills
- Access to growler fills at all. Not a member? No fills for you.
Membership is limited to 266 growlers, so get down to TRVE this Saturday and join the CVLT.
Wednesday, Thursday: 4pm – 10pm
Friday, Saturday: 2pm – close
Sunday: 2pm – 10pm
Pint – $4.50
½ Pint – $3.50
Taster – $1