The sense of adventure – Denver’s Jagged Mountain Brewing

A Work of art is, above all, an adventure of the mind. — Eugene Ionesco

Notice the tap handles. Every brewery worth its salt makes them their own somehow. At Jagged Mountain they are reformed ice axes – tools used by mountaineers and alpinists to both make progress on a climb, and save their ass if something should go wrong. They are designed to enhance the level of purchase one has on the earth, increased traction, allowing humans to go places they probably weren’t meant to go in the first place.

jagged mountain brewing denver

Zero Gravity Saison. Photo by D.T. Pennington

But, really, what is the decor of a place but an affirmation of the aesthetic they hoped their product put across in the first place? Drawing a line between craft beer and the Colorado outdoors is nothing new – every other beer can or bottle label is a celebration of human locomotion, isolation, or celebration of a Walden-esque mantra of exploration, conservation, or meditation.

So how does Jagged Mountain – a brewery established on 20th and Lawrence in the dead heart of downtown, between the rock and a hard place of mixed-use developments and homeless resource shelters – play into the outdoors? With a collection of owners who are avid explorers, climbers, backpackers, and skiers, they’ve gone out of their way to the edges of this world (both horizontal, vertical, and maybe something pushing into the existential) to come back and brew beer.

It’s not a far stretch to figure a brewer’s story comes out in the beer. After all, to be so intimate with a process like brewing, the end product of the same recipe can vary a lot from one brewer to the next. Of course, this isn’t saying Jagged Mountain’s brews are anything magical – what beer is? – but like any young brewery the concoctions have a lot of room to grow.

jagged mountain brewing denver

Branded beetle kill. Photo by D.T. Pennington

There isn’t a bad beer on the board. All are very drinkable, some could probably use another trip around the block, yet there is the tell-tale signs of something far grander in the works. Think barrel aged, infusions, and more. For now, the Zero Gravity Saison is their strongest, and most accessible of the offerings. Also, now that our state has snuggled close to the witches teat of winter, the Acute Muted Scotch Ale is a perfect match. This is the kind of beer that belongs at the end of a day of skiing. Light body, great malt profile, just enough weight to get you where you probably need to go.

Expect a lot from this place. Between the location, the vibe, or the beers, Jagged Mountain could have us all going places. But, like the storefront of your neighborhood REI, their only goal is to get you ready, put the idea in your head. Where you end up going is entirely up to you.

About David Pennington


Denver based writer and editor. Managing Editor of Denver Off The Wagon. Usually up to some kind of delinquency. Photos of dogs, beer, and gnarly knee scars over at http://bendandbrew.com