Building Community, One Craft Beer at a Time

After visiting the Arvada Beer Company (ABC) last night, I am once again convinced that hometown breweries are restoring community to our neighborhoods.   I watched for over an hour as friends gathered for their TGIFs and children enjoyed homemade rootbeer and board game classics such as Sorry and Checkers with their parents. One group continued to grow and grow and grow into such a boisterous party, that it seemed like their whole neighborhood had showed-up to celebrate friendship, family and good beer. Located in the heart of Olde Town Arvada, families can enjoy food from a variety of local restaurants (including a Belgium Fries place right next door) with their choice of a half dozen well-crafted standard ales in ABC’s well-lit taproom.

All of this reminded me of that fine T.V. comedy, Cheers, but with a family twist.  And in a world where we often claim to lose in-person community because of electronic distractions like Facebook, I think the case can be made that brewing establishments are restoring some of our American roots. In our beer travels this fall, I’ve seen this on several occasions:

Locals gather at Pike’s Peak Brewing in Monument, CO proud to support their new local brew heroes and the delicious beer being poured; proud to have somewhere to go and gather that they can truly call their own.

An elderly gentleman passing through Fort Collins between Wyoming and New Mexico, on his way to see his daughter, knows he can meet friendly people at Fort Collins Brewing Co.  He strikes up conversation with us and shows us the stunning Turquoise jewelry his daughter hand-crafted.

A couple from Florida share a table with us at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora.  We can’t help but to have a conversation with them about beer and festivals and traveling. Our laughter transcends our obviously differing political persuasions . . . making it clear that beer should be served on Capital Hill.

At a Firkin’ Friday tapping at Hops and Pies in our near-by neighborhood, the Odell brewer’s mother, visiting from South Dakota, makes her way through the cramped space praising her son’s craft and bringing laughter to excited folks of all ages.

Breweries are simple places, serving complex and lovely beers, creating space for families and locals to go where everyone knows their name, and where a traveler might feel at home and soon be known just as well. These are spaces to share good stories and enjoy an automatically discovered common interest. Breweries are not the dark, dusty galleys of dive bars and pool halls, they are usually family-friendly atmospheres ready for a game of Parcheesi. Breweries might just save us from our self-destructive plight of dividing politics, warring religious ideologies, and the all-to-common tale of not knowing our neighbor’s name.

Even if you don’t like beer, that’s okay. Go to your local brewery and have a pint of water, make a new friend, and be a part of your community.

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About mlgray

Heading out on adventures, building community, eating delicious cuisines, supporting the local food movement and enjoying walks in the wild . . . grateful to be wandering in the world with you.
This entry was posted in At Home in Denver & the Rockies, Beer & Wine, Community, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Building Community, One Craft Beer at a Time

  1. Great post, Matt! Wish we were there- we’d bring the Grateful Dead Monopoly.

  2. Jen McLellan says:

    Nice review! I was there last night with my husband and son and enjoyed the vibe you described!

  3. dui says:

    Well said, Matt. It would be interesting to borrow some ideas from the old “English Tavern,” which were originally Inn’s. Can you imagine a Brewery with Beds? A BnB for the traveling hophead, Ha!

  4. mlgray says:

    A great historical reference! And an interesting modern day idea . . . wineries and vineyards have set-up such hospitality, why not breweries? Though rumor has it that Stone in north San Diego County is heading that direction with a large hotel.

  5. mlgray says:

    Wonderful to hear! I think we’ll be seeing more and more of these types of places open up. Enjoy!

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