Ratio Beerworks

Address: 2920 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205


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There’s nothing more punk than independent craft beer; and these guys are the epitome of it!

Ratio Beerworks was one of the first stops we made when Marilyn and I made our way out to Denver, CO. While the brewery may be about three and a half years old the brewery’s beginning dates back to the late nineties. Co-owners Jason ZumBrunnen and Scott Kaplan were deep in the punk rock music scene; Jason had been playing and touring with the band “The Fairlanes” and Scott played in a number of bands and worked at a label until the two entities came together through mutual friends.

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After Jason had finished touring, he decided to put music on hold for a bit and jumped head first into the world of beer. He first started off by heading to the Siebel Institute in Chicago and even went as far as doing an externship at the Doemens Academy in Germany. Once he completed his schooling, he moved back to Colorado and first worked at Wnykoop Brewing and then even got the chance to work at AC Golden Brewery which is the experimental arm of Miller Coors. What I love most is the motto on their site: “We learned how to drink on tour, We learned how to brew in Germany.”

Ratio Beerworks comes from the equal parts that went into creating the brewery. The equal parts reside in the music, the community, supporting the arts, charity and of course, the beer. They wanted to strive for balance when creating their beers and they also wanted to take traditional styles and give them a modern twist. They use all fresh fruit and no extracts for any of the fruit additives and all the names of their beers are either album or song references going back to their musical roots.

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One thing that really stood out in the brewery, was the art. All things were done by local artists or friends and you were able to find all these subtle nuances throughout the brewery. They have the Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio, wonderful art and throughout our stay they had bomb tunes blasting on the speakers. Fun fact: Jasons wife is an interior designer and actually coordinated the set up of the brewery!

Along with the amazing support they have from the community, friends and family alike, they have amazing staff on deck as well. Tristan Chan, who serves as Marketing Manager for Ratio Beerworks, also started PorchDrinking, a national publication that focuses on telling great stories about the people in the industry and most of all, showcasing local love.

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Prior to that the main reason he was brought to Colorado was because he was working with the AmeriCorps and more specifically was working with the Boys & Girls Club for a year and then ended up staying for two more years as the program manager. While there he didn’t know anyone at Ft. Collins and they were actually paid less than minimum wage so all he could really afford to do was head on over to New Belgium Brewing on the weekends and try their free tasters.

He fell deep and learned a lot about the world of beer while talking with the bartenders and brewers during his visits and this is how his eyes were opened to this awesome community emerging in beer unlike any other community in its field. He had an epiphany and wanted to give back in his own way; with his journalism major, he started his project (PorchDrinking) and it has grown to more than he could have ever anticipated. They currently have over 100 writers and editors across the country and still continue their focus on telling great stories and promoting the industry through positivity and this is actually what led him to Ratio Beerworks.

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During their initial opening three and a half years ago Tristan was invited to the soft/media opening. He tried their core beers and was so astounded that Jason and Scott were able to open with solid,delicious, easy drinking beers that he became a super fan from day one. At the time he actually lived down the street from Ratio and would visit the brewery two to three times a week and when Tristan had heard that they were hiring for the marketing manager position he was lucky (and ecstatic) to have landed it.

What Tristan loves most about his job and the brewery itself is how much of a part of the community they are. Going back to their music roots and the genre itself, that punk rock ideal of inclusiveness is prevalent throughout the brewery and through their acts. They support the local arts, local makers and commuters and they actually donate ten percent of their beer and/or revenue each year to local non-prophet organizations and community groups. They’ve grown by about one thousand barrels each year, but still have a limited distribution and only sell local. They just started their packaging crowlers, but still don’t do large quantity canning.

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Jason had told Tristan at the end of last year that as they had increased the amount of beer that they were producing so in turn Tristan would have to increase the amount of beer that they were giving away. That is typically rare to hear in the industry; but stemming back to their punk rock roots, Ratio is committed to doing things on their own terms.

 

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Here Are The Explanations From The Brewery:

Domestica [American Standard Ale (4.9% ABV)]: Domestica is inspired by the roots of American brewing and is a great introduction to craft beer. The crispness of the malt bill, low bitterness from the European style hops, and a slightly higher carbonation draws similarities to American Light Lagers.

No Shade [German-Style Pilsner (5.5%ABV)]: Let go of all pretense and return to simplicity. No Shade is light, dry, traditional German-style Pilsner that goes down easy at a bbq, summer park potluck, or pre-show tailgate. Kick back, relax, and enjoy this no-frills summer classic featuring Pilsner malts from local Root Shoot Malting and traditional Hallertau Mittelfrüh German hops for a crisp, clean, finish.

Dear You [French Saison (5.5% ABV)]: Dear You is not a typical saison. The french yeast provides a drier and earthier flavor than sweeter and fruitier Belgian styles. Acidulated malt gives the beer a tartness while the white wheat provides a hazy and pale appearance. At our microbrewery Denver, we use American Citra hops for both brewing and dry hopping to provide an aroma similar to a pale or india pale ale.

Float On [Hefeweizen (5.1% ABV)]: Beer often serves as a grounding reminder not to sweat the small stuff. Float On Hefeweizen greets drinkers with classic esters of banana and clove and finishes with a lilting, effervescent mouthfeel. Additionally, our head brewer Jason, utilized research from South German techniques used to accentuate a bolder banana flavor profile. The result is a light, approachable 60% white wheat based Bavarian Hefeweizen, built perfectly to represent the no worry attitude imbued by beer.

New Wave [Strawberry Berliner Weisse (3.7% ABV)]: Warmer days are upon us, which means it’s time to cool down with our summer seasonal, New Wave. New Wave is a kettle soured, Strawberry Berliner Weisse brewed with patio sessions in mind. This bright pink Berliner Weisse is light, tart, effervescent, and clean on the finish. Strawberries are the dominant flavor profile, as each batch is fermented on over 300 pounds of real strawberries.

Major Nights [Lime Gose (5% ABV)]:Major Nights Lime Gose, which originally debuted last year as The Knew Schmew, was a collaboration with Denver band, The Knew. This mildly tart, mildly salty, traditional German-style wheat beer received a “dry hop” addition of nearly 400 hand zested limes. Major Nights is an explosion of unique savory flavors brought on by the use of coriander and red gold Hawaiian sea salt, as well as the bright refreshing tartness of fresh limes. Cap off your summer with some Major Nights.

Repeater [Extra Pale Ale (6.1% ABV)]: Repeater is right in between a pale and an india pale ale. As a micro brewery Denver, we use the slightly roastier Munich II malt which is found in many German beers, including Oktoberfests, to balance the hop additions and make for a more appealing option if you’re not into bitter IPAs or are looking for a bit more than a pale ale.

Rented World [Session IPA (4.8% ABV)]:Inspired by the Possible Worlds collaboration with our friends at Call to Arms, Cannonball Creek, Station 26, and TRVE, Rented World was such a staff favorite, that we decided to bring it back as a Session IPA. For Rented World, we employed our highest volume of late aroma hops to date, with massive amounts of Citra and El Dorado. Measuring in at an approachable 4.8% and 41 IBUs, this easy-drinking session IPA is big on bright citrus and pine flavors, but a mere wrinkle on the harsh bitterness scale due to the limited use of bittering hops.

Antidote [India Pale Ale (7.0% ABV)]: Our brewers have California roots so it was a no brainer to create a West Coast style IPA. We dry hop Antidote with massive amounts of Centennial and Mandarina Bavaria hops to produce a dry and bitter initial taste, and finishes with a clean, crispy malt backbone, making it one of the best microbrews in Denver.

Continuous Thunder [DIPA (8.8% ABV)]: It begins with a resounding opening salvo, but continues to build and reverberate in a cacophonous onslaught of power and might. While most of Ratio’s portfolio focuses on balance and approachability, we purposely built Continuous Thunder to showcase a bold, hop-forward exclamation. This formidable 8.8% Double IPA, was double dry-hopped with Idaho 7 and Mosaic hops, giving way to bright pineapple and tropical fruit notes, as well rich resinous pine aromas. First brewed in celebration of Ratio’s 3rd Anniversary, join Continuous Thunder in an exclamation of audacity and non-conformity. Sing out loud, arm in arm with me tonight, dressed to the nines, as we love with a legendary fire of Continuous Thunder.

-Hold Steady [Chocolate Rye Scotch Ale (7.5% ABV)]: Our dark scotch ale is a smooth drinker that carries chocolate and a subtle smokiness. Esters of raisin and dark fruit are alive throughout while ending with a mild sweetness. Complex, yet approachable, Hold Steady is our most robust flagship offering at our Denver microbrewery.

Hold Steady (Pt. 2) [Chocolate Rye Scotch Ale w/ Novo Coffee (6.2% ABV)]: Hold Steady stands on the pillars of nuance and subtlety. In search of complex, malt forward flavors, Hold Steady was our way of creating a robust beer that is medium bodied and approachable with hints of chocolate. Perfect for Colorado’s consistently perplexed weather habits, this flagship Chocolate Rye Scotch Ale is suitable for any season. Our coffee infused version of Hold Steady features cold brew coffee from our neighbors down the street at Novo Coffee.

 

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Here’s What I Thought:

Domestica: Domestica is inspired by the roots of American brewing and is a great introduction to craft beer. The crispness of the malt bill, low bitterness from the European style hops, and a slightly higher carbonation draws similarities to American Light Lagers.

No Shade: Let go of all pretense and return to simplicity. No Shade is light, dry, traditional German-style Pilsner that goes down easy at a bbq, summer park potluck, or pre-show tailgate. Kick back, relax, and enjoy this no-frills summer classic featuring Pilsner malts from local Root Shoot Malting and traditional Hallertau Mittelfrüh German hops for a crisp, clean, finish.

Dear You: Dear You is not a typical saison. The french yeast provides a drier and earthier flavor than sweeter and fruitier Belgian styles. Acidulated malt gives the beer a tartness while the white wheat provides a hazy and pale appearance. At our microbrewery Denver, we use American Citra hops for both brewing and dry hopping to provide an aroma similar to a pale or india pale ale.

Float On: Beer often serves as a grounding reminder not to sweat the small stuff. Float On Hefeweizen greets drinkers with classic esters of banana and clove and finishes with a lilting, effervescent mouthfeel. Additionally, our head brewer Jason, utilized research from South German techniques used to accentuate a bolder banana flavor profile. The result is a light, approachable 60% white wheat based Bavarian Hefeweizen, built perfectly to represent the no worry attitude imbued by beer.

New Wave: Warmer days are upon us, which means it’s time to cool down with our summer seasonal, New Wave. New Wave is a kettle soured, Strawberry Berliner Weisse brewed with patio sessions in mind. This bright pink Berliner Weisse is light, tart, effervescent, and clean on the finish. Strawberries are the dominant flavor profile, as each batch is fermented on over 300 pounds of real strawberries.

Major Nights:Major Nights Lime Gose, which originally debuted last year as The Knew Schmew, was a collaboration with Denver band, The Knew. This mildly tart, mildly salty, traditional German-style wheat beer received a “dry hop” addition of nearly 400 hand zested limes. Major Nights is an explosion of unique savory flavors brought on by the use of coriander and red gold Hawaiian sea salt, as well as the bright refreshing tartness of fresh limes. Cap off your summer with some Major Nights.

Repeater: Repeater is right in between a pale and an india pale ale. As a micro brewery Denver, we use the slightly roastier Munich II malt which is found in many German beers, including Oktoberfests, to balance the hop additions and make for a more appealing option if you’re not into bitter IPAs or are looking for a bit more than a pale ale.

Rented World:Inspired by the Possible Worlds collaboration with our friends at Call to Arms, Cannonball Creek, Station 26, and TRVE, Rented World was such a staff favorite, that we decided to bring it back as a Session IPA. For Rented World, we employed our highest volume of late aroma hops to date, with massive amounts of Citra and El Dorado. Measuring in at an approachable 4.8% and 41 IBUs, this easy-drinking session IPA is big on bright citrus and pine flavors, but a mere wrinkle on the harsh bitterness scale due to the limited use of bittering hops.

Antidote: Our brewers have California roots so it was a no brainer to create a West Coast style IPA. We dry hop Antidote with massive amounts of Centennial and Mandarina Bavaria hops to produce a dry and bitter initial taste, and finishes with a clean, crispy malt backbone, making it one of the best microbrews in Denver.

Continuous Thunder: It begins with a resounding opening salvo, but continues to build and reverberate in a cacophonous onslaught of power and might. While most of Ratio’s portfolio focuses on balance and approachability, we purposely built Continuous Thunder to showcase a bold, hop-forward exclamation. This formidable 8.8% Double IPA, was double dry-hopped with Idaho 7 and Mosaic hops, giving way to bright pineapple and tropical fruit notes, as well rich resinous pine aromas. First brewed in celebration of Ratio’s 3rd Anniversary, join Continuous Thunder in an exclamation of audacity and non-conformity. Sing out loud, arm in arm with me tonight, dressed to the nines, as we love with a legendary fire of Continuous Thunder.

-Hold Steady: Our dark scotch ale is a smooth drinker that carries chocolate and a subtle smokiness. Esters of raisin and dark fruit are alive throughout while ending with a mild sweetness. Complex, yet approachable, Hold Steady is our most robust flagship offering at our Denver microbrewery.

Hold Steady (Pt. 2): Hold Steady stands on the pillars of nuance and subtlety. In search of complex, malt forward flavors, Hold Steady was our way of creating a robust beer that is medium bodied and approachable with hints of chocolate. Perfect for Colorado’s consistently perplexed weather habits, this flagship Chocolate Rye Scotch Ale is suitable for any season. Our coffee infused version of Hold Steady features cold brew coffee from our neighbors down the street at Novo Coffee.

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So all in all with the ambiance of the brewery and the beers we were served I would give Ratio Beerworks Brewing Company 5 out of 5 piggys!

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Website: Ratio Beerworks Brewing Company

Facebook: Ratio Beerworks Brewing Company

Instagram: @ratiobeerworks

Twitter: @ratiobeerworks

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