The Call to Arms Brewing Company taproom on Tennyson Street in Denver should be on your must visit list for excellent craft beers, friendly staff and great atmosphere. Tennyson Street is known for its restaurants, breweries, bars and specialty shops.
I first visited Call to Arms in late August, 2015, a few weeks after it opened. The Denver Post named it Denver’s best new brewery for 2015.
I liked the Call To Arms beers and enjoyed conversing with one of the owners about beer and future plans for Call to Arms. An addition to the building for increased taproom and office space and remodeling the front of the building for the Mas Kaos Restaurant are now completed.
Customer friendly taproom and expansive bar
I recently interviewed Jesse Brookstein, taproom manager and one of three young entrepreneurs who founded Call to Arms. I originally met Jesse and bartender Lindsey Hogan during my first visit in 2015. Jesse and the two other founders, Chris Bell and Jon Cross, had been working for Avery Brewery in Boulder. They decided to start their own brewery after gaining extensive experience at Avery and in other beer industry positions. They were always looking at Denver with its population base and being the center of the beer scene. Their extensive search for a location ended at Tennyson Street in the historic Highlands/Berkeley neighborhood.
Challenges of Opening a Brewery
The Call to Arms owners transformed a portion of an auto repair shop into a 10-barrel brewery and taproom. Along their journey, they learned about the challenges of finding investors, obtaining permits for brewing, constructing and opening a brewery. Jesse credits co-founder Chris Bell, with his strong financial background, as the cornerstone of moving the brewery project forward when some of the investors did not come through. Opening a brewery is a very complex process due to the extensive regulations of many different government agencies. A space must be leased before filing for a brewery permit with the Trade and Taxation Bureau. No brewing can start until a building certificate of occupancy is issued. This answered a long-standing question of mine regarding new breweries having limited beer selections when they open. I had also noticed that brewers were brewing several different styles of beer around the clock 3 or 4 days before opening to the public.
Jesse and his partners are strong believers of neighborhood involvement, both with residents and businesses. In addition to being a family friendly gathering place, Call to Arms has made significant efforts to work with local businesses. On Mondays, a few cottage artisans are selling such items as salamis, homemade breads, salsa and sauces. Call to Arms also sponsors a number of community events, including its own Mardi Gras parade.
Neighborhood artisans selling their products in the taproom
Call to Arms Beers
From its initial offering of 8 beers, Call to Arms typically offers 12 to 15 beers on tap. Several beers almost always on tap are: Vienna Lager, Freedom Fries Saison, Clintonian Pale Ale, CTA IPA, Oats and Hose Porter.
Jon Cross, a founder and lead brewer, has created many new beers since opening the brewery. The variety and high quality are impressive. I have tasted over 35 different Call to Arms beers that have been consistently good to excellent. I am constantly checking the Digital Pour app to see what is being offered.
The CTA IPA is a very good west coast style IPA. It is hoppy and has notes of grapefruit and has a piney finish.
The Oats and Hose Porter is an oatmeal porter that greets one with a malty mouthful. There is a nice balance of a strong chocolate aroma and taste with a cherry finish that is barely sweet.
Call to Arms recently released its 8th barrel-aged beer, a tart Belgian quad called “Name Your Own Beer”. It and a whiskey barrel-aged Vienna Lager, named Amigos con Beneficios, are two of my favorite beers from Denver-based breweries.
“Name Your Own Beer” originally had a name. The night before its release, Call to Arms received a warning from an out-of-state brewery not to use the name.
The Call to Arms founders have a great sense of humor with this beer and another beer and accompanying poster. Unfortunately a well-known brewery did not see it that way for the second beer. The name was changed to The Ballroom Beer and the very cool poster featuring one of Call to Arms’ founders is gone. I did manage to take a picture of the poster, but modified it so as to not cause trouble for Call to Arms.
Having visited approximately 20 breweries in the Denver area, Call to Arms is one of the 3 or 4 that I thoroughly enjoy visiting again and again. It is a testament to the passion and professionalism of the Call to Arms founders and staff who create high quality beers and provide a welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy beer and comradeship.