For a beer town, Denver is surprisingly lacking in more creative options to consume our favorite hoppy beverage.
When I walked into the newly-opened Hopdoddy Burger Bar near Union Station, it was with great anticipation to try something I’d only made in my personal blender: A beer shake.
I crashed back to earth when my waiter explained that Hopdoddy’s “chocolate stout milk shake” actually has no alcohol in it. Humph.
But beer shakes are actually nothing new. They were trending on both coasts a couple years ago, and Boulder’s Pub at Boulder Beer Company makes a milk shake with their Shake Chocolate Porter (and it does actually require an ID).
In Denver, though, beer shakes are rare finds. Hopdoddy whipped me up their closest approximation (pictured) on request with their Vanilla Porter and soft-serve vanilla ice cream, and a manager at the Union Station location said they would be happy to make one for anyone who asks even though it’s not listed on the menu. Since Hopdoddy didn’t actually blend the treat, it was more of a beer float than a shake. Beer floats are also available on request at places like Wynkoop Brewing Company and Freshcraft (or, likely, any place that has both ice cream and beer on hand). Be prepared to suggest your own beer and ice cream combination—and for results to vary.
One of the only downtown Denver restaurants that has beer floats on the standard menu is the chain Yard House. Their floats are exactly like they sound: A scoop of ice cream added to a mug about three-fourths full of beer. But a manager there said turning the float into a shake on request “wouldn’t be a problem,” since there’s a blender behind the bar.
But the lack of expertly crafted brew-specific dessert options ought to shame good Denver beer and ice cream fans into banding together in the name of creativity. Because come on, Denver. If Los Angeles can host a beer float competition every year, we can definitely do better.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 1747 Wynkoop St., 303-446-2337
Boulder’s Pub at Boulder Beer Company, 2880 Wilderness Pl., Boulder, 303-444-8448
Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th St., 303-297-2700
Freshcraft, 1530 Blake St., 303-758-9608
Yard House, multiple locations