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Redevelopment of the Berkeley area has brought on an onslaught of soon-to-be and already-established businesses to Tennyson Street. Stretching from 38th to 46th Avenues, Tennyson Street’s additions have included Block and Larder, Royal, West End Tap House, the trifecta of Denver Biscuit Company, Fat Sully’s, and Atomic Cowboy, and Denver’s first cat café. And in early 2015, a brewery created and manned by three former members of Avery Brewing Company—Jesse Brookstein, Jon Cross, and Chris Bell—was added to that list. Call to Arms Brewing Company‘s high caliber across every element of its business makes it an experience that’s worth prioritizing in your weekend (or weeknight) plans.
Location: Anchored on the alley-end of an unassuming 8,200-square-foot warehouse (dubbed the John’s Garage development), Call to Arms claims the eastern-most third of the building, neighbor only to the alley between Tennyson and Stuart streets. Its distance from the road provides not only a sense of seclusion, but an ease and comfort that allows you to really nestle into the neighborhood. A single-sided parking lot runs the length of the building on the south side. As the sole business that’s currently up and running, Call to Arms acts as the host of all life and light in this pseudo-strip mall.
Ambience: Outfitted as an old-school pub, Call to Arms’ guts consist of rich woods, a one-of-a-kind collection of four- and two-top tables handcrafted by locally owned AND collaborative, and a spirited energy courtesy of a killer sound system, emphatic tracks, and a staff with personality to match. Formerly a vintage motorcycle museum, the building already touts brick walls and barrel ceilings—a style that’s more than complementary to a brewery setting. These elements make Call to Arms feel like a fresh departure from the typical taprooms in the area.
Two prominent glass garage doors immediately invite you into the buzzing taproom, but they aren’t your entry point. To the left of them, a door that’s followed by a small ramp allows you to descend into the lush hubbub, situating the taproom just a few feet below the parking lot itself. This slight height difference creates a welcome barrier between you and the outside world.
Make no mistake, Call to Arms takes the quality of its brews seriously, but their attitude and culture are thoroughly infused with a robust dose of wit and zest. Expect to hear a hearty rumble of conversation and an endless stream of upbeat tracks (think: 90s throwbacks and timeless hip hop), both of which drive the energy and atmosphere. This taproom feels more like a community pub where a mish-mash of locals meet with the intention of simply enjoying themselves rather than critiquing the beer.
Who You’ll Meet: Across the board, Denver’s craft breweries attract a broad audience, and Call to Arms is no different. However, the mix is skewed slightly due to location; it’s in a mostly residential area, meaning you’re more likely to meet individuals who are invested in the neighborhood or invested in their love of local breweries.
On Tap: Some breweries carry a consistent, signature “taste” from brew to brew, but not here. Each beer is distinct and true to its origins, from their Dunkelweizen to Cascadian Black IPA. Regardless of your taste preferences, it’s easy to appreciate the names of Call to Arms’ offerings. While we’re still being blessed by warm fall days, grab a pint of the light, fruitful, and bold Freedom Fries Saison (7.6 percent ABV) or the aromatic and yeasty Gluten Powerful (5.3 percent ABV). Gnome Sayin’ (7 percent ABV), a less malty Belgian Dubbel and tribute to J-Roc from Trailer Park Boys, is perfect for early fall’s cooler nights.
Make a Night of It: Any of the aforementioned businesses are within reasonable walking distance from Call to Arms, but here are a few others to note. If you’re up for dinner and karaoke, put both El Chingon and Local 46 on your agenda (note: Local 46 does karaoke on Thursdays only, but has an excellent patio). Berkeley Untapped serves a variety of local and regional craft beers as well as quality whiskeys. And, if you’re jonesing for pizza, Hops & Pie is a crowd-pleaser.
More: In the coming months, expect to see Mas Kaos join arms with the brewery. This eatery is a hybrid of Kaos Pizzeria, the familiar South Pearl Street favorite, and Uno Mas Taqueria y Cantina, a food truck and brick-and-mortar restaurant that currently serves up specialty street tacos in the parking lot of Call to Arms.