Saint Patrick's, an Englewood nanobrewery, is bringing back lagers

Saint Patrick's Brewing Facebook page.
Lagers sometimes get a bad rap from craft-beer drinkers. They're often lighter and less flavorful than ales, and since America's big three commercial beers are all lagers, beer geeks often lump them in with the macrobrews at the bottom of the tap list.

Chris Phelps, the co-owner and brewer at Saint Patrick's Brewing in Englewood, doesn't want to make those kinds of lagers. "We do big flavors, not light stuff, and that way, we get to educate people about what a lager can be," he says. "We wanted to take a different path and create a nice little niche for ourselves, one that wasn't being filled."

See also: Grist Brewing is the first of many new breweries in the southern suburbs

The nanobrewery, which opened to the public in August with limited hours on Thursdays and Fridays, just begun distributing two of its beers last week to local liquor stores.

Other Colorado breweries that specialize in lagers -- and there are only a handful of them -- brew mostly traditional styles with traditional malts and hops, he says. Phelps leans more toward complicated recipes that use a huge number of specialized malts and fresh hops, as well as spices like peppermint and ginger and fruits like coconut and cranberry.

Some of the beers he currently has on tap include Czech Chai Ginger, Chocolate Pumpkin, and Luminosity Lager, which is made with fresh lemon zest.

Phelps started Saint Patrick's last year in his garage in Centennial before moving it to a taproom at 4750 South Santa Fe Circle, last July. But the operation is still tiny: Phelps brews on a thirty-gallon glorified homebrewing system (less than a barrel).

And he only serves them in 22-ounce bomber bottles, even at the taproom, although there are plenty of choices available on the menu.

"We ferment everything 25 gallons at a time, and since we lager everything, each beer takes two or three months to make," Phelps explains. Lagers are made using different kinds of yeasts than ales and are made at colder temperatures. They also take longer to ferment than ales, which is another reason small breweries don't make them.

"We're not trying to make a ton of money to start. We want to take it slow and focus on the quality of our beer and building a solid audience," Phelps says.

A home chef and a former fine artist (painting), Phelps approaches his recipes a little differently, using more expensive, ingredients. He also compares some of his beers, all of which are unfiltered and bottle-conditioned, to other alcoholic beverages. Two of them are almost sparkling, he says, like champagne.

He has also brewed something called El Draque, which will be released on November 20, which is his beery take on spiced rum. Made with nine different rum spices and fermented on French oak, it was dry hopped and dry spiced. After that, he plans to brew a lager based on Italy's famed Limoncello liquer.

Eventually, Phelps would like to add some fermenters that would allow him to make more beer and stay open at least one more day per week.

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

Location Info


Saint Patrick's Brewing

4750 South Santa Fe Circle, Unit #2, Englewood, CO

Category: General

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Ryan Terpstra
Ryan Terpstra

I have visited St. Patrick's a couple times – your beers are fantastic, and Chris and the rest of the staff are willing to talk about damn near anything having to do with their operation. Very nice friendly folks, great beer. Would really love to see them be successful and do well! They also announced this week two of their beers are now available in bombers at Grapes Liquor and Wine.

Scott Petrovits
Scott Petrovits

There's so much wrong about lagers in the article and comments. But instead of highlighting the ignorance, I'll just say that I need to make a stop at Saint Patrick's.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

Nice. That does make it a bit easier. Their Tuesday and Thursday hours were brutal.

Kevin Berry
Kevin Berry

They just changed their tasting room hours to Thursday and Friday 3-10 pm.


Lagers have been blatantly overplayed for years and adding flavoring to them to make them palatable is an act of desperation.

Ryan Darling
Ryan Darling

The fact that lagers were ever "out" to begin with means there's a huge douche element to the CO beer industry. Beers don't go out of style, much to hipster's surprise.

Dev Adams
Dev Adams

I wish they would expand their hours.

Erin Thompson
Erin Thompson

This is so Portlandia. But in a Colorado way.

Now Trending

From the Vault