If I was being nice, I’d describe the exterior as ‘unassuming’; but really it is ugly and deceptive. Falling Rock is located in downtown Denver amidst myriad game-day bars and brash night-spots, and blends in unassumingly. What lies beneath however is a bounty of local and specialist American beers.
Pliny the Elder on tap! In 2013 it was rated the 2nd overall beer on beeradvoctae.com, 3rd on ratebeer.com*. Disappointing glassware.
The large main room is plastered in beer bottles, taps, signs and various other memorabilia. This makes the big space feel much closer and settling, whilst still being able to accommodate large numbers. There are some choice European imports, but the vibe is quintessential American tap house; pool downstairs, neon outside, nuts, burgers and fries on the menu. Clearly a lot of thought and patience was involved in designing the layout, furnishings and beer list, which is effected with the typical Coloradan breezy complacence, making it seem effortless: “Oh, this? It’s just my awesome bar with 80+ beers on tap. Nothing really”.
The interior is resplendent with bottles and taps, which help to fill the space necessary for all the local enthusiasts.
The range at Falling Rock is more than anyone could expect; Pliny the Elder is a real treat to find anywhere. They do not limit themselves entirely to Usonian brews, and have some tastefully chosen European imports. One could argue that they only have the big names imported, but I can say with some authority that these names are big through quality, not rabid commercialisation; they stock Orval, Rochefort and Sam Smith’s, not Heineken, Palm and John Smiths.
Do you know a tap house with a better Usonian range?
*As much as I love user-submitted review websites, and as clever as the rating algorithms become, there will always be inherent bias. This is frustratingly evident on RateBeer where they break down the best beers by category: there is a cider category, which contains NO ciders from England, the birthplace and undisputed king of the genre. In fact, 7 of the 15 ‘ciders’ are from Quebec. Being a .com, we can probably assume that most of the reviewers are Usonian, and have little real knowledge of brews outside of their country, apart from imports whose flavour has corrupted during long voyages. If Quebec is the home of cider brewing, clearly the name has a different stylistic meaning than in its birthplace. Like
wise, 8 of the top 10 overall beers are Usonian. Sure, the population is roughly equal to Europe, so we can expect a strong competition. But finding 80% of the worlds best beers in the States is to bat far above its weight, especially when some of these styles are copies or European originals.