Tour de brew: Kettle and Spoke Brewery

Pay attention to one of Boulder’s smallest breweries

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Bartender and bike mechanic Carl Badenhausen
Susan France | Boulder Weekly

There is something charming about running out. A few blocks where my associate and I live is a diner that has every possible photo of Elvis Presley plastered on its walls. There is one box TV in the corner that is always tuned to cable news, the place is always full, the food is always good and they don’t take credit cards. Business hours are 5 a.m. till whenever they run out of food. Sometimes that’s a little after lunch; sometimes it’s well before 11 a.m. I don’t know why, but I like that business model. It’s as if the restaurant is saying, “We bought what we bought, and we ain’t bought no more.”

That’s certainly the case with one of Boulder’s newest and smallest breweries, Kettle and Spoke. Opened by Paul Sink and Patrick Mulcahy in December 2016, Kettle and Spoke benefitted from an expansion Green Guru Gear undertook when it acquired the Seattle-based Alchemy Bikes in May of 2016. (Green Guru specializes in biking and outdoor equipment made from recycled materials.) As Sink tells Boulder Weekly, Green Guru expanded its operation into the adjacent unit at its 47th Street location and had a little bit of space left over that the company let Sink and Mulcahy have for their brewery.

“It’s been a dream of mine and my partner’s for a long time,” Sink says.

When Kettle and Spoke first opened, it had one barrel to work with, three taps to pour the goods and four stools to accommodate customers. 

Now it’s a two-barrel system, but Sink and Mulcahy still have a hard time keeping up with Boulder’s thirsty demands. The brewery is typically open Thursday through Sunday for a few hours, but had to close up shop this past Sunday for lack of beer — a solid indication that the stuff’s tasty.

And it is. Kettle and Spoke offers a contained but attractive array of ales to dive into. The Mosaic Ale (6% ABV) delivers a hefty dose of hop on the nose, but none in the mouth. Instead, it is clean, refreshing and very drinkable.

With a huge hop nose and a clean, smooth taste, the Mosaic Ale is a bit of both worlds, as is the Pineapple New England IPA (7%). New England IPAs are all the rage these days, and Kettle and Spoke’s version is on the smokier side, which tamps down the juiciness of the pineapple but the malic acid of the fruit keeps this beer clean.

The brawniest of the bunch, the Double Black IPA (8.5%), is also one of the brewery’s best with a nice roast on the nose, sort of like a stout, and a good heft without being overly hoppy.

Not even six months new, Kettle and Spoke has potential in the glass, but not a whole lot of room to grow — even another barstool might be asking too much. Sink says that renting a production facility might be in the cards, but it’s too early in the game; they’re still just talking about it at this point. In the meantime, Kettle and Spoke is only a bike ride away, just make sure to check Facebook to see if it’s open first.