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An easy walk between the attractions of downtown Denver's LoDo district, Dixon's Downtown Grill comes through with their food menu but continues to disappoint with their house beers. For a second year in a row visitors in town for the Great American Beer Festival spent their free time and money at Denver's beer attractions clustered within a few blocks of each other downtown. Unfortunately, out-of-town visitors soon learned what the regulars already knew, the Dixons beers were not the attraction here. At first glance the place seems very accommodating, comfortable dining with street views of the night-time crowds and a bar that segregates smokers to the far side of the room. Framed artwork decorates the surrounding beige walls. Booth seating on the right side of the building offers a more cozy atmosphere and there's a view of the small glass-walled brewhouse and its copper-clad vessels. Silent TVs peer down from over the rectangular reddish wooden bar that hosts dual six-tap stainless steel towers The bar features five house beers and six of the micro/import variety. The small Specific Mechanical System showcases its 2.6 barrel copper Mash Tun behind a glass wall near the bar. Inside seating for 150 includes a secluded banquet room while outdoors accommodation include a dozen patio tables and chairs. The layout appears fully wheelchair accessible. 70's Rock & Roll makes for an upbeat mood but surprisingly, the bar is only one third full on a Friday night and most people are drinking mixed drinks and bottled megas. The restaurant fares much better with a reasonable line up. Appetizers run $4 to $7 and include Nachos, Salmon, Wings, Mushrooms and Chicken Quesidillas; Soups, Salads and Pizzas are $3 to $8; Sandwiches $6 to $9; and Entrées such as Pasta, Steak or Salmon $9 to $15.

The Amber is a hazy dark amber with a creamy white head producing both sour and perfumy coarse malty flavors. The Bitter starts with an offensive sour aroma that carries through to dominate the flavor. The Yucatan Red boasts of chipotle chile but the intense sourness in the aroma and flavor overwhelms and intentional flavor components. Disappointingly, repeat visits find the same experience, hazy beers with a bacterial contamination so pronounced that the beers are undrinkable. Apparently the business survives on its food and liquor sales and the brewhouse is just a nice ornament. For a city with so many competing quality beers Dixons stands out as a disappointing anomaly.

Dixon's - LoDo
1600 16th (16th & Wazee)
Denver, CO

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - October 1997 & October, 1998

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