12 Degree Brewing

Food Three stars

Service Three stars

Ambience Three stars

Price: $-$$

Address: 820 Main Street, Louisville

Contact: 720-638-1623, 12degree.com

Hours: 4-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-midnight Friday, noon-midnight Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday; Kitchen open until 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday

Fare: Pub fare with a European bent, with plenty of meatless panini and pizza selections, and gluten-free crusts are available for the pies.

Noise Level: Moderate to loud, which makes sense since the beer selection makes it a hopping place.

Recently sauntering down Louisville's Main Street was when I first became aware of 12 Degree Brewing. My eyes were reflexively drawn to a sandwich-board sign touting the brewpub's intriguing mix of Belgian-inspired beers, artisanal pizzas, handmade pretzels, Belgian frites, cheese plates and chocolates.

My interest piqued, a friend and I returned for a Saturday dinner a couple of weeks later. Arriving just before 6 p.m., I was able to quickly secure a table for two, although arriving a little later would have made this more difficult. From the get-go, service was attentive and friendly. The setting was comfortable and contemporary without being at all fussy, and it has the overall feel of a popular neighborhood hangout.


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Besides the items highlighted on the enticing sidewalk sign, there's also a decent selection of panini and salads to accompany the featured brews. Regular pizza-menu choices are all meatless, ranging in price from $12-$14, and all pies are available in a gluten-free version for an additional $4.50.

One can also compose a cheese platter from among a half-dozen selections, including such personal favorites as Cabot Clothbound cheddar and creamy Colorouge from Fort Collins. Also available is local and humanely raised prosciutto from Louisville's 7th Generation Farm.

It's also possible to put together a flight of brews here, and taster glasses are available for $3-$4 apiece. Highlights of our flight included the full-bodied and golden-strong Treachery, and we were both partial to the Cherry Fog and Blood Orange Express. These brews stood out for a fine balance of appealing fruit flavor, with the heady earthiness of the underlying beer.

We kicked things off with a generous $7 portion of hand-cut Belgian frites, served in a brown paper cone and offered with a choice of dipping sauces. In this instance, we went with a thick and creamy garlic mayo, also known as aioli, which was the ideal condiment for these thick-cut fries. There was little to fault with the fries, which were thick, nicely seasoned and possessed a crisp and golden exterior, undoubtedly the happy result of double frying.

Another winning starter was the $9 caprese salad, a well-executed throwback to warmer times and climes on a night cold enough to be considered wintry. Ripe and juicy Roma tomatoes, packed with flavor, served as the foundation, underlying chunks of creamy burrata and ribbons of fresh basil. A compelling balsamic reduction mixed with roasted garlic oil made for a fine dressing to top this simple, but satisfying course.

The $14 Humongous Fungi pizza was easily enough for two to share, and featured a thin, rough-hewn crust that was appealing in both flavor and texture. Living up to its name, this pie showcased a triple-threat topping of cremini, shiitake and portobello mushrooms, enhanced by a drizzle of truffle oil. A base of mozzarella served as a creamy counterpoint to the appealing earthiness of the mushroom mix.

My initial take was that the pie could use a bit of a flavor boost. However, I quickly recognized the wisdom of the kitchen's decision to accompany the pizza with a ration of red pepper flakes, which went a long way to round out the taste profile of this pie.

A $9 tomato and sharp cheddar panini was served on crisp and golden English muffin bread, making for a texture and appearance reminiscent of the frites. Sided with addictive crunchy garlic potato chips made in-house, this was a straightforward sandwich that the more adventurous might find a little plain.

The dessert selection here is short, and yes, sweet, primarily consisting of a half-dozen truffles from Longmont's Robin Chocolates. A caramel brownie is also available. For $6, we selected a pair of chocolates — a red raspberry heart and a chocolate salted-caramel number. A nice touch is that these arrived at the table with a metal chisel so that diners can divide these sweets in a civilized manner. Both boasted delightfully complex chocolate tones, and in the case of the heart, a bright berry tone. The salted caramel was arguably a more intense flavor experience than the heart, and the balance of salt, browned sugar and chocolate was spot on.

While 12 Degree Brewing may not possess the expansive menu one associates with a full-service restaurant, the management has wisely chosen a bill of fare which is nevertheless satisfying. Additionally, the courses here pair nicely with the memorable brews, all in a unfussy and hospitable neighborhood setting.