After shivering through a cold, snowy Colorado Rapids home opener victory, it made quite perfect sense to head down Quebec and stop by the great space that is Station 26 Brewing Co. Station 26th is located just west of Quebec Street south of I-70 in a repurposed Denver Fire Department fire station (No. 26!).
Luckily, Basic Kneads Pizza had one of their wood fired pizza trailers parked outside.
I have friends from the east coast, and some friends in Denver who are from the east coast, or maybe know or talked to that guy who went to NYC that one time, and I, as you, have been soapboxed by these well intentioned folks about the lack of “good” pizza in Denver or Colorado. As if the earthbound spirits and a locale’s magic can emergify from the surroundings and atmosphere and infuse into nearby chefs and ingredients of all grades and talents to culminate into a place bound pizza pie — and it all just tastes better. That sentence didn’t really make sense, and neither does the belief that one cannot find delicious pizza here in Denver (or wherever, really). Basic Kneads is a nice starting point for my argument.
Here is the Menu of pizzas – note, custom pizzas appear to be available. We stuck to the standards (trust the chef, always).
Three of us were there, so we decided to order three of the 10 inch pizzas to mix and match. I’ve decided to eat as a vegetarian for Lent (save for fish Fridays), thus we ordered the 3 veggie pizzas on offer. Pizza is my favorite vegetarian option!! On a cold dreary evening for Denver, it was a respite to see and smell the wood fire, but the bubbling pepperoni pizza only made this Lent decision more difficult.
Service was quick and was delivered to our table inside Station 26. Here’s a pictorial rundown of our veggie prey:
These are some nice wood-fired pizzas with crispy charred wheat crusts, succulent cheese, and fresh toppings. I especially enjoyed the Hot Hawaiian – nothing complicated here, but the sweetness of the pineapple and the jalapenos were a fine pairing tonight. The Greekza was more complicated, however, and based on oil olive rather than red sauce. I actually enjoyed the Margherita, although I think it was the victim of an accidental spicing during preparation in the trailer. Along with basil, we enjoyed some rosemary leaves on this one as well- more of a surprise than anything, and we liked it nonetheless.
Topping it all (really, on the bottom), was the black char these pizzas leave on your fingers and on your taste buds. Delicious char. The result of cooking these pizzas in a woody inferno (likely a remarkably hot oven) is the inevitable charring of the crusts. We’re not talking about some mistake scorching, like a burnt toast in a cheap toaster – but a type of “gourmet” artisanal type of charring. Not sure how to describe it in any technical terms, but this makes good pizza.
I paired these pizzas up with Station 26’s Euro Pale Ale – an interesting pale ale made using European ingredients. Lots of notable pale ale selections around town these days, but this was a different take from all of these citrusy Americans, and I enjoyed it very well. I also sampled their Cherrywood Smoked Red and savored its smoky, almost bacon-like notes, along with the malt complexity of the base red ale.
Some final photos— Thanks for reading!