Drinking from the Magic Robot Beer Wall

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A Self-Serve Tap System Charms Guests at Broadway Market

By Monica Parpal Stockbridge

From the masterminds behind Stanley Marketplace, Broadway Market opened early this year to offer guests a variety of Colorado-proud dining and shopping experiences. Grab a bite from Biju’s Little Curry Shop or the Royal Rooster. Purchase gifts and souvenirs from Luna and Jasper or Velvet Wolf X Iron Wolf boutique. Or simply belly up to the bar for happy hour, which gets you $4 beer, $5 wine and $7 cocktails from 2-6 p.m. daily, and again at 8 p.m. on weeknights and 9 p.m. on weekends.

But for beer lovers, the real draw is what Broadway Market’s Chief Storyteller, Bryant Palmer, dubs the “magic robot beer wall.”

Was there really a robot serving beer? Or a wizard behind the wall? And would we need to wave a magic wand just to get a pint? We explored the specialty self-serve beer system to answer these questions and more. 

Here’s how it works:

When you arrive at Broadway Market, stop at the main counter to load up a special fob. “The fob allows guests to visit any vendor in the market while keeping all their purchases on one tab,” Palmer explains. You’ll need a fob to activate the beer wall. 

Take a right and head back to the beer wall, which displays an impressive collection of 24 rotating all-Colorado beers and ciders. Check out the list of local suds, from Coors and Holidaily to New Image and Outer Range, before realizing that there’s no bartender and no beer taps. 

Put your confusion aside and grab a glass (or a pitcher!) from the shelves nearby. Then, take a look at the digital screens along the wall. Here, you’ll get details such as the brewery and beer name, ABV, IBU and price per ounce. Make your selection and get ready for the fun part. To fill your glass, press it down firmly on the corresponding dispensing button, which shoots beer into your glass from the bottom-yes, from the bottom. It’s a delightful surprise, and you can stop whenever you wish — a quarter-glass for a solid taster or a full pint of your favorite. Once you hit 32 ounces, you’ll need to re-up your fob.)

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As it turns out, it’s magnets, not magic, that power the mystique. Magnets on the bottom of each glass pop up when pressed atop the dispensing jet, and seal again afterward to prevent spillage. The system, from an Indianapolis company called Bottoms Up, is not unique to Broadway Market, but the self-serve aspect is. And that’s definitely part of the fun. 

And if anyone knows fun, it’s the team at Broadway Market. In fact, they’re bringing the whole neighborhood in on it. Guests of The Art Hotel, 11th Street Hostel and even outdoor gear shop Evo can pick up a special magnet that can be exchanged for a free beer at Broadway Market, which brings in curious locals and tourists alike. “We love working with other businesses in the neighborhood,” Palmer says. 

In a city packed with craft beer destinations, the magic robot beer wall stands out as one of the more fun ways to order a brew — no magic wand required.