Denver has been called the Napa Valley of beer and is widely known as the craft brew capital of the United States. From large-scale outfits to tiny startups, it’s not hard to see why the Front Range has earned a reputation as the seat of fine brewing.
Here’s a look at some of the best local beer producers.
Denver Beer Company
1695 Platte Street Denver, CO 80202
Denver Beer Company, which, like many of its counterparts started as a home brewing operation, offers an assortment of small batch brews that changes with the seasons. From apricot ale to double IPAs, the brewery blends tradition with evolution. Visitors enjoy the barrel room, which features exposed brick, stone, reclaimed barn wood and whiskey barrels filled with aging beer.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver
Crooked Stave turns out its sumptuous craft product from its brewing facility located at The Source in the River North (RiNo) area of Denver. The Source is an artisanal market housed in a sprawling brick building with more than 26,000 square feet of space containing restaurants and other food- and drink-related businesses, including Comida, Acorn, Meathead, Boxcar Coffee Roasters, and an art gallery.
Station 26 Brewing Co.
7045 East 38th Ave., Denver
The Stapleton area rejoiced when Station 26 Brewing set up shop in what was once a fire house just west of Quebec Street near the old Denver airport. Station 26 offers up tasty brews including its Cherrywood-smoked golden and a refreshing Belgian-American Pale Ale as well as a fine Kolsch. The Station also hosts different food trucks, allowing for anything from barbecue to mexican food depending on the day.
Great Divide Brewing Co.
2201 Arapahoe Street, Denver
Shortly after opening its doors in 1994, Great Divide went on to win multiple awards at Denver’s own Great American Beer Festival and at the World Beer Cup. The brewery has been ranked by RateBeer.com as the 23rd best brewery in the world with three of the world’s top 100 beers, and in 2008 was ranked as the seventh best brewery on the planet by Beer Advocate magazine.
Black Shirt Brewing Co.
3719 Walnut St., Denver
Another of Denver’s artisanal, small-batch brewers, Black Shirt offers Red Saison, Red Porter, Red Bitter, Pale Red Rye and India Red Ale, to name a few. The brewery prides itself in producing a terroir-driven product and using locally sourced ingredients and currently cans and locally distributes four of its products: Colorado Red Ale, American Red Saison, American India Red Ale, and American Red Porter
Breckenridge Brewing Co.
471 Kalamath Street, Denver
With brews including its well known Avalanche Amber, Breckenridge Brewing got its start in the ski town of Breckenridge in 1990. The brewery, and restaurant, grew out of the popular home brewing operation of ski bum Richard Squire. The original location in Breckenridge still exists as does the Denver location, which opened in 1992. Breckenridge Brewing was the first Colorado brewery to offer craft beer in six-packs and 12-packs and now brews more than 52,000 barrels of beer every year, with five brewpubs in Colorado.
More of Denver’s top-notch brewers include CAUTION: Brewing Co., Wit’s End Brewing, Our Mutual Friend Malt and Brew, Copper Kettle Brewing, Bull and Bush Brewery, River North Brewery, TRVE Brewing Co., Prost Brewing, Trinity Brewing and Lowdown Brewing just to name a few.
Other Excellent Brewers Nearby
Odell Brewing Co. 800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins
Often voted one of the best craft brewers in the country, Odell’s opened in 1989. As one of Colorado’s first microbreweries it quickly gained recognition for Its 90 Shilling and Easy Street Wheat. Odell’s prides itself on its environmental approach to business and its charitable giving. The tap room at Odell is open seven days a week and offers limited batch pilot brews as well as live music on Wednesdays.
New Belgium Brewing Co. 500 Linden Street, Fort Collins
The home of famous Fat Tire amber ale, New Belgium Brewing, operating since 1991, turns out a wide selection of well acclaimed offerings, from amber and pales to wheat beer and Belgian. Perhaps one of Colorado’s best-known craft brewing operations with its colorfully named brews and labels, New Belgium is expanding its operations to Asheville, North Carolina this year. The Fort Collins location is open from 11 am to 6 pm every Tuesday through Sunday.
Sanitas Brewing Co. 3550 Frontier Ave., Unit A, Boulder
Started by former Boulder Beer Company employees Michael Memsic and Chris Coyne, Sanitas Brewing (named after Boulder’s own Mount Sanitas) is a welcome new kid on the block canning year-round favorites including their flagship Black IPA and a Saison Ale. Brewer Zach Nichols brings his skilled expertise to a range of offerings, from red, brown, white and Belgian to espresso- and bourbon-accented brews. The Sanitas tap room showcases a clean modern aesthetic, a nice outdoor deck and occasional live music.
Left Hand Brewing 1265 Boston Avenue, Longmont
Oskar Blues Brewery, 303 Main St, Lyons, CO
Gravity Brewing, 1150 Pine St, Louisville, CO