Coloradans love their brewskis. And Colorado is the second-largest producer of beer in the country and is ranked third for the number of breweries per capita.
It’s all about the water — fresh, clean Rocky Mountain H2O.
Everyone knows that Coors, the largest single brewery in the world, is in Golden. But do you know that more beer is brewed in Denver than in any other American city?
At these small breweries, brew masters start with the finest malts, hops and yeasts, then handcraft them into the freshest of brews — often called “liquid bread” — that are naturally carbonated and preservative-free. Note that a brewpub typically is a
brewery with a restaurant where the beer comes fresh from the tap and is not bottled there. When a brewery bottles the beer for sales, it’s a microbrewery and may or may not have a restaurant.
No need to feel overwhelmed by the number of breweries around. If you want to get started with a few to check off of your list of breweries visited, take a tour. Take a self-guided Micro Brew Walking Tour and get complimentary pints, pitchers or tastings. Below are a few breweries to keep in mind.
Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th St.
Colorado’s oldest brewpub is housed in the historic J.S. Brown Mercantile Building across from Union Station. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper founded it in 1988, before he became Hizzoner. Now it’s one of the largest producing brewpubs in the world. Upstairs, a large billiard room with 22 pool tables adds to the fun, while downstairs in the basement laughs rule at Impulse Theater, the pub’s comedy club. Enjoy two complimentary brews from the “Koop’s” offerings that include classics like Railyard Ale, Wixa Weiss, Patty’s Chile Beer, Quinn’s Scottish Ale and Eli’s Cream Ale. www.wynkoop.com.
Rock Bottom Brewery, 1001 16th St.
With a prominent spot on the 16th Street Mall, the original Rock Bottom (there are 36 around the country) is hard to miss. Live music groups draw huge crowds at the outdoor cafe during the summer, while the indoor pub with its All-American food menu is a popular gathering place. Brewmaster John McClure offers these beer samplers: Lumpy Dog Light Lager, Buffalo Gold, 16th St. Wheat, Falcon Pale Ale, Red Rocks Red, Molly’s Titanic Brown Ale and a rotating tap between porters and stouts. www.rockbottom.com.
Denver Chophouse & Brewery, 1735 19th St.
Though it’s part of the Rock Bottom chain, this brewpub feels every bit a part of Denver’s past since it’s housed in an old office building of the Union Pacific Railroad close to Union Station. Brewmaster Kevin Marley loves to “tinker” with recipes, but sticks with six standards for the tour tastings: Pilsner Lager, Honey Wheat Ale, Pale Ale, Red Ale, Brewer’s Marker, Dry Stout. www.chophouse.com.
Breckenridge Brewery, 2220 Blake St.
Started in 1990 in the mountain town of Breckenridge, the brewpub opened in LoDo across from Coors Field in 1992. The tour’s free flight of tastings highlights its flagship Avalanche Ale as well as Trademark Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Hefe Proper and Vanilla Porter. www.breckbrew.com.
Great Divide Brewing Co, 2201 Arapahoe St.
Stop by the Tap Room at this microbrewery and taste four of its famous brews, which include Samurai, Ridgeline Amber Ale, Denver Pale Ale, Saint Bridget’s Porter, Wild Raspberry Ale, Hercules Double IPA and Old Ruffian Barley Wine. The award-winning Great Divide has been in business since 1994. www.greatdivide.com.
If You Go: Visit https://www.denvermicrobrewtour.com/
From the Editors: Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.