The mile-high city has some amazing beer-drinking spots that will keep your head in the clouds and your hand wrapped around a frosty pint. The next time you visit Denver, take an afternoon break in one of these great brew pubs.
Denver Beer Co.
They have a simple plan: good beer is best served with good friends and a bit of adventure. The owners first perfected their craft in the garage where they realized that bigger isn’t necessarily better. The innovative craft brews change seasonally and are made in small batches to ensure your glass is fresh and at its peak. Favourite beers are made often and some, such as Graham Cracker Porter, are so popular that an online announcement is made when a new batch is ready.
The Denver branch of the brewery has been around since the early 90s, bringing fresh, high-quality beer to the city. Despite expanding into a nationwide distributor of microbrews, the brewery still serves handcrafted beers and ales to very appreciative customers. If you enjoy rich porters, you have to try the Vanilla Porter made with beans from Madagascar and Papua New Guinea - it has the perfect complement of chocolate, sweetness and nuttiness that will leave you wondering why it took so long to add vanilla to beer.
Great Divide Brewing Company
They’ve won more than 20 awards for their beer, five of them from international events. With all that, you’d expect an amazing beverage here – and you wouldn’t be disappointed. The owner spent five years living overseas before returning home and eventually starting his business. He incorporated what he learned about international tastes into his beers and they have been a success ever since. Try one of the distinctly local flavors, Denver Pale Ale. This is what good ale should taste like.
Opened by a former mayor, this was Colorado’s first brewpub and it helped revitalize an area of downtown Denver. They’ve stuck with being an authentic pub, serving hearty meals and small-batch beers made in a vintage, 20-barrel brewing systems. With over 40 styles of beer on the menu, you may need to take some home for later.
Dry Dock Brewing Co.
They started small in 2005 but have expanded to produce more than 3,000 barrels of beer a year. Their brews win medals and fans at national competitions, encouraging them to continue producing phenomenal beers. The tasting room holds a comfortable 200 visitors and offers couches, board games and some common tables that will let you make new friends. No food here, but you can bring your own, or have something delivered. If you’re lucky, Hanley’s Baltic Porter will be on tap and you can experience an aromatic brew that is so full-bodied it almost feels like a meal.
Bull & Bush Brewery
This started in the 70s as a restaurant set up in a building that was once a dairy. The two brothers that own the place chose to model the pub after the original Bull & Bush in England and went all-out when doing the décor. When microbrews became popular in the 90s, a brewery was added to the restaurant and B&B was on its way to becoming an award-winning brewery. Royal Oil is an outstanding English Barleywine aged in oak barrels that impart slight bourbon overtones to an already complex brew.
Vine Street Pub & Brewery
One of the Mountain Sun Breweries, this pub opened in 2008 and was named the city’s best brewpub in its first year of business. With four separate brewing locations, you have access to a tremendous variety of locally crafted beers, some uniquely flavoured and others replicating traditional lagers and ales from around the world. If you can get past the idea of drinking pink beer, the Blackberry Wheat Ale is the most popular brew they make. It’s light and refreshing, giving off a full, berry aroma from the 250 pounds of blackberries used for each batch.
Arvada Beer Company
The pub is in a building built in 1916 and it has been renovated back to its original, charming look. With all the award-winning beers to choose from, however, you may not even notice the décor. They serve only brews made in-house, and up to 12 varieties are on tap at the bar. Arvada is on the northwest corner of Denver, but it' sworth the drive. Many beers are limited to only a few brewings, so try several as they may never be made again.
Yak And Yeti Restaurant
On the outskirts of the city, Y&Y brews handcrafted beer to go with the tasty Indian food served there. It is a very eclectic combination that works extremely well in practice. They offer a number of beers year round, but far more are seasonal or produced on a rotating basis. Even if the whole idea of an Indian brew pub isn’t enough to get you to visit, the Chai Stout should be. It’s a great way to end a meal, and unlike any other beer you’ve tried.
This is a small brewery… really small. They have the capacity to brew one barrel at a time and they put their hearts and souls into that one. They try to offer a number of core beers in their tasting room, but with a limit of 31 gallons at a time, the supply of your favourite brew may run out. Instead of looking for a particular beer when you visit, ask for what is awesome today and enjoy the surprise.
Rock Bottom Brewery
This is something of a chain, but the pub originated in Denver. The handcrafted brews are made in-house and carefully taste tested before being deemed suitable for serving. Along with some standard styles, there is usually something labeled “Brewmasters Choice” on tap that highlights the ingenuity of the crew and is often reflective of the season. Try a malty-sweet Devil’s Thumb for one of the best winter Belgian Pale Ales around.
Renegade Brewing Company
One of the newer breweries, Renegade caters to the younger, edgier crowd, as evinced by their motto: “Offensively delicious”. Food in the taproom is provided by a number of changing food trucks and there are usually a few board games underway. Hops fans will love the triple IPA, Elevation.
ChopHouse and Brewery
This is a fine dining establishment that serves equally fine beer brewed on site. The bar is more laid back than the restaurant, but you can get a great beer in either section. The restaurant is close to Coors field and takes on a party atmosphere when the Rockies are playing. Have a Munich Dunked Lager while you listen to the fans celebrate (or commiserate over) the game.