Denver's a veritable mecca for craft beer, a fact that will be abundantly clear after crushing brews at all 17 of the classic Mile High breweries on our epic crawl. From scene stalwarts like Great Divide to startups like the Denver Beer Company, strap in for the most delicious booze crawl ever devised.
Stop One: Start on the outskirts of Denver at Brewery Rickoli, a taproom filled with beers not afraid to be hop forward, including a 190 IBU'd Disturbed Reflection Double IPA.
Stop Two: Head down 44th Ave to De Steeg Brewing, whose name that means "the alley", appropriate considering the space is notoriously tough to find due to being located in a back alleyway. Look for the tiny hanging sign, and also the sight of happy people stumbling down the block after drinking their 11% Imperial Pumpkin IPA.
Stop Three: Going South on bustling Tennyson will drop you at the door of Hogshead Brewery, a tiny taproom not afraid to serve their UK-style ESBs "at a warmer temp" than we're used to in the States.
Stop Four: Direct your designated driver to Highland, where inside a former service station lies Denver Beer Co, a place where the beers change on a near weekly basis with the exception of popular pours like the Kaffir Lime Wheat and a Graham Cracker Porter. Don't worry, no Teddy Grahams were harmed in the making of said ale.
Stop Five: A short walk from DBC is Prost Brewing, where German-style brews are brewed in traditional copper kettles shipped from Deutschland. If it's nice out, chilling on their sizable deck is the way to go.
Stop Six: Venture across the South Platte River
by fording it, but you can only carry 2000lbs across it, so pack light to the place Blue Moon was born: The Sandlot Brewery inside Coors Field. Previously only open on gameday, it's now avail to the public Wed-Sun. There're always seasonals and experimental brews that may end up on shelves nationwide down the line.
Stop Seven: Breckenridge Brewery's Ballpark Bar is practically next door, and has been a staple of the hood since '93, long before the beer blew up big nationwide. They not only feature their own beery goodness on tap, but plenty of other local craft brewers, like Boulder's Avery and FoCo's Odell.
Stop Eight: One of the finest breweries in the country, much less the city, Great Divide is within walking distance of the ballpark, and the cozy taproom features 16 taps, plus growler and keg fills if you're not afraid of commitment. The Oak Aged Yeti bombers are a can't-miss.
Stop Nine: Go northwest, young man, and in a few blocks you'll run into River North Brewery's industrial taproom, where the focus is on Belgian-style brewing. Nerd alert: the owner's a super nice former engineer who was working on sending stuff into space.
Stop Ten: Even farther north into the Five Points 'hood is Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew's HQ, where the taproom makes people feel like they're in the coolest library on Earth, the "cool" part coming from the limited selection of tapped brews made with ingredients mostly sourced from this great state.
Stop Eleven: Black Shirt Brewing is a mere ten blocks from OMFM&B, and their bright red door out front provides foreshadowing to what they do inside:
own and operate a red door painting business make small-batch red beers. Red beers are their niche, and you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in town that does the style better.
Stop Twelve: Retrace your steps a bit and go back down to the Ballpark area to make a stop at the legendary Wynkoop Brewing Company, which is notable for being the first brewpub in the state, and has been serving up plenty of hearty pub eats alongside brews since '88. Their Chile Beer and Cowtown Milk Stout will treat you right.
Stop Thirteen: Leave downtown for a sec and stop at Wit's End Brewing, a small but mighty nanobrewery (it's a fave of local beer bloggers... and Bon Appetit) that experiments with a variety of styles, and's incredibly good at naming their beers. Who doesn't want to drink a Banana Hammock??
Stop Fourteen: A quick five minute drive (by the aforementioned designated driver) will take you to Renegade Brewing Company in the artsy Santa Fe district, where they're pouring from 7 taps with styles that range from the Ryeteous (so popular they're canning it now), and harder stuff like the triple IPA Elevation, which clocks in at 11.2%.
Stop Fifteen: The bad news is that when you go near the Capitol Building, you'll likely be reminded of politics, but the good news is that drinking makes you forget depressing things! So down a pint or two at Pint's Pub, a brewpub specializing in cask-conditioned ales the Brits like so much.
Stop Sixteen: From Pint's, the next stop is another classic of Denver's beer scene, Vine St Pub and Brewery, with its hippie vibe, super tasty pub food (the Junk Burger is an artery-clogging sandwich of wonder), and faves like the hop-heavy Colorado Kind and Old School Stout. Visit in Feb and be treated to more stouts than you knew existed during Stout Month.
Stop Seventeen: Another quick 10min drive and it's time to end the crawl on Broadway at one of the most unique microbreweries in the country, TRVE Brewing. Here, the beers are named after metal bands and songs (which you'll also hear cranked over the sound system), the decor is minimalist (by far the most metal kind of interior design), and the beer is ridiculously tasty. The taps change seasonally, but those visiting during summer should seek out the wheat brew with Hawaiian black lava salt, as it's the beer version of Master of Reality. Basically perfect.