Denver's growing, and it's not slowing down anytime soon. That's caused some growing pains (hipsters, traffic sucks, rent's high, we get it). But you know what's decidedly not painful? Drinking delicious beers. And as the number of people in the city rises, so too does the number of breweries. Early in 2016, we turned to the experts for advice on the new crop of beer slingers in town. Now, another batch has arrived, so we're here to sort through this hop-soaked land to help you find the latest and greatest the Denver craft beer scene has to offer.
Forget gimmicks and trendy decor details. This place is a no-nonsense German-style beer hall. With large wooden picnic tables and an industrial feel, the space -- which also houses The Rackhouse and C Squared Ciders -- focuses here on traditional German lagers. The beer is brewed using a copper brewing system that owners Ashleigh Carter and Bill Eye shipped from Bavaria and reassembled in Denver. Even though it only opened in August, that commitment to authenticity is already earning this spot well-deserved praise.
After a lot of delays, this spot finally started pouring a diverse lineup of German and Eastern European-style brews after quietly opening in March. Run by two brothers who were inspired -- in part -- to start brewing by stories their grandparents told, this brewery’s a family affair and has the hospitality to prove it. And while other areas of town are saturated with breweries, Seedstock's brought some new, beer-fueled life to West Colfax.
It may be just a bit outside the city limits, but this new Golden joint that opened in February is Colorado's first and only designated gluten-free brewery -- which makes it a must-visit for beer lovers and bread haters alike. It was a series of health issues and a treatment that includes a gluten-free diet that sparked owner Karen Hertz's passion for creating gluten-free brews that are as tasty as their standard counterparts. From a black IPA to a seasonal pumpkin ale, if gluten is your enemy, then Holidaily will quickly become your new best friend.
This new addition has only been open for about a month, but it's been a dream in the works since ‘93 when Kent Dawson made his first batch of home brew. Now, along with his brother Greg, the Dawsons have officially started pouring brews like the Lanham, a delicious and dark Belgian dubbel. While we're still getting to know the beers on tap here, there's an added boost of excitement surrounding this brewery because it's also serving up some seriously good food, including a newly launched brunch. Beer and a Denver omelet with Hatch chiles? We’ll take it.
Not sure where Midtown is exactly? That's not surprising. This new neighborhood to the north in unincorporated Adams County is just starting out and, in true Denver fashion, its centerpiece so far is Bruz Beers -- a brewery specializing in Belgian-style suds. Enjoy the last of the warm fall days with a crisp Dawg Daze Belgian IPA or sip on a Mail Ale while you enjoy a bite from one of the food trucks that's on regular rotation here. Midtown may not be one of Denver's trendiest neighborhoods (yet), but if Bruz Beers is any indication, it's got potential.
Opening in a neighborhood that's already home to favorites like TRVE and Baere, this brewery's got some tough competition. It opened with a limited lineup that included offerings like the Märzen (their Oktoberfest brew), but the speciality here are the barrel-aged brews. After a lot of anticipation, Banded poured the first of these, an imperial rye saison aged in cabernet barrels during the recent GABF festivities. So if you've been waiting to try out Broadway's latest, the time has come to grab a seat on the patio, order a flight, and never look back.
While Denver's cool-kid status has been exponentially rising, its suburbs to the south have (slowly) been trying to keep up. And even though Centennial's not known as a destination when you're looking for a good time, that doesn't mean you can't find one. Now it's even easier thanks to the addition of Resolute Brewing, which opened in August, and not only offers tasty beers, but also has a focus on giving back to the community by partnering with various nonprofits and community organizations to help put on events that raise money and awareness. To that, we say cheers!
If it hasn't already happened, it will at some point or another -- the requisite trek to Denver's favorite oddity: Casa Bonita. Whether it's a kid's birthday party or an out-of-town guest that just needs to see the cliff divers in person to believe it, somehow you'll end up staring into the abyss of Black Bart's cave with a belly full of cafeteria-style "Mexican" food wondering how this all came to be. But now, you can pre- or post-game your Casa Bonita experience with a craft beer or two at WestFax, the odd eatery's new next-door neighbor that we’ve all welcomed to the area with open arms.
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1. Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Denver
2. Seedstock Brewery3610 W Colfax Ave, Denver
3. Holidaily Brewing801 Brickyard Cir, Golden
4. Briar Common2298 N Clay St, Denver
5. Bruz Beers1675 W 67th Ave #100, Denver
6. Banded Oak Brewing, Denver
7. Resolute Brewing Company, Centennial
8. Westfax Brewing6733 W Colfax Ave, Lakewood
River North is home to Bierstadt Lagerhaus, where it’s strictly about traditional and classic German-style lagers. The building itself is of traditional origin: the owners have taken an 84-year-old brewhouse from Germany, disassembled it and shipped the structure to Denver where they’ll concoct their lagers in 1932 copper stills from Nuremberg (talk about a commitment to authenticity). There’s no taproom onsite, but nearby Rackhouse pub serves as their customer-facing bar.
Two brothers whose grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe tap into their ancestral heritage using skill developed over two decades of home-brewing to open Seedstock, a modern-looking brewery in West Colfax with a five-barrel fermenting system. Classic German- and Czech-style pilsners will be emphasized next to IPAs that well lean less hoppy in the former auto shop, with capacity to host 100 people inside and on the patio.
This sanctuary may be nestled at the foot of flat Table Mountain, but inside Holidaily Brewing Company the brews are far from flat. Bubbly, gluten-free beers are a specialty here, due to the founder’s struggle with cancer that lead her unable to drink beers she formerly loved. Food trucks swing through almost daily to host events with the facility. Blondes, belgians, pumpkin ales, IPAs stout and saisons are all designed to fill a gluten-free void in the beer market.
This brick-faced corner building in Jefferson Park is more than just a brewery, it’s a full restaurant featuring Southern cuisine with international-influences elevated high above typical greasy beer snacks: hickory-smoked lamb chops, Colorado trout with pork-lentils and a Moroccan-spiced burger with mushroom ketchup and goat cheese. The rooftop bar and patio, a black steel cap on the building with a more modern feel than the rest, lets visitors sip food-friendly IPAs (which the octopus is actually braised in) outdoors with neighborhood views.
Bruz isn’t just about making beer, it’s about giving the neighborhood a place to drink it: their 140-capacity taproom and back patio, all white tile, copper and black wood, is just that place. Belgian and Belgian-inspired ales are what’s on tap (an amber, witbier, IPA, dubbel, triple and a quad) and can be paired with flatbreads. The four-barrel fermentation system may be on the smaller side, but Bruz is betting that intimate craft breweries are going to become the new American beer bar.
You don't have to take a hard line in favor of either beer or wine at Banded Oak Brewing Co.: They specialize in beer aged in namesake oak wine barrels that once held Cabernets, which they ship in from family friends in Napa Valley's wine country. Alongside a tap list of imperial pilsners, porters, marzens, Belgian strongs, and IPAs presented in a small taproom, is a house-kombucha (that trendy Japanese fermented tea).
Centennial’s resolutely dog-friendly brewery welcomes visitors to a white, modern taproom with high tables and stools topped in light wood. You can see the stainless steel stills through a window behind the bar, reminding you of just how close you are to the production process. A patio equipped with picnic tables offers an alternative spot for eating from a rotating cast of food trucks and tasting their rainbow of ales, from blonde and amber to red and black.
Just next-door to Denver institution Casa Bonita, that over-the-top themed Mexican restaurant, lives Westfax, a brewery with an outdoorsy feel. The wide-open taproom features wall art depicting mountainous peaks made with planks of wood and a rotating menu of brews like Belgian-style ales, hoppy IPAs, stouts and fruity wheat beers.