Food & Drink

The 7 Best Tap Rooms in Denver

Published On 03/05/2014 Published On 03/05/2014

Being the biggest city in a state that’s ranked number one in gross beer production (as in "total", not like... gross) in the entire US, Denver’s prodigious breweries occasionally have to take things a step further if they’re going to stand out. How? By letting you get a taste of the action right at the source -- these are Mile High’s best taprooms.

Connor Green

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew

The Beer:  OMFM&B are crafting malt-forward beers using house-roasted malt from Alamosa, which yeilds six to eight suds on tap, including seasonal changes like the crowd/brewer favorite, Chinook Red Ale.
The Vibe: The dudes behind Mutual wanted the taproom "they would hang out in", and apparently they wanted to hang out in a slightly divey, modern-industrial grey-walled space, because that's exactly what they do -- You'll see 'em in here all the time.
The Value: Their pours are $5-6 and tasters are at $1. Pretty solid.

Trve Brewing Co.

TRVE Brewing Co.

The Beer: The beer beasts at TRVE take your generic base brews and crank them up to 11 by adding their own tweaks -- they're pouring suds like Hellion (session ale loaded w/ oats), Diotima (saison given a kick w/ Chinese smoked tea) and the wonderful Wanderlust (a Belgo-American pale ale fusion) in their their eight-tap tasting room.
The Vibe: Black walls, dark, heavy wood tables, and Deicide blaring through their speakers... TRVE is the heavy-metal, beer-fueled Valhalla.
The Value: 3oz tasters of the good stuff are only a buck and pints are moderately priced.

Black Shirt Brewing Co.

Black Shirt Brewing Co.

The Beer: The folks at Black Shirt Brewing make red beers ("Red Shirt Brewing" was already taken), and while that may seem limiting, they brew everything from IPAs to porters to saisons by adding their unique amber and red tweaks. Recent expansions have allowed BSB to start bottling and canning their house favorites.
The Vibe: The red door that pays homage to the beer brewed inside is the only color you’ll see once you enter BSB’s inviting RiNo taproom. The tables are industrial, the walls are gray and the brewers wear black shirts (go figure).
The Value: $2.50 for half pours and $5 to add the other half. $14 for their growler refills.

Connor Green

Former Future Brewing

The Beer: The folks at Former Future are all about going out with the old and in with the new (or maybe the other way around?). Head-honch James Howat is a former homebrewer who's using his "science background" to re-create recipes from the 1800s (a New World cream ale, a chocolate milk stout, a single-strain yeast saison, etc.). They're currently operating with five beers on tap, but plan on holding four core beers and four rotating seasonal suds in the imminent future.
The Vibe: You may notice the bar you’re resting your elbows on is made from polished, reclaimed Cessna airplane wings. Now that you’ve noticed, get your elbows off the table!
The Value: Moderately priced pours.

Jagged Mountain Brewery

Jagged Mountain Brewery

The Beer: This less-than-a-year-old brewery is running with seven of the possible twenty taps they house (talk about untapped potential! Get it??), but they've started out strong with high-octane numbers like First Descent -- an old-style ale that throws 13% ABV in your face. If you don’t feel like getting housed on two beers, they also offer more session-style pours, like saisons and American IPAs.
The Vibe: A couple of mountaineering buddies got together and started a brewery and taproom big enough to house a mountain. With an ever-changing food truck schedule and taps being added weekly, you’ll need the extra space for your expanding beer gut.
The Value: Beers start at $6 a brew. 

Connor Green

Denver Beer Company

The Beer: Suggest that they brew their next batch of beer with Skittles and M&M's, and the hopheads at DBC just might do it (seriously though, don't suggest that). Throwing unique flavors into classically styled beers, DBC has been able to craft a wide selection on a seasonally changing tap list; pumpkin-style ales in the Winter, kaffir lime wheat beers in the warmer months (so every other month in Denver?) and the GABF medal-winning Graham Cracker Porter everyday.
The Vibe: Located along Platte St., DBC will be one of the largest, most cleanly laid out taprooms you’ll come across. It’s big enough for everyone, even for your four-legged compadres.
The Value: The suds range from $5-7. They also dish out some warm , giant, and cheap pretzels for ballast.

Connor Green

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

The Beer: Crooked Stave specializes in sour and bitter beers that often have varying high notes of citrus, like those in their Wild Wild Bret series. They also don’t mind doing some cool collabs with other craft breweries, as in their Ferus Fluxus (or "Wild Flow") series. 
The Vibe: Located in the seriously cool and hyper-edgy The Source building, this brewery is tucked in the back. They go for a simple, straightforward approach to their taproom to counter their complex, atypical brews.
The Value: Full glasses peak at $10 while tasters range from $2-4.

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1. Jagged Mountain Brewery 1139 20th St, Denver, CO 80202

In this massive taproom, you can enjoy a host of beers made on-site at their brewery including high-octane favorite First Decent (13%) and numerous saisons and American IPAs.

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2. Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

This brewery and taproom features a selection of ales crafted from locally sourced ingredients, with 100% of the barley used coming from Colorado farms. Outdoor seating is available, and the building that the taproom occupies was formerly an ice cream shop.

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3. TRVE Brewing 227 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203 (Baker)

With all of their beers named after their favorite metal songs/albums, the guys over at TRVE are always down to rock, so they make sure their taproom's the perfect place for you hang out, have fun, and, of course, drink awesome brews.

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4. Black Shirt Brewing 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

This family-founded brewery creates small batches of carefully crafted, no-nonsense beers in its four-barrel brewhouse. Each beer is hand-bottled, and the brewhouse itself emphasizes manual labor in the creation process. In that vein, there's a bike rack at the brewery in case you feel like pedaling over on your velocipede to try some of these artisanal beers.

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5. Former Future Brewing 1290 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80210 (Platt Park)

Here at FF's taproom, you can enjoy the artisanal deliciousness that is their beer collection (five on tap on a rotating basis) while sitting at a bar made out of old Cessna airplane wings. Pretty fly, right?

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6. Denver Beer Co. 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (Highland)

The Graceland of craft brews and premium ales and lagers. And for the love of beer, stop by their biergarten as featured in USA Today. You'll come for the beer but stick around for the awesome events. Check their site for the weekly schedule of rotating foodtrucks parked right outside this Highland temple of tap.

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7. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216 (Five Points)

Located in the 26,000sqft The Source building, this brewery and taproom serves up Crooked Stave's collection of sour and bitter beers, which often have varying notes of citrus, such as their Wild Wild Brett series.