Distance from Denver: 24 miles, 30+ minutes
You know how brewers are all, “Oh, we take our beer seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously”? Well, these Brett- and barrel-loving guys aren’t even lying. Not only is the atmosphere totally chill one day, and party central the next, but the ever-changing roster of 12 or so brews revels in all things geeky/quirky/punk rock -- be it a dragon-fruit sour called Chainsaw the Princess of Karate, or an experimental-hopped IPA dubbed Bad Guy With an Agenda. Hell, the comic book-inspired label artwork alone is worth a visit.
Distance from Denver: 70 miles, 75-90 minutes
Co-founded by now-governor John Hickenlooper in a historic red-brick building more than 20 years ago, this Springs fixture may be the Wynkoop-Breckenridge group’s most underrated holding. With a rooftop patio, an upstairs pool hall, and a full-service kitchen turning out pub plates like lamb-belly tacos and smoked clam mac & cheese, it boasts way more bells and whistles than your average spot; more importantly, it’s got a seasoned pro in head brewer Alan Stiles, who nails the standards while converting skeptics with connoisseurial stuff like red sours, goses, and barrel-aged barleywines.