Drink your way through Mile High by hitting up 17 taprooms

Published On 05/03/2013 Published On 05/03/2013

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.

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1. Brewery Rickoli 4335 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

Brewery Rickoli is known for its hoppy beers, although brewmaster Rick Abitbol is by no means limited to just one style. There's a selection of gluten-reduced beers on offer, and there's also a lineup of housemade sodas, created with no high fructose corn syrup.

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2. De Steeg Brewing 4342 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212

Tucked away in an alley, this microbrewery and taproom offers up beers in a range of strengths and styles.

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3. Hogshead Brewery 4460 W 29th Ave, Denver, CO 80212 (Highland)

Hogshead brews up traditional English-style ales in what was formerly a 1950s gas station, and the entire facility has been green-ified in order to ensure minimal impact to the environment. Your liver will not be spared, however, as this place offers 10, 16 and 20 oz. glasses for each of its five in-house brews.

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4. Denver Beer Company 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202 (Highland)

In addition to its selection of regular favorites, DBC features a rolling lineup of varietals that vary with each season, ensuring that there's always something new to try. The Barrel Room next door can be used as a special event space for birthdays, anniversaries (if you're that kind of couple), or just a good old-fashioned beer bash.

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5. Prost Brewing 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211 (Highland)

The beer at Prost Brewing is created inside an antique copper brewhouse, which basically means that it harkens back to an age of traditional German brewing. It also means that Prost's core beers, as well as its seasonals, are about as authentic as you can get without slapping on some lederhosen and taking a jaunt across the Atlantic.

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6. The Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field 2161 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205 (Auraria)

The Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field is the birthplace of Blue Moon; cooler still, the bar features an assortment of experimental brews not yet released into the wild. Originally open only on game days, this hop haven now serves customers even when the stands are empty.

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7. Breckenridge Colorado Craft 2220 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

Originally opened in 1992 as The Breckenridge Brewery & Pub, this place has 32 craft beers on tap from breweries including Avery, Left Hand, Odell, River North and, of course, Breckenridge. Sporting events can be watched on one of the HDTV sets, and the menu of tasty pub grub is made fresh every day.

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8. Great Divide Brewery 2201 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

This local brewery prides itself on green practices and their tap room, which boasts handcrafted beer and 15+ seasonal and year-round brews. While there is no consistent menu, the occasional food truck does swing by for some necessary grub.

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9. River North Brewery 2401 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205 (Five Points)

This brewery was founded by a former engineer for Lockheed Martin, and the same attention to detail that went into aerospace technologies now goes into devising new beer recipes. The taproom opens one hour before every Colorado Rockies home game, ensuring that you've got some time to grab a seat and a brew before the fun begins.

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10. 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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11. 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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12. Wynkoop Brewing Company 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202 (Lodo)

Established in 1988, Wynkoop is Denver's first craft brewery and the first brewpub in the state of Colorado. In addition to their selection of house-brewed and guest beers on tap, Wynkoop Brewing Company also features a menu of "beer-inspired comfort food" that's prepared fresh every day.

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13. Wit's End Brewing 2505 W 2nd Ave, Denver, CO 80219

Wit's End is a self-styled nano-brewery -- don't be fooled by their size, however, as this tiny titan packs a punch with five standard beers and an even greater selection of experimental concoctions. Stop by and see for yourself why size isn't everything.

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14. Renegade Brewing Company 925 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204 (Lincoln Park)

Throwing convention to the wind is what Renegade Brewing Company lives for, especially when it comes to concocting quality beers. Renegade's roster of brews includes everything from IPAs to dark stout, and the taproom offers different specials for every day of the week.

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15. Pints Pub 221 W 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80204 (Lincoln Park)

Pints Pub is one of the only breweries in America to feature genuine cask-conditioned ale, made from imported English barley and hops. There's also an extensive menu of single malt whisky and a menu sporting modified British pub fare.

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16. 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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17. Vine Street Pub & Brewery 1700 Vine St, Denver, CO 80206

A subsidiary of the Mountain Sun Restaurant Group (Pearl Street's popular pub), Vine Street offers a solid selection of microbrews on tap, as well as delicious pub fare. Just like its extensive collection of housemade craft beers, the interior design here is wholly custom-tailored as well, and features abstract and colorful murals, overhead piping painted with vines, and a patio designated for cornhole matches.



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