Denver and beer have a long history going all the way back to the city’s founding in 1859. In fact, the first city government was formed in a saloon called Apollo Hall in Larimer Square. Denver’s residents may have been just as thirsty back then as they are now, as one of the first laws enacted by the city government was an ordinance prohibiting the selling of liquor on the streets or from wagons and tents.
In 1873, Adoph Coors founded the Coors Brewery just outside of Denver in a small town called Golden. Using Rocky Mountain water from natural springs surrounding the brewery, this beer was a favorite among the local miners who had flocked to the area during the gold rush.
Even during the prohibition years, Gahan’s Saloon, located at 1401 Larimer Street, became “Gahan’s Soft Drink Parlour”, which was a cover for Denver’s hottest speakeasy, which operated out of the basement.
Skip forward to 1988, when Denver’s first brewpub; Wynkoop Brewing Company was born. To this day you can enjoy fine food and beverages at this establishment!
The Great American Beer Festival has called Denver its home for over 30 years. This is an event in which breweries and home brewers from around the nation come to share, taste, and explore the beers of fellow brewers. With over 3,000 beers and over 600 breweries to learn about, “This is more than just beer, this is a form of art” said one GABF die-hard. The festival sells out in just minutes every year, and is a must experience for anyone that appreciates the fine art of craft beer. The Guinness Book of World Records states that there is no beer tasting event larger than GABF. The entire week of GABF is a celebration throughout the city, as restaurants and breweries hold rare beer tastings, food pairings, new releases, brewery collaborations, and special parties.
You can find craft breweries in every neighborhood of Denver! Each brewery has its own unique style, niche, and flavor. We’ve put together a small list of breweries, their beers, and the areas you will find them. There are new breweries opening every week in Denver and the surrounding area, and while we didn’t include all breweries, this list will definitely get you started!
Downtown Denver Breweries
Winner of 18 Great American Beer Festival medals, recipient of 5 World Beer Cup awards, 12th in Ratebeer.com’s 2013 “Best Brewers in the World,” Ratebeer.com’s 2013 Top Brewer in Colorado, and 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2010 “All-Time Top Brewers.” Located right at 22nd and Arapahoe, this is a must visit for all beer enthusiasts!
Jagged Mountain Brewery
A brewery with a passion for the outdoors, and using only the finest local ingredients! Located at 20th and Lawrence
Back in the 1980s, founder Richard Squire was your typical ski bum – with one significant difference. He had a knack for making extraordinary home brews. For years, only his closest friends were able to enjoy his creations, but it didn’t take long for Richard to realize that his talents needed to be shared with the world. Breckenridge Brewery has 2 locations in Denver. Be sure to try the Vanilla Porter!
You will find the Sandlot Brewery. or Blue Moon Brewing Company, at Coors Field. This place gets hopping on game days!
River North Brewery
River North is an award winning, Belgian inspired brewery with many great options!
Denver Beer Co (also considered a LoHi brewery)
A must visit if you are wanting to have some great quality beers on your trip to Denver! Founded on passion for high quality, flavorfully crafted beer and the belief that the best pints are those shared with good company. Drawing inspiration from beer gardens of Bavaria, DBC was designed to be a place where new and old friends can share a table and pint outdoors. Some of the best beers all around and the menu changes almost weekly! In between pale ales, IPAs and saisons, try the Graham Cracker Porter!
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
While this is a chain, it does offer some quality beer brewed onsite! Also a great place to get a bite!
Zephyr Brewing Co
One of the newer breweries that is located on the edge of downtown and the Rino District. Formed by two life long friends in 2012.
North Denver/Rino District Breweries
Our Mutual Friend
A great spot that thrives on neighbors connecting with neighbors and visitors alike. They began brewing as an excuse to gather with friends and ruminate on life, philosophy, music, food, and of course, beer. Always good music, tasty beer, and a friend to be made at Our Mutual Friend!
Just a short walk north of Our Mutual Friend is Ratio Beerworks, a newer brewery that got its DIY influence back in the 90s as a touring punk band, creating zines and working at record labels. Over the years they have channeled that energy into brewing to make one of Denver’s hottest new names on the craft beer scene! This is a great brewery space with plenty of room. You’ll find Ratio at 2920 Larimer St
EPIC Brewing Co
Epic Brewing Company made its way to Denver from Salt Lake City in 2013, and has a wide range of beers from hoppy, to mild, saisons to IPAs, barrel aged to sour.
BSB Blackshirt Brewing Co
This music themed brewery is a must visit for appreciators of the craft. The Red Ale Project, as they call it, offers a lineup of an incredible and tasty selection of red beers! From Red Chai Porter to Pistachio Lavender Rye, these guys and gals are making history out of the art of beer!
Beryl’s Beer Co
Another company that is reaching out of the normal boundaries in the craft beer world is Beryl’s Beer Co. They Barrel age many of the traditional beers to make a whole new experience.
Located inside The Source; Rino’s artisan marketplace, Crooked Stave has garnered a national cult following for its old-world style of brewing, Brettanomyces-fermented wild ales, barrel-aged experiments, saisons (specialty sour beers) and more. Once guests have soaked up the warehouse atmosphere along with some suds, there’s plenty to nibble on in the marketplace.
Lower Highlands, Sunnyside, Highlands Breweries
This family owned brewery will make you feel right at home with their wonderful service, great atmosphere, and tasty, ever growing selection of fine craft beers! Located on the corner of 39th and Mariposa.
Prost Brewing Company
Prost! Meaning “Cheers!” in German. How fitting, since Prost is a German inspired brewery, complete with biergarten furniture, pretzels, and a great view of the Mile High!
Designed and developed to provide a variety of beers with an emphasis on English ales in a warm and inviting atmosphere with a neighborhood friendly feel.
The concept of Factotum Brewhouse was thought-up one night when the four Bruns siblings met for dinner. The notion of a homebrewer-driven brewery was mentioned, the conversation snowballed from there. Although they live in Denver—the “Napa Valley of Beer,” the “Munich of the West”—neither of the owners had heard of a business model quite like the one they talked about at dinner; no brewery had yet made homebrewers the cornerstone of the process.
De Steeg Brewing
Located on Tennyson Street, you have to know where to look, because this brewery is hidden in a Highlands alley! The taproom is small but comfortable, and a good selection to choose from!
Call To Arms
Just getting set to open, Call to Arms is located on Tennyson Street in the Highlands, and promises to be a treat to Denver with great beers and great people!
Goldspot Brewing Co (in Berkeley neighborhood)
Open 7 days a week, this new brewery has a lot to offer! They have every style of traditional beer on the menu; Porter, IPA, Belgian, Red, Stout, Pale, and their menu and craft experience continues to expand!
South Broadway, Baker, Santa Fe Art District
Rustic brick lines the walls of this warehouse-style, brewery-based taproom pouring house beers. A GABF winner and a neighborhood favorite, be sure to pay them a visit when in the Santa Fe Art District!
TRVE Brewing Co
Loud grungy metal with some of the best suds in Denver? OK! Don’t let the pentagram and burned candles above the taps scare you away, this place is metal to the core, but a great experience, a superb staff, and some amazing brews! Visit TRVE at 227 Broadway
Baere Brewing Co
A small brewery that has been open since July of 2014, but had a very humble beginning. Located just across the street and a block north from TRVE, this brewery has a wide selection of beers and not a huge space to work with!
Black Sky Brewery
A metal brewery with tasty pizza! Black Sky not only brews their own soda and beer, but they have a range of other local breweries for you to try!
Strange Craft Beer Co
With some names such as the Cherry Bomb, Breakfast Grapefruit, and Zora Rosemary, you can see where Strange Craft gets its name. Located at 1330 Zuni Street in an industrial strip mall, even the location is Strange, but well worth the trip!
Former Future sounds like a steampunk inspired brewery with an airplane wing for a bar top. …and it is! A number of traditional tasty brews and a great atmosphere makes this brewery worth your visit!
It looks like a Grandma’s House with hand knit everything, including the covers over the tap handles! A very fun place to experience and a collective of breweries other than just their own beers on tap!
Lowdown Brewery and Kitchen
Laidback brewpub with a constantly rotating selection of brews and an awesome food menu as well!
Lost Highway Brewing Co
Belgium’s oldest tradition on America’s longest, wickedest street! Lost Highway kept beer loving locals in suspense for three years before opening this cool brewery which offers some quality traditional Belgium beers!
Fiction Beer Company
Books books everywhere! The bar is made of books, the beers are named after books, authors, and inspiration from reads. This is not only a fun atmosphere but offers some quality, tasty beers with a wonderful staff that will make you feel as if you just joined the book club!
Mu Brewery has a brewer that will come out and chat with you about what he’s got brewing in the back, then he’ll take you back and show you the entire operation. With a great selection of brews, this east Colfax brewery has a fun staff, and a lot of great ideas to help them continue to move forward!
To the East, South, and Southeast
Caution (East and SouthWest)
Caution has some very awesome beers, and has recently added a second location on south Wadsworth, which is great, because the East 39th location is crazy to find! These guys are collecting awards for a number of their beers, including the Lao Wang lager, which is made with a blend of secret Asian spices.
Located in an old firehouse, Station 26 blends great beer with a great atmosphere. The environment is kiddo friendly and there’s always a food truck onsite. Their menu covers all bases for the beer lover in you!
Aurora’s best microbrewery! With well over 15 beers on tap, these guys have yet to make a less than awesome beer! Try the hefe, it’s amazing! Try the Vanilla Porter, it’ll knock your socks off! How about the Apricot Blonde…yes please! Do yourself a favor and pay Dry Dock a visit, get a taster tray, and try as many as you can!
Bull & Bush
A great selection of beers and good food as well! If you’re in Glendale, pay these folks a visit. Show up hungry AND thirsty!
German beer, English beer, Belgian beer, not to mention the award winning Mexican Chocolate Stout!
Platt Park Brewing Co
A very nice vibe in a great neighborhood A great selection of beers that cover all the bases. The Dunkel Weisse has a malty chocolate banana flavor! Give it a try!
The menu is written on skateboards, the vibe is great, live music, snowboarding, fantastic beers! They’re getting their name around Denver for their Oatmeal IPA, and their brewery has plenty more to offer!
To the West, North, and Northwest
Located in Broomfield, Big Choice was a dream shared by two high school friends that are passionate about their beer. You must go there and try the Poblano Stout, among a few others!
Yak & Yeti
Some of the best beer in the area comes out of Arvada’s Indian restaurant; the Yak & Yeti. You can’t miss the haunted old mansion located on Ralston Rd, just north of old town Arvada. Having won awards time and time again, brewer Adam Draeger loves to share his knowledge, passion, and joy of experimenting with his customers. He’ll come out and chat beer with you for a couple hours without thinking twice about it. The food is an experience all its own, but with a gold metal IPA, a milk stout, and a jalepeno pilsner, this brewpub can definitely hold its own!
Not one bad beer on the list. This oddly located little gem is an excellent find. Be sure to use your GPS, because they have a great selection of beers, and they are worth scouting out!
Arvada Beer Co
Located in the heart of old town Arvada, ABC is a comfortable little neighborhood brewery which has good beer and great root beer too!
Golden City Brewery
With a cool location and a lot of history, GCB is another to add to the must visit. Get the taster tray and see for yourself that they know how to do their beer right!
Joyride tells you to slow down and enjoy the ride rather than the destination. They suggest you stop and smell the roses…or in this case, the hops. Located in Edgewater near Sloan’s Lake, Joyride has a cool vibe, tasty beers and some great people!
Mountain Toad Brewery
Another cool brewery in Golden worth checking out! Always a good food truck onsite, and other than just tasty brews, they sell Kombucha! Pay these folks a visit when you’re in Golden!
While the list looks extensive, it is a far cry from what Denver and the surrounding areas have to offer. This list touches upon only some of the many quality breweries to be found in Denver. If you’re planning to hop around to some of the local breweries, do plenty of research online, engage in conversation with folks at the breweries while you’re enjoying a taster, look into getting a brewery map, and don’t forget a designated driver or arranging a guided brewery tour to take you from place to place.
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