My brother and I have one major thing in common… our love for beer. And Denver itself is a magical place to discover some delicious brews.
Colorado itself is the home to over 130 breweries. It’s quite the business, and the state also houses 4 of the top-50 breweries in the nation (source). As a kid I thought it was so weird when I would meet so many adults who worked for Coors. It seems like the whole world did. Now as an adult I understand.
While I was in Denver early this year, we plotted our little beer hop, hitting up a few of our favorite breweries & tap rooms. We started off one Saturday around lunchtime. C’est parti!
Breckenridge has a special place in my heart. Our family had a condo in Breck when I was growing up, so we would go up every weekend to ski (about an hour and forty five minutes from Denver). It’s the most precious ski town. It’s blown up a bit since I went as a kid, and now it seems a bit more mainstream, but hey. C’est normal.
Obviously since I haven’t spent too much time in the states since I’ve hit the big 2-1, ha, but I knew that I definitely wanted to hit up the Breckenridge Brewery. They have a tap room and restaurant right in the Ballpark district, with a view of Coors Field. Their ale fried pickles are one of my favorite things on earth.
As this was in January, my brother, his wife and I started with the seasonal flight. This set of tasters wasn’t only Breck Brew beers, but a variation of local beers. 2 of the tasters were of the Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale, Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale and the Denver Beer Co Graham Cracker Porter.
I am a big fan of Breck Brewery’s Lucky U IPA.
Our second stop was at a smaller brewhouse right up the street on Blake & 24th called River North Brewery, one that my brother had recommended. They have a variety of different Belgian style ales and American style ales with a Belgian twist (as they say on their website), and the names of their brews are fantastic. It’s a smaller tap room, but very light with big windows and a small bar with smiles. They have a big window that opens up to part of their brewery… exciting!
Here you could purchase individual tasters, and we went with the following: Unified Theory (an oaked imperial wit), Quandary Quadrupel, BPR (Belgian Pale Red), and Hello, Darkness (a black IPA). Hello, Darkness was unique and divine. Well, they all were delicious, but that one really stuck around on my palatte.
I am anxious to go back here in the spring to taste more of their fab brews and their summer seasonals! The staff was so lovely, and it seems like a great place to do a tour as well.
Our third stop in Lodo was Great Divide Brewing Co. I fell head over heels for Great Divide not only from their labels (I know…) but their Wild Raspberry Ale (old picture here).
Great Divide is at Arapahoe and 22nd Street, with a large tap room and free tours! Fantastic. I get the feeling it’s always pretty packed. They’ve got a great strategy behind what they do, all of the proceeds of the tasters go to local nonprofits (their tasters are 3 for $3). You can read more about their green practices here. They put this strategy really in the foreground.
I think it’s pretty clever that their online shop is called the Hop Shop.
Sam, Holly and I went a little crazy here with the tasters, tasting the heavily marketed Colette Farmhouse Ale, the seasonal Wolfgang Doppelbock, the Imperial Stout Yeti, Hades Belgian-Style Ale, Hercules Double IPA (one of my favorites!), and the Hoss Rye Lager.
With tasters in hand, we went on to the tour of the brewery. Our guide was so passionate and full of energy which is always a plus. It was nice because it wasn’t too long. It was short and sweet and full of fun facts on the founder and the space itself. I was dying to know what agency does their marketing so I am glad I finally know that so I can go stalk that agency. Not kidding.
Lastly, we wandered over to Platte Street on the front of the Highlands neighborhood to the Denver Beer Co, which was founded in 2011. It has a wonderful location. I am pretty sure in summer this place is dreamy as can be, right by the park and on the Platte. It is also in a quaint area which is always wonderful.
Denver Beer Co certainly had the biggest tap room that we had seen that day, and since we were approaching 5pm at this point, it was hoppin’ (no pun intended). The space itself is so beautiful and industrial, like an old garage with so much light.
My first taster was the Rwanda Abakundakawa Coffee Stout which was absolutely delicious. We then went with tasting Back to the Future and Old Man Winter. Sam got a growler filled with the Coffee Stout, we just couldn’t get enough of it. I am anxious for growlers to get bigger here in Paris. Currently there are only two places that have a growler option (Glass & La Fine Mousse).
SIDENOTE: Denver Beer Co now has an awesome breakfast event that I want to be a part of oh so badly. You can read some coverage of that bad boy here.
We then headed across the Platte to the Ale House at Amato‘s for dinner. It just the perfect afternoon and a delicious and cozy dinner. My belly was full of brews. I am anxious to prepare another beer hop next time I am in Denver.
Below you can find a map of the route we took on this very magical Saturday.
*Don’t forget to have a DD if you plan to drive from Lodo to the Highlands, it is indeed quite the walk.
Special thanks to Anne for her maps class on Skillshare, where my inspiration bug was off the hook to make this map!