What is beer? Where is beer? The Denver brewery list that’ll help you decide where to drink

Do you want a big place with crazy beer options that you can’t find in stores? Do you want a place where everybody knows your name? Something in between?
11 min. read
Beer-making equipment inside Goldspot Brewing Company, Aug. 24, 2017.(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; brewery; beer;

Denverite journalists have bravely been visiting and trying out breweries with a Denver address, and the results are in: We would like a glass of water, please!

There are more than 50 breweries in Denver!

We've begun organizing them by neighborhood, and we've only scratched the surface so far. We don't pretend to be beer snobs or experts, so these aren't reviews -- we're just trying to provide a quick sense of what you can expect at each place, to make it a little easier to settle on one of the dozens of options. (You may also be interested in What is pizza? Where is pizza? or What is poke? Where is poke?)

Do you want a big place with crazy beer options that you can't find in stores? Do you want a place where everybody knows your name? Something in between? Let's see if we can find the place for you ...

This guide is a work in progress and we'll be updating as we visit more places.

Breweries in Athmar Park

Chain Reaction Brewing. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Chain Reaction Brewing

902 S. Lipan St.

Neighborhood: Athmar Park
Flagship beer: Orange Cream Ale
Our favorite beer: Cilantro Serrano Lime Wheat — this was one of two seasonal chile beers on tap during my visit, and I liked both. This was the first chile beer I've ever had that wasn't aggressively spicy, which made it more palatable to the person I was visiting with. The Hatch Chile Amber was quite spicy, and delicious. Choose and perish.

Main thing: On the far eastern edge of Athmar Park — right before you hit industry, train tracks and the river — this inviting nanobrewery had 15 brews on tap at our visit, covering all of the most common styles well.

Another thing: They had peppy '90s punk and ska playing, an ad for comedy nights on Fridays and one of those wooden cube time-killing toys for young kids you see in the waiting rooms at haircut places and dentists — feels like a place that can accommodate a lot of different kinds of Denverites.


Breweries in Baker

Black Sky Brewery. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Baere Brewing Company

320 Broadway

Neighborhood: Baker
Flagship beer: Saison
Our favorite beer: Strip Mall Pale Ale

Main thing: Sitting among the Laws Whiskey barrels and myriad taps is much nicer than you expect it'll be when you see this brewery from its strip-mall parking lot. Good atmosphere.

Another thing: They put those Laws barrels to good use in a bottle program that my beer-geek liquor store guys calls one of the best in town.


Banded Oak Brewing Company

470 Broadway

Neighborhood: Baker
Flagship beer: None
Our favorite beer: Imperial brown aged in cabernet barrels — truly the first time I have ever found a brown ale to be interesting.

Main thing: It's called Banded Oak to highlight their barrel-aged beers.

Another thing: Old-school Denver Broncos fans will appreciate that one of the Banded Oak T-shirts pays homage to Barrel Man, the Broncos fan who famously wore a cowboy hat, boots and a barrel to Mile High Stadium for years.


Black Sky Brewery

490 Santa Fe Drive

Neighborhood: Baker
Flagship beer: Petal to the Metal rose hibiscus ale or the Demonseed IPA
Our favorite beer: Fall from Grace Abbey brewed with apples.

Main thing: This is a metal brewery, but if that makes you question whether this place is for you, enter without fear. Music is at a reasonable volume, the environment is welcoming and they know their beer. Not everyone could pull off a sweet potato green chile seasonal ale, but they do.

Another thing: They have a full kitchen, with pizza, grinders, salads, even cheesecake, and the food is tasty.


Crazy Mountain Brewing Company

471 Kalamath St.
970-926-3009 ext. 1

Neighborhood: Baker
Flagship beer: Crazy Mountain Amber Ale
Our favorite beer: Lawyers, Guns and Money barleywine

Main thing: The Denver taproom of this Edwards brewery feels like a trippy mountain lodge in the middle of town. It would be a particularly good place to go in winter, both for the cozy atmosphere and the Spanish Chocolate Stout.

Another thing: They have an Apres Yoga special on Saturdays: $15 for a class and a pint


TRVE Brewing Co.

227 Broadway

Neighborhood: Baker
Flagship beer: None
Our favorite beer: Revengeance — my favorite beer in Denver. A bartender told me people sleep on it because "mixed culture porter" is scary. But don't.

Main thing: One of Denver's two metal breweries, Trve's beers live up to its incredible album-style label art.

Another thing: Two main seating options: The bar or the incredibly long community table. Metal is louder and more fun at the bar, present but unobtrusive at the far end of the community table — take your pick.


Breweries in Capitol Hill

LowDown Brewery+Kitchen. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
LowDown Brewery+Kitchen

800 Lincoln St.

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Flagship beer: LowDown IPA
Our favorite beer: Patio Pounding Pilz — one of the best pilsners in the city.

Main thing: LowDown is big, and has a big menu of beer and food. You can bring and feed a crowd here, and it's especially nice in the summer, when you can sit outside in the back.

Another thing: Despite the occasionally sexual menu item names — which: why? — it's surprisingly kid-friendly. Dog-friendly, too, if you're outside, so in warmer months this is a somewhat popular Baby Hour spot for neighborhood families.


Breweries in City Park West

Vine Street Pub. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Vine Street Pub

1700 Vine St.

Neighborhood: City Park West
Flagship beer: FYIPA
Our favorite beer: Illusion Dweller IPA — every once in a while, this will be on nitro, and if you've never tried an IPA on nitro, this is your chance.

Main thing: This is the Denver outpost of Boulder mainstay the Mountain Sun, and it's among the Boulderiest places you can drink in Denver.

Another thing: February is Stout Month. It's a huge deal at Vine Street, and features dozens of their own stouts and those from visitors. Put it on your calendar.


Breweries with Denver mailing addresses but no Denver neighborhood

Copper Kettle Brewing Co. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Comrade Brewing Company

7667 E. Iliff Ave.

Neighborhood: Denver County
Flagship beer: Superpower IPA
Our favorite beer: Superpower IPA — their legend was built on this beer, and rightfully so.

Main thing: In a sea of strip mall breweries, this is among the strip-malliest (grab a pint while your car is at the Jiffy Lube!), but there's plenty of seating and it's often crowded because of the incredibly high quality of the beer.

Another thing: The recipe for Superpower is built on hard-to-get hops that the Comrade guys originally had access to through a personal connection in Oregon.


Copper Kettle Brewing Co

1338 S. Valentia St.

Neighborhood: Denver County
Flagship beer: Mexican Chocolate Stout
Our favorite beer: Mexican Chocolate Stout — they've been making this since before the style was cool. It's everything you could want out of a beer with this description: rich, chocolatey and spicy. A beer meant to be shared.

Main thing: This is a cozy brewery serving southeast Denver and nearby suburbs — and maybe not the easiest place to see from the street, so maybe Street View it before you go! Regular food trucks.

Another thing: Their staff page lists brewery dogs for both the day shift and the night shift, ensuring total dog coverage.


Breweries in Five Points

Our Mutual Friend Brewing. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Epic Brewing Co.

3001 Walnut St.

Neighborhood: Five Points
Flagship beer: Escape to Colorado & Tart n’ Juicy Sour IPA
Our favorite beer: Tart n' Juicy Sour IPA

Main thing: Epic was the first brewery in Utah to brew beer with a high alcohol content. They brought that spirit to Denver.

Another thing: The taproom is connected to the brewery itself and they have offer free tours.


Our Mutual Friend Brewing

2810 Larimer St.

Neighborhood: Five Points
Flagship beer: Inner Light pale ale
Our favorite beer: Temporarily: New Boot Goofin' (sour collab with Wiley Roots). Long term: El Dorado session smash.

Main thing: OMFB feels more like a bar than most breweries. It's not in a big warehouse space and it's darker than most, making it much cozier than the average taproom.

Another thing: Someone was caught on camera stealing a yellow dinosaur planter from the behind the bar. There are a lot of fun and pretty things behind the bar, but you should not steal things from behind the bar.


Ratio Beerworks

2920 Larimer St.

Neighborhood: Five Points
Flagship beer: Rented World Session IPA
Our favorite beer: Antidote IPA

Main thing: The website says, "We learned how to drink on tour. We learned how to brew in Germany." Ratio brings a punk mindset to craft beer.

Another thing: They offer tons of great events including a trivia game show (Ratio Quiz Show), a standup comedy challenge (The Doom Room) and intimate performances from touring bands (Ratio Sessions).


Breweries in Platt Park

Platt Park Brewing Co. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Black Project

1290 S. Broadway

Neighborhood: Platt Park
Flagship beer: Dreamland sour golden ale
Our favorite beer: Magic Lantern salted sour with passion fruit, peach and apricot

Main thing: This brewery does spontaneaous and wild ales, meaning the yeasts come from the environment in the brewery's coolship. Fruits change with the seasons, and coffee ales come from single-source Korvus coffee beans. These beers are unlike anything else.

Another thing: The riveted aluminum bartop looks like an airplane wing.


Platt Park Brewing Co.

1875 S. Pearl St.

Neighborhood: Platt Park
Flagship beer: None
Our favorite beer: Phaded Pale Ale

Main thing: If a beer is described as having a flavor, hoo boy, does it have that flavor. The watermelon sour has a distinct overtone of Jolly Rancher, and the cream ale tastes like cream soda if it were beer. But there are still a number of solid choices to be had here, including the Porter.

Another thing: This place has a good selection of board games and a regular rotation food trucks parked outside. I did see a baby while I was there, and that felt fine.


Breweries in Regis

Goldspot Brewing Co. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Goldspot Brewing Company

4970 Lowell Blvd.

Neighborhood: Regis
Flagship beer: Cutter IPA
Our favorite beer: Malbec Barrel Aged Plum Saison — it may not be there when you visit, but it's always promising when a brewery's rotating taps deliver.

Main thing: This is the quintessential neighborhood brewery. Unpretentious, cozy, comfortable and playing upbeat punk rock when we went. Broad selection with a where-everybody-knows-your-name vibe. My first visit had me looking forward to my next.

Another thing: During our visit, they had two beers on that were benefiting local nonprofits -- Girls Rock Denver and Groundwork Denver. I asked about them and the bartender was knowledgeable and excited about them. Love that.


Breweries in Sunnyside

Diebolt Brewing Company. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Diebolt Brewing Company

3855 Mariposa St
(720) 643-5940

Neighborhood: Sunnyside
Flagship beer: Anton Francois French Amber Ale
Our favorite beer: Charlie Blackberry kettle sour with blackberries (excellent logo of nazty with a blackberry beard played into this decision)

Main thing: excellent spot for meetups (I've been to a few), there's a big ol list of events on the wall. close enough to parks that it makes for a good summertime stop in. seems pretty neighborhoody

Another thing: pretty good food trucks hang out front sometimes


Breweries in Union Station

Wynkoop Brewing Company. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Wynkoop Brewing Company

1634 18th St.

Neighborhood: Union Station
Flagship beer: Rail Yard Ale
Our favorite beer: B3K Black Lager — I love a good black lager, and while I rotate through Wynkoop brews when I visit, I often end up back at trusty ol' B3K.

Main thing: It's very big! It's in LoDo! It was started long ago, yes, by a team of beer dorks that included now-Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Another thing: They say it's pronounced "win-koop," unlike "wine-koop," for the street -- because you're not here to get wine.


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