The Brewery: Mountain Toad Brewing
900 Washington Ave., Golden
Opened: May 2013
The People: Co-founders Brian Vialpando, Josh and Kaylee Robbins, and Thad Briggs
The Space: The one-room industrial venue is a converted machine shop. On a nice night, get some fresh air by grabbing a seat at a picnic table in the outdoor beer garden—dogs allowed, water bowls included.
The Brews: Mountain Toad doesn’t specialize in a particular style of beer. Instead, the owners make “carefully crafted” American brews in a range of styles, with five to 13 IPAs, stouts, ambers, and more on tap daily. Try a beer flight (pictured, above) with five-ounce pours for $1.50 each. Stop by on Thursdays, when the brewery features a new small-batch release (about a keg’s worth).
Buzzed Trivia: The four founders are all engineers with degrees from the Colorado School of Mines. They left corporate America behind to start Mountain Toad. So what’s with the name? The toad is believed to be a symbol of good health and vitality.
Sample This: The Mt. Zion IPA is a customer favorite; five different hops give it a distinctly bitter flavor that’s true to its West Coast-style IPA blend. If you’re a fan of Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout Nitro, you’ll enjoy the smoky and creamy Ryrish Stout, which has a vague coffee flavor.
Take Home: Fill up a growler with Lemongrass Saison (originally a small-batch release), which perfectly balances floral with bitter for a refreshing summer beer. Mountain Toad offers 32-ounce glass growlers ($15 with fill, $9 refill) or 64-ounce stainless steel versions ($40 with fill, $15 refill). Non-drinkers can take home a growler full of kombucha from Denver’s Happy Leaf.
Tip: Balance out the booze at whichever food truck is parked in the beer garden (there’s a different one every night; check the calendar on the website for the monthly lineup).
Bonus: Acrylic, nature-inspired paintings by Golden native Jesse Crock—he painted the mural on the outside of the brewery—line the interior walls. Yes, they’re for sale.
Earn Your Beer: Looking to spend the whole day up in Golden? Check out our guide to the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway, which weaves around the town.