We tasted every commercially distributed craft beer we could track down in Colorado, one of America’s true craft-brewing hot spots. (Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.) Here, in nine categories, we rank the very best.
Slightly more full-bodied than porter; Guinness is the world’s most famous stout.
- 1. Milk Stout
Left Hand Brewing Company, Longmont
Malt: 8 | Hops: 2 | ABV 6 percent
We can’t say enough about this eminently drinkable stout. It’s full-flavored and full-bodied, yet completely smooth and balanced. Slightly sweet and milky on the nose, Milk Stout might just give Guinness a run as our session stout—and that’s about the best compliment we could give a beer. www.lefthandbrewing.com
- 2. Yeti Imperial Stout
Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver
Malt: 10 | Hops: 7 | ABV 9.5 percent
The folks at Great Divide aren’t kidding when they call Yeti “imposing” and “untamed.” Black and opaque in the glass, this imperial stout—a strong stout style first brewed in Russia in the 1800s—has both toasty malt flavors and a bold, strong hoppy character. Not for the faint of heart. www.greatdivide.com
- 3. Chocolate Stout
The Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins
Malt: 8 | Hops: 4 | ABV 5.3 percent
We’ll eat (or drink) just about anything that has “chocolate” in its name, but Fort Collins’ stout earns its place on our list of favorite chocolate treats. This brew won’t satisfy a sweet tooth, however—we’re talking dark chocolate here, with strong hints of coffee. With a sturdy malt backbone, this is a serious beer—with a surprisingly low ABV. www.fortcollinsbrewery.com
If we put together the perfect mix-six, here’s what it’d look like.
- Dale’s Pale Ale (Oskar Blues)
Our go-to beer, no matter what the season or activity.
- Cutthroat Porter (Odell)
Will make you rethink what you thought you knew about porters.
- India Pale Ale (Odell)
A balanced IPA that even non-hop-enthusiasts will enjoy.
- White Rascal (Avery)
A laid-back Belgian-style wheat beer; perfect for a warm afternoon.
- Milk Stout (Left Hand)
A smooth, refined, and easy-drinkin’ stout.
- Red Ale (Odell)
The beer that made us love red ales.