Front Range

Tapped Out

Denver's craft brewing scene is poised to grow—exponentially.

July 2011

As host of the 29-year-old Great American Beer Festival, Denver has long been viewed as an epicenter of brewing. But if we’re being honest, the city’s beer scene paled in comparison to brewing juggernauts like Boulder, Fort Collins, and Portland, Oregon. Sure, we have a few esteemed breweries like Wynkoop, Great Divide, Bull & Bush, and a couple of Breckenridge Brewery outposts, but the taprooms are often so packed it’s difficult to get a pint.

Recognizing the pent-up demand, a wave of breweries has opened its doors in town over the past couple years. There was Del Norte in 2007, then Strange Brewing in 2010. This year, a quartet of breweries is coming to the Mile High City. Despite facing rents that are often higher than the suburbs, all these new breweries said location was a priority—and they wanted to be in the center of it all.

“We advertise Denver as the Napa Valley of Beer,” says Charlie Berger, the co-founder of Denver Beer Co., which opens in Lower Highland this month. “But we want to have little breweries like ours to add to the culture. It’s what makes cities like Portland what they are.” But isn’t he worried about the new and old competition? “No—craft beer drinkers,” Berger says, “are promiscuous drinkers.”

    Copper Kettle Brewing Company

    Opened: April
    Location: Southeast Denver
    Vibe: Laid-back coffeeshop
    Brews to Try: Mexican Chocolate Stout, Imperial Red
    Bites: Food trucks on some weekends
    1338 S. Valentia St., Unit 100, 720-443-2522, www.copperkettledenver.com

    Renegade Brewing Company

    Opened: June
    Location: Santa Fe art district
    Vibe: Sunny taproom in a historic building
    Brews to Try: Ryeteous (rye IPA), Una Mas (Mexican amber lager)
    Bites: Food trucks like QuieroArepas
    925 W. Ninth Ave., 720-401-4089, www.renegadebrewing.com

    Caution Brewing Company

    Opened: June
    Location: Northeast Denver
    Vibe: Caution is only a production brewery for now; try the beers at Lao Wang Noodle House
    Brews to Try: Lao Wang Lager
    Lao Wang Noodle House, 945 S. Federal Blvd., Unit D, 303-975-2497; Caution Brewing, www.caution brewing.com

    Denver Beer Company

    Opening: July
    Location: Lower Highland
    Vibe: German beer garden with big picnic tables
    Brews to Try: German Rauchbier (smoked lager), IPA, and Saison
    Bites: “Hilariously large” Bavarian pretzels
    1695 Platte St., 303-433-2739, www.denverbeerco.com