Issue: February 2013
Tags: Wynkoop Brewing Co., Wit’s End Brewing, Vine Street Pub & Brewery, Trve Brewing Co., Strange Brewing Co., Rock Bottom Brewery, River North Brewery, Renegade Brewing Co., Prost Brewing Co., Pints Pub, Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew, Hogshead Brewery, Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver ChopHouse, Denver Beer Co., crooked stave artisan beer project, Craft Beer, Copper Kettle Brewing Company, Caution: Brewing Co., Bull & Bush Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Blue Moon Brewing Co., Black Shirt Brewing, beer
The Ultimate Guide to Craft Brewing in Denver
If drinking beer is good, drinking freshly brewed beer straight from the source is even better. Lucky for all of us suds lovers, there are 22 craft breweries, serving hundreds of inventive beers, right within our fair city’s limits. Pull up a stool and taste the revolution.
Wit’s End Brewing
Tucked into an industrial office park just south of Highway 6 between Federal Boulevard and I-25, Wit’s End Brewing isn’t exactly following the location-location-location axiom. And yet the brewery—which is more reminiscent of a residential garage than your average taproom—has a cheery vibe, which is attributable to the fact that brewer Scott Witsoe (see page 47) greets each patron with a handshake and a smile. The tap list will please the beer-geek crowd (how often do you see a Belgian oatmeal IPA?), but you don’t need a Ph.D. in brewing to drink at Witsoe’s joint—only an open mind.
You’re Drinking: Ambition, Witsoe’s alcoholic ode to a strong cup of black coffee
You’re Listening To: Arcade Fire
If You Go: 2505 W. Second Ave., Unit 13, 303-459-4379, witsendbrewing.com
Denver ChopHouse & Brewery
If it’s possible for a bar to feel both chaotic and intimate at the same time, the vibe at the Denver ChopHouse & Brewery is just that. Although a well-heeled LoDo crowd bustles about and the large HD TVs display the game du jour, the ChopHouse’s low lighting, long granite bar, and ’30s-era jazz and blues tunes keep things cozy. Situated a block south of Coors Field in the historic Union Pacific Building, this longtime citadel of steak is often overlooked when locals think about craft beer. But during a time when obscure pours seem to be the new norm in Denver, the ChopHouse’s more obvious and approachable lineup (pale, red, and wheat ales) can taste refreshing.
You’re Drinking: The easy-drinking Red Ale
You’re Listening To: Jazz, from the likes of Duke Ellington
If You Go: 1735 19th St., 303-296-0800, chophouse.com
Wynkoop Brewing Company
The fact that our governor founded this LoDo institution in the late ’80s makes this place endlessly cool. Even without its historical cachet, Wynkoop Brewing Company would be easy to like. There’s the large pool hall and bar upstairs; a bar with abundant seating and TVs downstairs; and a dinner menu packed with pub-style comfort food like bangers and mash. And—and!—the ’Koop has roughly 14 rotating taps, which range from approachable (Rail Yard Ale) to hoppy (Mile HiPA) to adventurous (Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, anyone?).
You’re Drinking: Mile HiPA, a pleasant India pale ale
You’re Listening To: Classic rock
If You Go: 1634 18th St., 303-297-2700, wynkoop.com
River North Brewery
Technically, River North Brewery isn’t located in Denver’s up-and-coming River North neighborhood, but we’re not keeping score—especially since this year-old spot captures much of the zeitgeist of Denver’s thriving brewing scene. Like other breweries in Denver—many of which have been erected as neighborhood gathering spots more akin to your local coffeeshop than a rowdy sports bar—the crowd has that I’m-here-because-they-just-tapped-a-new-Belgian-ale atmosphere. Simply stated: It’s a bit beer nerdy. But River North is also casual and friendly, and the beer...well, there’s a sticker on the wall that sums it up nicely: No crap on tap.
You’re Drinking: The straightforward J. Marie Saison, a great introduction to the style
You’re Listening To: The Beatles
If You Go: 2401 Blake St., Unit 1, 303-296-2617, rivernorthbrewery.com