If drinking beer is good, drinking freshly brewed beer straight from the source is even better. Pull up a stool and taste the revolution.
Copper Kettle Brewing Company
Head southeast on Leetsdale Drive, and not far from the Aurora border, in a nondescript strip mall, you’ll find Copper Kettle Brewing Company. Local beer lovers should make the short trip because Copper Kettle feels a little like Cheers, if Cheers were an indie nanobrewery in a slightly out-of-the-way location. Everyone seems to know everyone else’s name; the barkeeps are genuinely friendly; and, well, the beer is surely better than whatever Sam was pouring. Check out the award-winning Mexican Chocolate Stout—brewed with dark chocolate cocoa nibs, cinnamon bark, and three different kinds of chiles. It’s as delicious and complex as just about any beer you’ve ever tasted. Trust us.
You’re Drinking: Mexican Chocolate Stout, or CKBC’s Black IPA, which isn’t as aggressive as many of the palate wreckers out there
You’re Listening To: The Rolling Stones; Crosby, Stills & Nash
If You Go: 1338 S. Valentia St., Unit 100, 720-443-2522, copperkettledenver.com
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
The Crooked Stave taproom and barrel cellar, located in a warehouselike building north of the Highland neighborhood, isn’t going to win any awards for ambience. Webs of metal protect the outside of the room’s two small windows, and the cream-colored walls and low-slung ceiling are about as inviting as a doctor’s exam room. Pull up a chair at the bar, however, and you’ll soon forget about the stolid atmosphere, because Crooked Stave makes some riotously good beer. Brewer Chad Yakobson specializes in sour brews, which he ages in just about any kind of barrel he can find—bourbon, Cognac, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay. The results are often nothing short of divine. Fair warning: Craft beer newbies might find some of the offerings to be an acquired taste.
You’re Drinking: A single sip of the golden sour L’Brett d’Or compelled us to declare, “This might be perfect.”
You’re Listening To: Jack White
If You Go: 1441 W. 46th Ave., Unit 19, 720-508-3292, crookedstave.com
Blue Moon Brewing Company at the SandLot
You could drink a Silver Bullet at the next Rockies game—it is Coors Field, after all. But why would you when you’ve got a microbrewery right in the stadium? Beer snobs will point out that the now mass-produced Blue Moon was created here, but the taps are constantly changing and these brewers love to experiment. On top of that, you can’t argue with the 40 medals this unique little operation has garnered at the Great American Beer Festival. We only wish it were open year-round, instead of just during baseball season.
You’re Drinking: Our favorite from last season was the Farmhouse Red Ale, which the brewery plans to release this year under the name Short Straw.
You’re Listening To: The Rockies game
If You Go: 2197 Blake St., 303-298-1587, bluemoonbrewingco.com
Prost Brewing Company
It was only a matter of time until someone opened a German-style brewhouse in Denver. This past summer, Bill Eye, the former brewmaster at Aurora’s Dry Dock Brewing, did just that—and he nailed it. Prost’s brewing equipment is from Germany; the taproom feels like an indoor, European-style beer garden, with German flags draped from the ceiling and long, communal tables; and the kegs are filled with no-nonsense German-style suds. The crowd is nonchalant—on a recent visit we found two dudes playing Yahtzee at the bar—and the best seat in the house is on the patio, from which there’s a striking view of the Denver skyline.
You’re Drinking: Prost Pils, one of our favorite local takes on this classic beer style
You’re Listening To: Journey
If You Go: 2540 19th St., 303-729-1175, prostbrewing.com