Last Friday, I had the (ahem) onerous task of picking 5280’s favorite beer at Brew at the Zoo , an annual fundraising event for the Denver Zoo  where people get to ogle at the giraffes, tigers, and elephants while sipping beers and sampling food. Tough job.
While I still love the six beers we selected for the second “5280 Six Pack ” and that were on tap at 5280’s booth, I couldn’t spend all night there, especially with samples from more than 30 breweries to try.
Old standbys, like Dale’s Pale Ale, didn’t disappoint. But I was even more impressed with suds coming from Colorado’s youngest breweries (Copper Kettle, Denver Beer Company, and more). These are my six favorites.
Copper Kettle Brewing Company , Imperial Red
I know better than to start the evening with a 7 percent ABV beer, but this Red just looked so lovely in my glass. It tasted even better.
Dry Dock Brewing Company , Apricot Blonde Ale
This brew is a 5280 favorite , and the just-pungent-enough apricot flavor helped drown out some of the zoo’s less appealing smells. This pour made me want to go home and bake a pie.
Denver Beer Company , Fresh Hop IPA
I was going to give this newcomer brewery some time to develop its line until I tasted the oh-so-fresh IPA. Well, the trial period is over. This brew tasted like they’ve produced it for years.
Elk Mountain Brewing , Saison
Parker has a brewery? Indeed. And if the taproom has this effervescent Saison on tap, try it. You’ll thank me.
Renegade Brewing Company , Ryetous Rye IPA
I came back for seconds of this beer, which helps update Colorado’s obsession with IPA. Hop heaven in a glass.
Ska Brewing , Special E.S.B.
An oldie but goodie, this slightly bitter brew was even better than normal at the zoo. Maybe it was the hint-of-fall temperature. Or, maybe it is just a really solid beer.
BONUS: Can you guess what my favorite is? The winner will have its very own ad in November’s issue. Stay tuned.