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Denver’s first locally made beer was released to rave reviews in 1859. Since then, the craft beer scene has only expanded, making the Mile High City a destination for brew seekers the world over. While picking a favorite brewery around here is like choosing your favorite child (or pet), some of the most notable watering holes in the city have risen above the rest for their outstanding beer lists, accolades, or just plain awesome taprooms. Here, 21 of our favorite breweries within the city limits.
Editor’s note: This is a living list that was last updated on July 28, 2022. Did we miss your favorite brewery? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkeley Alley Beer Co.
Taking a stroll through Denver’s alleyways is usually not recommended, unless it’s the one between Tennyson and Stuart streets, just south of 44th Avenue. There, you’ll find a micro-brewery (yes, it’s tiny, with less than 15 seats inside) serving up suds from a far-from-small menu. The Pucker Nuts, a concoction aptly named after its hints of lemon meringue and pistachio, is a favorite among Berkeley residents. For lovers of stronger ales, try the Belgian Special Dark, a rich and complex brew with notes of dark fruits, chocolate, and espresso. Enjoy it all from the cozy taproom where you can mingle with locals, or from the alleyway patio, where the people watching is prime. 4342 Tennyson St. —Barbara Urzua
A decade into high-ABV hegemony, Coloradoans searching for crispness and crushability are starting to have some lighter alternatives. RiNo-based Bierstadt raises a giant clinking stein to German-style suds. Its Slow Pour Pils is an excellent replacement for a Mexican lager when Coronas aren’t cutting through the swelter the way they used to. If you find yourself on Blake Street during an August triple-digit scorcher, Bierstadt’s tap-room, or “bierhalle” isn’t just ground zero for production—the cavernous space doubles as a kind of boozy Meow Wolf with multiple smaller bars spread throughout the warehouse, including a super-sized corn hole set up. This is where you’ll want to bring the whole squad to cool off and “hydrate.” 2875 Blake St.—Samuel Shaw
Bruz Off Fax
If you’re looking for a gritty Colfax Avenue watering hole, this ain’t it. Bruz Off Fax is a spare, chic, and welcoming spot—with a big, dog-friendly patio—on York Street, just a block away from a slightly sketchy iPhone screen repair shop and a Subway. Here, you’ll want to indulge your taste for Belgian-style ales—on a blazing summer evening recently, we enjoyed the 5.5 percent Dame Blanche, which is Bruz’s answer to Avery’s White Rascal, and the Till the Earth, a 6.5 percent saison brewed with spelt. If you’re a fan of sours, the Petit Peach Grisette has just enough to satisfy sour lovers, along with a delicious hint of Colorado’s very own sweet Palisade peaches. 1495 York St., Ste. 101 —Geoff Van Dyke
Call to Arms Brewing Company
Since 2015, Call to Arms has been a bastion of the Berkeley beer scene, gathering people together around its recessed, English pub–style bar and filling the adjacent parking lot with picnic tables, food trucks, and live music. On a sunny summer day, arrive as early as possible to snag a seat for your crew, then while away the hours sipping fresh takes on classics, like the Narnia of Partya kiwi Hefeweizen, or the I’m Too Drunk to Taste This Chicken, a fruity, tropical New Zealand–style hazy IPA. Brewer-owner Chris Bell, an alumnus of Boulder’s Avery Brewing, collaborates with local breweries often (you can find Goldspot and Joyride collabs on tap now), and reunited the Avery gang to create the Alumni Beer, a tart, tropical IPA brewed in collaboration with dozens of former employees. Because when it comes to crafting great beer, the more the merrier. 4526 Tennyson St.
As its name suggests, seven-year-old Cerebral prides itself on experimentation, and its commitment to reinvention has led to one of the best, most diverse draft lineups in the city. The tap list is hops-heavy, but even within that popular category fans will find seven offerings, from a Belgian pale ale (Northern Flowers) to a house hazy IPA (Rare Trait) to two different Foeder cold IPAs (Mobius Strip and Power User). The seemingly endless crush of patrons at the Congress Park brewery can also linger over lagers, sours, seltzers, darks, and specialty bottles, such as the Lucidity 01, which has been aged for 25 months in an oak barrel. With so much research going into the offerings, it’s no wonder that Cerebral needs more lab space: Later this year, it plans to open an 18,000-square-foot brewhouse in Aurora that will eventually house a second taproom, too. 1477 Monroe St. —Spencer Campbell
While Comrade’s wheat-and-sickle logo may come off as gauche these days, the brewery’s name harkens back to the camaraderie of the brewing industry, and maintains a high standard of using only American-made brewing equipment (one of only three breweries in the city to do so). Owner and brewer David Lin cut his teeth at Dry Dock before venturing out on his own in 2014—and within five years, he had earned the brewery a GABF award for Small Brewing Company of the Year for his formidable brews. Stop in to enjoy the gold-medal-winning Superpower IPA, a citrusy pour loaded with aromas of pine and grapefruit. 7667 E. Iliff Ave., Ste. F
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
One of Denver’s finest breweries also happens to have one of the most unassuming taprooms—or, to be more precise, one of the most unassuming taproom locations. Tucked into what one might generously call a small, industrial enclave on 46th Avenue in Sunnyside, legions of sour-beer aficionados make their respective pilgrimages to the small but warm and friendly taproom, which uses upcycled railroad box-car floors for the tables. The sours are the main event here, and the Golden Trance sour, a tangy and delicious 6-percent sipper served in a wine-style glass is a true summer treat. The Crooked Stave taproom also sells bottles and cans, so if you’re looking for a perfectly executed pilsner, grab a sixer of the Von Pils. If IPAs are more your style, try the Juicy West, a new West Coast–style IPA that is double dry hopped with Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic hops. 1441 W 46th Ave., Unit 19 —GVD
Denver Beer Co.
Rosedale, LoHi, and Arvada
Denver Beer Co. has always hit the right note when it comes to atmosphere. But its third location—which opened in March 2021 on Rosedale’s South Downing Street—feels like the best backyard party you’ve ever been to, and it feels like that all the time. With lots of umbrellas, a large awning that offers more shade, dozens of misters, a faux-grass area for the kids and doggos, and easy-listening tunes on the sound system, the vibe comes second only to the cold beer. Although there’s nothing better than an icy pint, Denver Beer Co.’s flight of five mini pours is a great way to sample before you upgrade to a full glass. Our flight of choice: Juicy Freak IPA, Incredible Pedal India Pale Ale, Love This City Pilsner, Graham Cracker Porter, and the Denver Gold Amber Lager. 2425 S. Downing St.; 1695 Platte St.; 5768 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada —LBK
Dos Luces Brewery
Move over, barley. At Dos Luces Brewery on South Broadway, corn is the grain of choice to craft its traditional Latin American-inspired drinks: Chicha and Pulque. The result is naturally gluten-free brews that come in a variety of rich flavors. Take the Micaela Cornwine—named after the wife of Peruvian rebel Túpac Amaru II, who led the first Peruvian Revolution alongside her husband—which is made from Colorado malted blue corn, Peruvian purple corn, and lime. It’s a delicate balance of earthy and tangy that’s the perfect accompaniment to taking in the greenery and large-scale Aztec and Mayan artwork that adorn the space. 1236 S. Broadway —BU
The Empourium Brewing Company
For the past three years, Empourium has been serving crisp, sessionable beers in the heart of Berkeley. Easily walkable to Tennyson Street’s many draws, this taphouse is a destination on the north end of the strip for those seeking clean and refreshing brews. We like sipping on one of the tart sours or a light and hoppy Dope IPA under the gaze of the taproom’s explosive red-and-orange mural, Ingredients, by Denver artist Drew Button, which the team invites you to consider as a blend of science and art, just like their brews. 4385 W. 42nd Ave.
Berkeley’s FlyteCo was founded in part by two pilots, whose influences are easy to see, from the names of the brews to the custom-built replica of a fuselage where brewery guests can have a seat. But we love FlyteCo for more than just its airplane-themed ambiance (though receiving your flight of beers on a plane-shaped carrier is pretty fun.) Try the Flyte Lyte, a crisp, light brew that’s highly crushable, or the Wilbur Wright’s Weizenbock, a dark wheat ale with notes of malt, banana, and clove. Plus, FlyteCo is opening a second location this August in what is perhaps the most astute spot: the air traffic control tower at the former Stapleton International Airport. 4499 W. 38th Ave., Ste. 101; 3120 Uinta St. (coming soon) —BU
The Grateful Gnome
The lineup of 12 beers at this four-year-old Berkeley bar offers a couple of hints to owner Daniel Appell’s undying allegiance to his alma mater: If the Huggy Lager or the Puck Fitt Pale Ale don’t tip you off, well, you’re probably a Pac-12 fan. Don’t worry, though; the Gnome isn’t only a haunt for West Virginia University grads who gather here en masse on fall game days. No, this brewery-slash-sandwich shop welcomes all comers with a casual vibe, tasty New Jersey–style deli fare, plenty of TVs, and lots of beer on tap. Order a meatball sandwich, the hoppy, West Coast–style Giggity IPA, and if John Denver’s “Country Roads” comes on the speakers, get ready to sing. 4369 Stuart St. —LBK
Novel Strand Brewing Co.
Nestled on a quiet street corner in Baker, Novel Strand just celebrated its fourth year offering innovative renditions of “classique” beers as well as experiments with complex hoppy flavors. That means there’s always a special concoction no matter what your hankering. Co-owners Chantel Columna, Ayana Coker, and Tamir Danon (who is also the head brewer) are a diverse lot hailing from the Dominican Republic, Israel, and the East Coast of the U.S., welcoming patrons of all stripes to imbibe their suds in this unpretentious locale. A true neighborhood hangout, Novel Strand takes the afternoon/evening shift in its shared space with Queen City Collective Coffee. Park yourself at an outdoor picnic table with the varied vittles served up from one of the rotating list of food trucks such as Urban Burma, Mukja, and Black Diamond APizza—and enjoy the procession of Baker dogs as they take their evening strolls. 305 W. 1st Ave. —Charli Ornett
Our Mutual Friend Brewing
Rub shoulders with the hippest beer drinkers in town (you’ll spot a man bun or a mustache before you order your second round) at RiNo’s industrial-chic Our Mutual Friend. The brightly painted, blue, red, and pink exterior is the first indication of the fresh flavors you’ll find inside—many of which are made with Colorado ingredients through a partnership with Fort Collins–based Troubadour Maltings, which creates custom malts from Colorado-grown grains. And the team’s innovation has paid off: OMF has received six GABF medals and a nod from the World Beer Cup. Look for a list of stellar saisons, lagers, and IPAs, most notably the guava- and mango-tinged Inner Light pale ale and the oaky and tart Saison Trystero, a mixed-culture, foeder-fermented saison. 2810 Larimer St.
Raíces Brewing Company
Three-year-old Raíces Brewing Co. is introducing Denverites to Latino culture—one pint at a time. Inside the sprawling, sunshine-drenched taproom, patrons can knock back award-winning lagers, pilsners, and other styles infused with flavors from Latin and South American, the Caribbean, and beyond. The tasty creations reflect the efforts of husband-and-wife founders José D. Beteta and Tamil Maldonado-Vega and head brewer Martín D. Vargas to educate customers about the vast diversity of Latino subcultures. Opt for pours of the Manguito (little mango), a bright and tropical porch pounder steeped with fresh fruit; La Raíz (root), a Mexican lager crafted to honor the struggles and successes of immigrants outside of their native lands; and the horchata ale, a cinnamon-kissed thirst quencher. Also be sure to check the brewery’s calendar, which is studded with events like shows by stand-up comic Ricky Ramos and salsa-dancing and yoga classes; and grab bites from any food truck that is parked outside (past favorites include Fritay Haitian Cuisine and Pupusas). 2060 W. Colfax Ave. —Patricia Kaowthumrong
Overland and RiNo
The OG location of Ratio, located in RiNo among a sudsy sea of other craft breweries, delivers the vibe you want when you’re reveling in a night out. But when you don’t need to feel hipper than you actually are, the second outpost of the seven-year-old brewery—which opened in Overland in Declaration Brewing Company’s old digs in January—is the perfect lean-back experience for picking and sipping your poison. Not only is the taproom big and airy with a long bar, lots of high-top seating, and several lower-slung tables, but there is also an expansive beer garden with round-tops as well as picnic tables. Plus, Ratio almost always has a food truck sidled up to the outdoor area, making there very little reason not to get a second (or third) round. Ratio’s beermakers have a background in German brews, but the roster is varied and sometimes includes seasonal selections, like this summer’s No Shade Pilsner, a staff favorite that’s light and crisp with a hoppy bite. Other popular flavors include the easy-drinking Domestica, a 4.9 percent ABV American Standard Ale, and the Repeater, a 6.1 percent extra pale ale with a strong malt backbone. 2030 S. Cherokee St.; 2920 Larimer St. —LBK
Station 26 Brewing Co.
At this northeast Park Hill brewery, you know what you’re going to get: A great IPA (Juicy Banger), a blissful summer ale (Tangerine Cream), or a chilled-back sipper (303 Lager). That dependability is probably why the former firehouse has remained a popular spot for families for nearly a decade: Why mess around with a new spot when you know you can savor a drinkable draft in a relaxed spot as the kids run between the picnic tables? But don’t let complacency lead you to sleep on innovative offerings outside of that Holy Trinity. The current menu’s Salt & Lime Lager and Cherry Limeade Sherbert, while completely different profiles, both taste like summer in pint glasses. 7045 38th Ave. —SC
Trve Brewing Co.
If you like the walls dark and the music loud, head to South Broadway’s heavy metal watering hole, Trve, which opened in 2012. Settle in beneath the gaze of pagan-inspired horned beings (depicted in pennants behind the bar) and pick your poison, which includes notable pours such as the Bloodaxe Nordic farmhouse ale infused with orange peel, or the super-hopped Return to the Void IPA. Those looking for a tongue-torturing experience can order fiery vittles from Fort Collins–born Music City Hot Chicken, which serves chile-coated tenders and sandwiches out of a window in the back. Safety lies in the mildly hot green chile blend, but true masochists should opt for the mouth-scorching Flammable Solid variety. Luckily there’s plenty of beer to ease the burn. 227 Broadway, #101
Wah Gwaan Brewing Co.
When co-owners Harsha Maragh and Jesse Brown founded Wah Gwaan in 2020, their shared experiences created a perfect storm for a successful Denver brewery. Maragh, a first-generation Jamaican-American, brings a love for roots and craft beer, while Brown, a Denver native, delivers a passion for homebrewing and a desire to provide a gathering place for the community. Together, they’ve created Wah Gwaan Brewing, which features an extensive tap list of creations infused with tropical ingredients (think: tamarind and Scotch Bonnet chiles); a gallery of colorful murals from renowned local artists like Chelsea Lewinski and Austin Zucchini-Fowler; and an events calendar packed with happenings like trivia nights and classes. Order the Boombastic, a silky brown ale with hints of almonds and vanilla. 925 W. 8th Ave. —BU
Woods Boss Brewing
At the heart of this sprawling brewery (which can pack in 180 people at a time) is a live-edge bar made from ethically sourced California Redwood. It’s just one of many forest-centric accents that carry the lodge theme of the brewery, but is also a symbol of community—Redwoods thrive in thick groves, and so do humans, the team points out on the website. And no crew is too large to gather at the oversized tables to enjoy a pint. The lineup of IPAs is impressive, with unique offerings such as the thick and juicy Figuring It Out double hazy brewed with lactose and pineapple, which clocks in at 8.1 percent ABV. For something lighter, go for the Start’n Early lager, a dry sipper with notes of fresh baked bread. 2210 California St.
Zuni Street Brewing Company
Walking into five-year-old Zuni Street Brewing feels like a breath of fresh air, due in part to the plethora of plants hanging from rafters above the bar and pumping oxygen throughout the indoor/outdoor space, which opens to inviting front and back patios with ample shade. Brewer-owner Willy Truettner honed his craft at both Bell’s Brewery in Michigan and New Belgium before striking out on his own to brew a well-rounded bevy of IPAs, sours, and ales—including several that have won GABF accolades. Look for hints of Truettner’s other hobbies in cheekily named brews like Lady Galadriale, an oak-barrel-aged sour with strawberries, and Sour Bombadale, with notes of fruit and rhubarb (as well as literary figures allegedly hidden around the brewery). 2355 W. 29th Ave.