When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, us Denverites are on board with any excuse to drink great beer. And while revelers around the country will turn to Guinness (or worse, the dreaded green beer) to wet their whistles this Thursday, here in Colorado, we’ll take a decidedly more local approach to imbibing. Here, our favorite bold and festive local brews for St. Paddy’s sipping.

Barrel Aged Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company

You know and love Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout. It’s intensely bitter up front, with notes of dark-roast coffee that mellow into sweet, smooth malty-ness as it warms. But this recent release from one of Denver’s power players brings a new element to the party. After aging in oak whiskey barrels for a year, this stout offers a faint whisper of oak-y notes and a kick of whiskey with every sip.

Pairs well with: Your outdoor barbecue

This intense stout will hold it’s own alongside grilled meats and rich foods. It packs an intense bitter whiskey punch that is not for the faint of palate. But this limited-release mellows as it comes closer to room temperature, making it the perfect party-sipper.

American Bold Ale from Vindication Brewing Company

Vindication brewer Marty Lettow describes this aptly-named brew as a “post-IPA.” It packs a heavy dose of hops that you’ll notice right up front, but it’s offset with equally abundant malt. The resulting beer is bold and hoppy but magnificently balanced. The initial bitter punch gives way to fruity, caramel-y smoothness for an intense, light-bodied ale that goes down easy.

Pairs well with: A ploughman’s cheese and pickle sandwich

This St. Patty’s Day, mix it up by pairing this American ale with some traditional English fare. The ploughman’s pickle sandwich typically comes with veggies, Branston Pickle (a sweet, vinegar-y English condiment), and sharp cheddar. The ploughman’s sandwich is hard to find in Denver, but you can get one in burger form at Pints Pub in the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

Lips of Faith Blackberry Barley Wine from New Belgium Brewing Company

After 25 years in business, Fort Collin’s New Belgium Brewing Company has released its very first barley wine. Barley wine is technically a classification of beer—but it sure doesn’t taste like one. This blackberry variety is sweet, malty, fruity, and very alcoholic. Unlike some thick barley wines, Lips of Faith is an easy drinker with a dry finish—perfect for your St. Patty’s festivities. At 10 percent ABV, it’s definitely a party beverage.

Pairs well with: Sweet treats and good conversation

Try pairing this intense and sweet beer with cheesecake or ice cream. It’s not for guzzling, so drink slowly and savor.

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.