I have a simple palate. And when it comes to beer, my palate and I have almost always preferred easy-drinking, easy-on-the-wallet lagers to heavier, more complex brews. But when I left behind my days (and nights) of chugging PBR in New Mexico for a gig at 5280, I felt pressured—obligated, even—to try all the bold brews made here, lest I be ridiculed for drinking “water.” So, I sipped on local sours, stouts, and saisons. I downed Centennial State IPAs. I spent more money than I care to confess at area breweries, hunting for my new favorite beer.

Then, late one evening at Don’s Club Tavern, I found the brew I’d been searching for: a $2.50 Coors Banquet stubby. Maybe it’s the Rocky Mountain water. Maybe it’s the Moravian barley. Maybe it’s the way the golden liquid flows from its squat, dark brown vessel. Regardless, 140-year-old Coors Banquet is the most refreshing Colorado beer I’ve ever tasted—and I’m not alone. Connoisseurs (including local newsman Kyle Clark) and brewers alike tout its supremacy. “Banquet feels like the original brew,” says Jason zumBrunnen, co-founder and brewmaster at Denver’s Ratio Beerworks. “It has just the right amount of malt and a little more body than other light beers.”

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Even though Molson Coors Beverage Company decamped its HQ to Chicago late last year, its OG beer is still being brewed in Golden. And whether I’m on the ski hill, at a dive bar, or shopping at my local liquor store, it’s the beer I’m proud to return to—the beer that made Colorado my home.

Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard is a Denver-based writer and a former editor on 5280's digital team.