Denver

The Best Breweries in Denver Right Now

The best of the best.

Courtesy of Crooked Stave
Courtesy of Crooked Stave
Courtesy of Crooked Stave

Anyone who’s ever heard of a lil’ city called “Denver” knows it’s a place that’s spoiled rotten with breweries (around 150 to be exact). And while the past couple of years has seen the bubble begin to burst with — gasp — closures of a few, some might say that means only the strong can survive.

Now, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t bask in RiNO patios of Ratio or Our Mutual Friend. Or visit the spot that started it all at Wynkoop. Or revel in blasphemy and fun at TRVE before heading to Station 26 for a fresh Juicer Banger or Comrade for a Superpower. Still, what follows, here, is a list of notable Denver beer makers for the here and now, all within the city limits. Whether they’re brand spankin’ new or are doing something remarkable, each and everyone deserves a visit sooner than later.

Courtesy of Cerebral Brewing
Courtesy of Cerebral Brewing
Courtesy of Cerebral Brewing

Cerebral Brewing

East Colfax
Cerebral purports to combine scientific methodology and an artistic viewpoint to every brew it churns out. The menu is constantly changing, with limited releases coming out nearly every couple of weeks. The beers are always creative, with a rotating cast of hard seltzers featuring flavors that generally trend towards the unusual. Think navel orange yuzu and raspberry lime.

Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales

South Broadway
Opened in 2014, Black Project has quickly become one of the Great American Beer Festival’s real darlings with its ever-changing menu of sour and wild-fermented beers. The room is generally dimly-lit, with a crowd that clearly knows what they’re doing. There’s a sour stout with blackberries, and several incredible dry-hopped renditions. While being informed by Lambic traditions, Black Project takes pride in forging its own path with each new release.

The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery
The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery
The Grateful Gnome Sandwich Shoppe & Brewery

The Grateful Gnome

Berkeley
The Grateful Gnome took its sweet time opening up, but it’s been worth the wait. There’s a sandwich shop, brewery, bar and a Grateful Dead listening party all together, all under one roof. You want food? There are 55 varieties of sandwiches, both hot and cold, including several varieties featuring Taylor Ham. The beer veers towards the traditional, with several varieties of IPAs being joined by the slightly more outlandish Lemon Raspberry Blonde.

Courtesy of Crooked Stave
Courtesy of Crooked Stave
Courtesy of Crooked Stave

Crooked Stave

Rino
Crooked Stave is another one of Denver’s great OGs of all things sour. Opened in 2010, the brewery has been serving a range of fruited, hopped and legitimately massive brews from within The Source. This is one of the city’s real institutions, and has always been emblematic of the community’s tendency towards keeping things on the cutting edge. To best understand the place, try the Nightmare’s On Brett, a giant dark ale aged in whiskey barrels. To further expand the experience, each beer has a list of well-considered food pairings with items like triple cream brie and duck confit displaying the decidedly culinarily oriented approach.

Oasis Brewery

West Highland
On a recent visit to Oasis, I got to chatting with the fellow next to me and he started talking about how, as a child in Colorado, he always remembered Oasis’s well-designed, Egypt-centric beer labels. And I was like, “Same!” Even though we couldn’t drink it at the time, many youths of the ‘90s remember well Oasis beers in the fridge. And, now, Oasis is back. Re-launched in November, the sleek space in the belly of an old church is a must-see. And the beers? The old recipes have returned-as have some new ones-and you’d be wise to try the Zoser Oatmeal Stout and the Ain’t That a Peach Cream Ale.

Odell Brewing RiNo Brewhouse
Odell Brewing RiNo Brewhouse
Odell Brewing RiNo Brewhouse

Odell Brewing Co.

Five Points and Sloans Lake
Wait, how can a Fort Collins brewery crack this list? Well, because the venerated Odell has staked ground on Larimer Street. And when one of the best breweries in the world-NAY, universe-lands in Denver, it’s worth shouting about. It’s new, intimate taproom boasts lots of Odell standards (90 Shilling, Easy Street Wheat, and so forth) but what makes it a destination is its small batch one-offs like big IPAs and tart sours. Recently Odell opened it’s Sloan’s Lake Brewhouse and Pizzeria, featuring a span of house-made pies that range from the more traditional into wilder interpretations including the Wild West with bison, chili verde, smoked gouda, mozzarella, and an olive oil base.

Long Table Brewhouse
Long Table Brewhouse
Long Table Brewhouse

Long Table Brewhouse

North Park Hill
Launching a brewery is no easy task, not least of all because maintaining some level of consistency early on is a rough task. Long Table has its shit together, though, and most of its beers are eminently drinkable, perhaps most notably the smooth English bitter. It’s stroller city, here, as you might imagine in this stretch of Park Hill but that doesn’t mean most of the dads aren’t ready to party in the taproom or out on the shaded patio.

Courtesy of Cervecería Colorado
Courtesy of Cervecería Colorado
Courtesy of Cervecería Colorado

Cerveceria Colorado

South Platte
Cerveceria Colorado is the Denver Beer Co’s answer to Mexican-style microbrewing. Taking all the experience of it’s sister brewery, the younger sibling produces some of the city’s most flavorful brews. There’s a churro stout and an horchata blonde ale, with the Cocolimon Coconut Lime Sour epitomizing summer with each drop.

Novel Strand Brewing Company

Baker
Novel Strand keeps a tight menu of beautifully executed brews made from exceptional ingredients and a general commitment for doing things the long way. The current list features collaborations with both Goldspot Brewing and Call to Arms Brewing. The complexity is perhaps best exemplified by the Third Time’s Ice Cream, which sees an oak fermented ale conditioned on hand sorted, whole fruit, organic blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. It is then naturally carbonated in kegs and bottles with the same microbes that created it.

Bruz Beers
Bruz Beers
Bruz Beers

Bruz Beers

Adams County
Bruz is a little off the beaten path but that works just fine for the style it’s continued to cultivate-crafting big, bold Belgian beers. The spot is large and polished, much like its beers. Divided into both sessionable and bigger Belgians, the ABV can reach as high as nearly 14 percent, with more creative varieties veering all the way out to a Kiwi Grapefruit Blonde.

 Briar Common Brewery + Eatery
Briar Common Brewery + Eatery
Briar Common Brewery + Eatery

Briar Common

Jefferson Park
When you step into Briar Common, it feels a little bit more like a restaurant than a brewery. While the beers are certainly reputable, the food menu is approached with a zeal that’s more advanced than many of its peers. There are duck tacos and ahi tuna poke, as well as curry salmon and a range of sturdy burgers. The beers are on point, too. Start with the Briar, an utterly crushable American pale ale.

Great Divide Brewing Company

Ballpark, Rino, Airport and Castle Rock
At least as far as Denver’s city limits go, it’d be hard to argue that there’s a brewery with a portfolio as impressive as Great Divide’s. Beer for beer, and year in and year out, the now four locations have served toothsome suds across the spectrum. So, now is as good of a time as ever to raise a glass at the cozy location near Coors Field or take a tour of the imposing, impressive facility on Brighton Boulevard, as well as enjoying members of the growing line as a preflight libation.

Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing
Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing
Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewing

Five Points
Heard of these guys before? It almost wouldn’t be worth pointing out the Fort Collins giant’s new stakes in Denver if they weren’t so damn impressive. As part of the Woods, a bar atop the Source Hotel, New Belgium is not only filling the taps with some of its favorites but is brewing a handful of special beers in a facility within the building. Best of all is the view of the Rockies, which provide a perfect backdrop for knocking back a Fat Tire.

Dos Luces Brewery

Platt Park
Dos Luces is by no means a traditional beer brewery, generally specializing in Peruvian and Mexican beverages including chicha, pulque, tepache and hard agua frescas. Though just to be clear, Dos Luces does serve beer, in fact, culled from some notable guest breweries. There’s nothing quite like this spot in Colorado and, perhaps, even in the United States.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Colin St. John is a Thrillist Contributor.

Colin Wrenn is a Thrillist Contributor.

Denver

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Denver This Year

For a successful St. Patrick's Day, hit these parades, barcrawls, parties, and festivals.

VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER
VISIT DENVER

Grab your green and your Guinness-St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and there’s fun to be had. In addition to being the first big celebratory holiday after New Year’s, St. Paddy’s is also a signal of spring; more hours of sunshine, T-shirt temps, and filling Blake, Market, and Larimer with drunken revelry make up a particularly Denver type of equinox. However you plan to celebrate-with family friendly activities or for those over the legal drinking age only-there are parades to be watched, playful drinks to be sipped, and a whole lot of shamrock-ing to do.

Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mile High Spirits

Dance a jig or two at Mile High Spirits’ Shamrock Shenanigans

March 17
If you’re ready to put your dancing shoes to good use, wiggle your way on over to Mile High Spirits-doors are opening at 12 pm and there’s no cover ‘til 10. Enjoy MHS’ drinks, big dance floor, and even bigger outdoor patio for all the Irish pride and shenanigans you can handle.

Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

Whip up steak for a St. Paddy’s Date Night

March 17
Cook Street’s special St. Paddy’s Day class involves making the perfect steak while sipping on Irish whiskey. On Friday only, learn about proteins, cooking methods, and choosing side dishes carefully while cooking up traditional Irish cuisine.

Crawl around town. You know, figuratively…

March 17 – 18
Is it a drinking holiday in Denver if there aren’t a handful of bar crawls happening? Probably not. St. Paddy’s Day is no different; you can start crawling from a number of bars, but a few in particular have everything plotted out for you (for a small fee). Start at the Ginn Mill and receive a map of over 10 pub locations you’ll be crawling to either Friday or Saturday, plus drink special vouchers. There’s also a crawl departing from Nola Jane (Friday only) with its own food and drink specials, plus a scavenger hunt and some St. Paddy’s merch, too.

The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat
The Fainting Goat

Visit one of Denver’s Irish Pubs

March 17 – 18
If you can’t think of a better place to spend St. Paddy’s Day then at a local Irish pub, we salute you-just be prepared to throw a few elbows making your way to the bar. Denver’s got several good ol’ pubs from Broadway to Larimer Square that’ll be in full swing this weekend, pouring fresh pints as far as the eye can see. Check out Scruffy Murphy’s, Nallen’s, The Irish Rover, Finley’s, The Celtic on Market, or the Fainting Goat for that SPD revelry you know, love, and trekked out for.

Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square
Photo courtesy of The OG/McGregor Square

Sip and savour St. Paddy’s themed bevvies

Through March 17
Everyone pulls out the green food dye and mint flavouring for St. Paddy’s, but there are some other creative drink specials to sample, too. The OG’s got a boozy milkshake for the occasion, aptly named “Who’s Your Paddy,” a mix of vanilla ice cream, Crème de Menthe, Tullamore Dew, Bailey’s, and whipped cream. BEZEL’s Irish Matcha Man is pretty unique, with Teeling Small Batch whiskey, lime, thyme-infused honey, and matcha powder. And then Slater’s 50/50 takes it to another level (unsurprisingly) with its Lucky Mint Green Shake: mint-flavored ice cream in a frosting-rimmed glass with Lucky Charm marshmallows, rainbow stripe sour strips, whipped cream and green sprinkles. Other notable specials can be found at Poka Lola Social Club, Dairy Block’s Moo Bar, and Seven Grand.

Sing along and cheers to live music

March 17
Denver’s The Monkey Barrel is known for its regular live performances, and this St. Patrick’s Day you can tune in to Elijah Petty & The Part-Times and other musical guests if you’re in search of a chiller spot to sip your Guinness. Or, have one of the best burgers in town while relishing the shenanigans and live music of Cherry Cricket Cherry Creek this St. Paddy’s Day. Food and drink specials will also be available through the holiday weekend, so leave extra room or wear your stretchy (green) pants.

HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series
HRCA Race Series

Show your St. Paddy’s spirit by… running?

March 18
Feeling restless? Or maybe you’re itching to get a few laps in before hammering down several pints this Saturday? Either way, Highlands Ranch is hosting its St. Patrick’s Day 5K where finishing the race gets you St. Patrick’s Day merch, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, and of course, a complimentary pint courtesy of Living the Dream Brewing.

Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company

Drink and do good at Holidaily Brewing Co.

March 17
This St. Paddy’s Day, Holidaily and the Gluten Intolerance Group are putting on their Raise a Pint, Lend a Hand fundraiser. A special glitter and green Firkin tapping is happening at 4 pm at both taprooms, with special (and gluten-free) treats available at the Golden location, thanks to Farmhouse 5280 and Waive the Grain bakery. 10% of all St. Patrick’s Day sales will be donated to the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery
Talnua Distillery

Party at a local distillery

March 17 – 18
Talnua Distillery is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day bash to remember this year, featuring food trucks, live music, special themed cocktails, and more. Limited bottles of Talnua’s exclusive Olde Saint’s Keep whiskey will be available for purchase, which you can hang onto while you dance along to pipe bands or eat a brat or two from El Jefe’s.

Watch some Irish step dancing

March 17
Head on over to Stanley Marketplace to witness the talent and skill of the students at the Wick School of Irish Dance at 12 pm, and follow it up with a green cerveza at Cheluna Brewing Co. Of course, plenty of tasty lunch and dinner options are available around the marketplace so you can soak up a bit of that beer.

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Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.

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