Breweries to try in Colorado

Discussion in 'Mountain' started by Roadkizzle, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (219) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    In July my wife and I will be taking a vacation for a week in Colorado. We'll be sleeping in Fort Collins but we're open to going to all of the cities around Denver.

    I'm trying to figure out what breweries or beers to look out for though.

    We like IPAs and sour beers but very rarely partake in them. I'm also not a fan of the vast majority of flavored beers.

    I am looking for almost every other style of beer though.
    Bierstadt Lagerhaus will be a guarantee and I know there is the other thread for other lagers to look for.

    Are there any good English style beers? I've been looking for good bitters and milds.
  2. dauss

    dauss Champion (868) Aug 9, 2003 Colorado
    Society Industry

    Hogshead has the best cask beers. Ordinary bitters, best bitters, milds, London porter, old ale, they got it all.

    Head to Comrade for great beer-flavored beer
  3. travis224

    travis224 Initiate (179) Jul 24, 2010 Colorado

    Yeah, Hogshead is your best bet for English style beers. They should have some bitters and milds on tap, and they're excellent. Maybe Bull & Bush has some English beers right now, but I'm not sure. If they don't, it's probably the coolest English style pub in Denver, great food, and beers too. Dry Dock has a mild on sometimes, which is excellent but check their website to see if it's on tap when you're around. If you're staying in Ft. Collins, going to New Belgium and O'Dells is super fun. In terms of Denver, here's where I'd recommend in terms of general incredible beer and quality, in no particular order.

    1. Cerebral
    2. TRVE
    3. Comrade
    4. Hogshead
    5. Our Mutual Friend
    6. Seedstock (they fly under the radar but make excellent Eastern European lagers, some ales too)
    7. Bierstadt Lagerhaus

    That's my 2 cents. Other people have different favorites, but if you hit up most of those, you've done Denver right, at least in my opinion.
  4. travis224

    travis224 Initiate (179) Jul 24, 2010 Colorado

    Oh, and if you're looking for great sours, although TRVE and Cerebral will probably have some, Black Project is great. And if you're going there I always recommend people check out Dos Luces. One of the more unique drinking experiences in the US, I'd imagine.
    Roadkizzle likes this.
  5. considerbeer

    considerbeer Initiate (38) Dec 15, 2016 Colorado

    Given what you’re looking for, and since you’re staying in Fort Colllins, it is very important that you go to Zwei Brewing.
  6. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,637) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    For English beers, Hogshead is the #1 choice. By a large margin. That's nearly all they do and they do it extremely well. Their stuff is as legit as it gets on this side of the Atlantic.
    Right now Dry Dock has their ESB and helles on. They aren't necessarily English or German themed, but those two beers are both multi-time GABF/WBC award winners. If they happen to have their mild on, it is too.
    Bull & Bush would be next. They always have at least 3 English style beers and probably a tap or two from the UK as well. Like Dry Dock, they've won a pile of medals over the years for their flagships. Their advantage over everyone is their food. It's great. Even beer geeks will go there just to eat.
    Pint's Pub downtown would probably be 4th. Their quality is up and down since they don't turn stuff over quickly enough. The atmosphere is always great, though. If you catch them on a good day, you'll feel like you're in London. If you catch them on a bad day you'll want to leave immediately.

    Up in FoCo, Zwei does both German and English beers wonderfully. They're a very easy first choice.
    I'd go with Coopersmith's next. They have English beers, old school American craft beers, and good food, too.
  7. f8met

    f8met Initiate (62) Jun 27, 2014 United Kingdom (England)

    In Fort Collins If you want English style real ale then Mcclellan have 6 hand pumps. Beer is ok but not amazing.

    Funkwerks do some good sours and I would suggest going to Greely, 30 minutes or so from fort Collins for weldweks and Wiley wood.

    New belgium do a great tour as do Avery in boulder which has a great taproom. Verboten in Loveland and left hand in Longmont are also worth a visit in my opinion.
  8. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (476) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Beat me to it...

    I’ll always recommend Equinox as well as Funkwerks. Stop into the Tap and Handle for the best tap and bottle list you’ve ever seen... the food is tasty too.

    While you’re here, definitely try the Colorado Lager from Odell and thank me later.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  9. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (219) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    Thanks everyone for the replies. The wife and I just got back and enjoyed our trip. We went up to the mountains a couple of days and spent the majority of the rest of the time visiting breweries.

    So in all where we ended up:
    - Black Bottle (stumbled upon it after buying cigars)
    - Bought the Grimm Brothers Kotbusser six pack
    - New Belgium
    - Odell
    - Prost
    - Rally King
    - Westbound & Down
    - Hogshead
    - Bierstadt
    - Zwei
    - Equinox
    - Red Truck
    - Snowbank

    I had a number of really good beers on this trip.

    My favorite place was probably Prost.

    I can go into further details about my experiences at these places if it's desired.
  10. considerbeer

    considerbeer Initiate (38) Dec 15, 2016 Colorado

    I would love to hear a few more of your highlights if you don't mind. It can be kind of an echo chamber around here, so it would be cool to read what else stood out from an outsider's perspective.
    Bitterbill and ManBearPat like this.
  11. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (219) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    Well to start we got drunker than expected Monday.
    Black Bottle was enjoyable, we had good chips and salsa and flat bread. The beer was decent. I started out with their rice lager which was probably the beer I thought was most interesting there. We also tried their IPA, dunkelweizen, porter, and a couple of other beers. They were pretty good but I was expecting the IPA to be hoppier we got a crowler of it to go with our cigars.

    Then we got the Kotbusser from Grimm. It was more accurate to my understanding of the style than the other example I've had but it was not really what I was wanting.

    Tuesday my wife was not feeling good all morning so we went up the mountains for a bit going to Glen Haven.
    Coming back we went to New Belgium and had a handful of small pours. It was a cool place but I was surprised someplace that big didn't have their own kitchen.
    I really enjoyed the Dubbel it's been the most enjoyable American made one that I've had in a long time. I also enjoyed the Single and the lagers I had of theirs.

    Then we walked to Odell and had a few small pours there. I know we had a cacao fruit IPA and I think the Carter's Kölsch then the 5 barrel and something else then I had the Cloud Catcher. I also drank the 90 Shilling this trip.
    Odell was a cool brewery. Great place to hang out but my favorite beers were still the 5 Barrel and 90 Shilling.

    Then we walked to Prost Fort Collins. I had the Altbier and Munich Dunkel while my wife had the Keller Pils and Helles. The Altbier was more like a Münster Alt I think but it was good. The Dunkel was great. The Keller Pils had a great malty and hoppy flavor but the low carbonation made the flavors taste muddled. The Helles was very good.

    Then we took a long break and walked to Rally King from our room that evening. The Dark Ale was full bodied at 4.3% abv but really sweet and difficult for me to drink. Their other beers were higher ABV and we didn't really enjoy them all that much.

    That ended our Tuesday.

    I'll continue when I have time our Wednesday and Thursday travails where we went up to Mount Evans and around Denver.
  12. FarmerTed

    FarmerTed Aspirant (209) May 31, 2011 Colorado

    Prost is definitely on an upswing now. I've gotten two sixers of the pils over the last few weeks, and both have been good. I also got a sixer of the kolsch, and it is kickass. I had a sixer of the weisse earlier in the summer, and it was also really good. I hope they can keep it up, their first year or so of packaged beers was great, then they went straight down the shitter.
  13. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (219) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    So Wednesday we were feeling better so we had bigger plans. This may be my most controversial day.

    We started by driving up Mount Evans which was gorgeous.

    On the way down we were hungry because we hadn't eaten much so we stopped in Idaho Springs for lunch. We ended up going to:
    Westbound and Down. Very interesting place very modern restaurant feel. Very good food I had the bratwurst pita taco and it had great grill toasty flavors.
    We only had 1 beer each, a hefe and a Belgian table beer. They were both very good.
    My wife wants to go back here.

    Then we drove into Denver and went to:
    -Hogshead, I stuck with their cask ales so they were all versions of English pale ales. I had the AK Ordinary Bitter, the Boys Bitter, and Chin Wag their ESB.
    I really liked the beer and the English hoppiness of the bitters. But back to back I really couldn't differentiate the AK and the Boys they seemed interchangable just different ABVs. The ESB was less hoppy and bitter but maltier. I liked it a lot but was thankful it didn't seem all that caramelly which was good.
    I liked the beers a lot but I didn't think they had as much drinkability as I wanted. The hops used and bitterness weigh heavily on my palate.

    Then we went to Bierstadt. I've been asking about the Slow Pour in the Germany section. Suffice to say I didn't really think their Pils was all that special. It was soft but it was oh so light tasting. It was much lower on the malt and hop flavors than most any pilsners I drank in Germany. Its malt and hops tasted good but just very light. That doesn't mean to me that it's any better than other versions.
    I also had the Dunkel and the Helles and I thought they were great. But with the amount of hype the Slow Pour Pils has I was really disappointed that the main discriptors I had for it were light, crisp, and soft.

    Then on the way back to Fort Collins we stopped at Zwei. I know I had the Pils and schwarzbiers and some others. They were good but not as good as other places.

    Moving onto Thursday. This was our last day and we just wanted to keep it easy. So the plan was to go back to Prost but otherwise not do much.

    We went to downtown Fort Collins and ended up getting some street vendor pho.

    We were near Equinox so stopped in there. I really enjoyed their golden ale and Purposterous Noximus. We also had the rye IPA, hefeweizen, imperial hefeweizen, porter, and Dubbel. I wasn't a fan of the Dubbel but the others were quite good.

    Then we walked to Prost. I again enjoyed it. I personally preferred the regular Pils over the Keller Pils because it was crisp.

    Then we walked the long way to New Belgium.

    We had a quick break at Odell which is when I had the 90 Shilling.

    We saw Red Truck Brewing. I hadn't heard of them but we stopped to grab a bite to eat and I had the Red Pilsner which was decent.
    Next door was Snowbank where I ordered their lager and got that and an accidental pour of their Snow Juice hazy IPA. My wife had the dillicious cucumber sour. They were pretty good.

    Last we made it to New Belgium for one last small pour. I already talked about them though.
  14. FarmerTed

    FarmerTed Aspirant (209) May 31, 2011 Colorado

    Slow Pour gets better the more you drink. It isn't a sampling beer, it is a beer you need to drink a lot of.
  15. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (219) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    That is the thing. I only have this one data point on these breweries. I don't know how things have changed over the years. I also only really drank beers on tap so I have no idea how any of their packaging systems are because that has a big effect on distributed beers.
  16. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,637) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Interesting that you describe Prost's Altbier as being more of a Münster Alt. I don't think that's intentional.
    I have been told by a few different people that they have turned things around in a big way, so I'm not shocked you really liked them.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  17. VoodooBear

    VoodooBear Crusader (703) Aug 25, 2012 Puerto Rico

    Agree on the Slow Pour Pils. I absolutely loved Bierstadt and every single beer was awesome. Slow Pour wasn't really a highlight though.
    Bitterbill and Roadkizzle like this.
  18. FarmerTed

    FarmerTed Aspirant (209) May 31, 2011 Colorado

    When the first started packaging in sixers, their pils and dunkel were killer. Not too long after, the brewmaster left. I know they initially hired someone from AB, and I'm not sure if he was they guy to blame, but suddenly their QC went straight to shit. I probably got a 8-10 six packs that either were diacetyl bombs, infected, or just horribly oxidized from bad packaging and low fills. I kept buying their beers because some sixers were good, and I really loved their beers. I finally stopped, but have given them another chance this summer since they've re-done their packaging.

    Even now, they don't have packagings dates (that I can find). They used to date their bottles, but stopped a few years ago. So that is bothersome. When they are on, they sell the best lagers I can get in stores. I almost never go to Denver, so drinking at the brewery is not an option for me.
    Bitterbill and Roadkizzle like this.
  19. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Aspirant (219) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    The Helles and the Dunkel were both very good but I thought the ones from Prost were just as good and I enjoyed the Pils there more.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  20. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,386) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I was getting diacetyl as recently as last years maibock. I didnt see bottles anywhere this year and it makes me wonder if there was an issue this year.
  21. poopinmybutt

    poopinmybutt Initiate (106) May 25, 2005 Nebraska

    i thought about making a new thread as it is a different general area but maybe i'll just try piggybacking on to this one...any must visits in summit county other than outer range? i'm going to be staying in frisco next weekend and will obviously be spending a lot of time there, but was wondering if any of the other breweries in the area are worth hitting up?
  22. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,637) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Funny enough, most of them are pretty good. Baker's and Broken Compass for sure. Pug's has pretty good lagers. The Dam's stuff is old school, but good for what it is.
    I've heard good things about Angry James, but I've never been. I don't know anything about Highside either.
    poopinmybutt likes this.
  23. poopinmybutt

    poopinmybutt Initiate (106) May 25, 2005 Nebraska

    good to hear, thank you!
  24. rikarmstrong

    rikarmstrong Initiate (81) May 14, 2015 Colorado

    +1 for Highside in Frisco. Their Nitro Silent Bob (7.0% Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout) was fantastic!
  25. wd09601

    wd09601 Initiate (88) Jul 29, 2012 Maryland

    Wibby brewery in Longmont is pumping out a ton of great beers. Their regular dunkel is one of the easiest and most delicious beers to drink.
  26. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I thought I'd share my notes from my recent visit to Colorado. I've been to 217 breweries throughout the and the world, Colorado moves into second for most breweries visited with 20. Cheers and come try our VA beer sometime.

    Breweries visited on this trip, ranked:

    1. Casey Brewing and Blending, Glenwood Springs. World class sours, an awesome DIPA collaboration with WEldwerks, a very good imperial stout, funny and dynamic tour guide. One of my favorite brewery visits ever, in spite of my cranky 12 year old begging to leave.

    2. Wiley Roots, Greeley. I was a little skeptical about a frozen slushy beer, but wow, really good. Yummy fruited sours. Pastry stout was very good. Didn't try their hoppy offerings. Nice vibe playing the indie rock hits.

    3. Knotted Root, Nederland. For a brewery open less than three weeks, these guys are on fire. I liked their beers as much as Weldwerks’ beers, and i liked the vibe much better. Nice folks working there too. My wife really liked the Dead stuff they were playing. And though I'm not a big Dead fan, you could do a lot worse.

    4. Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Denver. If every pils were as good as their slow pour pils, i'd drink three or four pilsners a year instead of none. Food was tasty too.

    5. Weldwerks, Greeley. The hype was high on these guys. And though their beer was very good, it was a little bit disappointing. NEIPA's and fruity sours very good but not as good as the stuff I get here in VA from Aslin or the Veil, or from the occasional Other Half trip or drop. The best beer of theirs i drank at Casey. Vibe was sort of lame with mainstream-y music and not particularly attentive service.

    6. Crooked Stave, Denver. Some of their funky stuff is amazing, some of it tastes a little off. Not really a fan of the vibe or location, though the service was good and friendly. (Second time here.)

    7. Epic, Denver. Quadrupel Barrel Baptist and one of their Oak and Orchard beers were particularly tasty. Everything was good. Bartendress was very friendly. (Second Time here.)

    8. Great Divide Barrel House, Denver. Only had a couple of beers, both good. Crashing the trivia night was fun. Location too out of the way. (First time at this this place better than the original, but too much of a hike away from anything)

    9. Outer Range, Frisco. I suppose if i never had a NEIPA or pastry stout before, I'd have been blown away, but as i have a steady diet of great versions of those beers here in VA, I found them pretty "meh."
  27. travis224

    travis224 Initiate (179) Jul 24, 2010 Colorado

    I'd second Pug Ryan's and Dillon Dam. Pug's is right on the lake and Dillon has an awesome bar--the actual bar area. I had an awesome time watching a baseball game and eating dinner at Dam and a great lunch with a couple of beers at Pug Ryan's. You're not going to get like super hazy, NEIPA or pastry stout type stuff at either of these places, but they're both very solid, IMO, with traditional pub atmospheres. I particularly enjoyed hanging out at Dillon Dam. Prosit in Frisco is pretty cool too if you like traditional Eastern European beers and sausages. It's not a brewery, but they have some hard to find German stuff on tap, and it's a cool/funky kind of place. Broken Compass is supposed to be good too, but I've never been there. You have a good amount to choose from in a weekend and Frisco and Dillon are absolutely gorgeous. Have fun!
    MonkeyBread likes this.
  28. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,637) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    The Great Divide Barrel Room is across the street from the Source (Crooked Stave's tasting room) and new New Belgium location. Ratio is right behind it and Blue Moon is a block away. That area is pretty happening.
  29. Canada_Dan

    Canada_Dan Champion (889) Jun 14, 2013 Colorado

    Not all breweries, but a few beer related suggestions:

    Check out Vinny's in Frisco for quality eats and a solid beer list (usually have a Broken Compass beer or 2). Our favorite spot to get dinner in Summit Co. hands down.

    I really like RMU (Rocky Mountain Underground) in Breck. Local ski maker that decided to open a small bar with craft beer options connected to the ski shop. The front porch is prime for Main St. people watching and soaking up some afternoon rays.

    If you wanted to take a short drive over Hoosier Pass into Park Co. there's South Park Brewing in Fairplay. They're making some good beers and the vibe there is more local when compared to the tourist driven service you get in Summit.
    clusterfolk likes this.
  30. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (518) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Broken Compass is worth a visit, unless you hate dogs.
    I think Dillon Dam is worth a visit, for food and for beer.

    Backcountry in Frisco is a good bottle shop to visit.
  31. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (518) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    Wiley Roots is great.
    I understand your Weldwerks comments, but I think part of it is that you had a lot of high expectations. They seem to have a lot of turnover in the taproom, probably because it's not a town that 20 somethings live in unless they are going to college. The taproom is large and gets crazy busy during certain events, but is pretty chill the rest of the time. They also may not have had any medianoches on at that time either, which I consider to be their best beer.

    For their anniversary party this year, they had a huge tent in the parking lot because the taproom gets too full.
  32. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Totally forgot...we went to Liberati for the lunch special and had some wine-y beers there. Really like what they are doing. I might put them at #4.
  33. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (476) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    Has anyone been to or had anything from Knotted Root up in Nederland?

    Got an air bed and breakfast for my babe and I not far from there for next weekend and wondering what people are thinking about the beer and space there.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  34. polkbar78

    polkbar78 Initiate (68) Feb 11, 2011 Colorado

    I’ve been twice for post-mtb ride beers, and I’ve picked up a few cans in Denver. I’d say they’re on par with the better hazies in the state. Very hop saturated style, which works for my palate. I haven't tried any of the fruited sours, but folks seem to dig what they’re doing with those.

    Taproom has a great laid back vibe. Everyone working there has been helpful and friendly.

    There was a food truck my second visit, but not the first. No clue what’s common on the weekends.
  35. SteveStremsterfer

    SteveStremsterfer Disciple (341) Feb 28, 2012 Colorado

    Top three "old school" breweries:
    Great Divide - Denver
    Odell - Ft. Collins
    Left Hand - Longmont

    Top three NEIPA breweries
    Cerebral - Denver
    Odd 13 - Lafayette
    WeldWerks - Greeley

    Top Three "sour beer" breweries
    TRVE - Denver
    Crooked Stave - Denver
    Black Project - Denver

    Top Three lager breweries
    Hogs Head - Denver
    Copper Kettle - Denver
    Prost - Denver

    Top Three whatever-you-want-to-call-them breweries
    Fiction - Denver
    Little Machine - Denver
    Platt Park - Denver
    rscot231 and MonkeyBread like this.
  36. Steve_0

    Steve_0 Initiate (195) Mar 14, 2012 Colorado

    Top Three lager breweries
    Bierstadt Lagerhaus - Denver
    Cerebral - Denver
    Zwei - Fort Collins

  37. whatruDOINdragic

    whatruDOINdragic Initiate (154) Aug 22, 2013 Illinois

    Any new beer-related developments in Steamboat Springs? Haven't been since summer 2018, when the options were, IIRC, Storm Peak and Butcherknife breweries and The Barley Tap and Tavern. TIA!
  38. Dtapeski

    Dtapeski Initiate (95) Oct 26, 2012 Colorado

    The only one I am aware you are missing is Mountain Tap, which is actually downtown, not on the mountain. Good beer and really good food. I haven’t been up in Steamboat since last winter, so there might have been some other changes.
    whatruDOINdragic likes this.
  39. Schmittymack

    Schmittymack Champion (811) Sep 3, 2008 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Mahogany Ridge is still in town. Average beer but their happy hour is great for food. Hayden has a brewery that's decent but not necessarily worth the drive from the Boat.
    whatruDOINdragic likes this.
  40. Ratman197

    Ratman197 Devotee (423) Aug 11, 2007 Colorado

    Hogshead mostly brews British Ales, they only have the occasional lager on. How come you listed them for best lager and not Bierstadt?
    Schmittymack and Domingo like this.