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Colorado’s history with beer runs deep. In 1873, a young man named Adolph Coors started a brewery nestled along the foothills of the Rockies in the Colorado Territory. He used pristine water from high in the mountains, providing an excellent taste that helped grow the brewery.
Today, Molson Coors Brewing Company, still located in the little town of Golden, Colorado, is one of the largest single brewing facilities in the world. But Colorado’s beer scene has only continued to grow.
Today the Centennial State is known for its excellent craft beer scene, with microbreweries and brewpubs dotting all corners of the state. With more than 440 craft brew operations, it’s obvious that Coloradans love their beer. Visitors do too.
Craft Brewers in Denver
Denver has more than 100 brewpubs, breweries and tap rooms and is the hub of Colorado’s craft beer scene. Follow the Denver Beer Trail to get a good taste of local flavors.
You can start at Great Divide Brewing, a pioneer in the Denver brewery scene. Founded in 1994, they have a brewery and taproom in Denver’s Ballpark District, a Barrel Bar in RiNo, and a Brewery and Roadhouse in Castle Rock. Local favorite beers include the Denver Pale Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout and Colette.
Novel Strand Brewing is in Denver’s historic Baker neighborhood. It has laid-back vibes and a focus on hoppy, sour and classic beers. Try their Popular Demand, a German Pilsner-inspired lagerbier made with 100% Weyermann Barke Pils malt.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus is another German-style favorite located in Denver’s trendy RiNo District. Their Slow Pour Pils is a light-tasting Pilsner that is crisp and refreshing.
Craft Breweries in Colorado
Just a 30-minute drive from Denver is Upslope Brewing Company, based in Boulder. Named in honor of Colorado’s snow-dumping weather pattern, Upslope specializes in hand-crafted, all-natural beers that are sold in cans. Don’t miss their Craft Lager, an American-style lager brewed entirely of malted barley.
North of Denver in Fort Collins is Funkwerks, a craft brewery that specializes in saisons, sours and barrel-aged beers. Locals rave about their Raspberry Provincial and Tropic King.
Odell Brewing Company, a famous staple in Fort Collins, is the 17th largest craft brewery in the country. This employee-owned craft brewery started in 1989 and has been going strong ever since. They also have nice taprooms in Denver’s RiNo and Sloans Lake districts. Their Odell IPA is a good example of an American-style IPA and is often cited as a measuring stick by judges at the Great American Beer Festival.
WeldWerks Brewing Co. is an award-winning craft brewery in Greeley. It’s been recognized for brewing an array of beer styles including Juicy Bits, one of the most highly regarded hazy IPAs in the country.
Heading into the mountains, you’ll reach Outer Range Brewing, a craft brewery in Frisco, Colorado, specializing in IPAs and Belgian ales. A popular favorite there is the Pillow Stacks Double IPA.
Casey Brewing and Blending is a family-operated brewery in scenic Glenwood Springs that specializes in barrel-aged sour beers using local, seasonal, and wholesome ingredients. You won’t go wrong with a beer from their Fruit Stand series.
In the western slope town of Grand Junction, Monumental Beer Works is a local favorite. This visually pleasing brewery has mosaics, murals, tiles and repurposed materials in its taproom. Try their Bestslope Coffee Blonde.
And finally, in the southwest corner of the state, head to funky Ska Brewing in Durango. Ska Brewing has been producing their flavor-pack flagship brews and seasonal rotators since 1995. Try their Modus Mandarina Citrus IPA, Modus Hoperandi IPA or seasonal Mexican Logger.
Colorado Beer Festivals
In a state that loves its beer, there is no shortage of beer festivals. You might even want to plan a trip around one of them. The Colorado’s Brewer’s Festival takes place in Fort Collins each June and features 50 Colorado-based brewers.
The Colorado Brewers Rendezvous is every July in Salida, while the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in September showcases beer by local breweries in the mountain town of Telluride.
The Great American Beer Festival each fall in Denver is the biggest, with more than 800 top craft brewers from around the country.