The Best Denver Metro Microbreweries

Published: January 24, 2015

The Denver Metro has an overwhelming number of microbreweries.  To get you started, I've put together a list of the 10 best.  This list is based on tap room, beer selection, pricing and personal preference.

While these aren't the only good breweries in the area, if you follow this list you can't go wrong.  With the local trend in small breweries a few duds have started to open, and life is too short to drink beer that's funky or at best just okay.  These favorites will definitely deliver on atmosphere and good beer.  Cheers!

  1. Great Divide

    Great Divide is a crowd favorite among Denverites, and even though it's not my personal favorite I've listed it as number one becasue it often feels like everyone is obsessed with their beers.  The uninitiated should be prepared because their beers are strong (high alcohol content) but they are all-together great brews.  They have a small, but super fun tap room and probably the most friendly staff on this list.  There is almost always a delicious food truck right outside for snacks and small meals.

    Fun fact:  The staff donates their tips to charity.  Check the board to see the day's beneficiary.

    Standbys: Collette, Titan and the Yeti.  For a full list see Great Divide's Website 

  2. Avery

    Located in Boulder, this is a must visit.  My all-around favorite and the first place I take beer-drinking visitors from out of town.  You can get their more popular beers on tap all over the area, but they always have tons of interesting smaller batch beers to try on site.  The patio can feel a bit small in the summer, but they are building a new bigger tap room that I can't wait to visit.

    Standbys: White Rascal, Avery IPA

    Avery Brewing

  3. Oskar Blues

    Located out in Longmont and also in Lyons, this brewery is worth the trip.  Oskar Blues' Dale's Pale Ale is the crowd-pleasing classic six-pack to bring to any local barbecue.  At their Longmont location you can even get your fortune read by Zoltar (the machine from the movie Big.)

    Standbys:  Dale's and Mama's Little Yella Pils

    Oskar Blues

  4. Odell Brewing

    Amazing brewery to visit in Fort Collins (which on its own is a pretty cool college town north of Denver.)  Huge patio, great beers, food trucks and friendly atmosphere.  A great place to hang in warm weather.

    Standbys: 90 Shilling, Odell IPA, Easy Street Wheat

    Odell Brewing

  5. Upslope Brewing

    A smaller brewery, Upslope has two locations in Boulder.  Their beers are solid, high-quality go-to beers.  Their IPA is great, and if you like Brown Ales theirs is one of the best.  Canned beers are readily available in Denver Metro liquor stores, which are great to take hiking and camping.  Visit the taproom and order a flight to try them all at once.

    Standbys: Upslope IPA, Brown Ale and Craft Lager

    Upslope Brewing

  6. Left Hand Brewing

    Their Milk Stout is legendary, and the staff is super friendly.  Sawtooth is another crowd-pleaser.  My favorite is the Good Ju-Ju Ginger (I like spicy beers.)  It's fun to try the same beer on traditional taps and then on their nitro taps (much smoother.)  This comparison is especially fun with the Milk Stout.

    Head up to Longmont and make a day of it visiting Lefthand and Oskar Blues.

     

    Left Hand Brewing

     

     

  7. Crooked Stave

    If I was writing this list just for me this would be right at the top.  The beers are not cheap, but it is such a unique beer experience.  I personally love sour beers, and that is all Crooked Stave brews, so it's a match made in heaven for me.  Sours have to be brewed in smaller batches (hence the price tag) and usually a brewery will make one at most.  Crooked Stave is awesome because you can try so many different sours.

    Crooked Stave is located inside The Source, which on its own is just a cool place to check out.  Great restaurants, and a really unique and creative new commercial space.

    Crooked Stave

  8. New Belgium Brewery

    When I first got into craft beer and then moved to Colorado, this place was my absolute favorite.  Friendly staff, great tour, unique beers and fun atmosphere.  Things have changed a little bit for me.  Not sure if it's just that they don't look quite so good next to so much competition, or if they've lost some of their initial friendliness and charm.  Visiting their brewry feels much more corporate, and akin to walking through the Coors Brewery now.

    Regardless, the tours are still free and there are still a wide variety of beers.  They gave me a taste of my first sour beer, La Folie, and I still love them for that.

    In the summer/fall they have a fun film night with short films from their competition called Clips of Faith.  You can buy lots of their beers on tap at that event, and it's a good time.

    If you're heading up to Fort Collins to check out Odell's (which you should) then a trip to New Belgium is worth it.  The free tours are still extremely popular, so reservations for the tour are recommended (and can be made on their website.)

    http://www.newbelgium.com

  9. Sanitas Brewing

    Such a fantastic tap room, and an okay selection of beers.  Be sure to try the taco truck on the deck (delicious.)  Their train beer goes on special when the train comes by.  Fun atmosphere.

    My cousin loves stouts and this is his favorite Colorado brewery.  As less of a stout fan, they rank lower for me, but if I was going based on atmosphere and tap room alone they might be at the very top slot.  I have dreams about their tap room.

    Sanitas Brewing

  10. Dry Dock

    It probably deserves to be higher on the list, but their tap room is way out in Aurora, and the patio is on a parking lot.  Their beer list is more limited than many of these breweries, but it's pretty solid.

    Their Apricot Blonde is probably one of the most popular Colorado microbrews.  Their Hefeweizen tastes like summer and is delicious.  Their four most popular beers are also available in cans at most local stores.

    Dry Dock Brewing

There are so many choices in the Denver Metro Area for beer, and this is certainly not a comprehensive list.  I hope it will provide a good starting place.  With the popularity of microbreweries in the area, I've been to check out a few duds lately.  I would hate for a newcomer to try a sub-par microbrewery on their first try and be turned off from the amazing beer scene here.  This list of standy breweries will never do you wrong.