Denver has earned its reputation as a craft beer capital. It’s home to the Great American Beer Festival, an epic beer party and competition; there are more than 100 brewpubs in the metro area; and you can find any style of beer here, from tart sours to rich stouts.
Sure, there are other great beer destinations, like Asheville, N.C. and San Diego, but Denver has a centuries-old love affair with beer that’s woven throughout the city’s history. The first city government formed in a downtown saloon and John Hickenlooper, the founder of Wynkoop Brewery, later went on to be the city’s mayor and then the governor of Colorado. Oh, and Tivoli Brewery, in the heart of downtown, even provided beer to the gold rush pioneers in 1859.
With such a burgeoning beer scene, it can be hard to keep up with the brewery landscape in Denver.
Of course there are the well-established breweries—such as the Tivoli Brewing Company where you can get a beer and pizza on the Auraria Campus before heading across the street to the Pepsi Center for a Nuggets or Avalanche game. Wynkoop is a Denver institution, and catches buzz for brewing beer with everything from Rocky Mountain oysters (ahem, bull’s testicles) to green chiles to gummy bears.
But with beer-thirsty locals and visitors, there’s plenty of room for new breweries and new twists at established ones. Here’s what’s on tap (literally and figuratively!) at some of Denver’s breweries in 2018.
The brewery, which opened just over a year ago and is under the direction of head brewer Zac Rissmiller, has a taproom with 20 lines, each named after characters from Saturday Night Live or ones that Will Ferrell has played (i.e. “Frank the Tank). The beer is just as clever. Resolute’s Hefeweizen, which has a banana and clove yeast character, nabbed a gold at the All Colorado Beer Festival.
Because Resolute is in the Denver Tech Center and not technically in Denver proper, the city codes allow dogs to be inside the brewery — a boon for anyone who likes to spend time with pups. Even better? Resolute is decidedly dog-friendly: The bartender or brewmaster will bring over handmade dog treats made from spent grains, and the brewery holds dog and pig adoption events.
If you work in the Denver Tech Center, or are here on a work trip, swing by in the afternoon and get some work done. The brewery is outfitted with plenty of outlets and some locals have even started referring to Resolute as "Conference Room R."
How did Colorado's oldest brewery end up on our list of ones to watch in 2018? Tivoli Brewing Company, once the largest brewery west of the Missouri River, collaborates with Metropolitan State University's brewing program, so you can meet some of the state's youngest and most promising brewers here. You're also likely to find some students interning at Tivoli Brewing as they prepare to launch their own careers in the craft beer industry. If you love learning about beer, the brewers at Tivoli have a sensory analysis panel, and you don't have to be enrolled in a brewing program to participate; the program will help you learn about flavor and aroma profiles, as well as the art of beer-making. Visit for free, hour-long brewery tours at 5 p.m. on Fridays; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
If Coloradans love anything as much as beer, it’s the great outdoors — and 10 Barrel Brewing Co. figured out the best way to combine the two: The company just released a new beer called Trail Beer, a canned Northwest Pale Ale, and a percentage of sales are donated to environmental and conservation nonprofits. We’ll toast to that! Proceeds from the first batch of beer will benefit Protect Our Winters, a group that works against climate change. As for the beer? Denver head brewer Kay Witkiewicz made the crisp batch, which has piney and citrusy notes. If drinking for a good cause is your thing, visit for Charity Tuesday on the last Tuesday of each month, where all profits generated between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. are donated to a local charity.
Blue Moon RiNo
You’ve probably heard of Blue Moon Brewing Co. But did you know they opened up a new brewery dedicated to experimental brews in the River North (RiNo) Art District? Blue Moon has spent the past couple of decades brewing beer in the Sandlot at Denver’s Coors Field. Now, the expansion allows the brewery to try more Blue Moon brews, with 20 rotating taps that include exclusives not sold in liquor stores. Each week, you're likely to find a new beer on tap. In fact, when you’re in Denver, you can help Blue Moon decide which beers it should release nationally. Customers are encouraged to sample beers and provide feedback. Case-in-point: Mango Wheat got lots of local love before it was released in standalone six-packs and distributed nationally. The beer ended up winning a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. Also, the restaurant menu is designed to sync up nicely with your beer, incorporating ingredients from the brewery. As an example, the chef picks a beer to make chili with each day. Sit in big booths that are shaped like huge barrels and borrow a board game, or head outside and sidle up to one of the fire pits.
Black Project & Spontaneous Wild Ales
Sour lovers, put Black Project & Spontaneous Wild Ales on your must-visit list. The brewery started in 2014 as “Former Future Brewing,” putting new twists on historic recipes. Now, with sour beers gaining popularity, this brewery has shifted its focus. They've become a favorite among fans and judges at the Great American Beer Festival. This year, the brewery’s Roswell: Grudge earned a silver in the “Experimental Beer” category and had a consistent line of fans lining up to taste the funky beers. Its winning beer was brewed with six pounds of raspberries. The brewery tries to source local fruits and ingredients for its beers — including Colorado hops and honeys. The brewery sometimes does special bottle releases, and true fans will go so far as camping out to get their hands on the beer.