Are you one of the five percent of legal-aged drinkers who has enjoyed a microbrew in the past thirty days? When offered a Budweiser, do you scoff and pull out your own locally made bottle? If you live in Denver, you probably do.
A new Scarborough study reveals the facts and habits behind America’s microbrew drinkers, and names Denver as the city with the most loyal local brew drinkers,. Following close behind in local beer drinkers are Portland, Ore. and Seattle. With more than 30 microbreweries recognized by the Brewers Association, Denver has become a mecca for brewers and connoisseurs alike, and makes the perfect destination for your next "beer-cation." With so many choices, it’s hard to find the best signature Denver beer. We’ve done a little investigating for you and compiled a list of where you can get the best microbrews in the city, both well-known and off the beaten path:
•Wynkoop Brewing Company: Founded in 1988, Wynkoop was Denver’s first brewpub, and is among the most well-known brewing companies today, perhaps partly because Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was one of the young co-founders. Housed in a beautiful 1888 historic building in the LoDo area, this Denver institution has become known for its signature events, such as “Beer Drinker of the Year." The winner receives free beer for life at the brewery -- score. There's also an in-house summer pool league this summer. Try its flagship brew the Railyard Ale, or Patty’s Chile Beer.
•Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field: Enjoy America’s pastime while enjoying America’s favorite drink. Although it is owned by Coors (don't judge), Blue Moon was first brewed in Denver and remains a local brewery. Located at the home of the Colorado Rockies, the brewery makes an exclusive selection of special beers to be served at the games during the summer.
• Breckenridge Brewery: While you’re near Coors Field, stop by local favorite Breckenridge Brewery. Enjoy the brewery's innovative flavors , such as Agave Wheat flavored with agave nectar, Vanilla Porter for those with a sweet tooth, and Oatmeal Stout, a smooth, dark blend of espresso and chocolate.
•Denver Chophouse and Brewery: Try the sampler, which gives you a comprehensive taste of their great selection of microbrews. This sophisticated brewery also carries an assortment of microwines for the less beer-inclined clientele.
•Vine Street Pub: Although it’s a recent addition to the Denver beer scene, this new kid on the block has already racked up six gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival. At last month’s Colorado Beer Festival, this pub-turned-brewery released its first beer brewed on-site, Number One. One signature feature of this branch of Boulder’s Mountain and Southern Sun is the “nitro tap,” which produces a smoother beer because the filtered (but not pasteurized) beer is pressurized with nitrogen.
Other notable venues in Denver: Bull and Bush Pub and Brewery, Flying Dog Brewery, Pints Pub Brewery and Freehouse, Great Divide Brewing Co.
If you’re short on time, you can also multitask by taking the Denver Microbrew Tour. There’s something for everyone as you sample a great range of beers from Denver’s best local breweries. This guided tour through downtown Denver is a great way to walk off those calories and reset your buzz between beers, all the while learning “scandalous” historical tidbits from guides.