Colorado Craft Brewery Guide
By John Roberts
Whether playing or staying in Colorado, craft beer lovers and craft-curious drinkers will find a spectacular selection of breweries.
When you're in and around Denver or venturing into the Rocky Mountains to take advantage of the state's uniquely wonderful outdoors activities, you can find all kinds of creative flavors brewed up in friendly atmospheres. In short, there is always an amazing place to drink with your friends right around the corner.
Being craft beer fans, we love being located in Colorado, and we've taken it upon ourselves to start building you a Colorado Craft Beer Guide to help you find some of the places we've discovered.
The guide represents spots where we have knocked back a few new beers that we've found especially delicious in environments that we think you will enjoy, too.
We start the guide with Denver and the surrounding region.
Scroll toward the bottom to find the very best beer bars in Colorado's beautiful mountain towns.
This list will continue to grow as we make our way around the state.
Got a suggestion of a craft brewery in Colorado that we should review? Please leave a comment below, and we'll get to it ASAP.
Exploring Colorado's Craft Beers, One Pour at a Time ...
Denver Area Spots
4 Noses Brewing
This craft brewer has earned a sterling reputation for its great-tasting beers -- there is an amazingly satisfying variety on the menu -- since it opened in 2014.
The brewery and taproom is located in Broomfield at 8855 W. 116th Circle in a commercial plaza. 4 Noses features 20 rotating brews, with a mix of core varieties and experimental beers.
Food trucks provide the grub at this spot, and we grabbed a lunch from among the excellent Mexican specialties offered by La Estrella de Colima, which was set up during our Sunday afternoon stop by the brewery.
Dogs are allowed, and you can find an assortment of games to play at your tables at indoor or outdoor seating while savoring beers and food. We had a great three-hour tasting session with our friends Darrell and Cathy during our first trip there.
We were able to down a good number of the beers offered, and all were pretty damn tasty. We had the 'Bout Damn Time IPA, Dreamtime Ascension lager, Maximum Volume and Flatiron Fog (IPAs) and Spacey Casey (NEIPA). We also had a flight that included Creamsicle Velvet (milkshake IPA) and Perfect Drift (pilsner).
They also sell cans and bottle and do growler fills.
This is a big, boisterous brewery and restaurant located at 4910 Nautilus Court in Boulder. We have loved their great variety of beers since becoming acquainted after moving back to Colorado in 2020. They are widely distributed throughout the state, but a visit to the brewery itself was in order when our friends Matt and Tammy came out for a visit.
You can sit outside at the picnic tables and order food and play games like cornhole. Dozens of dogs frolic around as their humans dine and drink in the sunshine. You can also head to the bar area inside, where you can also explore the gift shop.
Our favorite beers include Avery IPA, Ellie Brown’s American brown ale and Double Digit Hazy IPA.
This is one of the big craft brewers in Colorado. Breckenridge Brewery has several locations around the state, but we went to the Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery, a sprawling restaurant and brewing facility located at 2990 Brewery Lane in Littleton.
This location is aptly named because you feel like you are on the property of a nice old rustic farmhouse. There is a massive patio area, and all the seats were filled when we arrived by bike on a sunny Saturday in the early fall. It's a great destination for bikers, as the brewery is located right along a well-traveled route for cyclists, following the South Platte River trails and other routes in and around Denver.
My friend Darrell and I put in more than 30 miles before we settled in for a lunch and brews. The restaurant has a well-rounded menu serving all kinds of appetizers, salads and main courses, with comfort foods galore.
Breckenridge Brewery has been in business for more than 30 years, and you can find its beers all over Colorado at liquor stores and grocery chains. It features dozens of varieties, and a few of our favorites include the Vanilla Porter (maybe Colleen's fave porter), Hop Peak IPA and Juice Drop Session (a hazy IPA).
The brewery also offers variety packs and wonderful seasonal flavors.
We dropped by this brewery because we were interested in a spot with a good menu and one that shows NFL games. Frolic is located in a plaza at 12910 Zuni Street in Westminster, and it was exactly what we were looking for on a Sunday afternoon outing.
The menu features a huge variety of specialty artisan pizzas: frito pie, creamy buffalo chicken, breakfast pizzas and many more styles, including "build your own," of course.
They also offer salads, flatbreads and other appetizers like wings and nachos. All this comfort food is accompanied with friendly service and craft beers with simple names that pair well. Frolic has an Amber, Brown, Saison, as well as a range of IPAs (American IPA, New England IPA, Brut IPA and Blood Orange IPA). They also make a flavorful Passion Fruit Blonde and Cherry Coco Porter.
Frolic has tons of indoor seating, a big patio and walls filled with TVs showing sports.
Kokopelli Beer Company
We found this spot while spending a week in Westminster while awaiting our possessions to arrive after our cross-country move from New Jersey. We stayed at the Residence Inn and found Kokopelli within walking distance as we looked for a craft beer spot that would could enjoy for a date-night meal.
Kokopelli Beer Company is the first women-owned craft brewpub in Colorado, and it is building a good a reputation for its food and beer. We settled into one of the ample patio seating spots to enjoy the warm summer breezes on a Saturday night. There are tables for two and four, as well as several picnic tables available outside. The seating space inside is large, too.
The brewery has a deep roster of beers, with 30 taps featuring at least 27 varieties made in-house. You can find almost any style you are looking for -- even ciders and sours.
Check out the beer list: Kokopelli Beer Company Craft Brews
We enjoyed the Mister Rebel Kolsch, Pancho Villa Lager, Colorado Strong Pale Ale and East of the Mississippi IPA during our visit.
The food menu is loaded with good grub, and we noticed pizzas at almost every table as well as pizza boxes flying out the door for takeout orders.
This dog-friendly brewpub also features games and TVs and welcomes families with kids.
Mother Tucker Brewery
This is our hometown brewery, located at 2360 120th Avenue in Thornton. You've got to love a craft brewery within walking distance of your house.
On our first visit, we dropped in with friends on a Friday night, with plans to have a couple beers and takeout pizza from Godfather's, which is located conveniently next door. We take people there regularly now. It's a cozy bar with a friendly vibe.
This place says that it always features around a dozen varieties on draft, and some of our favorite flavors include Summertime and the Livin's Easy lime kolsch and Dread Pirate Roberts black ale.
Mother Tucker also has a Louisville location, and both are pet friendly and open seven days a week. You can stop by for Music Bingo and live music events.
This brewery began in Leadville in 2015, and we found its Northglenn location during our first couple of weeks back in residency in Colorado.
This family-owned brewery filled a void in the high mountain town of Leadville when it opened. Its tap room in Northglenn joins the crowded and fast-growing field of Denver area craft brewery spots.
Periodic has a nice beer selection, with the board updated frequently. We stopped for a few flights, pints and a late-afternoon meal with friends.
The brewery is located in a sort of non-descript building in an industrial area of the city. Located at 2100 E. 112th Ave., Periodic Brewing offers a large inviting indoor space and plenty of outdoor seating at picnic tables.
The space is bright and features TVs showing sporting events. A lineup of food trucks set up on-site regularly, so you can usually count on some tasty food options to accompany your beers.
Our group settled in in the late afternoon just after the brewery opened and was greeted by a friendly server. She helped us find seating for our group of seven and asked whether we wanted to order flights. That quickly became the popular option, and we filled out our choices and enjoyed some conversation over the beers while also pondering the menu. Food is provided in partnership with a nearby restaurant or the food trucks. There we no food trucks when we visited, so we snagged some salads and burgers from the restaurant. I would definitely recommend trying to plan your visit when the food trucks will be around.
We'll be back to try those out. I expect it to be more convenient and a better dining experience overall. Trucks on the recent rotation: El Taco Social, 5280 Burger Bar, Cyndy’s Food-Lish-Us, Colorado Meat Pie Co., Donatella’s Pizza and Laziz Ya Lebanese.
The beer variety offered a lot to try. There are a selection nice IPAs, including DIPAs, a Kolsch, imperial stout and pale and amber ales. The Tourmaline Black Ale is especially flavorful, and the Maple Bacon Amber got either "love it" or "hate it" reviews among our group. They also offer hard seltzers, wine, kombucha and sodas.
The small craft brewer in Thornton touts its "highly hand-crafted" style as a result of its "no rules brewing" techniques making small batches using three barrels and a wide variety of ingredients.
We stopped by for a post-dinner drinking session with friends during a winter weekend and were stunned by the number of varieties offered at the brewery. The facility has a fairly modest footprint, tucked in behind
Satire also offers a food menu with items made from locally sourced ingredients. The brewery's Loaded Squirrel Eatery features tasty items like fresh-baked bread stuffed with ground beef and cabbage, ham and cheese and bacon, jalapeno and cream cheese.
But the stars of the show are the beers. With more than 20 offered on the menu when we settled in, we were overwhelmed with the creative variety. Colleen and Darrell grabbed flights to try as many as possible, and I chose a pint of Monkey Spank Wheat, a banana-forward hefeweizen.
Satire's brewers craft beers with edgy and cheeky names and matching menu descriptions like Summer Whiz ("Yellow, clean, smooth and easy. Looks like pee in a glass but normally will taste less warm and salty"), Transgenital IPA ("Whether you are a man, woman, or somewhere in between, you are going to like this beer. Light and juicy with citrus hops and mounds of orange and lemon zest") and Dilldo ("For your pleasure we bring you a DILL loaded pickle beer. Perfect for when you’re not in the mood for the same old thing").
Satire features new beer flavors every month. It's an incredible operation that keeps things fresh. The ones were tried were all good to excellent, and we also were impressed that the company donates 10 percent of all sales to various charities.
This hip brewery is right in historic downtown Brighton at 117 N. Main Street. Sit inside, or enjoy the patio areas when the weather is nice. Something hosts a rotating variety of food trucks, and we enjoyed one of the best food truck meals we've ever had from El Chuletazo Grill, which serves up a full menu of Colombian specialties.
We had two rounds of brews for a Saturday lunchtime outing. Colleen had been wanting to try the Cats With Jetpacks strawberry, blackberry, cotton candy sour ale. I go for the super-popular Haze You Guys hazy IPA. It ends up being the favorite beer of the day for both of us. Colleen likes the sour but says it's maybe a little extra sweet for her.
We also dig the Maximum Effort blood orange IPA and Black Tie Affair black lager before our flight of Mint Monsta (mint chocolate Oreo milk stout) Samoa Monsta (toasted coconut caramel oatmeal milk stout), Peanut-Mellow Monsta (peanut butter marshmellow Oreo milk stout) and Vanilla Choca La-Ta Ya-Ya (vanilla cream coffee ale).
Then, we capped it off with our flight of the dessert-y varieties. The Monstas are all incredibly flavorful!
Something is a really fun spot with delicious beers, and we also enjoyed the friendly and fun attitude of the staffers.
Spice Trade Brewing
This is a fantastic restaurant and craft brew bar, and the menu offers pairing suggestions for its delish food.
Spice Trade is located at 8775 E. Orchard Road, Suite 811 in Greenwood Village, and we joined friends for a Saturday afternoon lunch and a couple beers. We had a hard time choosing a meal among the various options. The menu features appetizers like caesar brussel sprouts and sweet potato truffle fries, small plates like pork dumplings and charcuterie boards and main dishes like shrimp and grits and barbecue pork sandwiches. I chose the "Spice Trade Chicken and Dumplings," and Colleen had the hearty pork ramen entree.
You can get beer tasters, flights and 12- or 16-ounces glasses of craft brews. The nice selection included a jalapeno pilsner (nice and spicy), That Amber Beer, Sun Temple IPA (a very flavorful hazy and juicy beer), Louisiana Praline lager and Chai Milk Stout, among several others.
Twenty Brew Bar
Open for more than seven years, Twenty Brew Bar sits in a rather modest location at the end of a plaza at 11187 Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster. The bar grew its reputation for stocking hard-to-find varieties from all over the country. We stopped in and found beers that aren't available anywhere else in Colorado.
Twenty Brew is run by Dave and his son Saxon, and in addition to the axe-throwing lanes, it also features a bank of pinball machines in the back games room where you throw axes, as well as a Ms. Pac Man game and a TV and gaming system for video game tourneys.
We love the decor showing off dozens (maybe hundreds?) of cans of the exclusive craft beers that they have stocked over the years.
You get two beers and an hour of tossing axes for $30. We brought our own sandwiches for a casual dinner, settled in with a couple rounds of beers for a fun night of throwing. They always have a rotating lineup of brews and host trivia nights.
This nanobrewery turned out to be a pleasant surprise. We had a little time to kill before heading over to Twenty Brew Bar to throw hatchets and toss back some of their beers. So, we looked for an intermediary craft brew joint in Boulder to kill a little time.
A Google search delivered us to this tiny spot in the back of a gravel parking lot in an industrial area of the city. VisionQuest is located at 2510 47th Street, Suite A2.
They throw open the garage door here for fresh air, and the place offers a cool vibe and a nice roster of creative brews. The walls and space feature fun artwork and murals, and entertainment includes open mic and comedy nights.
We tried beers of the menu like Essentially Essential IPA, Space with Cherries (dark sour) and Rogue Planet Stout.
Wonderland Brewing Co.
This craft brewery is also a family and friends playland. Yes, Wonderland plays on the classic Lewis Carroll story "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland," and the beer menu has varieties such as Alice Belgian Blonde and Rabbit Hole Black IPA (my favorite from the 12-plus beers we tried during our first visit).
We sampled the various beers with flights. The brewery also features 10-, 13-, 16- and 20-ounce pours (based on the alcohol content of each style). A small restaurant operation, WonderGrill, is situated as a sort of permanent food truck inside the large building located at 5450 W. 120th Avenue in Broomfield (near Sheridan Avenue), and this eatery is a separate business that has a fantastic menu. We met friends for an afternoon outing, and the orders included a big soft pretzel with tasty dipping mustard, the When Pigs Fly pizza (topped with beer cheese, mozzarella, cheddar jack cheese, grilled chicken, Applewood smoked bacon, ranch dressing and green onions), crispy chicken sandwich and a juicy cheeseburger (The Wonder Burger) with whirly fries.
You can also order rice bowls and salads. Wonderland has TVs showing sports, arcade games and outdoor areas filled with great seating and games like basketball, a mini golf course and cornhole. It's a fab spot to hang out for group get-togethers.
The beers were OK, not outstanding, in my opinion. They offer all styles on tap, though, so you can try for yourselves. They have a Belgian Trippel, Blood Orange Shandy, Blackberry Red Sour and a Barrel Aged Wet Hop IPA, plus several others.
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Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.
Tucked into a small lot behind a mega gas station at 393 N. Washington Ave. in Golden, Cannonball Creek is an unassuming spot with fantastically fresh IPAs among its menu of craft brews.
The brewery was started in 2013 by friends Jason Stengl and Brian Hutchinson, who bonded over a love for craft beer and their home town of Golden.
Cannonball Creek has tons of seating indoors, and it makes use of a corner of the parking lot for outdoors patio-style seating. It's delightful to sit outdoors among all your new doggie friends while sipping cold flavorful brews under blue skies, as we did after our hike on the nearby Mayhem Trail.
We downed a couple Mindbender IPAs, a refreshing 6.8 percent ABV beer with just the right blend of grapefruit and pine notes. The rotating list of beers also offered an American pale ale, Russian imperial stout, Belgian blonde, Vienna lager, session IPA, Italian pilsner, porter and Mexican lager. So, the brewers offer a well-rounded menu of beers good enough to suit all kinds of palates.
Food trucks set up on the curb in the parking lot just outside the brewery, and the calendar is filled with vendors rolling in with a variety of delish foods, like pho, burgers, barbecue and tacos. We had a great lunch from Pho King Rapidos during our Saturday visit.
Clear Creek Cidery
This is a charming restaurant located in historic downtown Idaho Springs. I found this spot (1446 Miner Street) from a Google search asking for the best burgers, as I was hungry and craving a nice cheeseburger after my hike at St. Mary's Glacier.
I sat at the bar and chatted with Joseph, a friendly bartender who offered me a sample of cider as I built my flight. There is seating inside and at the patio, with sports on the TVs. The place filled up nicely during lunchtime on a Tuesday.
Clear Creek Cidery features about 10 ciders on tap, with a variety of cans, too. You can also enjoy a range of Colorado craft brew varieties, like Helles Lager from Tivoli, Bout Damn Time IPA from 4 Noses and Blood Orange IPA from next door neighbor Tommyknocker Brewery (1401 Miner Street).
I ordered the CCC Burger, which was nice and juicy and comes with two slices of cheese and house-cut fries. It hit the spot nicely, and I paired my lunch with a flight of four ciders -- Lavender Lemonade, Agave Peach, Cherry Glider and Alma (apples and honey).
Fantastic overall, and I can't wait to come back with Colleen and friends.
Westbound & Down Brewing Co.
This popular spot in the mountain town of Idaho Springs is located in the heart of the action downtown at 1617 Miner Street.
This is a large and stylish restaurant that features sports on big-screen TVs, two rooms, one with a huge bar with seating in the middle of the space that also is filled with long tables. It makes for a vibrant setting to enjoy artisan food and tasty aromatic brews.
The menu is filled with great options, such as the huge Buffalo chicken nachos and jumbo pretzel -- both great to share as starters. You also can choose from delicious-looking sandwiches and wraps. We saw people getting fried chicken sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks and seared ahi tuna.
The beer is the star, though, led by the signature award-winning Westbound Double IPA. We also savored the Sightseer NEIPA and Double Juice Caboose IPA.
Plenty of people were washing down their meals with big glasses of the Italian pilsner (0.5L), too. Prices at Westbound are a little bit steep compared to what we're used to, however.
Have a suggestion for a brewery that we should visit and review? Let us know at John@InTheLoopTravel.com.
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