No doubt you've seen, and probably enjoyed, 90 Shilling, Odell Brewing's flagship copper-colored ale (if you haven't, where have you been?). But the brewery's Five Points Brewhouse in Denver is no mere copy of the original, which is still going strong in Fort Collins. Think of it as a brewery within a brewery. The beer made onsite in Five Points is exclusive to that location, produced using a 10-barrel pilot system. These are primarily small batches of new, interesting brews tapped in a historic building in a historic neighborhood. If you can't decide which to try, go for several 4 oz pours. The building with its exposed brick and countertops made from reclaimed floorboards is part of the appeal here. Bars downstairs and upstairs hold 16 taps total, and seating areas include a patio with fire pits (dogs welcomed) and a sweet rooftop space with views across the neighborhood.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Odell is one of Colorado's top names in craft brewing and the Five Points Brewhouse takes that name to a new place with entirely new brews.
Christine's expert tip: Want to drink beer and save America's rivers at the same time? Order Protect Our Rivers IPA. $1 of every pint and crowler sold sold goes to Protect Our Rivers.
Denver Beer Company is one of several breweries located in the Lower Highlands (LoHi) area, just across a couple of pedestrian bridges from LoDo. The funky, spacious warehouse taproom channels the core roots of the craft beer movement–"casual, lively, focused on beer and community with a side of art and music. Art and beer come together in one of the brewery's star creations, Love This City, a crisp pilsner celebrating Denver muralist Pat Milbery, whose Love This City murals are found on walls across Denver. Denver Beer Company embraces inclusivity and sustainability–"the bar is made from Colorado beetle-kill pine and 100 percent of the water comes from the Platte River. Brewers say about 90 percent of the beers are vegan. The Platte Street patio is shaded and good for people (and dog) watching.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Denver Beer Company is a longtime staple on the Colorado craft beer scene and deservedly well loved.
Christine's expert tip: If you crave a Mexican-inspired craft cerveza, stroll next door to sibling brewery Cervecería Colorado.
Located near Empower Field at Mile High Stadium, Little Machine is a Denver Broncos fan favorite. But it's not just a sports pub. It's a sophisticated brewery with award-winning beer and an all-around great vibe for any beer lover. Little Machine's list has depth and panache. You might find a Mexican-style lager, a sassy gose, sours, stouts, a range of IPAs and even a gluten-free option. It was a tart raspberry beer that won gold at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, and Tangerine Crushsicle is a crowd favorite when it's available. My recommendations: Gnarly Thrasher, a double New England-style IPA, or Yafi, a big West Coast-style IPA. Game nights (Bingo and Team Trivia) are popular so get there early. Food trucks are onsite seven days a week. Check the online calendar for which ones when as well as for details on game nights and special releases.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Little Machine Is an all-around great brewery. Thanks to its location near the stadium, it's especially well-positioned to quench the thirst of Denver Broncos fans.
Christine's expert tip: There's lots of parking around the brewery, including just across the alley.
Away from the downtown, LoDo, Five Points and RiNo core areas for Denver craft breweries, Cerebral is located in Denver's Bluebird District, off East Colfax on a residential tree-lined street. The large, umbrella-studded front patio offers a respite from crowds and traffic, while inside beer lovers line up to taste test a quartet of Cerebral's brews, thanks to the beer-flight program. The tap room is an expansive space with lots of community tables where you can get together with beer-loving friends or meet new ones. The brewers are nothing if not creative. Although the sweeter brews are not my taste, the options are wide-ranging. If you like New England-style IPAs, check out Abstract Now if it's available. Cerebral ups the craft beer stakes along East Colfax and is well worth a visit even if you don't live nearby.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Cerebral Brewing gives those in Denver's East Colfax Bluebird District a neighborhood brewery to love and support.
Christine's expert tip: Cerebral is technically closed Mondays but still offers to-go orders from 12-7 p.m.
Among its most widely known brews is Redacted Rye IPA, still one of the best IPAs on the Denver craft beer scene. But creativity abounds here, as noted in this unapologetic statement: "We don't care about traditional styles or following trends." Renegade celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2021 and has made some changes. After successfully expanding to wide can distribution in the past, the brewery has taken a step back to focus on producing "the freshest beer possible" for those who visit its Santa Fe Arts District location. What hasn't changed is that Renegade is still a place for gathering with friends to enjoy an excellent craft beer, whether your taste runs to Mexican lagers, cream ales, West Coast or New England IPAs, sours or stout. Check Renegade's website to see which food truck is parked outside on any given day, for info on weekly "Hoppy Hours" and more.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Renegade brewers are dedicated to producing the freshest beer possible as well as fostering community. Redacted Rye IPA is still one of Denver's best IPAs.
Christine's expert tip: All tap beers are available to go in 16 oz, 32 oz or 64 oz crowlers.
Jazz-themed Spangalang Brewery pays homage to the Five Points neighborhood and its history as a one-time center of jazz in this country. Spangalang refers to the jazz cymbal rhythm popularized by the great Kenny Clarke in the 1940s and still heard today. Spangalang's founders met while plying their trade at Great Divide Brewing Company, one of Denver's longtime craft-brew stalwarts. At Spangalang, they brew with a 10-barrel system and a goal of producing only fresh, properly handled beer for their taproom customers. Their mantra: "It's our belief that everyone deserves locally produced, exceptional craft beer and we're here to bring it to Five Points in Denver." We thank them for that. You won't find much Spangalang product outside of these brewery walls, so mosey on in to enjoy a hoppy lager, saisons, IPAs, stout and more.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Besides being a super fun name to say out loud, Spangalang Brewery happens to brew excellent beer.
Christine's expert tip: To-go crowlers are available every day.
Founders Willy Truettner and TJ Slattery met at West Middle School in south Denver. The brewery, which opened in 2017, is a brick-and-mortar celebration of their friendship and different but compatible areas of expertise. Truettner studied brewing in Chicago and Munich and worked for a time at New Belgium. No surprise that Zuni Street's beer list includes German and Belgian-style brews along with American ales. The American Amber Ale took silver at the 2020 GABF, while Way West Wit, a Belgian wheat beer, won gold at the 2019 GABF. Set in the Highlands neighborhood, Zuni Street Brewing Company is a 10-barrel brewery and taproom with two patios (both dog friendly), daily food trucks and live music the first Saturday of the month. Among ongoing events: Fly-Tying Wednesday nights, when anglers practice their fly-tying skills while enjoying a good brew or two in the company of fellow fishing people.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: This Highlands neighborhood brewery offers a wide range of brewing styles and flavors–something for every beer lover.
Christine's expert tip: A different food truck parks outside the brewery each day, giving patrons the opportunity to pair their beer with an eclectic selection of local goods.
Even in a brewery-heavy district like Five Points/RiNo, Ratio Beerworks stands out. The DIY brewers that launched Ratio learned their craft in Germany and followed that up working for some of Denver's top craft breweries. With solid careers in brewing, marketing and finance, they were perfectly positioned to launch a microbrewery destined to become successful and a favorite of casual visitors and industry insiders alike. It's easy to see the European influences in several Ratio selections, especially Germany, but the brewers' California roots are represented, too. Occasional live music typically falls under punk or indie genres, and Ratio's side patio with its trees and street-art walls is an inviting place to relax and get acquainted with the brewery's lineup of stellar beers.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Ratio is a solid microbrewery, highlyrespected by industry colleagues and casual craft beer lovers alike.
Christine's expert tip: Dogs are welcomed on the side patio, and there are even water bowls to keep them hydrated on hot summer days.
To be totally transparent, I'm biased. As an English major, professional writer, book and beer lover, a literary-minded brewery is irresistible. The brewers at Fiction would have to fail epically to disappoint me. They don't. Not that I love every brew. My favorite name among these book-inspired beers is A Beer of Very Little Brain, a tribute to Winnie the Pooh that makes me smile. But honey wheat beer isn't for me. Fortunately, there are other options. Of note, a barrel-aged coffee IPA taking its literary inspiration from Hawaii's "Talk Story" tradition does coffee and hops proud. As for decor, books are everywhere–"check out the bar–"and the patio overlooking a tree-lined street off East Colfax is a sweet spot for relaxing on a sunny day with book and beer in hand. Fiction even has its own book club, occasional live music, food trucks and trivia. What's not to love?
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Books & Beer–"Fiction is a rock-solid concept honoring the age-old traditions of great literature and great beer.
Christine's expert tip: Another reason to love Fiction? I Am..., a New England-style IPA made in collaboration with the Matthew Shepard Foundation. A portion of proceeds from each purchase goes to the foundation, named for a young man brutally murdered simply because he was gay.
Thanks to Woods Boss and neighbor Carbon Cafe & Bar, there are good reasons to take a stroll on California Street between 22nd and Park Avenue West. Woods Boss stands out with its upscale rustic design and uber spacious tap room. Wood is everywhere, primarily a light honey shade, giving the brewery a warm, contemporary vibe. Woods Boss has a ton of IPAs, including a gluten-free version, as well everything else you expect at an excellent brewery. Somewhat unexpected is the free shadow-brewing program, which invites home brewers, beer professionals and plain old beer lovers to spend a day brewing beer with the Woods Boss crew, with the goal of sharing a passion and making the community an integral part of the Woods Boss experience. Need food? You can have it delivered to your Woods Boss table from local eateries including Carbon Cafe & Bar next door.
Recommended for Brew Pubs because: Woods Boss enhances a passion for making beer with a dedication to making the local community feel welcomed and valued.
Christine's expert tip: Get points for every $1 you spend with the Woods Boss loyalty program, then redeem them in the taproom. You'll also be the first to know about new releases and special offers.