While craft beer is a hardcore hobby of mine, that wasn’t always the case. I used to work at a craft brewery in Northwest Arkansas full-time as both a bartender and a marketing manager (what a combo, right?).
It was hard saying bye to that job, but after moving to Colorado with Chad (who’s also a craft beer fanatic), it’s hard to stay sad when you’re surrounded by a mother-load of craft breweries.
I’ve been lucky to visit all sorts of craft breweries all over Colorado, from Durango to Frasier, from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.
Whether you’re just visiting for a short time or call Colorado your home, this list of breweries will definitely keep you busy if you need some craft beer inspiration! Let’s get into it.
*full disclosure: this is my list of favorite breweries; there are hundreds of craft breweries in Colorado so I’m going off my own criteria (beer quality, taproom ambience, vibes, etc.)
15 Best Craft Breweries in Colorado
1. Knotted Root Brewing Company in Nederland
If you have the time and means to take a drive up to Nederland – do it! You can visit Knotted Root Brewing Company. These guys are a small, artisan brewery tucked away into this tiny mountain town. Their specialty? Unfiltered ales, “smoothie-style” sours, and rustic farmhouse ales. I loved the hazy IPA and stout that I tried, but what really brought it home for me was the Purple Paste (an unfiltered, Imperial Fruited Gose with sea salt, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, black currant, and pomegranate made “paste” worthy with some Ugandan vanilla beans, milk sugar and marshmallows [GASP. This beer is actually part of an Imperial Fruited Goses series and was followed up by the Mango Tango and Pink Sherbet paste!
2. Denver Beer Company in Denver
If you’re in Colorado, it’s hard to beat the Denver Beer Company. I love their Incredible Pedal IPA, the Juicy Freak juicy IPA, the Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch, and (best of all) the Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Porter. And if you’re not a beer drinker, no worries; they’ve always got seltzer on tap. Now, there’s several Denver Beer Co. locations. Me personally? I love the Olde Town Arvada location because it’s not so overwhelmingly busy. Plus, there’s a food truck INSIDE the brewery. The Denver Beer team is doing things right.
3. Cerebral Brewing in Denver
Aside from making delicious beer, Cerebral Brewing is best known for its “scientific approach to beer.” Located in the heart of Denver’s Bluebird District, Cerebral Brewing takes a scientific methodology combined with an artistic viewpoint to highly drinkable beers that cover a wide range of styles. They’ve got everything from sours to wild ales, lagers to IPAs, and stouts to barleywines. I went for the Star Witness IPA and Chad went for the Scam Likely – Motueka double IPA. Both were delicious! And in addition to a killer patio, they’ve also got a ton of different food trucks that set up shop throughout the week – YUM!
4. Renegade Brewing Company in Denver
Another Denver great is the Renegade Brewing Company down in the Santa Fe Art District. They opened their doors back in 2001 and have been cranking out great beers ever since. I love their Taproom space – simple, chill, everything you expect from a craft brewery – but I love their beer even more. I had a delicious Golden Ale that had been aged in a white wine barrel (I usually never go for this type of beer since I’m into the hoppy stuff but I loved this beer) and Chad had their Endpoint Triple IPA. 10/10 would recommend!
5. Crooked Stave in Denver
Best known for their unique sour ales, Crooked Stave is a modern artisan brewery based out of Denver, but with taprooms in Fort Collins and RiNo, too. While sours reign supreme, they also boast pilsners, IPAs, saisons, and a variety of barrel-aged beers. Chad enjoyed his IPA, and I had my palate destroyed by their Petite Sour Raspberry (but like, in a good way). If you like your sour ales, Crooked Stave is the best place for you.
6. great Divide Brewing Company in Denver
This beloved craft brewery nestled in the heart of Denver came on the scene back in the early 90’s when craft breweries weren’t on the map quite just yet. Great Divide Brewing Company has really grown over the years thanks to its dedicated founder, top notch team and always-delicious beers. Personal favorites do include the Velvet Yeti Nitro Stout, the hazy IPA, and of course what’s known as the Yeti Clan, including the Mexican Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Barrel-Aged, Macaroon, & Maple Pecan Yetis (all Imperial Stouts!!).
7. Visionquest Brewery in Boulder
VisionQuest Brewery is a nano-brewery and taproom located in the heart of Boulder. Their taproom features a variety of beers, including saisons, sours, Belgian-style ales, IPAs, stouts, and lagers. They even have their own kombucha on tap if you’re not feeling an adult beverage that day! And I gotta say, I am the type of person who prefers a warehouse-style type of taproom to one with a carefully built ambience. There’s just something about sitting in basically a garage that makes beer taste better in my opinion.
8. Upslope Brewing Company in Boulder
When it comes to craft breweries in Boulder, Upslope Brewing Company has made a name for themselves, and boy have they earned it! They’ve got two killer taprooms – one in Flatiron Park and the other at Lee Hill – both of which host a delightful lineup of craft beers. I couldn’t help myself, I had to get a flight when we visited because I have commitment issues. I stocked up on a hazy IPA, their Kolsch, a yummy sour, and a wicked English barleywine (consume with caution!). Let’s not forget that they’ve got empanadas on site and their taproom is dog-friendly! #pupslope
9. Beyond the Mountain Brewing Company
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some Beyond the Mountain Brewing Company! They’ve got a solid selection of beers, but I’d say they lean more towards the pale ale and IPA side of the spectrum. When we visited I tried the Jive Juice pale ale (packed with jade hops and passion fruit puree) and Chad had the A Little Spruce in your Step IPA (brewed with Colorado blue spruce tips and a bit of rye malt for robust piney profile). Both were delicious, and enjoyed all the more thanks to Beyond the Mountain’s spacious patio that has an uninterrupted view of the neighboring mountains!
10. Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins
Equinox Brewing is a super laid back brewery tucked away in Fort Collins. They definitely have one of the coolest taprooms I’ve seen in the area. Their public house is all warm, lacquered wood that has a subtle German feel to it. Not to mention they’ve got a cozy patio that’s enclosed by a stone wall draped with ivy. Their tap list doesn’t mess around either. They’ve got a variety of ambers, darks and lights. I thought their Kolsch was killer, and their Space Ghost IPA was almost too drinkable.
11. Odd13 Brewing in LaFayette
My first run-in with Odd13 Brewing was on a week-long road trip I took through southern Colorado with Chad. He grabbed a 6-pack of their Superfan IPA to take out to our campground, and boy, was that an experience. We’ve since been to Odd13 a few times; we’re huge fans of their weekly trivia night. I’m a huge fan of their Haole Bartender (a fruited kettle sour ale with passionfruit, guava and blood orange), the Jam Lord (a sour ale packed with blackberries, blueberries & boysenberries), and their Buzzin’ Cuzzin’ Coffee Stout. Plus, these guys have some of the most creative and entertaining wraps on their cans!
12. New Terrain Brewing Company in Golden
One of my favorite things to do after a long workout is to grab a beer with friends, and New Terrain Brewing Company is just a few minutes from my climbing gym. The team at New Terrain does a great job of producing a variety of both traditional beers and unique ones that verge on the experimental. True to form, Chad went for their take on a classic IPA, but I got their Rubus Deliciosus, a raspberry wit with berry and lemon. Their expansive patio/beer garden is always hosting a food truck or two, so it’s the perfect place to hang out after work or on your way home from the gym.
13. Steamworks Brewing Company in Durango
Our visit to Steamworks Brewing Company was nothing short of awesome. Not only did the beer taste amazing, but we also got to sit out on the balcony and have a perfect view of the mountains. The staff was incredibly friendly, and we couldn’t help but notice that the food also looked damn good. As hardcore IPA lovers, my partner and I got the Sultan of Stoke IPA and the Conductor Imperial IPA.
14. Animas Brewing Company in Durango
The last stop on our pub crawl through Durango was at Animas Brewing Company, which had probably the best patio set-up of all the other breweries we got to check out that day. They had a great selection of beers, but my favorite part about the brewery was the fact that it was off the beaten path, and offered a quiet place to relax and enjoy a view of the mountains. True to form, Chad got one of their rotational IPAs, which he thoroughly enjoyed, but I switched it up and got their Gold King Sour that was packed with super tart, delicious grapefruit and citrusy flavors.
15. Carver Brewing Company in Durango
The second brewery in our craft beer tour of Durango was Carver Brewing Company. They had an enjoyable covered patio, great food and really friendly staff. We had an IPA or two as well as their Iron Horse Nitro Oatmeal Stout – would 100% recommend to anyone visiting them.
Want more craft beer? Check out my list of favorite craft breweries in Boulder, CO!