It’s no secret that Colorado is the epicenter of craft beverage creation—from hoppy IPAs to tasty ciders to barrel-aged bourbons to refreshing kombuchas. The art of libations is expressed at its finest here where fresh snowmelt from the high peaks inspires creative brewers and distillers to concoct drinks that make epic days in the mountains even sweeter. With recent legislation that encourages small-scale production and a culture that draws dreamers and entrepreneurs, the state continues to grow this burgeoning industry.
Now that summer’s in full swing, there’s no better time to hit the road, explore new outdoor destinations and responsibly taste some of the best beverages Colorado has to offer. To that end, we bring you our annual beverage guide. These producers represent the peak of fine sipping.
There may be no better place in all of Denver to kick back with friends and colleagues and enjoy a beer than 10 Barrel Brewing located in the heart of the RiNo neighborhood at 26th and Walnut.
First off, 10 Barrel’s 20-barrel brewing system (yes, we get the irony) gives their award-winning brewers the ability to really get creative each and every day on the job. The suds magicians here will keep you coming back for more because they continuously churn out one-of-a-kind creations that are only available on site. Plus, the brewery offers a full lineup of 10 Barrel’s standard line of spectacular beers flowing from 24 taps.
Stop in for local Mondays where you can enjoy a pint brewed by Denver brewmaster Kay Witkiewicz for $3 all day long! Need more reason to visit? Consider the view. This spectacular location offers you the chance to sit and sip on one of the best rooftop decks in the city, or you can sit inside watching the brewers delve into their craft.
And don’t forget the pub food. The menu is essential to the spirit of the brewery and it features a range of diverse offerings including Gorgonzola nachos, Sweet Thai chili wings, pimento cheese dip and fish tacos. Put it all together and you have the makings for one hell of a day, or night, at one of Colorado’s best breweries.
As one of the craft brewers leading the crowded field in the state of Colorado, Upslope Brewing Company has stuck to its one main goal since it’s founding 10 years ago: to create beverages that are best enjoyed by you and your friends outside in great settings. It could be a backyard barbecue or deep in the backcountry, all that matters is that you are enjoying one of their fine products in the location you love best.
That’s why Upslope packages its beer exclusively in cans—because when your beer is ready to travel, there’s no limit to where you can take it. It may be brewed in Boulder, Colorado, but this beer should be enjoyed as far and as wide as you’re willing to wander. To help you celebrate your adventures outdoors Upslope asks you to take part in the #CanCountry campaign that encourages you to share your experiences with them by tagging your adventure photos so everyone who enjoys Upslope can see them.
The innovation just continues here, too. Just in time for summer, the brewery is introducing a new Spiked Snowmelt Mix Box of craft hard seltzer. It contains three flavors—Tangerine & Hops, Juniper & Lime, and Pomegranate & Acai. If beer is more your style, grab a six pack of the limited-release Tea Shandy and Sparkling Rosé IPA before heading out.
As one of the newer craft-brew arrivals to the Mile High State, Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s Roadhouse Brewing Company is making its presence known here with amazing beers that are the perfect complement to summer. From Wilson, a full-flavored Mountain-Style IPA, to Family Vacation, a sublimely smooth Cream Ale, their core offerings (available across the Rront Range in package and on tap) offer something for everyone. When you toss in a lineup of rotating seasonal and specialty brews it’s safe to say that Roadhouse has your refreshment needs covered throughout the year.
From their home base in Jackson Hole, Roadhouse concocts their latest and greatest drinks in a 30-barrel production facility and develops experimental brews at Roadhouse Pub & Eatery, their restaurant and five-barrel brewhouse located on Jackson’s iconic town square. The beauty of the Tetons inspires the Roadhouse crew to live out their passions whether that’s brewing something funky, wetting a line in a mountain stream or tossing some burgers on the grill with friends. All that matters is that you #LiveDeep. Besides just brewing beer Roadhouse is also focused on helping do their part for the environment with numerous sustainability initiatives and a socially and environmentally responsible B Corp certification to boot. So grab a six-pack of their cans and share your adventures using #LiveDeep.
Stashed in the heart of the Rockies, Woods High Mountain Distillery is consistently churning out some of the best spirits in the state, if not the country. From their facility located in downtown Salida brothers PT and Lee Wood create magic using as many local ingredients as possible.
New for this summer grab a bottle of their Sawatch American Malt Whiskey to sip around the campfire. Aged for over four-years in charred American Oak barrels it is loaded with complex rich flavors that slowly release as you sip it. If you are looking for something a little lighter you should reach for their San Luis Valley Vodka. Made with Colorado potatoes it is smooth vodka with just a hint of sweetness, perfect straight up or in a beverage.
Maybe the best place to enjoy these beauties, along with Wood’s other offerings, is sitting at the bar, soaking up the high mountain air at their tasting room in Salida, Colorado, especially this summer since the rivers are going to be running fat with all the snowmelt. Their bartenders roll out a seasonal menu designed to ensure that you will appreciate the skills that went into crafting each bottle of spirits, while fitting in perfectly with the surroundings.
Our suggestion? We recommend trying any cocktail they are offering that uses the Mountain Hopped Gin, it’s packed with fresh, aromatic flavors that enhance any drink and tastes damn good.
Looking to treat your taste buds this summer? Well then we suggest that you start stocking your cooler with as many of beers from Epic Brewing as possible. From the smoothly sublime Escape to Colorado IPA to their beautiful SOB (Son of a Baptist) Coffee Stout their brews are some of the tastiest stocking shelves across the Front Range and Rockies. Even better is their wide array of sours and barrel aged beers that really highlight the expertise that causes their brewers to win numerous awards and accolades.
Maybe the best spot to really soak in all this greatness is at Epic Brewing’s RiNo Taproom at 3001 Walnut Street in Denver. Located right near the A-Line it’s the perfect spot to stop into whenever you are heading into the city to catch a Rockies game ($1 off any draft with a ticket stub), or just to have a night out on the town with a date or good friends.
With 25 tap lines pouring all of Epic’s mainline brews (plus any experimental beers that they are debuting), the taproom is ideal spot to really dive into a wide range of different beer styles and flavors. The expansive tasting room also features rotating work from different local artists and even includes a changing graffiti wall that allows aspiring Banskys to practice their craft. Best of all? You can sip knowing you are helping the community since Epic Brewing continually hosts different non-profits offering them proceeds from different beers bought.
If you are heading into the hills for an adventure make sure that you stop in to load up on provisions. The taproom offers more than 30 beers for purchase so you can make sure your cooler is ideally loaded for fun. New this summer is the Pakka Hard Seltzers that you can pour into your growler for something different. They have three on tap at all times.
Concerts at Red Rocks get a whole lot better when you catch Bus to Show from their parking lot too. You can sip a few at the taproom, get a ride to and from the show, and then maybe grab a nightcap afterwards. Sounds like Epic Brewing is the perfect summer companion.