Photo Credit: Scott DW Smith
And in the end there were six.
The best Colorado beer is here. After weeks of battling, the first ever Elevation Outdoors create your ultimate six-pack of Colorado beers reader poll has wrapped up. It was not easy to choose from the numerous brews nominated by the 32 participating breweries. Luckily, we, the editors, did not have to take on that task—you did. Now, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the victors, or take them with you the next time you go outside and play. So without further ado here are the winners.
Every well-stocked beer fridge across the Rocky Mountains must have at least one IPA in it—seriously look it up, I think it’s a state law. Drinkers across the country have embraced these humongous hop-bombs over the last decade making them the hottest style of craft beer. According to the Brewers Association, they were up a whopping 47 percent last year. Just think about that number. That’s on top of continual growth, it’s crazy. It seems like brewers are turning out new ones daily.
Well luckily for Coloradoans, the folks at Ska Brewing in Durango have been turning out one of the very best. Their Modus Hoperandi IPA is a beautifully balanced beer with an incredible citrus nose. It’s the ideal brew to crack open after a day on the slopes or an afternoon watching the game. It also was the top vote-getter in our poll. You named in a whopping 41 percent of your six packs.
On the opposite end of the beer spectrum is Milk Stout Nitro. It garnered the second most votes in our poll. A velvety-smooth beer with prevalent flavors of chocolate and vanilla with a touch of roasted coffee, it’s a drink you just don’t want to put down. The nitrogen that infuses the beer creates a seriously silky stout that goes down so smooth. The fact that Left Hand Brewing has created a way to deliver their nitrogenated beers to you direct in the bottle virtually guarantees them a place in most peoples dream six-pack. When the temps drop after the sun settles, this is one beer you will want in your cooler when car camping.
With a strong malty backbone balanced by a generous hoppy kick, Upslope Brewing’s Brown Ale is the perfect beer for spring drinking. It delivers a full-body taste that’s not too complex, but offers layers of subtle flavors. The hints of coffee and chocolates will help you ward off the chill while the 45 IBU’s mean it will deliver a crisp finish. Though only six-and-a-half years old, the brewers at Upslope have been pulling in accolades and awards since they first opened their doors. Make sure you have this beer in your cooler when you are headed out for an adventure.
One of the biggest new trends of the craft beer revolution is the emergence of session beers. These are brews loaded with the great flavors we have come to expect in micro beers, but not weighed down by the high alcohol content so often found in them. You can crack them open with friends and not worry about getting too buzzed after a couple cold ones. Odell Brewing’s Loose Leaf is just such a beer. Crisp, refreshing, and quite pleasing, it will leave you smiling after quaffing a few with friends. With only 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, it is the perfect beer to share with friends after a long mountain bike ride at the trailhead. Make sure you have this excellent session ale in your fridge.
Sometimes, it’s best to reach for a classic—hey, they never seem to go out of style. At least that seems to be the story with Dales Pale Ale. Big, bold and aggressive would be how many describe it. A crisp finish leaves your taste buds begging for more nicely balances its huge floral undertone. Consistently considered one of the best beers in America—and the one that launched the current craze of canning craft beer—it is a trendsetter. It is a large part of the reason Oskar Blues Brewery is now the 24th largest craft brewery in the United States. If you are heading out for a day in the backcountry, it is one beer you will want with you.
The final beer rounding out our Best Sixer Ever was something of a Cinderella story. Knocking off perennial powers Avery, Great Divide and Breckenridge, it seems to be a beer destined for success. Brewed with a complex array of spices, Denver Beer Company’s Graham Cracker Porter is one of the more interesting beers on the market today. This American Porter is well balanced with vanilla sweetness balanced out by the dark roasted malts evident in any well-made porter. The fact that it is available in cans—not too many well crafted porters are—and that it is only available in Colorado right now, makes this a must-have when heading out on your next adventure.
So there you have it, six excellent brews to consider for your next outing. So pack up the gear, put the dog in the back, and go have some fun.