Colorado’s Best Beers

We do love our craft beer here in Colorado. And, to determine the best in the state, we asked our readers to vote through six rounds of a March-Madness-style beer bracket in March and April. We started with 64 entrants from across the state broken down into four divisions—Dark, Hoppy, Strong and Session. We have one champion.

WINNER

City Star Bandit Brown

Berthoud, Colorado

This malt-forward favorite at the City Star taproom already took home a gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, so it’s not a big surprise that EO readers chose it as their favorite of our 64 brews. “I would say City Star’s Bandit Brown won thanks to our support in the Berthoud community, greater craft beer community and our ‘virtual’ fans who may have visited the taproom once or twice and continue to follow City Star via social media from states away,” says City Star co-founder Whitney May. “The support and passion of City Star crew members really helped clinch the win. Our staff shared the beer bracket daily with friends, family and City Star fans to encourage voting.” If you have not been to the taproom, which opened four years ago, we suggest you do so immediately. Six mainstay brews are always on tap: Cowboy’s Golden, 6 Shooter Pale Ale, Red Necktar American Red Ale, All American IPA, Bandit Brown and Night Watchman Stout. In addition, four taps are always dedicated to specialty beers. citystarbrewing.com

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RUNNER UP

Black Shirt Brewing
Blood Orange Double IPA

Denver, Colorado

Powering through the Htrong section of the bracket, this beer has a cult following (and you may be on board once you try it). “It’s a recipe that fits the hop-forward desires of the Colorado craft-beer drinker, yet it has a whole new flavor profile,” says head brewer Branden Miller. “It’s juicy, tropical, and packed with these delicious citrus aromas and flavors that explode out of the glass. It’s a ‘new school IPA’ and it exemplifies just how far the boundary is being pushed in this city.” If that’s not enough to make you want to head to the brewery and try one (and perhaps the flagship Colorado Red Ale), you can stick to wine. blackshirtbrewingco.com

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FINALIST

Black Bottle Brewery  Death From Above

Fort Collins, Colorado

While the name may sound intense, this tasty dark beer has so many fans because it’s not overwhelming—think dark beer flavor without the heavy body of stouts and porters. Beyond that, the Fort Collins brewery is one funky spot worth a visit no matter your beer flavor preference. “Having opened just over three years ago, we have always strived to stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s our beer recipes, the collection of squirrel taxidermy we showcase at the brewery and festivals, the off-the-wall beer names or just the fact that we are one of the only brew pubs in town, we always like to be a little different from the rest,” says Black Bottle manager Dustin Larson. Blackbottlebrewery.com

BBB-99-X2

FINALIST

Vindication Freedom Stout

Boulder, Colorado

This solid, foreign-style with hints of chocolate and coffee in the crisp finish took our Dark category by storm. And Vindication practices what it calls “Brewtegrity.” “Our All-Natural brewing methods offer the best quality beer without the use of dimethylpolysiloxane, or any other anti-foaming process agents. We don’t chemically wash our yeast, or use enzymes or stabilizers to prop-up the yeast in the process of brewing our beer. We also provide full-disclosure on our label about everything added to the beer we make. We invite the beer drinking public to know what’s in their beer,” explains Vindication’s Marty Lettow. vindicationbrewing.com

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