Colorado’s thriving craft beer scene has established the state as a mecca for beer enthusiasts. With over 400 breweries offering a diverse range of flavors and styles, Colorado is the perfect destination for those seeking to explore the world of craft beer.
But with so many options, where do you start?
We’ve handpicked some of the best breweries in Colorado that cater to different tastes and experiences, from pioneering establishments to experimental breweries, scenic spots, and even those that offer delectable food pairings.
Join us on this tantalizing craft beer journey as we unveil the best breweries in Colorado, offering an unforgettable adventure for your taste buds and an opportunity to discover the artistry behind these exceptional brews.
- Explore Colorado’s renowned craft beer scene with award-winning breweries, unique flavors and scenic spots.
- Experience delectable food pairings at Cerberus Brewing Co., Wynkoop Brewery and Lowdown Brewery & Kitchen.
- Take guided or self-guided tours to discover the best of Colorado’s brewery trails in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder.
Craft Beer Pioneers: Notable Colorado Breweries
Considering a state abundant in craft beer culture, we must recognize the trailblazers who contributed to the growth of this thriving industry.
These iconic Colorado breweries have significantly impacted the state’s craft beer scene, leaving their mark with exceptional brews and innovative practices.
Great Divide Brewing Company
Established in 1994, Denver’s Great Divide Brewing Company is renowned for its award-winning Yeti Imperial Stout and an array of flavorful beers, similar to Kannah Creek Brewing Company.
Founder Brian Dunn has created a brewery that has become a favorite among beer nerds, boasting several locations throughout Denver, including a primary location at 2201 Arapahoe St. Their Yeti Imperial Stout, a recipient of numerous awards, poses strong competition to Longmont Brewery.
New Belgium Brewing
Located in Fort Collins, New Belgium Brewing ranks among the country’s biggest craft breweries. Founded in 1991 by Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch, New Belgium has risen to fame with its iconic Fat Tire Amber Ale.
Beyond their flagship brew, New Belgium also produces a lineup of Voodoo Ranger IPAs, showcasing their dedication to crafting diverse, high-quality beers that have helped shape Colorado’s craft beer scene.
Oskar Blues Brewery
Originating in Lyons, Oskar Blues Brewery is known for its innovative canned craft beers and well-loved brews such as Dale’s Pale Ale and Mama’s Little Yella Pils.
Established in 1997 as a brewpub by Dale Katechis, Oskar Blues began brewing beer in the basement and, in 2002, became one of the first breweries to package their craft beer in cans.
Since then, Oskar Blues has expanded with locations in Longmont, Colorado, Brevard, North Carolina, and Austin, Texas. Their innovative approach to packaging and varied assortment of brews have cemented their status as craft beer pioneers.
Savoring Unique Flavors: Experimental Breweries in Colorado
For those with a taste for the unconventional, Colorado houses numerous experimental breweries challenging traditional brewing boundaries.
These establishments dare to explore unique flavors and techniques, offering a distinct experience for the adventurous beer lover.
Horse and Dragon Brewing Company
Founded by Tim and Carol Cochran in May 2014, Horse and Dragon Brewing Company is a family-owned brewery situated in Fort Collins, Colorado, known for its creative and experimental beers.
Among their popular brews is the Haze and Dragon, a hazy IPA with a balanced mouthfeel and malt flavor, accompanied by a tropical blend of passionfruit, coconut, and citrus.
Upon request, a brewery tour is available, offering a chance to gain insight into their brewing process and taste their extensive range of craft beers.
Fossil Craft Beer Company
Fossil Craft Beer Company, established in April 2013 in Colorado Springs, is renowned for its dedication to a particular yeast strain: Brettanomyces.
They offer a diverse selection of:
- Light beers
- Pale ales
- Unique non-alcoholic options like kombucha and hop tea.
The brewery’s emphasis on experimental brewing and dedication to quality renders it an appealing destination for those in search of a unique craft beer experience at a brew pub, featuring the distinct taste of the brewery’s beer in their tasting room.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Specializing in barrel-aged sour and wild ales, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project offers:
- A constantly rotating selection of 16 atypical taps
- Their renowned Juicy Bits New England-style IPA
- Unique brewing techniques, such as mixed-culture fermentations and the use of Brettanomyces yeast
These techniques combine science and artistry with creativity and passion.
Focusing on fruit-centric flavors and creative brewing methods, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, along with Ska Brewing, serves as a refuge for those looking for a genuinely unique craft beer experience.
Destination Breweries: Scenic Spots for Beer Lovers
Colorado’s awe-inspiring landscape sets the ideal scene for craft beer enjoyment. We will present three scenic breweries in the state, merging spectacular views with excellent brews for a memorable experience.
Golden Block Brewery
Golden Block Brewery, located in the historic mining town of Silverton, is a community-focused brewery offering delicious beers and wood-fired food in a beautiful mountain setting.
Founded by Floyd and Molly Barela, the brewery offers a selection of craft beers, including Wheat Ale and IPA, which can be enjoyed alongside their diverse menu of wood-fired pizza and sandwiches.
Golden Block Brewery’s scenic location, coupled with its dedication to community and quality, renders it an appealing destination for beer enthusiasts.
Elevation Beer Company
Elevation Beer Company, situated in Poncha Springs, offers award-winning beers and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Established in 2012 by Carlin Walsh and Christian Koch, this craft brewery has quickly gained recognition for its exceptional brews, such as the widely acclaimed Oil Man imperial stout.
Owing to its scenic location and commitment to quality, Elevation Beer Company serves as an ideal destination for craft beer aficionados in search of a distinct and picturesque experience.
Telluride Brewing Co.
Nestled in the picturesque town of Telluride, Telluride Brewing Co. is known for its award-winning beers made from pure Rocky Mountain snowmelt.
With consecutive gold medals at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Fest for their Face Down Brown ale, this brewery offers exceptional brews in a stunning location.
The blend of superior beers and stunning landscape at Telluride Brewing Co. makes it an obligatory stop for explorers of Colorado’s craft beer environment.
Colorado Brewery Tours: Exploring Beer Country
For those fond of guided experiences, Colorado presents numerous brewery tours highlighting the state’s vibrant craft beer scene. We will examine three popular brewery trails, each offering a unique insight into Colorado’s beer culture.
Denver Brewery Tours
Denver Brewery Tours provides guided tours of Denver’s craft beer scene, including stops at renowned breweries such as Great Divide Brewing Company and Wynkoop Brewery.
Priced at approximately $55 per person, these tours depart at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, offering exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Denver’s flourishing beer industry.
Under the guidance of an informed tour guide, visitors can taste exquisite beer, learn about the area’s history, and experience the city’s vibrant craft beer scene.
Fort Collins Brewery Trail
The Fort Collins Brewery Trail takes visitors on a self-guided tour of the city’s numerous craft breweries.
Some of the breweries included in the trail are:
- New Belgium Brewing
- Horse and Dragon Brewing Company
- Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing
- Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
- Equinox Brewing
- Gilded Goat Brewing Company
- Hello Brew Co.
- Salt Road Brewing
Guided tour options are also available, offering a more organized experience for those who prefer to navigate the Fort Collins craft beer scene under expert supervision.
Boulder Beer Trail
The Boulder Beer Trail is a curated beer trail that takes you from the East End to the West End of Downtown Boulder, connecting to urban trail systems in Boulder and Longmont, and passing by farmlands, open space, and rural subdivisions in-between.
This unique trail offers an unparalleled experience in every beer and features a rotation of handcrafted beers and tacos at the tap room. Brewery tours are also available, where you can:
- Sample extraordinary beer
- Gain insight into the history
- Take a guided tour
- Speak to the brewers
The Boulder Beer Trail offers a unique chance to experience Boulder’s lively craft beer scene.
Pairing Bites and Brews: Breweries with Delectable Food Offerings
For those who value the flawless union of food and beer, numerous Colorado breweries serve exceptional food alongside their craft brews.
We will spotlight three such establishments, allowing you to savor delicious dishes designed to enhance their unique beers.
Cerberus Brewing Co
Located in Colorado Springs, Cerberus Brewing Co provides a complete dining and craft brewery experience. Their menu features:
- Full-steak entrees
These dishes are perfectly paired with their unique beers. Cerberus Brewing Co’s strategy of matching beer with food is considerate, proposing a variety of craft food options that amplify their craft beer selection.
We highly suggest Diablos Bombon, a Mexican hot chocolate stout to enhance your meal. Try it with their bone-in smoked pork chop or choppahawk for an optimal experience.
Featuring a pet-friendly ambiance and a roomy outdoor patio, Cerberus Brewing Co is a perfect location to unwind and relish quality food and beer.
Wynkoop Brewery, one of Colorado’s first craft breweries, offers a diverse food menu alongside its award-winning craft beers.
Located in Denver, this historic brewery is known for its unique pineapple burger that complements their Foggy Locomotive IPA.
Focusing on combining extraordinary food with their quality brews, Wynkoop Brewery delivers a gratifying dining experience for both beer and food lovers.
Lowdown Brewery & Kitchen
In Denver, Lowdown Brewery & Kitchen serves up classic and modern craft brews alongside a menu of delicious dishes made from local and organic ingredients.
Their 1927 Brown, 666 IPA, and Amadeus Belgian Pale Strong Ale are popular choices that pair well with a range of dishes available at the brewery.
Prioritizing quality ingredients and dedicated to sustainable practices, Lowdown Brewery & Kitchen provides a pleasant dining experience that complements their outstanding craft beer selection.
Colorado’s thriving craft beer scene offers something for everyone, from iconic breweries that have shaped the industry to experimental establishments pushing the boundaries of traditional brewing.
With picturesque destination breweries, guided beer tours, and establishments offering exceptional food pairings, the state is a haven for beer enthusiasts seeking to explore the vast world of craft beer.
So, whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a curious newcomer, there’s never been a better time to embark on a Colorado craft beer adventure. Raise a glass and discover the exceptional brews that the Centennial State has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the most breweries in Colorado?
Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Boulder have the highest concentration of breweries in Colorado, with Denver leading the way with 75.
What is the Colorado brewery of the Year?
Congratulations to Wibby Brewing Company for being named Colorado Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival! They brought home 40 medals and earned recognition in their size category (5,001-15,000 barrels).
What beer is based out of Colorado?
Great Divide Brewing Company is a Colorado-based brewery that produces the iconic Yeti Imperial Stout, owned and created by Brian Dunn.
What are some of the most iconic breweries in Colorado?
Great Divide Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, and Oskar Blues Brewery are renowned as some of the most iconic breweries in Colorado.
Which breweries in Colorado are known for their experimental brews?
Horse and Dragon Brewing Company, Fossil Craft Beer Company, and Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project are renowned for their creative, experimental brews in Colorado.