5 Colorado Breweries Beer Lovers Adore
When it comes to American beer, Colorado is a hop haven, ranking among the top states in terms of most craft breweries per capita. From Denver to Durango, its local companies produce a wide range of unique beers, spanning hazy IPAs, milk stouts, German-style lagers, and so much more. In no particular order, here are some breweries garnering acclaim in the Centennial State.
For #1 we get Holidaily Brewing Company. The enterprise is the passion project of beer enthusiast and cancer survivor Karen Hertz, who, after having to give up gluten as part of her treatment, strove to come up with excellent-tasting brews that would accommodate her diet. As a result, her company is dedicated to providing safe, delicious gluten-free beers for those with Celiac diagnoses and related sensitivities.
Holidaily maintains a brewery and tasting room in the city of Golden, and distributes its beer throughout Colorado and Arizona. Among its offerings are the Favorite Blonde Ale, made in honor of Hertz's grandfather, and Fat Randy's IPA, named after the best friend of Hertz's husband. Other brews include a stout, a pumpkin ale, and a Belgian-style witbier made with buckwheat instead of traditional gluten-containing grain. With one exception, all of Holidaily's beers are vegan and dairy-free.
Landing at #2 is Prost Brewing Co., a Denver-based brewery focused on crafting authentic German-style ales and lagers. The company honors its cultural heritage by sourcing only high-quality ingredients directly from Germany, and by following traditional brewing practices and lagering techniques. Part of this commitment to tradition involves an adherence to the Reinheitsgebot purity law, which means the only ingredients used in the beer are malts, yeast, hops, and water.
Among the company's offerings are lagers such as pilsners, marzens, and Munich-style helles, and ales including various wheat beers and a kolsch. Guests can order many of these on tap at Prost's biergartens in both Denver and Fort Collins. The former location features an expansive indoor hall that opens up to a large 2,000-square-foot patio. The Fort Collins location, situated in the middle of Old Town, has a back room with a stage and projector ideal for private events.
For #3 we have Left Hand Brewing. This company was founded in Longmont by Air Force friends Eric Wallace and Dick Doore, who wished to make exciting beer after growing tired of the bland choices that were available at the time. The brand is perhaps best known for its Milk Stout Nitro and subsequent Nitro series. Left Hand claims to be both the first American and the first craft brewery to master the science of bottling a Nitrogen beer without a widget.
Nitro brews include the coffee porter Hard Wired, the berry blonde ale Flamingo Dreams, and the imperial stout Galactic Cowboy. Year-round suds comprise amber ales, IPAs, goses, and a peanut butter milk stout, brewed with real peanuts. These and other beers are on tap at Left Hand's tasting room, which boasts three rotating tap walls. Beyond its beers, the company gives back to the community through its own charity foundation, and raises funds for Multiple Sclerosis research through National Bike M.S.
Arriving at #4 is Great Divide Brewing Company, established in Denver in 1994. Its original brewery and tap room are located in the heart of Downtown in the Ballpark District, with additional locations in River North, Castle Rock, and at Denver International Airport. Great Divide emphasizes sustainability in all aspects of its production and management, and has been recognized multiple times by RateBeer as one of the top brewers in both Colorado and the world.
Year-round favorites from Great Divide include the Yeti imperial stout, Denver pale ale, and Hercules double IPA. Among the seasonal offerings are a Belgian-style tripel and a grapefruit radler. The brewer offers limited releases through its Yeti Clan and Wood Werks Barrel series, and also crafts hard seltzers. In 2011, Great Divide launched its Tap Room Giving Program, which raises donations for nonprofits working through complicated community issues.
Finally, for #5 we come to Ska Brewing. Headquartered in Durango, it was founded by Bill Graham and Dave Thibodeau, fans of both craft beer and ska music. Aiming to combat the corporatization of the beer industry, they and their brewing team produce craft suds that emphasize unique ingredients and flavors. Many of Ska's recipes call for local fruits and barrel fermentation from the company's sister distillery, Peach Street Distillers.
A number of IPAs make up Ska's flagship brews, including Modus Hoperandi IPA and its citrus cousin, Modus Mandarina. Golden, blonde, and red ales are also on tap, as is Pink Vapor Stew, a tart tropical medley of beets, carrots, ginger, and apples. On top of these and other beers, Ska produces hard seltzers in flavors such as hibiscus lime and black raspberry, and offers a line of non-alcoholic sparkling water called Skagua.