Located on the mile-long 16th Street Mall, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in the heart of downtown Denver was the first outpost of this now-blossoming chain. There are nearly forty Rock Bottom restaurants across several states, but the downtown Denver originator may still be the most fun. Tall windows stream in natural light while pendant bulbs take care of the rest, and guests can tuck into long, low booths that are perfect for groups of friends. Even better: many of the banquettes offer their own taps, which means you don’t have to leave your seat to buy another round. In-house craft beers abound at Rock Bottom, thanks to a brew team that has won medals for their popular offerings, like the Fire Chief Ale and the Brewmaster’s Choice. A traditional pub menu also features house favorites such as Bacon Chicken Mac 'n’ Cheese and Woodford Reserve Bourbon Glazed Salmon.
Beneath the rustic beams at Old Mill Brewery, patrons linger over frosty pints of in-house crafted microbrews while chatting near the exposed-brick fireplace. It's here, after all, where local brewers trailblazed the art of creating fine beers before the trend took shape. Today, they continue to produce six stellar beers in styles that range from pilsners to lagers and IPAs to stouts. Bartenders also tap pours of seasonal brews, such as a coconut porter, double IPA, or a fruit-infused raspberry red. Platefuls of home-cooked American fare complement each sip of suds, and include classic burgers and sandwiches along with a slew of succulent entrees?such as homemade fish ?n? chips. Nestled in historic downtown Littleton, Old Mill Brewery welcomes scores of friends and family who flock to its homey charms for a leisurely meal or to enjoy televised sporting events on its big-screen TVs.
In 1995, Twisted Pine Brewing Company began as something more of a grove than a forest, with brewer Gordon King crafting just a trio of beers in equipment purchased from New Belgium. Come 1996, the company fell into the hands of current owner Bob Baile, who merged the nascent brewery with his own project, Peak to Peak Brewing Company, and began bolstering the lineup with inventive stouts, ales, and porters. Since then, Twisted Pine has maintained a high standard of quality even in the face of its expanding scale, as evidenced by the gold medals garnered at the Great American Beer Festival for its American Amber Ale and Oak Whiskey Red. They credit their love for experimentation and strong community involvement as the driving force behind crafting beers that surprise and delight their loyal customers.
Today, locals and visitors mingle in the tap room, where the beer menu offers seasonal specials such as the Ghost Face Killah, infused with the 1.1 million Scovilles of the Bhut Jolokia pepper, and rated by Bon Appétit as one of the top ten weirdest beers in America. And to pair with the beer and drawers of otherwise useless silverware, the food menu features hearty pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.
When Santa Claus brought Left Hand Brewing Company’s cofounder Dick Doore his very first home-brewing kit, the jolly man unknowingly set Dick on a whole new life path. Home brewing became an obsession, and soon he had partnered with his college buddy Eric Wallace and started making their first batch of beer: the Sawtooth Ale. Just a few months later, Dick and Eric took home two medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
Nearly 20 years later, the brewery’s accomplishments have swelled: 16 medals in the Great American Beer Festival, 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and 3 medals at the European Beer Star. The brewery was also the first craft-beer company to master bottling a nitrogenized craft beer without a widget, owing to the introduction of their popular milk stout. Its extensive offering of brews is now available in 25 markets. Favorites include the golden crisp Polestar Pilsner and a roasty black Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout, both of which are available in the Longmont tasting room.
Each batch of Syntax Spirits Distillery’s vodka, whisky, and rum is made by hand using stainless-and-copper fractionating stills, Colorado Weld County wheat or American Molasses, and Cache La Poudre River whitewater. The result of these curated elements are incredibly smooth, complex spirits versatile enough to be sipped or mixed.
At the distillery, visitors are filled in on the process that brings these drinks to life and can taste the fruits of the facility’s labor. Along with its signature spirits, the distillery boasts housemade infusions that range from bourbon vanilla to citrus flavors. Guests can sample the different infusions as chilled shots or in a signature cocktail at the cocktail bar in the industrial-style tasting room where neon signs and antique light fixtures illuminate each sip. When guests aren’t mid-pinball game or sampling drinks at the 40-foot-long concrete bar, the staff leads complimentary tours of the distillery’s manufacturing area, where Laverne & Shirley imitations are prohibited.
Brewing beer used to be just a hobby for Biff Morehead. After coming home from his day job at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, he'd set to work homebrewing. But in 2013, he decided to make his hobby into a full-time vocation: he purchased a commercial brewing setup from a friend, and Smiling Toad Brewery was born. Inside the East Bijou Street brewery, Morehead uses locally sourced hops and grains to craft balanced, drinkable session beers such as the Irish ale, the aromatic Bella Lavender, and the Electric Espresso Stout. With its cozy, comfortable atmosphere, the brewery is a welcoming place to meet old friends or make new ones.