Jenni Lyons and Mike Burns founded Happy Leaf Kombucha by accident. Initially, their goal was non-commercial. They just wanted to brew enough kombucha to have it on tap in their house at all the times. Perhaps their extensive backgrounds in holistic nutrition and craft beer were what drove them to overshoot their goal. Its flagship, ginger-infused flavor, the lemon-hibiscus Longevity, is now sold in stores across Denver, as well as in their brewery's taproom, where it signature cranberry-lavender also intrigues palates. Those seeking more startling combinations can tap into the flavorful recharge of carrot-tarragon, mango-jalapeno, and grapefruit-rose.
Kombucha has a history that dates long before Jenni, Mike, and their partner Jeremy started making the healthy beverage. The tart fermented tea, brewed with sugar and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, has been around for thousands of years. Its eclectic array of benefits range from helping detoxify the liver to aiding digestion, which used to include a process known as "chewing" before kombucha was invented. Happy Leaf Kombucha puts its own spin on the classic, though, both with a steady procession of seasonal flavors brewed in Rocky Mountain water, and a commitment to keeping their recipe raw, vegan, gluten-free, and organically sourced.
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.
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.
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.
Kevin and Marisa Selvy made the decision to leave San Francisco to start a Colorado brewery while kicking back with (of course) a couple of beers. The move might have seemed a little, well, crazy at the time, but it?s more than paid off. These days, Crazy Mountain Brewing Company distributes its beers to more than 10 states, plus international markets such as Hong Kong.
Said libations?including eight year-round varieties, plus seasonal and Brewers? Reserve releases??also flow from 10 taps inside Crazy Mountain?s dog-friendly tasting room. Here, pints, pitchers, and tasting flights hold everything from the five-malted Horseshoes & Hand Grenades ESB to the wheaty Old Soul Strong Belgian Golden Ale. To complement pours, an outdoor food truck dubbed the Crazy Wagon serves a weekly rotating menu of global comfort food, including Korean-style short-rib tacos and gourmet grilled cheese. The brewery also hosts events such as live music and free yoga classes that allow students to sweat out all the hops they just drank.
With only a few 5-gallon buckets and some extracts, Bonfire Brewing began in a garage. Nowadays, the microbrewery team makes enough batches of brew to fill up to 15 of the taps at an on-premise taproom in Eagle. Here, bartenders decant hoppy IPAs, smooth brown ales, and lighter wheat beers into 16- and 23-ounce glasses, as well as to-go growlers, kegs for delivery, and time capsules for future thirsty people. The taproom opens around 5:30 p.m. every day, when the Bonfire crew invites patrons to tour the brewery; play rounds of darts, foosball, and shuffleboard; or groove to live music on weekends.