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.
Owned by a 15-year home-brew veteran with more than 9,000 beer recipes, Do Your Brew educates burgeoning malt mavens on all the basics of concocting brews during a hands-on introductory brewing class. Aspiring brewmasters can select from twelve brew kits, such as the Bitter Bob Bitters, a deep and big-bodied pale ale with a quick-brewing process and a satisfying result, or the Dark Roast Porter, a dark-coffee brew with rich, spicy hops and a smooth finish. Other selections include the Atbier, Black Canyon Stout, Bronco Amber Ale, Enlightened Black Ale, Gold Coast Pale Ale, Irish Red Ale, Kolsch, Nut Brown Ale, California Common Beer, and Sundown Wheat. In addition to their newly gleaned imbibing insight, beer believers can take home five gallons of beer from the resulting handcrafted batch, ideal for impressing family members or German dignitaries that randomly appear in one’s basement. Aspiring barley pop experimenters also get 10% off all home-brewing supplies and kits at Do Your Brew if they want to continue crafting hop concoctions.
Dad & Dude's Breweria's father-and-son duo pair small-batch craft beer with classic and inventive pizzas fashioned atop dough sweetened with spent beer grains and agave nectar. Acquaint taste buds with the menu's surrealist creations by sinking teeth into the Shroom pie ($11), a portobello-mushroom cap brimming with spinach, roasted garlic, and a reduction of Dali's daydreams. Dad & Dude's specialty pies crisscross the line between classic and creative with the italian-sausage-topped Tommy Gun ($13+) or Da Rasta Mon ($12+), speckled with jamaican jerk chicken and caramelized pineapple. Keep tables securely seated on the floor by topping them with a hefty selection of more than 10 sandwiches ($7+) or heaping bowls of pasta ($10 each) such as the pepper jack mac 'n' cheese suffused with spicy-white-cheddar-jack-ale-cheese sauce and pancetta ham.
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.