Monday, April 20, 2015

Who Writes These Lists?

Someone commented the other day about the plethora of lists on Facebook, "best of this", "top ten that", etc, and how nobody who writes the lists seems to have definitive expertise on the subject.  While I don't claim expertise, I will certainly claim enthusiasm for Denver's growing beer scene.  I've been asked before to name my favorite area breweries, and I always have a hard time putting them to paper.  I've visited over 50 Colorado breweries and tried beer from at least 20 others, so it was hard narrowing down the list.  I chose either ones that I consistently return to, or ones that were so amazing on my first (and only) trip that I would recommend them solely on that experience.  So here goes.

My Top Ten Denver Area Breweries (in alphabetical order):
Brewery Rickoli- gluten-free for those who care, and some of the best-tasting hoppy beers around; *Recommendation: Social Lubricant Scotch Ale or Monolith Stout (barrel-aged if you can)
Bull and Bush- not necessarily stand-out beers, though several are very good, but I dig the food, the atmosphere, and the fact that they have an amazing Scotch list if I'm not in the mood for beer; *Recommendation: Tower ESB
Chain Reaction- I judge breweries by beers and staff, and they both are great here, the owner bought everyone pizza on my first visit; *Recommendation: Pink Peppercorn Saison
Comrade- making waves on the scene in their first year, great beer names, consistently good beer; *Recommendation: Superpower IPA, Koffee Kream Stout
Copper Kettle- great staff, local feel, always something new to try; *Recommendation: Snowed In (if you can), Basil Blonde Ale, Puppy Charlie's with Raspberries
Dry Dock- probably the most widely distributed of the list, they hit the mark on both flagships (vanilla porter, HMS Bounty) and seasonals (pumpkin!); *Recommendation: HMS on Nitro
Epic- an impressive taproom, solid bottle offerings, wide variety, lots of big beers; *Recommendation: Brainless anything, Fermentation Without Representation, Sage Saison, Big Bad Baptist
Former Future- I have high hopes for this one as they have excellent beer and a friendly owner; *Recommendation: Salted Caramel Porter, Bonny Ace
Lone Tree- older than most of these, they can and bottle, which is a big plus when choosing camping beer, and they have consistent food trucks; *Recommendation: Peach Pale Ale
Wit's End- the smallest of the bunch, but offering some of the most interesting flavors (Belgian-oatmeal-IPA), my only beef is their limited hours; *Recommendation: Wilford, Ugly Sweater

I intentionally stuck to Denver-area, rather than Front Range, even though I know there are a lot of really amazing breweries in FoCo, Boulder, Summit County, and other surrounding areas.  I give honorable mention to New Belgium for an amazing tour, and Upslope for having one of the widest varieties of taps and also one of my favorite tap-room finds (Barrel-Aged Brown Ale).

I also want to give a shout-out to some amazing beer bars around Denver, for when you can't decide on a single brewery:
Jake's Brew Bar- hands down, one of my absolute faves
Hops and Pie
Historian's Ale House
Lowry Beer Garden

On the list to try soon:
Black Shirt
Kannah Creek
River North

I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.