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12 Must-Visit Denver Breweries You Won’t Find at GABF

12 Must-Visit Denver Breweries You Won’t Find at GABF
Chris Day

The Great American Beer Festival is huge. With almost 800 breweries on the roster, it feels like you have the whole craft beer world at your fingertips when you step on that tasting floor. However, it’s easy to forget that some Colorado breweries aren’t participating, even ones a few minutes away from the convention center. While we love GABF, it would be a shame to visit Denver without checking out a few of these fantastic local breweries.

Before we get started, I’d like to offer some disclaimers and apologies. First, in the interest of time and scope, I have limited my suggestions to a dozen choices in metro Denver to encourage safe transportation choices like public transit, biking, or Uber/Lyft and I strongly suggest taking advantage of these travel options. For the same reason, I’ve only chosen destinations that are at most ~15 minutes by car from downtown. Unfortunately, that meant omitting some of our favorite breweries. If you have a little more time on your hands, I recommend exploring the Colorado Brewery List to find many other wonderful Colorado breweries worth visiting. Secondly, all travel estimates assume you’re starting at the center of downtown Denver, so check your favorite mapping solution for precise times from your location. Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff.


Renegade Brewing Company – 925 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204

Uber: 5 mins
Bike: 11 mins
RTD: 6 mins

Nestled just slightly southwest of downtown near the Santa Fe Art District, Renegade’s bike-friendly taproom is usually full of patrons drinking a wide variety of beers from lighter fare like 5:00 Afternoon Ale and Hiatus Cold-brewed Coffee Oatmeal to heavyweights like E3 Endpoint Triple IPA.

Will Curtin Banded Oak Brewing Company

Banded Oak Brewing – 470 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203

Uber: 6 mins
Bike:  12 mins
RTD: 6 mins

Founded by Great Divide alumnus, Banded Oak is a recent addition to the Baker neighborhood just south of downtown. Sit on their expansive patio while drinking beers ranging from the ubiquitous IPA to imperial Saisons, Stouts, and Pilsners.

trve taps

TRVE Brewing Company – 227 Broadway #101, Denver, CO 80203

Uber: 6 mins
Bike:  14 mins
RTD: 9 mins

Located a few blocks south of Banded Oak, TRVE opened in 2011 as Baker’s first brewery, and Denver’s first metal brewery. Since then, they’ve established themselves as a Denver institution and earned a reputation for producing of some of the state’s best sour and wild ales. Visit their taproom during GABF for exclusive tappings including Revengeance, a mixed-culture porter. There’s also word that a keg of their lusted-after Currant Mouth will make an appearance.

Cerebral Brewing Company Denver
Photo by Michael Malvitz,

Cerebral Brewing – 1477 Monroe St, Denver, CO 80206

Uber: 8 mins
Bike:  26 mins
RTD: 15 mins

Cerebral opened almost a year ago in the Bluebird district a few minutes east of downtown Denver. While offering a wide variety of styles, they’ve become especially well known for their hazy, New England-style IPAs. Notable tappings this week include Tulpamancer, a Dry-Hopped Oat Saison brewed with three varieties of oats and dry-hopped with Hallertau Callista and a variation on the same base beer using bee pollen, elderflower and lemon zest.

Chad Yakobson Crooked Stave Artisan Ales
Photo by Dustin Hall, The Brewtography Project

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO 80216

Uber: 8 mins
Bike:  21 mins
RTD: 18 mins

One of the early pioneers in wild and funky beers, Crooked Stave is a must visit if you’re a fan of wild, funky and sour beers. Visiting their taproom in the River North neighborhood this week may yield limited bottle releases including Petit Sour Reserva Cassis, Petit Sour Reserva Passionfruit, and the first release of L’Brett d’Or in three years.


Bierstadt Lagerhaus – 2875 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205

Uber: 9 mins
Bike:  19 mins
RTD: 21 mins

If you’re a fan of German-style beers, you must visit Bierstadt Lagerhaus. This recent addition to the River North neighborhood brews beautiful, delicious beers on an 84-year-old copper brew system imported from Bavaria. While the Pilsner may take an extra minute or two to pour (proper pour) it’s well worth the wait as its one of the best beers in the city. If you enjoy cider, do yourself a favor and check out C Squared Cidery in the same building.


Black Shirt Brewing – 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205

Uber: 10 mins
Bike:  23 mins
RTD: 9 mins

This River North brewery specializes in red beers. If that seems limiting, think again. You’ll find everything from stouts to saisons to sours in their music-themed taproom. We’re partial to their Imperial Red Rye IPA, Red Evelyn and the Tropical Sour.

Photo Courtesy of The Brewtography Project
Photo Courtesy of The Brewtography Project

Beryl’s Beer Company – 3120 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205

Uber: 10 mins
Bike:  21 mins
RTD: 18 mins

While the name refers to mineral, it provides a homonymic hint to this River North brewery’s specialty: barrel-aged beers. While you’ll find fresh options like A-Line IPA and Paper Moon Pale Ale, be sure to try some of the barrel-aged options like Logan’s Barrel Reserve, a Schwarzbier aged in bourbon barrels and blended with coffee.

hogshead cask ales - hops & pie - dbb - 03-11-15

Hogshead Brewery – 4460 W 29th Ave, Denver, CO 80212

Uber: 12 mins
Bike:  33 mins
RTD: 26 mins

If cask ales are your thing, a visit to Hogshead is mandatory. You’ll find classic English styles like Milds, Bitters, ESBs, and Barleywines represented in casks and kegs for side-by-side comparison.


Goldspot Brewing Company – 4970 Lowell Blvd, Denver, CO 80221

Uber: 12 mins
Bike: 40 mins
RTD: 30 mins

While visiting Goldspot, you may catch a glimpse of Porchdrinking’s own Kelissa Hieber, who also brews at this Berkeley brewery. They’ll be tapping three new beers this week including the delicious and potent Black Whiskey River imperial stout aged in Colorado Whiskey barrels.

Call to Arms Brewing Co.
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Wailes


Call to Arms Brewing – 4526 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212

Uber: 14 mins
Bike: 41 mins
RTD: 25 mins

While this Berkeley brewery won’t have their own booth at the fest, a  selection of their beers will be available at the Colorado guild booth. We decided to include them as they’re a staff favorite and easily overlooked. Founded by industry veterans from Avery Brewing, Call to Arms consistently offers great representations of many styles ranging from IPAs to Lagers to Sours in their inviting and friendly taproom. Try the Tennyson Standard, a Kolsch that’s rapidly become a neighborhood standard.


Station 26 Brewing Company – 7045 E 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80207

Uber: 16 mins
Bike: 43 mins
RTD: 37 mins

Occupying a repurposed firehouse in the Park Hill neighborhood, Station 26 is another Porchdrinking staff favorite. While they offer something for all palates, as a dedicated hophead, I must tell you that their Juicy Banger is one of my favorite IPAs in the state.

I hope this list guides you to a new favorite – enjoy the fest!

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