Monday, January 17, 2011

'10 Again: Top Colorado Beers Spots



Alley Bar- There's a reason that this Highlands bar is called the Alley Bar- because it used to be an alley. They simply threw a roof over it, put in some ornate decor, and cheap drinks. Located next to a popular pizza place Zio Romolos, this joint has a laid back vibe like most of the neighborhood.

Tiki Bar- Whenever these tropical themed bars come into our mountain state, it just screams cheesy. This bar gets a pass because it's on the Lake Dillon waterfront. Suck down local brewery Pug Ryan's micros (Morningwood Wheat is a fave) and watch the Colorado mountain summer go by.

Golden City Brewery- Take a microbrewery and put in a house and use the yard as the seating area, that's what GCB is all about. The "backyard" has communal picnic tables for you to get to know your fellow drinker, with entertainment usually a dude witha guitar, a couple dogs roaming around, and good beers.

Vintage Moose- You pass it everytime on the way to the slopes in Idaho Springs: it's the roadside bar (in the parking lot of the behemoth Beua Jo's) with the big moose antlers offers a completely redone interior and cold drinks. An ample patio area is great for summer evenings as Interstate 70 goes by at 80mph.

Highland Tap- Not the biggest burger critic, but my dining companion offers it was the best burger they've ever had in the city. This new joint also offers a Wednesday running club and other hot deals. Plenty of TVs and a good selection of micros and old stanbys make it a desirable sports location on a lazy Sunday.

Fainting Goat- Nestled in among the offices and shops on Broadway, the Fainting Goat has a patio that is a must for your summer plans. But get there early, because the rooftop patio is smaller than most of the massive offerings the city has to offer. You won't be sorry sucking down ice cold CLs as the city bellows beneath.

Skips Pourhouse- History seems to ooze from this joint on Carbondale's main drag, from the intricate bar, to the classic music blaring from the jukebox (which has a small dance congregation when we were there on a random Saturday afternoon.) This is a Original Coors type place to co-mingle with immigrants, hippies, and cowboys. Don't forget the Rocky Mountain Oysters either.

Motherloded Tavern- This is one of those classic bars that didn't meet a piece of decor it didn't like, and there's plenty (love the old TVs on the patio) on display at this Breckenridge watering hole. The trendy ski crowd or summer touristy types seemed absent most of the time, so swill their cold beers without pretense.

Wild Mountain Smoke House- Keep going straight through Boulder and you'll eventually end up in the mountain hamlet of Nederland, and belly onto the Wild Mountain. Sit on the patio with one of their handcrafted beers with the air a bit more nippy, the grass seems a bit greener, and the people of 'Ned' are a bit friendlier.

Old Louisville Inn- At one time this Irish bar was the center of violent protests of the miners who populated Louisville (bullet holes in the walls prove that.) The antique bar itself is from Leadville and is one of the state's oldest. Murals grace the wall painted by a local artist who was paid with a bar tab. Plenty of Boulder County brews on tap.

Red's Pub- This one is close to home, as in the Commish's home. The simple white cinder block bar with a few tables, a few beers on tap, frozen pizzas and popcorn, and friendly staff was a old school throwback with the kitsch of trying to be. Unfortunately, progress is coming in the form of the new road and Red's is shuttered. Too much these days the little bars are disappearing from our lives while the "fun emporiums" pop up around.

I went to Red's now and then with friends (it was our stop after Dan Hawkins' first loss to Montana State), or with my decades old Fantasy Football league, or with my favorite bar hopper, my lovely wife (Red's was still a bit gully to trust it to host my beautiful baby girl.) I'll miss it but won't shed too many tears because the most important thing is the memories, friendships, and loves that places like this create and nuture. Big ups to the SG Massive for 2011.

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