2013 can certainly be remember as a year where the craft brewery really blew up across the Centennial State. Nearly every suburban town in the Denver area has one or several, while even tiny mountain hamlets support these brew producing outposts.The SG partook in quite a few of these throughout last year, and while I’m no beer snob or even a huge connoisseur, many are worth of mention.
Post Opening Day, the SG Crew ventured to Our Mutual Friend Brewing. Hipster is the operative word here, but there was no record scratch as the crew walked in in Rox gear. Beers are tasty and nothing overly fancy décor wise, with a nice laid back vibe and even “bring your own vinyl” days.
Back in the day, North Denver was simply called “North Denver” but now the area is “The Highlands” and further divided into “LoHi” and such. In one of those areas is Prost Brewing. A great summer spot, myself and seven time SG winner TDub spent a few German style beers watching college football at their communal tables.
Dipping into the central mountains, any true Coloradoan knows of Salida. A riverside town with some great arts and great bar/restaurant scene. I ventured on the requisite town bike to Moonlight Pizza, which also brews their own beers. A slice and cold beer in their outdoor area with a late summer mountain vibe was memorable.
It’s been there for years, but Southern Sun in Boulder was the perfect post-CU Spring Game stop. Tasty beers and even tastier entrees. The décor is very Boulder-ish and service is uber-friendly.
I tagged along with three time SG winner JL Smooth on an all-encompassing Boulder craft tour. Stop one was Fate Brewing, which had good beers and great appetizers. Wasn’t your typical beer fan vibe, as there’s a family setting and a great patio. Stop two was a beer fan honey hole: J Wells Brewing, a tiny nanobrewery in an industrial park. Where we were served by, who else, J Wells. The last two spots were Sanitas and Wild Woods, the first with a great outdoor area and the latter with a tasty beer selection.
It wasn’t all breweries in 13, as some old standard bar/restaurants caught the SG eye. One of those was Ernie’s Pizza Bar in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Reinvented over the past couple years, Ernie’s has great Italian cuisine and an extensive beer menu.
High above Nederland stands the tiny enclave of Rollinsville, blink and you might miss it. But a quick turn into the “main drag” and you’ll see the venerable Stage Stop Inn. Bright and roomy, complete with art, great all-day breakfast food, and a nice beer selection, it is the perfect lazy afternoon resting point.Video gamers have flocked to 1Up in LoDo for tourneys and the like, but even us imbibers can appreciate their cold beers and old school games. A great place on a hot Rockies’ day for a cold beer and some Skee Ball or Donkey Kong.
On the other end of the LoDo spectrum is the Viewhouse. Massive and mainly open, the Viewhouse has the standard pub fare and cold beers of all flavors in the shadow of Coors Field. Its giant backyard draws the pseudo Vegas daytime crowd, drinkers, and those looking to soak the Colorado sunshine.A family summer vacation took us to Grand Lake and during nap times I was able to walk to the Lariat Saloon on the fabled Grand Lake Boardwalk. A true dive bar that doesn’t really cater to the tourist crowd, I enjoyed a simple Coors Original. Apparently it’s an older bar with quite the history, but was more interested in a nice conversation with the bartender and regulars.
The same trip saw a more family friendly trip to Brickhouse 40 in Granby. A restored 40 year old brick building, it has decent food, a great interior, and cold beers. The kids were giddy from a horseback riding session and colored away, while Mrs Commish and I babbled about who knows what in a rare lunch without endless under-five year old questions and concerns. It was a memorable afternoon, and that’s what most of these bar trips create. You’ll remember the conversations, the people, and the funny stories from across the thousands of watering holes in this great state. Cheers!