Now that we’ve surpassed a new milestone of 200 breweries visited in the state of Colorado, it seemed like the ideal time to make up some random, arbitrary awards to present. And since this isn’t your typical beer blog, we’re not gonna bother with traditional accolades — no, The Drifties will be a tad more esoteric. How esoteric, you say? Read on!
Editor’s Note: Please bear in mind that some of these are jokes, so kindly refrain from sending me envelopes filled with anthrax. It’s all in good fun, kids!
Best Place To Catch A Buzz in Church: Revolution Brewing Company, Paonia, CO
Revolution Brewing is literally inside an old church up in the mountains of Paonia. Thanks to this loophole in the space-time continuum, you can now tell your parents that you’re going to church, even when the reality is you’re just throwing down a few pints.
Best Place to Chuckle Like Beavis and/or Butthead As You Read The Obscene Beer Names: Big Beaver Brewing Company, Loveland, CO
There’s absolutely nothing subtle about the parade of double-entendres present at Big Beaver Brewing Company. From “Bust-A-Nut Brown Ale” to the ever-so-tasteful “Whiskey Dick Stout”, the beers here make it clear that this isn’t the place you should bring your grandparents when they visit from Colorado Springs. Also, the brewery logo is a horrifying chimera of an ass, a beaver and a strip of pubic hair.
Best Taproom For Drinking Out of Glasses That’ll Make You Feel Like You’re Trying To Solve a Trigonometry Equation: Black Shirt Brewing, Denver CO
Photo credit lillysuesbitesandbrews.com
I’m not a complete troglodyte. I get that certain beers need special glasses to bring out the aroma and flavor. That being said, these glasses require more brain power than I’m willing to invest while getting my booze on. Yes, if I have to contemplate for even 1/4 of a second which side to drink out of, it’s still too cerebral for my lazy synapses. OK, maybe I’m a troglodyte.
Best Brewery For Patrons Who Like To Indulge In A Little Casual Satan Worship From Time To Time: Trve Brewing, Denver, CO
Alright, these guys probably aren’t bowing down to the Dark Lord while they brew, but they probably do know a few things about Norwegian Black Metal (you know, those fellows that burned down churches in the 90′s). So if you’re into goat sacrifice or think Countess Bathory was a good gal, then you’ll likely enjoy the tinnitus-inducing vibe in here.
Best Evil, Corporate-Bastard Brewery That Has A Shockingly Good Taproom Even Though Their Bottled Beers Are Crap: Blue Moon Brewing At The Sandlot, Denver, CO
To paraphrase Homer Simpson: “In baseball it isn’t about who wins or loses, but how drunk you get”. And if you’re gonna drink at a ballgame it might as well be something better than a $9 plastic cup of Coors Light. So, believe it or not, the taproom-only exclusives at the Sandlot are exceptional — and not just by comparison to the shit beer alternatives. The beers they pour are downright excellent, so why they can’t be bothered to bottle this stuff is beyond my comprehension (because the Blue Moon most of us are familiar with is liquid garbage).
Best Brewery In A Hideous Stripmall: Brewery Rickoli, Wheat Ridge, CO
OK, so this particular strip mall isn’t the ugliest one in town (although it is a far cry from anything resembling “pretty”), but Rickoli’s IS the best brewery you’re gonna find in such an aesthetically unpleasant location. By the time you pull up a bar stool and start getting served by this wonderfully friendly and talented family you will have long forgotten what the outside of the building looks like. You’ll be hard-pressed to find more sincerely amiable folks than these, and their beers are better than 90% of the breweries in existence. If you don’t find something to love at Rickoli’s then you are indeed dead inside.
Best Place To Meet A Brewmaster Who’s Nicer Than Your Own Dad: Buckhorn Brewers, Loveland, CO
Pardon the blurriness of the photo, but I think it’s because brewmaster Dave Currie is an angel. Honestly, if this guy was any nicer they’d be granting him sainthood at the Vatican.
Best Brewery That Went Out Of Business Before Anyone Could Find Their Taproom: Del Norte Brewing Company, Denver, CO
Photo credit: beerincolorado.blogspot.com
The above image was the only one I could dig up online (because I visited Del Norte before starting this blog). What’s amazing is that picture makes it look easier to find the brewery than it actually was (due to the garage door being open so you could see the equipment inside). But believe me, locating Del Norte was a ridiculous task — and it was quite literally walking distance from my own home. It couldn’t be found on GPS, no one ever answered their phone, it was in a completely anonymous industrial park without signage and it was only open a few hours a week. Finally, about a month before they shut down a large sign was placed out near Evans Avenue that let people know that yes, the brewery actually existed. By then it was too late and a totally decent brewery had gone out of business.
Best Place To Experience An Incredible Tap Selection Without Having To Go To The Absurdly Over-Rated Falling Rock Tap House In “Bro-Do”: Colorado Plus Brew Pub, Wheat Ridge, CO
Colorado Plus has over 50 rotating taps at all times, and the beers they choose to provide are typically excellent. Maybe Falling Rock Tap House has a bigger menu, but it’s also wildly inconvenient for anyone that doesn’t live downtown (the parking sucks), it’s always over-crowded, the service is forgettable and it’s typically packed with frat boys. So despite the fact that Falling Rock is routinely voted as one of the best tap houses in the country, I’m still gonna say that Colorado Plus kicks its ass. The service at Colorado Plus is phenomenal, the food is great and parking is free and easy. There really isn’t any competition — it’s just better all around.
Best Craft Brewery Moonlighting As A Disreputable Dive Bar: Creede Brewing, Denver, CO
We just reviewed these guys. Go read it.
Best Brewery In A Town You’ve Never Heard of And Probably Would Never Visit Unless You Could Use It As An Excuse To Get Drunk: Dolores River Brewery, Dolores, CO
Photo credit: beerat6512.blogspot.com
The town is cute, the taproom is neat and the beer garden is beautiful. Dolores River Brewery is a really good reason why you should stop by this town next time you head out toward Durango.
Most Incredible Scenic View From an Otherwise “meh” Brewery: Three-Way-Tie: Eldo Brewery and Taproom, Crested Butte, CO, Ouray Brewing Company, Ouray, CO and Estes Park Brewery in Estes Park, CO.
The title and photo kinda say it all.
Best Breweries Where You Feel Like You’re Hanging Out In Someone’s Awesome House That Was Built in The 1800′s: Tie: Golden City Brewing Company, Golden, CO and Riff Raff Brewing in Pagosa Springs, CO
Who doesn’t want to hang out on the porch of an old house and drink craft beer? I’ll tell ya who: communists and people that hate kittens.
Best Place To Meet The Nicest Brewery Owners In The Entire State: Hall Brewing Company, Parker, CO
Hall Brewing Company owners Aubrey, Aubrey Sr. and Sue Hall are the best friends you never knew you had. Head on out to either their brewery or taproom and see why we rate them as the friendliest in the state. (an honorable mention has to go out to the owners of Big Choice Brewing and Brewery Rickoli because they are stupendously kind as well).
Best Place To Drink A Beer While Buying Your Gardening Supplies: High Hops Brewing Company, Windsor, CO
Wanna drink great beer and buy real-live hops plants while you’re at it? High Hops Brewery is where you can do it all in one beerily convenient location. Plus, the view of the mountains from their beer garden is great, even by Colorado standards.
Prettiest Carved-Wood Bars, Tables And Chairs in A Taproom: Horse & Dragon Brewing Company, Ft. Collins, CO
Once again, my pitiful cell phone photos fail to do any justice to the subject at hand, but the bar and tables in here are quite stunning. Plus, there are some ornate carvings on a few of these that aren’t visible in the photo.
Best Collection of Beer Bottles and Memorabilia On Their Walls: Horsefly Brewing, Montrose, CO
Horsefly Brewing has enough bottles, cans, coasters and growlers lining their walls to impress any true beer memorabilia collector, and they’ve certainly got the largest quantity of beer-a-phernalia in Colorado. It doesn’t hurt that their beer is excellent as well. And as if that wasn’t enough, they’re practically next door to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the best place in Colorado that few seem to know about.
Best Place To Sit On The Porch In The Fall and Watch A Small Town Street Like You’re An Old Man Sitting In A Rocking Chair, Clutching A Shotgun: Industrial Revolution Brewing Company, Erie, CO
Sit back and observe small town charm and fall foliage from the tiny, quiet porch at Industrial Revolution Brewing. Being an old man clutching a shotgun is totally optional, but not entirely recommended.
Best Place For Weirdo’s That Think Hanging Out At An Old Country Buffet Is A Good Way To Experience Drinking Craft Beer: J. Fargo’s Family Dining And Brewing Company, Cortez, CO
Imagine this: put a brewery inside a Denny’s. The ambiance and beer at J. Fargo’s live up to that image.
Best Place To Go To See A Taproom That Will Never, Ever, Ever Open, Apparently: Lost Highway Brewing Company, Denver, CO
I started this blog in 2012. Lost Highway Brewing Company was “in development” back then, and if I remember correctly, it was scheduled to open in August of that year. Lots of breweries have had long delays, but few have been as lengthy or as visible as Lost Highway. Hell, the neon sign has been lighting up Colfax (not exactly a quiet thoroughfare) for ages, and the Facebook page hasn’t been updated in 4 months.
This place is becoming legendary without having opened up their doors…..hmmm, maybe they’re on to something.
Best Place To Eat a Fancy-Pants Gourmet Pizza With Your Beer: Lowdown Brewery and Kitchen, Denver, CO
Seriously, their fancy-pants pizzas are great — no sarcasm implied. Good beer + good pizza + good service = one of the best breweries in the downtown area.
Best Brewery That Shares a Name With The Most Insane 70′s Movie Starring Burgess Meredith And That Features An Indian Growing Out Of A Cyst On a Person’s Back And a Climactic Topless Laser Battle in Outer-Space: Manitou Brewing, Manitou Springs, CO
There’s not a whole lot I can add to this. Just watch the movie and prepare to have your universe obliterated.
Best Brewery To Go To If You Only Carry Cash And Have Never Heard of A Debit Card: Mountain Sun Brewing, Boulder, CO
Mountain Sun, Southern Sun and Vine Street Pub are all owned by the same people. And all three establishments are cash only.
I’d just like to remind these businesses that not only is it 2014, but anyone can accept a credit card with a just cell phone, a card-swiping dongle and an app. If a drug dealer can take credit, a large-scale business with multiple locations can as well.
Best Brewery Where You Can Hang Out With Hipsters That Are Actually Amazing People And Will Make You Feel Bad For Having Ever Said Anything Mean About Hipsters: Our Mutual Friend Malt and Brew, Denver, CO
photo credit: porchdrinking.com
I already feel bad for using the word “hipsters” in the description as its become quite the pejorative statement…but these guys are somehow too-cool-for-school AND awesome people to hang out with. They can play all the Pitchfork.com “Best New Music’ albums on vinyl and STILL not make you wanna smack ‘em upside the head. That’s good stuff.
Best Brewery That Is Open At Completely Random Hours and Is Staffed By One Dude That’ll Make You Laugh Until You Pee Yourself: Ourayle House Brewery, Ouray, CO
photo credit: durangobeernbikes.com
Hutch (last name unknown) is the funniest brewer in Colorado. Hell, he may be the funniest person in Colorado. Go to Ourayle House for the beer, stay for the impromptu comedy.
Best Brewery Where You Can Drink In What Is Essentially A Grove Of Pine Trees And You’ll Probably Enjoy Yourself Even Though The Service Is Kinda Lousy: Pagosa Brewing Company, Pagosa Springs, CO
Service is kinda slow and the atmosphere is a bit frat-house-y, but the environment can’t be beat. Beer in the forest without any of the pesky camping!
Best Brewery That Has A Name That Is Confusingly Similar To Another Local Brewery That Sucks, But This One Is Actually Great: Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs, CO
Not to be confused with Colorado Mountain Brewery. They suck.
Best Brewery In A Town You Would Never, Ever Visit Intentionally Otherwise: San Luis Valley Brewing Company, Alamosa, CO
I’m prepared for the hate-mail from Alamosa residents. The rest of you know this place as that-town-you-drive-through-quickly-when you’re-on-your-way-to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
It’s true, though, Alamosa folk. Your town sucks (Colorado can’t be all perfect, so thanks for supplying that side of the bell curve)….but your beer is transcendent! So you got that going for you!
Best Brewery In An Old Fire Station: Station 26 Brewing Company, Denver, CO
It’s in an old fire station. That’s cool.
Best Brewery In A Post-Apocalyptic Industrial Setting That Would Make Mad Max Feel At Home: Strange Craft Beer Company, Denver, CO
photo credit: porchdrinking.com
Strange Craft Beer Company rocks. The Cherry Kriek is among the greatest beers on Planet Earth. And guess what? The brewery itself is awesome despite being nestled between train tracks, freeways and an industrial zone that looks like it had its best years in the 1950′s. Miraculously, this place has cool ambiance and personality to spare. I have no idea how they did that, but thank the maker that they did.
Best Place To Go Eat Deep South Comfort Food Along With Your Beer Without Having To Shame Yourself By Eating At A Cracker Barrel: The Post Brewing Company, Lafayette, CO
The Post Brewing Company serves farm-fresh, free range, antibiotic-free Chicken and biscuits that’ll make your arteries harden with joy. You don’t need to debase yourself at that Cracker Barrel off of the interstate — this is infinitely better. Plus — BEER.
Best Brewery That’s The Size Of Your Walk-In Closet: Three Barrel Brewing Company, Del Norte, CO
If you live in Highlands Ranch your closet is bigger than Three Barrel Brewing’s taproom…. and the crazy part is they also serve brick-oven pizza cooked on premises. Through some kind of otherworldly Feng-Shui they manage to make this tiny space more than adequate for good fun and great company.
Best Place To Drop $12 On A Single Bottle Of Beer: Crooked Stave, Denver, CO
That’s not snark. If you’ve gotta drop $12 on a beer, it had damn well better be from Crooked Stave ’cause few other breweries are worth that kinda cash. They are.
Best Place To Rationalize Your Alcoholism Because They Give Part Of Their Profits To Charity: Two22 Brew, Centennial, CO
photo credit: ratebeer.com
$2 of every $10 worth of profit goes to local charities. This means that if you abandon your family on a Sunday afternoon to go watch a Bronco’s game and spend $80 on beer, you’ll have given up to $3,000 to charity (or something like that, I’m not a mathemologist). No one can argue with that kind of feel-good story.
Best Place To Buy A Beer That Is Named After An Obscure Line Of Dialog From Weird Al’s “UHF” Movie: Verboten Brewing, Loveland, CO
I’ll buy a beer for the first person that figures out which beer I’m referring to*.
(Void where prohibited by my checking account)