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7 Breweries to Visit on Your First Trip to Denver

Quench your thirst at one of these popular Denver breweries.

U.S. News & World Report

7 Breweries to Visit in Denver

Denver Beer Company Brewery

Your beer options are practically endless when you travel to Denver.(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

Denver is known as one of the best beer cities in the country. According to Ashley Taufen, communications manager for the city's tourism bureau, Visit Denver, there are more than 100 breweries in the metro area, and the number grows each week.

Zeyna Aouad, social media coordinator at the Grand Hyatt Denver hotel, says with so many options nearby, exploring the city's microbreweries is a must for visitors. "We have a great craft beer culture, and I always recommend going to a local brewery and taking a tour," she says.

But deciding where to grab a cold one can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. U.S. News reached out to some of the city's most knowledgeable beer-drinkers to hear their top picks. Here's what they said.

Great Divide Brewing Company

(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

One of the first craft breweries in Denver, Great Divide is a great place to start. It has two locations: the original taproom in the Ballpark neighborhood, and a new packaging facility and "barrel bar" in the trendy River North district, known as RiNo, that will soon feature a beer garden and restaurant. "I recently went to the new Great Divide facility and that was awesome," Aouad says.

Great Divide's award-winning brews include a variety of seasonal and barrel-aged selections, and its brewery tours are some of the most informative around. Open daily at noon, Great Divide offers free 30-minute tours in the afternoons.

Tivoli Brewing Company

Tivoli Brewery(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

The Tivoli Brewing Company, Colorado's oldest brewery, is a good choice for those interested in a unique taste of Denver's history.

Established in the 1850s to quench the thirst of miners, Tivoli Brewing Company recently reopened in a historic space on the downtown Auraria Higher Education Center campus, says Joern Howind, concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver. It shares its facility with students enrolled in the Metropolitan State University of Denver's brewing program.

The taproom offers a food menu and an array of other Colorado craft beers, making it a great place to sample a variety of local beers in one place. The Tivoli Brewing Company is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Denver Beer Company

(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

"One of my personal favorites is definitely the Denver Beer Company," says Michael Schmidt, tour concierge at The Crawford Hotel. This fun outdoor spot in Denver's Lower Highlands neighborhood is as popular for its dog-friendly patio and board game selection as it is for its award-winning brews. The most recent addition to its trophy case is a gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival for its Drama Queen barrel-aged saison.

Hosting some of the city's finest food truck fare and fun seasonal events make this spot worthy of the short hop from downtown. The taproom opens daily at 11 a.m., with closing hours varying by day.

Joyride Brewing

Located on the northwest corner of Sloan's Lake in nearby Edgewater, Joyride Brewing houses a family-friendly taproom with some of the best views in town. The majority of patrons live within walking distance, and dogs are allowed inside, which gives this brewery a community feel. A small back patio provides space for lawn games, and several flat-screen TVs appeal to sports fans.

A hop-heavy tap line is tempered with a variety of milder seasonal selections and special releases, like the recent Beatles-inspired series that included the Revolver Farmhouse Ale. A schedule of local food trucks combined with its proximity to the park make this a "destination" brewery for those looking to venture beyond downtown. Joyride is open every day, though hours vary.

Epic Brewing

(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

Although Epic Brewing is based out of Salt Lake City, its Denver taproom in the RiNo neighborhood is a local favorite for its high-quality brews and spacious outdoor area with lawn games. Some beers are even named after their adopted Colorado hometown, like the "Escape to Colorado IPA" and the "RiNo Pale Ale." This brewery is also known for collaborating with other local brewers to turn out creations that are tasty and, quite frankly, epic.

"Beer geeks looking for small, crafty, really flavorful beers should check out Epic Brewing," says Jordan Chavez, concierge at the Hotel Teatro.

Free tours are offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and local food trucks are usually available in front. Epic is open every day starting at noon, though the closing time depends on the day.

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

This funky brewery also located in RiNo has developed a reputation for its Belgian-style sour and barrel-aged brews among industry insiders.

The 20-barrel taproom is tucked in The Source marketplace, which is home to some of the hottest restaurants in town, as well as a variety of artisan food vendors. The taproom opens daily at noon.

Breckenridge Brewery

Breckenridge Brewery(Courtesy of VISIT DENVER)

The recent addition of the Farm House restaurant has made the Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, about 12 miles south of downtown Denver, a great day-trip destination. The 12-acre plot features a spacious outdoor area with lawn games, Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and fire pits perfect for enjoying a lazy afternoon in any season. An ample food menu features snacks, entrees and desserts.

"Breckenridge Brewery has a wonderful menu; it's not your average pub food," says Sheila Gargan, concierge at The Westin Denver Downtown. "Everything is made from scratch and they use seasonal ingredients, and it tastes like it."

The restaurant and beer garden open at 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends for brunch. Free tours are offered Thursday through Monday, and reservations are recommended.

To experience more of what Denver has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

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