Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Best Breweries

During this craft beer boom that has been occurring over the past couple years, it has been a great time to be a craft beer fan. New breweries are opening up on a regular basis.  The list of upcoming breweries continues to grow at an alarming rate and 2013 was no exception. An abundance of new breweries opened their doors and served their pints to the thirsty masses all across the state of Colorado. With so many memorable breweries that opened it was hard to narrow down to our most favorite. Here are our choices for the best new breweries from this past year.
Denver: In the ever expanding brewery scene in Denver, the best brewery from the past year did not have the best location, but was in a great neighborhood. Tucked away in an alley in the highlands neighborhood is Denver’s best new brewery of 2013, De Steeg, which translated means alley. From the small but comfortable tap room that is consistently being upgraded, to the always friendly service you receive, this is a great place to spend an afternoon in great company. Then, of course, there is the beer. When they first opened their doors there were three diverse beers on tap: a Pomegranate Acai Wheat, French Saison, and English Mild.  Now, just nine months later, the tap list has greatly expanded to regularly include Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines, Blondes, and even some Oak Aged offerings. So, when looking for a great brewery in Denver, swing by the Highlands neighborhood, look for the wooden sign with a goblet, and see for yourself why this was the best new brewery from 2013 in Denver.
Golden: In a town that features one of the largest most mainstream breweries in the country it is a welcome relief that craft beer would still be a welcome part of this town. In May of 2013, the craft beer expansion continued in Golden when some School of the Mines students opened up their own brewery, Mountain Toad. This great brewery starts with the building itself, right on the corner of 9th and Washington, and it not only provides great mountain artwork from a local artist, but lots of windows and a great beer garden that provides great mountain views of this small town. As for the beer it is a diverse tap list of both traditional and unique beers. For traditional, there is their Mt. Zion IPA, and Amber Ale both traditional, and full flavored. For slightly unique there is the White Ranch Wit, a classic Belgian Wit with grapefruit and orange blossom honey, and the Ryrish Stout, a dry Irish stout with a nice spice note from rye. Then there is the tadpole series, small batch beers that have become a cult classic. Factor in a great, relaxing tap room with refreshing beer, and of course a friendly staff and this is not only one of the best breweries in this small town, but hands down one of the best to open their doors in 2013.
Boulder: In the town where craft beer started it has certainly not stopped there, and the expansion of microbreweries in this small town continues to occur. In 2013, that included multiple new breweries and one of the best lies in a warehouse right next to the train tracks that run through this town. Named after a nearby mountain this is Sanitas Brewing. The owners of this new brewery came from Boulder Beer and created a brewery with their own identity, and a tap room to match. The views on either side of the tap room are great whether you want to see the outdoors and train tracks that run by, or into the large brewery and production area. The patio is large, and also includes an official bocce ball court to past the time. As for the beers they are all very straightforward in style, but full in flavor. The two signature flagship beers are a Saison which is light, tart, and refreshing. The other is a Black IPA which has a nice balance between roasted malts, hops, and comes with a subtle pine flavor. Both of those beers are available in the tap room and are also canned, and then there are the small batch train beers. Small batch beers that constantly rotate and are even offered at a discount when the train rolls by the tap room. Although this brewery is slightly off the beaten path within Boulder it is a must visit, and one of the best from the past 12 months.
Small Town: While the craft beer scene is primarily in large, destination towns the expansion and boom has now ventured into small towns that most people used to drive through without hesitation. That was the case earlier this year just outside Boulder in the small town of Lafayette where a brewery opened specializing in Belgian beers and IPAs, Odd 13. Located right within a neighborhood this brewery embodies that same feel with a large, comfortable tap room and a very friendly staff. But what makes this brewery unique is the original beer list. From a Belgian IPA that contains hints of Brett to a Red IPA the diversity for hop lovers is in abundance, and then there are the Belgian beers. Ranging from session pale ales and saisons to Golden Strong ales the beers range for fans of all styles, and recently Odd 13 started a sour program to introduce a great style on the craft beer level. Combine the environment and unique beers it is no wonder that Odd 13 was one of the best breweries of 2013.
Those are just some of the best from 2013, but there were so many more great breweries and great beers. After such a great year it will be great to see what 2014 has in line.

What were some of your favorite breweries from the past year? Let us know at

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