The annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) anchors Denver's beer destination status, but there's more to the scene than the 49,000-person event, which tends to sell out in minutes. These days, Denver boasts classic breweries that still rake in GABF medals, plus new breweries that keep the beer scene fresh with ambitious barrel-aging programs and modern taprooms.

Best Brews, Breweries, and Bars
Denver's classic breweries still pour some of the best beers in town. At Wynkoop, try the Colorojo, a caramely imperial red ale with a hoppy bite. Great Divide Brewing Co. has been one of the city's defining breweries since it opened in 1994. The taproom only serves the brewery's beers, including the year-round Yeti Imperial Stout.

Another classic, the Falling Rock Taphouse, is one of the country's most iconic beer bars with 75 beers on tap and 130 bottles.

Newer hot spots include Epic Brewing Company, a Salt Lake City-based operation that recently expanded to Denver with a new brewing facility and impressive taproom in the hip River North Art District. Nearby, the new Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project taproom serves a range of beers fermented with brettanomyces yeast strains, which add layers of farmhouse funk to the seasonally adjusted St. Bretta Belgian witbier, or wheat beer.