We recently paid a visit to Colorado to sample the local beer scene, which plays host to the annual Great American Beer Festival and boasts a staggering 160-plus craft breweries of its own. We started our search at the favorite craft brewer hangout, the Falling Rock Taphouse – home of the famous "No crap on tap" lineup of 86 draft beer lines. "The beer in Colorado is great and it's brewed by great people," says Taphouse owner Chris Black, who gave us the lowdown on Colorado's biggest standard-bearing breweries. "What's really fun for me is getting to meet and hang out with these people that are my heroes." Between his advice and some pavement-pounding, liver-destroying investigative work of our own, we narrowed the field to 10 of the most exciting beers we've ever had in Colorado – or any other state.
Oskar Blues Brewing Company - Dale's Pale Ale
The Longmont-based Oskar Blues Brewing Company became the first craft brewery in the U.S. to distribute its beer in cans back in 2002, so it's no surprise that its Dale's Pale can be found everywhere. That's in part because you can take cans pretty much anywhere, but also because Dale's Pale is a fantastically tasty and easy-drinking Pale Ale even now that canning is fairly unremarkable in the craft world. "It's amazing that they're keeping the quality so high even with all that growth," says Chris Black. "They're really doing amazing things." It's a hard point to argue. Dale's Pale Ale is a bit stronger and hoppier than most pale ales and it does smudge the distinction between pale ale and IPA a bit, but when a beer's this good we don't quibble – we just drink it.