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.
River North - Unified Theory (Oak-aged Imperial Wit)
We rolled into the tasting room of River North the day after it celebrated its first anniversary party, greeted by a red-eyed staff. After working our way through a flight of the brewer's beers, we understood its pain. Most of the brews that it produces are way too strong to drink in quantities, but also way too tasty to put down. Unified Theory, an Oak-aged Imperial Wit, was the worst offender. Like any Oak-aged Imperial Wit, it's rippingly strong at 8.5 percent, light in color, and packed with fruity and spicy flavors layered over an understated malt base. The addition of toasted oak spirals into the fermenter adds a great mellow vanilla flavor to the beer.