If you're a true fan of better beer, upgrade the suds-soaked adventure that is the bar crawl to a brewery crawl. At every stop you'll get to meet the men and women behind the pint in your hand, and those ales and lagers will never be fresher than when they're served a few feet from where they're brewed. Sadly, not many cities have the proper density of breweries to pull off a proper crawl, but among the lucky few, Denver reigns supreme.
In this three-mile stretch across downtown Denver, there are an astounding 18 breweries (including a cidery). Naturally, we don't recommend hitting every spot in one day. But with a little prudent sampling, you can hit the high notes in one long-distance stroll. Each leg of our crawl takes about a 15-minute walk to the next watering hole, though Uber is abundant across the city.
You'll start at the historic Tivoli Brewing, work your way through downtown, and finish in the emerging (and especially beer-dense) River North neighborhood.
Tivoli was Colorado's first beer, dating back to 1859. The brand was recently reborn with new owners in its old brewhouse, just west of downtown, offering a handful of the best lagers (and plenty of local guest taps) in town.
Must try: Tivoli Helles, a bright, crisp, and impressively subtle German lager.
This Denver landmark launched the city's brewing scene in 1988 and deserves a spot on the to-be-established registry of historic beer places.
Must try: Patty's Chile Beer. Wynkoop has a knack for balancing the heat and extracting fresh flavor from chiles.
Why visit Great Divide when its beers are available coast to coast? To taste the amazing ales — as fresh and complex as they'll ever be — that made them so popular.
Must try: Velvet Yeti, a smooth, 5 percent ABV version of the iconic imperial stout, with all the rich chocolate and roasted barley.
This young, inventive brewery was launched by Great Divide veterans and has a knack for making tasty brews unlike anything you've tried.
Must try: Sugarfoot, this award-winning (gold at the Great American Beer Fest) Belgian table beer is just 3.5 percent.
You've entered the Curtis Park neighborhood, which features a ridiculous six breweries and a cidery across six blocks. Start with Utah-transplant Epic, and if you don't get past its brewing neighbors, you can still consider the day a great success.
Must try: Son of a Baptist, this 8 percent coffee stout uses an ever-changing lineup of beans, but it's guaranteed to be delicious.
This unconventional brewery produces nothing but red-hued ales, but with every variation imaginable. You'll have fun here, trust us.
Must try: Colorado Red Ale, possibly the world's most perfect red ale.
Make sure you still have your sense about you when you enter Crooked Stave's tasting room. This world-class house of sours and farmhouse ales is worthy of a stand-alone visit.
Must try: Surette Provision Saison, a complex and funky — yet refreshing — farmhouse ale.