Top Five Colorado Micro Breweries

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010

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A server pours a fresh glass at Idaho Spring's Tommyknocker Brewery. Photo by

It’s not easy picking Colorado’s top five micro breweries; there are far too many memorable moments and tasty glasses to choose from. Either way, what can be said about the Rocky Mountain beer culture are only words of praise and admiration — maybe that’s what helps keep the big guys (almost) out.

1. New Belgium Brewing Company

Of course Fort Collins‘ New Belgium is No. 1 on this list – we know our Colorado micro brews. Fat Tire is not just a beer anymore; its bicycle culture has made it a lifestyle. These guys have not only been listed as best beer holders from countless ratings, New Belgium Brewery has also been rated the best company to work for in the country. Is it their dedication to run via alternative power? Is it because their workers can experiment with their own recipes? Or is just because going there for their sampler is the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon, time and time again? Whatever the reason, New Belgium is doing everything right in the beer biz.

2. Odell Brewing Company

Odell is another Fort Collins favorite, and it’s not because of the cool, earthy labels (though they are pretty stylish). Nor is it considered a New Belgium rival. Odell simply brews good beer that will never hide behind cut fruit or food platters. Easy Street Wheat, Levity Amber Ale and 90 Shilling have become household names in the university life because they never seize to impress its clients. Odell continues to deliver solid beers throughout the Rocky Mountain region, and for good reason.

3. Tommyknocker Brewery

Idaho Springs might seem only worth the stop to fill up before trekking up Interstate 70 for skiing, but Tommyknocker Brewery is the town’s secret weapon. Away from the touristy resort vibe, the brewery itself is a perfect rest stop. Oak Bock, Cocoa Porter and Pick Axe Pale are just some of the clever tones Tommyknocker keeps true to its mountain roots. And with handcrafted soda for kids as a bonus, Tommyknocker brewery has all of its bases covered and is most definitely worth a look-see anytime.

4. Mountain Sun

If you think hippies are poor beer drinkers, head to Mountain Sun Brewery and put your lips to one of the 14 regularly tapped and delicious beers available. Located in Boulder, Colorado on historic Pearl Street, the brewery has a pub and grub atmosphere, with famous sweet potato fries and other wholesome, hearty options. The building is a psychedelic swirl of purples and greens, with colorful murals outlining the company’s flower power environment. Locals usually start with the XXX Pale Ale, move to the main Illusion Dweller I.P.A., and grab a Java Porter for dessert.

5. Left Hand Brewing Company

Left Hand’s signature sticker of a red, left-handed palm has been slapped on almost everything in Colorado, and definitely deserves a spot on this list for marketing props and beer-making skills. Located in Longmont, Left Hand’s Sawtooth Ale was the first and still is the most popular pick, though the distinctive Imperial Stout is a favorite among many dark brew connoisseurs. The brewery itself brings a community vibe to its locals and small surrounding omitted from the Denver metro area. Its mark is a true Colorado staple to the Front Range culture.

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