The Craft Breweries, Distilleries and Cideries that Make Our State Great

by Monica Parpal Stockbridge

Colorado is known for its Rocky Mountains, constant sunshine and friendly people. It’s also known to have an outstanding craft beer and spirits scene.

Colorado encompasses more than 300 craft breweries within its borders — a number second only to California — and boasts 8.4 breweries per capita. What’s more, new distilleries are opening their doors every day, and a growing collection of local cideries is bringing renewed attention to apple-based wine. Craft brewers and distillers cite clean, quality water, abundant local ingredients from potatoes to peaches, and a craft-loving community as ingredients for success. Colorado’s craft beverage scene truly does offer something for all who choose to imbibe.

Here, we raise a toast to nationally known trailblazers, taprooms worthy of an in-state road trip, and a few of our favorite Colorado distilleries. Drink up!

7 Big Craft Brewery Mainstays

Colorado is known as the beer capital of the country, and for good reason. In fact, many of our homegrown breweries have made a name for themselves beyond our borders. And while they have grown in size and production, each started with a love of the craft. When visiting the state, paying a visit to one of these big breweries will give you an idea of what an established brewery looks like — with some delicious and renowned beers, too.

Left Hand Brewing

1265 Boston Ave., Longmont
(303) 772-0258
lefthandbrewing.com

Raise your hand if you know how many years Left Hand Brewery has been in business. If you guessed 25, you get a left-handed high five. Left Hand is one of the oldest craft breweries in Colorado, and most famous for their Milk Stout Nitro, America’s Stout — its claim to fame since 2011. This employee- owned brewery is all about giving back to the community, and has raised over $2.9 million since 2008 for the National MS Society. On a visit to this brewery, don’t miss tasting that famous nitro milk stout straight from the tap. Another award-winning brew? The Sawtooth amber ale, a favorite since 1993. This August, the Left Hand Brewing Foundation will present the 8th annual Leftapalooza Mile High Tribute Band Competition for an ultimate music and craft beer experience.
Summer sips: The Juicy Goodness, a dry-hopped golden ale, is the perfect summer brew worthy of a left-handed thumbs up.

New Belgium Brewery

500 Linden St., Fort Collins
(970) 221-0524
newbelgium.com

Few breweries have the longevity and continued popularity of New Belgium Brewery. This Fort Collins mainstay’s diverse portfolio ranges from the iconic Fat Tire to the revamped Voodoo Ranger series, to the wood-aged Sour and Wood Cellar Reserve releases. New Belgium prides itself on being a brand trusted to deliver quality products. Beyond that, New Belgium prioritizes philanthropy and sustainability by tapping into wind and solar energy, and diverting 99.9 percent of their waste from landfills. Stop by their tasting room, the Liquid Center, and ask about the more than 20 beers on tap that day. Or, book a tour of the facility (as far in advance as possible) and experience what USA Today calls “the best brewery tour in the country”. Visit New Belgium every Friday in the summer for live music, and don’t miss the Tour de Fat, the brewery’s annual outdoor parade and jubilant beer party happening on Aug 25 in Denver, and on September 1 in Fort Collins.
Summer sips: Revel in the rotating Tartastic fruit beer series; or revisit a classic with the Fat Tire Belgian White. And because Colorado loves its hoppy beers, don’t miss a taste of the Hemperor HPA brewed with both hops and hemp.

Oskar Blues Brewing

multiple locations
oskarblues.com

You know that can of craft beer in your hand? You can credit Oskar Blues Brewing for blazing that trail when they canned their Dale’s Pale Ale in 2002 while operating out of their original space in Lyons, Colorado. Now with breweries in Longmont, Austin, Boulder and Brevard, North Carolina, Oskar Blues is able to spread its craft brew legacy beyond the Rockies. If you’re in Denver, swing by Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, ChuBurger, or HotBox Roasters Cafe to expand your palate beyond hops and barley.
Summer sips: Knock back a Dale’s Pale Ale flagship brew, or try the Pinner Throwback IPA for a big hop taste at a sessionable 4.9% ABV.

Avery Brewing

4910 Nautilus Ct. N., Boulder
(303) 440-4324
averybrewing.com

Avery Brewing is also celebrating a quarter-century birthday this year. In fact, founder Adam Avery first brewed his India Pale Ale back in 1996, long before hoppy beers were popular. Today, their new facility in Gunbarrel — a neighborhood in Boulder — complete with lab, sensory department and massive barrel program has given them plenty of room to grow. Be sure to try their flagship brew, the White Rascal Belgian-style white ale. Hop-heads will love The Maharaja, a high-potency imperial IPA, and the sour-curious should try the Raspberry Sour, aged in oak barrels. Mark your calendars for their 25th anniversary party on August 4, when you can experience live music, food, and lots of Avery beer. Follow Avery on Facebook to learn more.
Summer sips: Visit Avery for their release of the Go Play IPA, an aromatic and moderately bitter IPA that is dosed with electrolytes, making it the perfect beer for your company’s summer kickball league.

Breckenridge Brewery

2920 Brewery Ln., Littleton
(303) 623-2739
breckbrew.com

Breckenridge Brewery opened in 1990. As the third-oldest craft brewery in the state, now with pubs in Breckenridge and Littleton, Breckenridge Brewery serves well-balanced beers and notable hospitality. While special small-batch beers are always available at the brewery, visitors to Colorado are often pleased to find “Breck” beer in their local liquor stores back home thanks to their nationwide distribution. The Vanilla Porter has been known to turn heads, recognizable for its roasty, vanilla nuance. “Craft beer drinkers like the uniqueness of it, and we also find a lot of self-proclaimed non-beer-drinkers even go for Vanilla Porter,” says Todd Usry, president of Breckenridge Brewery. Breckenridge Brewery’s annua  music and beer “Hootenanny” will celebrate the brewery’s anniversary at the 15-acre Littleton location on July 7, with eight bands on two stages.
Summer sips: Don’t miss the Summer Pils, a balanced beer made with Czech and American hops with a soft mouth feel and a dry finish.

Odell Brewing

800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins
(970) 498-9070
odellbrewing.com

Another longtime Fort Collins staple, Odell Brewing (opened in 1989) was originally operated out of a 1915 grain elevator. Today it’s in the top 50-largest craft breweries in the country, and remains a beloved Fort Collins tradition. Their pilot system is a “playground” for developing new, interesting beers in small batches, such as the Girls to the Yard, a hoppy, unfiltered “milkshake” IPA brewed with lactose, with peach, pear and pineapple notes.
Summer sips: Try the Rupture IPA, made by grinding the whole hop and releasing the precious oils within.

Great Divide Brewery

2201 Arapahoe St., Denver
(303) 296-9460
greatdivide.com

Founded in 1994 in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood, Great Divide has grown to become one of the country’s most recognized and decorated breweries. With 18 Great American Beer Festival medals and 5 World Beer Cup awards to their name, Great Divide is known for its assertive yet balanced brews, such as the Colette Farmhouse Ale, Titan IPA, and Yeti Imperial Stout. Now with a second location, The Barrel Bar, in River North (RiNo), Great Divide has even more space for large-scale production, canning, and even massive in-brewery yoga classes.
Summer sips: Look for the limited-release Hazy IPA on tap, or try the new, year-round Heyday IPA, with notes of tropical fruit, berry and melon — perfect for a hot Mile- High summer day.

9 Notable Breweries Beyond Denver

While Denver has its share of noteworthy breweries, it’s a good idea to venture beyond the city limits in search of interesting beers made in interesting places, whether it’s in a century-old barn, a well-known ski town, or at the base of a mountain bike trail. Here are our picks for breweries beyond Colorado’s capital.

New Terrain Brewing, Golden, CO

16401 Table Mountain Pkwy., Golden
(720) 697-7848
newterrainbrewing.com

Located in Golden, Colorado, New Terrain Brewery operates under a manifesto to brew the best beer they can, and enjoy the adventures in discovering those brews in the process. With more than 17 rotating handles, there’s always something new to try. House favorites include the Golden Haze, a New England IPA; the Suntrip, a Belgian Wit and 2017 GABF Silver Medal Winner, and the Rise & Climb, a German Kolsch Style.

Casey Brewing and Blending

3421 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs
(970) 230-9691
caseybrewing.com

Small but mighty, Casey Brewing and Blending focuses solely on barrel- aged sour beers. “By putting 100-percent of our time and attention into those styles, it allows us to put out something that is truly special,” says owner, brewer and blender Troy Casey, who fell in love with this style of beer in 2009. “To me, there’s magic left in these styles.” That’s because he can put the same beer into two different barrels and end up with different flavors, all depending on the barrel’s history and the beer’s terroir. The majority of his beers are made with Colorado ingredients from local farmers. Then, the beer ferments in vintage oak barrels previously used for storing wine. To visit the brewery, book a private tour and tasting in advance for the first or third weekend of the month. Casey will celebrate its four-year anniversary during the first weekend of July, with specialty beers brewed with blackberries, peaches, red wine grapes and nectarines.

Elevation Beer Company

115 Pahlone Pkwy., Poncha Springs
(719) 539-5258
elevationbeerco.com

Elevation Beer Co. is all about venturing beyond your limits, whether that’s exploring the peaks surrounding Poncha Springs, or stepping beyond the world of macro-brewed light lagers. Keg Orator Andy Astor says their diverse taproom crowd, which ranges from “salt of the earth ranchers, to beer geeks, to outdoors enthusiasts, to urbanites escaping the crowds, all convening over a pint and some friendly conversation.” The world-class mountain biking, skiing, fishing, boating, and hiking opportunities within a stone’s throw of the brewery don’t hurt, either. Try the 8 Second Kolsch, the Elevation Pilsner, or the Belgian Quad brewed with local honey and aged in Infinite Monkey Theorem red wine barrels. “It drinks like a nice ruby port,” Astor says.

Broken Compass Brewing

68 Continental Ct., Breckenridge
(970) 368-2772
brokencompassbrewing.com

Not all who wander are lost. But some who wander may be thirsty, and they should find their way to Broken Compass Brewing. Set in the mountain town of Breckenridge where “taking care of each other is just a part of life,” Broken Compass is run by brewmaster and founder Jason Ford, a chemical engineer who says that owning a mountain town brewery is a dream come true. A visit to Broken Compass reveals a community of people enjoying good vibes and good brew. The popular Toasted Coconut Porter is a Great American Beer Festival medal winner, as is the Ginger Pale Ale — a fan favorite for ginger lovers. Barrel-aged beers are always available, thanks to barrels from nearby Breckenridge Distillery. Come for Wacky One-off Wednesdays this summer (and year-round) for a taste of something new each week.

Jessup Farm Barrel House

1921 Jessup Dr., Fort Collins
(970) 568-8345
jessupfarmbarrelhouse.com

It’s not easy operating a brewery in a renovated 133-year-old barn. “The concept was built around the location,” says Head Brewer and Partner, Jeff Albarella. Surrounded by other renovated farm buildings — now restaurants, coffee shops and retail — this 2016 brewery is filled with barrels and tanks for a truly immersive experience. Climb the stairs to the second-floor former hay loft, and breathe deep to smell the oak barrels, the barrel-aging beer, and the history itself. Unlike other big, bold barrel-aged brews, Jessup Farm’s are a bit more nuanced, with a diverse range of sour beers, cream ales, lighter styles and more traditional malt mammoths. Ask about the Fancy Pants, their limited-edition, award-winning Brett IPA brewed with wild yeast.

Aspen Brewing

304 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen
(970) 920-BREW (2739)
aspenbrewingcompany.com

Celebrating their 10-year anniversary this year, Aspen Brewing has been brewing high-altitude beers since the early days of Colorado’s beer boom after founder Duncan Klauss graduated from the University of Colorado to make his brewery business plan a reality. Operating at more than 8,000 feet in elevation using some of the purest water in the state, the brewery’s tagline is “downstream from nobody.” Don’t miss the World Cup Beer Competition gold medal winners, the Independence Pass Ale and the Cloud 9 Saison. This summer, come try the Cloud 9 Saison, a traditional farmhouse ale brewed with Curacao orange peels in celebration of long, sunny days. Later in the fall, the limited-release Double Conundrum Imperial Red Ale is a fresh-hopped staff favorite.

Telluride Brewing Co.

156 Society Dr., Telluride
(970) 728-5094
telluridebrewingco.com

Brewed with pure, fresh water from the Rocky Mountain snowmelt, Telluride Brewing Co. creates their hop and malt goodness in one of Colorado’s most beloved mountain towns. Plan to spend some time here when you come to Telluride, and make a point to sample their flagship brews, Bridal Veil Rye Pale Ale and Face Down Brown Ale.

Westbound & Down Brewing Company

1617 Miner St., Idaho Springs
(720) 502-3121
westboundanddown.com

Hit up Westbound & Down on your way west, naturally. This Idaho Springs brewery is the perfect pit-stop on your way to or from Denver via I-70. And with burgers, pizza and more in charming, Old West ambience, you’ll want to order Another IPA. Yes, that’s the actual beer name.

SquarePeg Brewerks

625 Main St., Alamosa
(719) 580-7472
squarepegbrewerks.com

If you take a trip to the Sand Dunes, be sure to detour to Alamosa and pay a visit to SquarePeg Brewerks. This “farm-to-tap” brewery turned golden fields of oats, wheat and barley into the Waverly Tulip historic Dutch beer, which took home gold in the 2017 GABF.

5 Out-of-the-Box Breweries in Denver
Denver is a treasure trove of breweries as unique as can be, and there’s plenty to discover without leaving town. Here are our top picks for breweries that stand out from the crowd.

For the Yeast Geek

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver
(720) 550-8860
crookedstave.com

You may have heard others suggest that brewing is both science and art. One brewery that exemplifies this intersection is Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project. Most of the beers use Brettanomyces yeasts and are matured in oak barrels for greater complexity. “Crooked Stave is currently the only brewery in the country to have both clean, wild, and sour beer that is 100-percent primary fermented in oak foeders (wooden vats) and available in cans,” says marketing manager Kaleigh Armitage. Crooked Stave also operates as a distributor, founded to value the artisans as much as the customers. Located in The Source, Crooked Stave offers a variety of tap beers from the Von Pilsner to the popular Nightmare on Brett, a dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros. whiskey barrels.
Summer sips:  Watch for the release of the Vieille, a barrel-aged artisanal saison, available in cans for the first time starting in June. Another must-try is the Key Lime Tau, a golden ale aged in oak with fresh lime peel, lemongrass, and lactose, brewed in collaboration with Hawkshead Brewing in the United Kingdom.

For Every Drinking Ability

Brewability Lab

12445 E. 39th Ave. #314, Denver
(303) 598-0809
brewabilitylab.com

Based on our research, Brewability Lab is the only brewery in the country that employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to brew and serve craft beer. “All beer styles are coordinated by color,” says founder Tiffany Fixter, “which makes it easier for our beertenders who are non-readers.” Everyone is welcome, and for guests who need special accommodations, Brewability Lab offers noise-cancelling headphones, straws, lighting options, and more. While this alone makes them worth supporting, the beer draws quite the crowd with varieties like the passion fruit kettle sour, nitro coffee stout, and their most popular, the Strawberry Blonde, a five-barrel batch brewed with 50 pounds of strawberries. This summer, the founder will open Pizzability, a pizzeria in Cherry Creek at 250 Steele Street in Denver, with their beer available on tap.

5 Out-of-the-Box Breweries in Denver

For the Nostalgic Crafter
Grandma’s House Beer

1710 S. Broadway, Denver
(303) 578-6754
grandmasbeer.com

While other breweries are known by their roster of beers, Grandma’s House is mainly defined by their taproom atmosphere, which is filled with crocheted blankets, old-school video games and plenty of tchotchkes. “O ur décor is designed straight out of a grandmother’s home in the country,” says owner Matthew Fuerst. “While many taprooms aim for a modern or industrial vibe, we opted to be more homey, comfortable, and nostalgic.” As for beers, Fuerst suggests the British style he calls How’s Your Father, an ESB (Extra Special Bitter) with moderate hop bitterness and flavor. Sake brewery Gaijin 24886 shares their space as well, and influenced the beer called Cut of Your Jib, a rice lager fermented with Sake yeast. Look for the new Imperial Berliner Weisse brewed with tangerines and aged in gin barrels for a —you guessed it — gin- and juice-inspired beer.

For the World Traveler
The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project

925 W. 8th Ave, Denver
(720) 572-5172
sojournerbeers.com

If there’s one thing that sets Colorado apart from other beer drinking communities, it’s a sense of adventure and exploration. That’s where The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project comes in. Only about a year old, this brewery aims to showcase flavors from all over the world — thanks to a former archaeologist-turned-brewer who executes traditional styles before turning them on their heads with unique spices, herbs and fruits. The results? A Basil IPA, Pear Saison, Turkish Coffee Stout and Lavender Tripel, to name a few. Featuring frequent international holiday-themed parties, such as Oktoberfest and Día de los Muertos, which include foreign cuisine-inspired brews, special releases, and guest taps.

For the GF Crowd
Holidaily Brewing

801 Brickyard Circle, Golden
(303) 278-BEER (2337)
holidailybrewing.com

We know this one’s in Golden, but we’re willing to make an exception. After all, for the unlucky people who must avoid drinking beer due to gluten allergies or intolerances, there haven’t been many truly gluten-free beers made in Colorado. Enter Holidaily Brewing, where owner Karen Hertz produces quality gluten-free craft beer with Colorado- grown ingredients like millet and buckwheat in place of barley and wheat. To meet growing demand, Holidaily Brewing will open a 10,000-square-foot production facility in early 2019. Enjoy one of 10 gluten-free draft beers on their sunny patio, such as the seasonal Buck- Wit Belgian Ale, an easy drinking gluten-free beer made with coriander and orange peel.

Brews from a Transplant

Epic Brewing

3001 Walnut St, Denver
(720) 539-7410
epicbrewing.com

People born in Colorado — those elusive “Colorado natives” — seem to be fewer and farther between  these days. That’s not always true of breweries. However, non-native residents lovingly known as transplants will appreciate Epic Brewing, a craft brewery that started in Utah and planted roots in Denver not long after. Specializing in brewing small batch, artisanal beers from lagers to stouts, Epic believes there is a beer for every person and every occasion. The Big Bad Baptist, an imperial barrel-aged stout brewed with cocoa nibs and coffee beans, is a popular go-to. Epic expanded from Utah to Denver in 2010, which brought about a new opportunity to expand the barrel-aging program, increase distribution and reach even more craft beer drinkers. This transplant brewery no doubt resonates with many new Denverites, where our diverse population continues to grow and change. This September, visit the brewery for the latest version of their New England IPA as well as their Oak and Orchard series, Epic’s limited-release oak-aged sours. In December 2017, Epic acquired Telegraph Brewing in Santa Barbara. Their goal? Build up the brand, expand production and strengthen their craft brewing foundations. This summer, don’t miss Epic’s Tart and Juicy IPA, which combines the clean, puckering tartness of kettle souring with citrusy, aromatic hops.

Check Out Denver’s New Skyline Beer Garden

The Skyline Beer Garden, an innovative new space in the heart of Downtown Denver, welcomes visitors daily through October. Produced by the Downtown Denver Partnership and Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the Skyline Beer Garden is a family-friendly amenity, designed to engage residents, visitors and employees with the sounds of summer in Downtown’s parks and public spaces. Housed in 40,000 square feet of outdoor area with vast open-air and tented seating, the garden features live music every Friday and Saturday. Weekly programming includes great evening activities such as Sweat & Sip (exercise classes followed by beer), Trivia Night and a Meet the Maker series. Nestled in one of Downtown’s most vibrant parks off the 16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street, the Beer Garden offers a fun and comfortable environment with communal Oktoberfest-style picnic tables that can collectively seat more than 350 guests and free WiFi. The family-friendly game area features giant jenga, foosball, ping pong, a nine-hole miniature golf course, and cornhole. Celebrating Colorado’s dynamic craft beer culture, with a focus on Colorado and hand-crafted brews, the Beer Garden features a thoughtful selection of 12 different brews on tap and serves up your favorite casual fare including locally made street tacos

Three Cideries Ripe for Discovery

Your impression of “hard cider” may be a bit antiquated, so feel free to refresh your palate with a visit to an urban cidery. These city spots get to the core of the matter by producing fermented beverages made from pressed apples, then adding their own special spin. Here are three local cideries worth a bushel and a peck.

Haykin Family Cider

12001 E. 33rd Ave., Unit D, Aurora
(720) 242-7292
haykinfamilycider.com

While many people liken ciders to beers, cider making is actually more akin to white winemaking. The cider experts at Haykin Family Cider take this to heart. “Just like winemakers, we try to highlight single varietal ciders so our customers can experience the unique flavor of different apples,” says Co-Founder Talia Haykin. They use only apples, yeast, and primarily Colorado-grown fruit (no flavorings, sugars, or hops) to make small-batch, high-carbonation ciders that are reminiscent of sparkling wine.

C-Squared Ciders

2875 Blake St., Denver
(720) 437-1428
csquaredciders.com

This Denver-based cidery in the heart of RiNo is dedicated to all things cider, and their team is passionate about bringing new flavors to the table. C-Squared uses 100-percent apples in every fermentation for ciders that are balanced, tasty, and with just the right amount of “apple skin freshness.” Visit the taproom and sample their Sailor series, with ciders that are barrel-fermented, wood-aged, and bolstered with wild yeast strains.

Stem Ciders

2811 Walnut St., Ste. 150, Denver
(720) 443-3007
stemciders.com

Stem Ciders is another urban cidery bringing the orchard experience to the big city. Founded in 2013, Stem Ciders presses whole apples from the United States, including Michigan apples (used for their L’Acier and Le Chene ciders) to Colorado crab apples (used for the Crabby Neighbor cider). Watch for special releases like the Salted Cucumber Collaboration cider with The Real Dill, a local artisan pickle company. Now, you can also visit them at their new location, Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery in Lafayette, Colorado.

8 Distilleries … for When You Need Something A Little Stronger

Good news, spirits fans: craft distilling is making a name for itself in our state. With access to high-quality ingredients, interesting collaborative opportunities and a thirst for the stronger stuff, more and more new distilleries are opening in Colorado. “Craft distilling is where craft brewing was 15 years ago,” says Eric Wilson of Peach Street Distillers in Palisade. When asked if the industry is going through a renaissance, he replies: “A renaissance … or a race!” Here are eight distilleries you should race to for everything from whiskey to rum, all made right here in the Centennial State.

Rising Sun Distillery

1330 Zuni St., Denver
(303) 534-1788
risingsundistillery.com

Located just outside Downtown Denver, Rising Sun Distillery is a certified organic distillery that uses the high-quality raw ingredients from Colorado and beyond. Traditional spirits including vodka and gin are bolstered by a farmers’ market-inspired line including a Colorado Peach Brandy, a Colorado Chile White Whiskey and a Lavender Hibiscus Liqueur made with primarily Colorado-grown produce. Although Rising Sun is only four years old, Owner Dawn Nudell is already a rockstar in the local distilling scene. She spearheaded the creation of the Colorado Spirits Trail, a website and interactive map designed to connect people with the 70+ distilleries in our state. Her motto? “Life’s too short not to drink well!” Visit https://coloradospiritstrail.com/ to learn more.
Summer sips:  Visit in August for their annual Peach Party to help pit and process peaches in exchange for peach-inspired cocktails.

Deerhammer

321 E. Main St., Buena Vista
(719) 395-9464
deerhammer.com

Deerhammer founder and head distiller Lenny Eckstein is what he calls “obsessively driven to make authentic, extraordinary whiskey.” From sourcing the finest grain from Colorado and beyond, to the 96- hour open fermentation process, to double distilling and minimum two-year maturing in new oak casks, Deerhammer is redefining the flavor of independent American whiskey at the base of Colorado’s tallest peaks in the Arkansas River Valley. Deerhammer produces American Single Malt, Bourbon and more, with special releases throughout the year. Come to the tasting room for cocktails and snacks from resident food truck, the Buena Viking.
Summer sips:  Be on the lookout for Deerhammer’s Rough & Tumble smoked corn whiskey, available at the distillery and around the state starting in June.

Montanya

212 Elk Ave., Crested Butte
(970) 799-3206
montanyarum.com

You may not associate rum with high mountain peaks, but that’s what you’ll find at Crested Butte’s Montanya Rum. Montanya uses just four all-natural ingredients, including non-GMO and American-grown unrefined sugar cane, mountain spring water, yeast and a touch of caramelized local honey. This 100-percent wind-powered and carbon-offset distillery is a completely zero-waste facility, and tasting room guests will notice fully recycled paper products and compostable items as visual examples of the distillery’s sustainable initiatives. Visit Crested Butte for the Arts Festival or Crested Butte Film Festival, and make a point to stop at Montanya Rum for cocktails, appetizers and small plates.
Summer sips:  Try the Rum Sour Senorita, made with habanero- and pineapple-infused Montanya Platino Rum, fresh cilantro, agave, and fresh lime.

Woody Creek Distillers

60 Sunset Dr., Basalt
(970) 279-5110
woodycreekdistillers.com

Who knew that distilling could teach us so much about Colorado agriculture? Woody Creek Distillery, located in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen, grows and harvests 1.5 million pounds of potatoes every season. These potatoes turn into worldclass vodka, Colorado gin, and Colorado straight rye whiskey, which has been awarded the San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal. Visit their tasting room in Basalt Tuesday through Saturday from 2-8 p.m.
Summer sips:  This summer, look for Woody Creek at Aspen Food and Wine, the Crested Butte Wine and Food Festival and Denver Food and Wine.

Leopold Bros.

5285 Joliet St., Denver
(303) 307-1515
leopoldbros.com

This well-known distiller touts itself as the only distillery in Colorado that malts their grains onsite. This gives them greater control over the numerous factors in their spirits production, which involves wild fermentation and no artificial flavorings — only real spices, botanicals and fruits. With an effort toward sustainability and water conservation, Leopold Bros. produces more than 24 spirits, more than any other Colorado distillery, including their Absinthe Verte and Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey, a seasonal spirit released in November.
Summer sips: Look for Leopold’s Summer Gin available starting in May.

Peach Street Distillers

144 South Kluge Ave., Building #2, Palisade
(970) 464-1128
peachstreetdistillers.com

“We’ve got good water and a lot of sunshine,” says Eric Wilson of Peach Street Distillers on Colorado’s Western Slope. That water comes from the top of Grand Mesa, where hundreds of natural lakes provide the Grand Valley’s water supply — and also make for high-quality spirits. Opened in 2005, Peach Street is the state’s oldest locally owned distillery, surrounded by vineyards and orchards to supply their eau de vie fruit brandies, botanical gins and Colorado Straight Bourbon, among other spirits. Head Distiller Davy Lindig ensures their spirits are creative, top-quality and as local as possible, with fruit that is often picked, prepped and in the fermentation tanks within a 24-hour period. Visit the taproom to try their famous Bloody Mary and rotating vodka infusions.
Summer sips: This July, Peach Street’s Bloody Mary mix will be sold in 32-ounce bottles at liquor stores statewide.

Breckenridge Distillery

1925 Airport Rd., Breckenridge
(970) 547-9759
breckenridgedistillery.com

If you’re a bucket list person, then you’ll want to visit Breckenridge Distillery, which happens to be the world’s highest distillery. Surrounded by snowy peaks, Breckenridge Distillery’s mineral-rich water creates a clean taste and smooth finish in their spirits, be it bourbon, gin or vodka. Visit for a free tour and an inside look at their process and production facility.
Summer sips: Camp 90 Proof kicks off on June 30, with a summer music series, yoga, cocktail demonstrations and chances to win distillery swag.

Golden Moon Distillery

412 Violet St., Golden
(303) 993-7174
goldenmoondistillery.com

Founded in 2008, Golden Moon Distillery produces handcrafted herbal liquors and liqueurs using age-old production processes. In fact, founder Stephen Gould’s research library houses hundreds of rare books on distillation that date back as far as the 16th Century. From gin and grappa to absinthe and applejack, Golden Moon is known for its classy lineup of spirits available in the distillery tasting room or at their cocktail lounge, Golden Moon Speakeasy.
Summer sips: Swoon over the Golden Moon’s Crème de Violette, distilled with hand-selected botanicals and blue violet flowers, perfect in an aviation cocktail or on its own.

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