A trip to Denver, Colorado last August inspired me to try as many new beers as possible. Exposure to such a wide selection of specialty, hand-crafted brews is what interested me in the craft beer selection in northern New Jersey.
Here is a list of the Top Five Beer Establishments I Visited:
1. Yard House Restaurant: Located in the 16th Street Mall,I was pleasantly surprised with my choice-a large bar with nearly 100 taps. The beer menu was extensive, but I tried two blended beers. First, I tried the “Belgian Shandy,” which is pear cider with Leffe Blond. I though I was really going to like this beer, but it was too sweet for me. If you enjoy the cider taste, than I would recommend this to you. I wanted something a little darker for my second beer, so I went with the “Bitter Monk” – Leffe Blond and Stone IPA. This was a much better combination. It was darker and had a hoppy flavor, but was still light enough to drink on a summer day.
2. Rock Bottom Brewery: Also located in the 16th Street Mall. The bar was a smaller than Yard House, but the beer made up for it. I tried the Summer Honey Ale. It was light and crisp but there were honey undertones. The bartender was really helpful. He helped me choose the best beer according to my taste.
3. Wynkoop Brewery: Wynkoop is Colorado’s first brewpub. Locals told me that Wynkoop was a must-visit in Denver. Luckily, I was able to stop by for a drink on my last day! The bar was packed midday on a weekday. I was immediately greeted by a bartender who gave me a beer menu and offered to let me sample any beer before I made my final decision. Twelve of Wynkoop’s own brews were on tap. I sampled the Rail Yard Ale, St. Charles ESB, Two Guns Pilsner, Orchard Wheat and the Silverback Pale Ale. I really enjoyed the St. Charles and Two Guns. I ended up ordering a pint of each. The bartender convinced me to try Patty’s Chile Beer before I left. He said it was a Denver must. I beg to differ. I think Chile beer is worst beer I’ve ever tasted. I struggled to finish it. The worst part is I still tasted a chile aftertaste several hours later! Unique, but definitely a one-time thing.
4. Meadow Muffins: This bar and grill is located in Colorado Springs. It was like going to two bars in one. The front of the bar is decorated with a western theme and had a live band, while the back was more of a dance club and played hip-hop music. I hung out in each section for a period of time and had a blast in both. The live band really go everyone moving! Meadow Muffins had some great beers on tap. To be honest, we stopped here on out first night in Colorado and I couldn’t tell you what beers I drank. I do know they were delicious and I would definitely visit this establishment again!
5. Glenwood Canyon Brewpub:On my trip, I ventured to Glenwood Springs to experience Colorado’s famous hot springs. After a relaxing day at the natural pools, I needed a beer. I walked several blocks from the hot springs and found this place. I ordered a beer and had to stand near the entrance to drink it! This place was packed and I had a three hour ride back to Denver ahead of me. My boyfriend and I only had time for one beer each. I enjoyed the decor- vintage beer brewing accessories and a projector playing a silent film documenting the brewing process. I immediately ordered the Hanging Lake Honey Ale after my wonderful experience with Rock Bottom’s Summer Honey Ale and my boyfriend went with St. James Irish Red. Both of these beers were flavorful, but still light enough for an August evening.