While millions of bleary eyes will gaze longingly at Denver next week when the Great American Beer Festival, Denver Beer Fest and Oktoberfest transform the city into the world's largest beer garden, July and August were also great months for the sudsy stuff -- especially for those who like Colorado craft beer and microbrews in general.
In a glorious six-week period, four new beer-centric restaurants -- Euclid Hall, FreshCraft, the Mellow Mushroom and Stoney's Bar and Grill -- opened in and around downtown, with a total of 65 taps dedicated to craft beer. And two existing spots, Cheba Hut and Wynkoop Brewing Co., added another 25 craft beer handles to the mix.
And if those ninety new spigots aren't enough, Hops and Pie will have twenty beers on tap when it opens its doors on Tennyson Street sometime in mid-September. Meanwhile, the Yard House chain is on track to open its massive new location in the downtown Sheraton in November, with 136 handles of delicious, delicious beer.
So what does it all mean?
"Hopefully, we will all flourish, but we may have to find some new fans to keep the beer flowing from those new taps," says Wynkoop marketing man and craft-beer cheerleader Marty Jones. "And we will get the answer to the question of whether Denver can support all of those new tap houses and beer bars."
On September 10, the Wynkoop will revamp its six-tap beer tower upstairs and stock it with an unusual selection of guest beers from other breweries in addition to one-off brews, like barley wines and barrel-aged stuff, from its own cellar.
Other beer-centric venues that have opened in the past year include the Rackhouse Pub, Uptown Bros. Brewing, Star Bar and a new Cheeky Monk in Westminster. The Cheeky Monk also added six craft-beer taps at its original Colfax location.
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"Colorado is arguably the number-one state when it comes to producing beer," says Euclid Hall co-owner Beth Gruitch. "I think it's really cool that there is so much product out there." Serving craft beer, especially Colorado craft beer, "continues the green movement of leaving less of a footprint and of supporting locally."
Euclid Hall has a dozen beers on tap, the majority of which are from brewers like Oskar Blues, Great Divide, Breckenridge, Odell and Lefthand.
"There are some really cool beer geeks out there, but when you have a great beer list, everything from lighter style to a darker one, you're hitting a large percentage of the population," Gruitch adds. "We love being able to choose from so many beers."