Best Beer Service 2023 | Cohesion Brewing Company | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Sarah Cowell
Cohesion's dark lager poured in the mlíko way.

Over the years, many American breweries have tried to convey to drinkers the difference between hladinka and mlíko pours, or the importance of foam on beer in general. But Cohesion is the first that truly seems to resonate with customers. And while the beers are on point and authentically accurate — from the local, undermodified malt to the open fermentation, decoction mashing, horizontal lagering, natural carbonation and unfiltered finish served from side pull taps — the quality of service really stands out. How many times have customers initially paused and questioned the healthy amount of foam that comes with these beers? The same number of times that the team here has happily explained that it's traditional in the Czech Republic, as it protects and enhances the flavor.

Raíces Brewing Company

Raíces means "roots'' in Spanish, and that describes why we love this Latino-owned and -operated brewery so much. Along with crafting delicious cervezas, Raíces supports Denver's Latino community with a lineup of food trucks outside dishing up Mexican, Puerto Rican and Central and South American fare. The brewery also hosts Spanish-language and Latina book clubs, hosts pan-Latin artisan vendors every Saturday, and more. If you're looking for that "mi casa, su casa" ambience, make Raíces your go-to.

Kelly Buening

Warm season is Kölsch season. No, not the spiced and/or fruited ales that too often unnecessarily use the name, but the delicate, clean, crisp, slightly hoppy pale beers served in 200-milliliter (6.7-ounce) cylindrical glasses called stangen. In Cologne, servers (or köbes) will pour an endless stream of these fresh beers, one after another, while marking them off on coasters until patrons cover their glass with the coaster to signal that they've had enough. Fritz Family Brewers, along with a handful of other local breweries, started offering this service in 2022. What separated Fritz from the pack was the use of a single dedicated server, which means no long waits between beers, and the kind of personalized service you'd expect in Cologne — albeit a little friendlier than the notorious köbes of the Rhine. The beer is damn good, too, snagging one of our top beers of 2022 slots.

Coda Brewing

A beer made with mushrooms might sound strange at first, but the delicate, earthy, fruity flavors of chanterelle mushrooms pair perfectly with Coda Brewing owner/brewer Luke Smith's choice of the base style, Bière de Garde. The portion of the batch that was packaged sold out very quickly, thanks to popularity among the local foraging community, but there has been plenty of this unique beer available on draft. The beer changes over time, developing notes of plum, apricot, fig and, according to Smith, "Big League Chew bubble gum" as it ages like a fine wine. The mushrooms are either locally sourced or, during all-too-frequent dry spells in Colorado, purchased from the lush growing region of the Pacific Northwest.

Molly Martin

On the first Friday of the month in RiNo, grab a liter of excellent lager at Bierstadt Lagerhaus and take a ringside seat for Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling. The acts aren't as dramatic as the entertainment wrestling of the '80s and '90s, but there are always laughs to go along with the evening's impressive physicality. And what better choice to accompany the fun than Bierstadt's helles, a very well-made beer that tastes great and goes down easy? Just keep an eye on your glass, as some of the wrestlers have been known to snag a sip or two from unsuspecting fans sitting in the front row — and no, you won't get a replacement, because you're now part of the show.

Novel Strand Brewing Company

Most taprooms sit empty during the early mornings, since few patrons are out drinking at that time. In a novel approach, Novel Strand's intimate and attractive space is occupied by Queen City Coffee Collective until mid-afternoon, when the beer starts flowing. Novel Strand specializes in excellent hop-focused and European beers, and Queen City's coffee has a top-notch reputation around town. The brewery's building, a corner unit with tall ceilings and windows that make you feel connected to the outside neighborhood, offers a lovely place to drink it all in, day or night.

Danielle Lirette

Wonderland Brewing has continued to grow its large array of games, recently adding another nine holes of mini golf, bringing the grand total to eighteen. With twenty pinball and arcade games along with table tennis, pickleball and cornhole setups, Wonderland is an ideal destination for anyone looking for some friendly competition. The eclectic beer menu includes some English and Belgian styles that are fast disappearing in the beer world, as well as more popular hoppy and dark American styles. There's something for every taste at the Broomfield-based brewery, perfect for pairing with a putter or paddle.

Sarah McGill

With cheap drinks, sticky floors and a decided lack of frills, Monkey Bar, the Santa Fe art district's premier dive, has been a constant in the rapidly changing neighborhood. Although the bar doesn't host any official leagues, patrons can partake in a plethora of games, most of which are free to play. Darts, billiards, ping-pong and foosball tend to attract a crowd near the entrance, while beer pong and giant Jenga spill out onto the back patio. There are also video games like N64 and four-person Pac-Man, all available on a first-come, first-served basis. Gather your friends — human or canine, as the bar is dog-friendly — and come monkey around, or start an informal league of your own. Loser buys a round of pickle shots.

Molly Martin

Although Stoney's has an Uptown outpost and a Mexican spinoff on Broadway, the original on Lincoln Street is our go-to on game days. It plays host to fans of more than ten professional and college sports teams, from the Denver Broncos to the Miami Hurricanes. Plenty of TVs showing all the sports are on at all times, and there's room for everyone in the large bar, including a patio for when the weather is nice enough to get you up off the couch. Stoney's serves up a solid selection of pub fare, too, such as nachos, wings, burgers and loaded fries. Along with its dedicated watch parties, the bar's atmosphere makes enjoying any sporting event here a winning experience.

Molly Martin

The Sportsbook Bar & Grill's Wash Park location feels like a hidden oasis, with a door opening to the alleyway and a descent down a flight of stairs, where a print of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow greets those who enter. The bar may be best known by Bengals fans as the place to be on game day, but it's always a great bar for watching any game, thanks to some of the best food and drink deals in town and a waitstaff that is spot-on, even during the busiest times. With no shortage of TVs, seating or local brews on tap, as well as food for every mood, you're sure to have a good time, whether your team wins or loses.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of