American Craft Beer Week is in full swing here in the Denver, making our ale and lager-focused city even more enthusiastic about hitting the bars and drinking up craft liquids in celebration of the occasion.
In honor of that, we present Denver's ten best draft beer lists.
10. Star Bar
Star Bar's tap line may be small, but it's mighty. The place usually features a frequently rotated selection of rare craft brews from our state and beyond, and occasionally hosts a tap takeover, devoting all six lines to one brewery. Recently, the spot has given up all of its keg space to Ska Brewing and New Belgium's Lips of Faith series.
Denver's first brewpub may be operating in a more crowded market now that other beer-makers have moved into the Mile High City, but it's still one of our top spots to grab a draft, sampling the ever-changing (and vast) lineup of beers brewed by Wynkoop itself, supplemented by four or five guest taps. And come the end of the month, Breckenridge will start getting some handles, too, thanks to the joint venture between the two places.
Denver's newest beer hall features some of the best patio views in the city, thanks to its deck facing downtown (and overlooking I-25). And you can drink that in while drinking one of the forty craft beers on tap. Selections are heavy with Breckenridge brews -- since that's the brewery that owns the place -- but there are plenty of other offerings to choose from, too.
A bounty of beers pours forth from Vine Street's taps; most of them are brewed at the spot's sibling restaurants, Mountain Sun and Southern Sun, in Boulder. But the brewery still gets a best draft list designation because it supplements its own products with rare finds from all over the country -- including stuff like highly coveted Pliny the Younger from Russian River.
6. Cheeky Monk
If it's Belgian beer you're after, there's really only one place in town to go, and that's the Cheeky Monk. The Belgian beer cafe features 23 lines of Belgian and Belgian-style ales, including Chimay Cinq Cents, Delirium Tremens and the Duchesse de Bourgogne, a personal favorite. It also has ten taps devoted to very rare American craft beers.
5. Euclid Hall
Euclid Hall was envisioned as an upscale beer and sausage hall, and it features a massive list of ales and lagers to go with its heavy foodstuffs. Twelve of those are draft selections, which range from a Colorado-brewed kolsch to Boulevard Tank 7 to Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. And there's always the rotating tap, which always features something fun, including one-off brews made just for Euclid Hall.
It's craft alcohol all the way at Rackhouse Pub, which fronts Stranahan's distillery, and the place has put a lot of thought into what it features on its twenty taplines. Nineteen slots go to Colorado brews -- which gives drinkers an idea of the depth of the beer scene in the state -- and the remaining handle is devoted to a rotating out-of-state keg.
Freshcraft nabbed our award for Best Bottle Beer List for its 100+ geek-tastic selections from across the country and around the world. But this spot also features twenty taps-worth of stuff on draft, too, and each handle goes to a highly sought cool keg. Bonus: tomorrow, in honor of American Craft Beer Week, Freshcraft is doing a tap takeover with Avery, featuring fifteen different selections from the Boulder-based brewery.
2. Hops and Pie
When Drew and Leah Watson opened Hops and Pie, they elevated the timeless combo of pizza and beer into something special. That's partially thanks to the couple's love of craft beer, which led them to install 22 taps that pour a rotating selection of craft brews. Plus, every first Friday, the eatery brings in a firkin, a small, cask-conditioned one-off. Cheers.
Falling Rock may very well be the epicenter of beer in a very beer-oriented state, a haven for beer geeks before beer geekiness was cool. But even as the craft beer taps have proliferated across our metro area, there's still no place with a set-up that rivals the 75 handles at the bar where it all began. Falling Rock pours quantity and quality; the house sometimes offers some of the rarest selections in existence, ones you'll never find elsewhere in the state. And so it's no surprise that Falling Rock won our Best Draft Beer List award in the Best of Denver 2011.
Know of more spots with good draft lists? Tell us about them in the comments.
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