There's something perfect about the contrast between a cold Colorado beer in your hand and the warm sun on your face -- something that makes the tensions of the day melt away. And although there are plenty of places around Colorado to drink good beer, a few of them stand out when it comes to summertime fun. Here's our list of ten of our favorite places -- both patios and special events -- to drink beer this summer.
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Denver Beer Co
1695 Platte Street
It's hard to beat the vibe on the patio of Denver Beer Co, which combines a sunny, mellow disposition with perfect people-watching on busy bike- and pedestrian-friendly Platte Street. And then there's the ever-changing roster of seasonal beers -- most of which are only brewed once, so there's always something new when you come back. Order a cold one, grab a snack from one of the food trucks that are always on hand, then chill out under an umbrella while you watch another Denver summer go by.
Mountain Toad Brewing
900 Washington Avenue, Golden
Golden residents have proved their love for beer gardens over the past two decades by showing up in droves at the tree-shaded Golden City Brewery. But this year, the town most closely associated with Coors has two new craft breweries, with at least one more on the way. And Mountain Toad, located in the heart of downtown, has already become a destination for locals, families, cyclists and anyone taking advantage of the nearby open space. And, yes, food trucks will pull right up onto the gravel by the patio, dishing out grub to go with your beer.
Southern Sun Pub & Brewery
627 South Broadway Street, Boulder
It's hard to sum up an entire town with a single drinking establishment, but Southern Sun comes close. Its laid-back vibe, open-minded clientele and patio -- the perfect place to take in both of the previous characteristics -- as well as views of the Flatirons could make you want to live forever in Boulder. Or just this bar. Southern Sun also boasts a stellar lineup of beers brewed on site and at its parent company, Mountain Sun.
Lowry Beer Garden
7577 East Academy Boulevard
Every day at the Lowry Beer Garden is like being at your neighbor's annual summer barbecue blowout -- with hundreds and hundreds of neighbors you've never met before. Tucked away behind a former airplane hangar, this entirely outdoor spot serves brats, burgers and other smokin' specialties at the front, then lets you take them to one of the dozens of long picnic tables lined up in the summer sunshine. The beer choices vary, but Lowry puts special emphasis on easy-drinking local brews from across Colorado.