Denver and Aurora Craft Beer Restaurants
A new trend is cropping up in our fair city of Denver and it is exclusive taps for our favorite craft beers. There is a growing number of restaurants that cater to the ?beer connoisseur and the adventurous. I thought it'd be nice to help our faithful followers get a head start on where they should start to head for some great beers (the pun is there to show off how smart and clever I am). This isn't a list of brewpubs, but a small list of places that provide a large selection, from multiple brewers, that don't rhyme with Fud, Liller, Fours, or anything that includes Lite.
Let's kick this off with Fresh Craft. This place is located off 15th and Blake. It's close enough to the Pepsi Center to grab a brew and a bite before a game. The wait staff is very knowledgeable with what they have on tap. Don't feel over whelmed by their extensive list of beers, just ask your server what they recommend and most likely they'll hit it right on the head. The selections rotate monthly and will keep you going back to find out what new beer they'll be serving up.
Their food has always been great when I've been there. Don't expect standard pub fare. You can still get a burger, but expect high quality and fresh ingredients. A wide variety on the menu should keep all new patrons happy.
Next we'll travel to the Star Bar, located near 22nd and Larimer St, two blocks from Coors Field???. If you're like me, sometimes you just want to leave the pretentious crowd behind and hit a good ol' dive bar. The problem is, most dives feature beers that rhyme with shit. That is not the case at the Star Bar. Their draft selection isn't huge, but it does rotate and features many of the local craft brewers. An added bonus is they normally select rarer drafts so you can expand your horizons. If a draft beer doesn't feel "dive" enough for you, they carry a huge selection of can beers as well, all craft brews of course. They serve no food at this establishment, but they encourage you to bring your own. Grab wings on your way in, put on that old trucker hat, and throw back some cold ones at the Star Bar. You won't regret it. Check their calender for some live music, or bring some quarters for the pool table.
Our next selection will take us a bit farther south near I-25 and alameda. Located inside Strannahan's Distillery is a great eatery called the Rackhouse Pub. They boast a tap that features Great American Beer Festival gold medal winners and mix in plenty of local and *near local* craft brews. The Rackhouse includes a full bar if you want to chase that beer with some whiskey and the kitchen cuisine is top notch. Stop in early and catch a free tour of the distillery and stay for some food and beers. The Rackhouse has become a favorite of many locals and the Strannahan tour is great for my fellow whiskey drinker's out there.
My last entry is near and dear to my heart. Too often me and my fellow Aurorians are over shaddowed by neighboring Denver. True, Denver attracts more press, but that does not mean Aurora is a wasteland that is only fit for some soulless chain, like Chilli's. Quite contrary, Aurora is more often an untapped resource that only the most adventurous and brave beerventurors will explore. True, you could spend weeks entering multitudes of strip mall dives and find nothing better than Corona or Bud Light Lime (BLL, as it's known to the people who like to drink soap suds). Or you could go directly to The Royal Hilltop.
Once an Irish pub, before irish pubs were cool, the Hilltop has evolved into a kick ass craft brewpub. Their extensive beer menu rotates, but will often feature taps from our local hero, The Dry Dock. Located way out in Suburbanville (Hampton and Tower), the Hilltop gives us good hearted A-towners a local place to explore our wonderful world of beer. They keep their menu pretty simple and stay true to their Irish Pub roots, but have mixed in new dishes for better food/beer pairings. Another great feature of the Hilltop is their Wednesday night Pint Nights. Stroll in at 8pm on a Wednesday to try a pint of the featured beer and leave with the glass! How cool is that? Suffice it to say, the beer of the night will not be PBR.
With that, I will end my list. I know new places are popping up all the time, so if you know of one comment on the blog to help your fellow beer drinkers out. While hitting a microbrew is always at the top of my to-do list, sometimes I just want to sit down and have a meal. No reason I can't also have a great craft beer with it.