Everybody loves Colorado. With our beautiful scenery, countless sunny days, snow-capped mountains and vast plains, what’s not to love? It seems like everyone wants to be in Colorado, including some big names in craft beer. The second half of 2018 brought several well-knewn breweries to Colorado, or at more accurately, to our liquor store coolers.
What caused the increased desire to distribute Colorado given we already have a pretty diverse and competitive beer market? Heck, maybe it was the crisp air and the mountain streams. Perhaps it was our insatiable desire for new craft beers. We do seem to have a thirst for new & exciting craft beer that can never quite be quenched, after all. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the change in our 3.2% beer laws that now allow full-strength beer to be sold at grocery stores, increasing the marketplace appeal for regional breweries near and far. I guess we’ll never really know.
Whatever made these breweries decide to bring their beer to Colorado, as beer lovers and locals, we want to extend them a warm welcome. In fact today we are officially welcoming a few of the brands that started distributing in Colorado over the past several months, by highlighting the 5 out-of-state breweries that we’re most excited to see in our Colorado beer coolers. So let’s get to it already…
5 Craft Breweries We’re Excited to See Distributing to Colorado
#1 – Bell’s Brewery
Home: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Available in Colorado since: September 2018
Best known for: Two Hearted IPA, which was voted the number 1 beer in America two years running by the American Homebrew Association.
Their story: Bell’s Brewery has been around since
Beers available in Colorado: Bell’s is distributing their entire portfolio of inspired ales and lagers to Colorado. This lineup of 20 or so brews includes their year-round flagships and many seasonal favorites.
Our favorite Bell’s beer: Two Hearted IPA is great, obviously. Whether or not it’s the best beer in America is subjective, but it’s a well-balanced and totally delicious IPA. But if you really like hops be on the lookout for Bell’s Hopslam. This double IPA is released just once a year and should be hitting shelves in Colorado this week. Hopslam is exactly what the name suggests: a big, aggressive, smack-in-the-face of hop flavor and aroma. If you love hops like we love hops, you’ll love Hopslam!
Where to find them: Find Bell’s beer near you by visiting their Bell’s Beer Finder at bellsbeer.com/beer-finder.
#2 – 21st Amendment Brewery
Home: San Francisco, California
Available in Colorado
Their story: In 2000, Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan founded the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco’s historic South Park neighborhood. The popular brewpub is now at the heart of the new city center, just south of the financial district and only two blocks from the San Francisco Giants baseball park. Over the years 21st Amendment has regularly won GABF and World Beer Cup awards for their beer, plus plenty of local accolades for their brewpub. The brewery’s name comes from the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was passed and ratified in 1933 to end prohibition. (But you fellow beer geeks already knew that, right?) Learn more about 21st Amendment Brewery and how they want you to “Celebrate the right to be original” at 21st-amendment.com/.
Beers available in Colorado: All of 21st Amendment’s year-round, seasonal and Insurrection Series limited release beers will be available on draft, and in 6-pack, 15-pack, Variety Pack or 19.2oz cans.
Our favorites: To the surprise of nobody we’re big fans of the IPAs. Brew Free! or Die IPA is absolutely wonderful, and the artwork featuring Honest Abe crushing hops by the handful is pretty kickass, too. The Blah Blah Blah Double IPA is pretty awesome too. For something less hoppy, watch for the summer release of Hell or High Watermelon, 21st Amendment’s summer seasonal wheat beer, brewed with real watermelon. It is
Where to find them: Find yourself some 21st Amendment Brewery beers by visiting 21st-Amendment.com/Find-Some.
#3 Founders Brewing Company
Home: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Available in Colorado since: September 2018
Their story: Founders Brewing Company was founded more than two decades ago when friends Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers decided to chase their dreams and start a brewery. From the beginning, they wanted to focus on complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics, big body and tons of flavor. Over the years those dreams became reality, and now Founders and their delicious beers can be found in 47 states! Learn more about Founders Brewing Company and watch videos that tell more of their history at foundersbrewing.com.
Beers available in Colorado: Founders is distributing their full portfolo to Colorado, including their year-round beers and their seasonal, limited and barrel-aged offerings. Starting this year, they’ll be contract brewing All Day IPA at Avery Brewing in Boulder, so expect All Day IPA to be fresh and readily available for your drinking pleasure.
Our favorites: For years, Breakfast Stout was our “smuggle home in the suitcase” beer, because we’d seek it out and bring bottles home whenever we traveled somewhere it was available. So yeah, it’s a favorite. Breakfast Stout is a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout and it’s as rich and delicious as it sounds, and still one of my (Chris’)
Where to find them: Find your favorite Founders Brewing beers near you by visiting foundersbrewing.com/beer/find-our-beer.
#4 – Brooklyn Brewery
Home: Brooklyn, New York (duh)
Available in Colorado Since: October 2018
Their story: Brooklyn Brewery’s story is incredible and far too detailed to summarize in a blurb here. It starts with Steve Hindy, who in 1984, ended a five and a half year tour as a the Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press, covering wars and dodging mortars. (We told you it was a good story!) Read the full history of Brooklyn Brewery to see how Hindy went from the battlefield to the brewery, with help from partner Tom Potter and eventually, Garrett Oliver, at on the Brooklyn Brewery website at brooklynbrewery.com/about/history#welcome-link.
Beers available in Colorado: Look for Brooklyn’s flagship Brooklyn Lager, Bel Air Sour, Defender IPA, seasonal releases, the Brooklyn Mix can variety 12 pack, and various draft-only Brooklyn Limited creations now that Brooklyn Brewery is in Colorado.
Our favorites: While we’re normally all about the IPAs, we really love the crisp and clean Brooklyn Lager. The nice thing about this lager, as compared to some of the (ahem) more popular lagers on the market, is that you can taste hops in this beer! There is a pleasant but not overwhelming bitterness that even your “not into craft beer” friends will enjoy. We also love the Brooklyn Brown Ale for being rich and
Where to find it: No MetroCard is needed to find Brooklyn Brewery beers near you. Just visit their beer finder at brooklynbrewery.com/brooklyn-beers/beer-finder
#5 – Payette Brewing Co
Home: Boise, Idaho
Available in Colorado since: July 2018
Best known for: Being voted the “Best Brewery in Boise” for 5 years running.
Their story: Mike Francis left corporate life as an industrial engineer for Boeing in Seattle to engineer something a little different… beer. He received an associates degree in Brewing Technology from Chicago’s Siebel Institute, after which he earned his brewing stripes at Schooner Exact Brewing in Seattle. With that brewing knowledge and experience, Francis went home to Boise in 2010 and established Payette Brewing Company. The inspiration for the name came from Francois Payette, a French Canadian trapper whose name and memory is enshrined among numerous Idaho landmarks. The name Payette has since become synonymous with an adventurous spirit that pervades Idaho’s year-round outdoor lifestyle. Learn more about Payette Brewing Co at payettebrewing.com.
Beers available in Colorado: To the best of our knowledge Payette Brewing Co is now distributing four of their year-round offerings – North Fork Lager, Recoil India Pale Ale, Rodeo Citra Pale Ale
Our favorites: We received a sampling of Payette Brewing Co’s beers late last summer, and they were all delicious brews. We especially loved the Rodeo Citra Pale Ale for its fruit-filled aroma and Citra hop kick. The North Fork Lager was another favorite for being clean, crisp and refreshing. It’s a the perfect beer to enjoy after a day on the river, or during a day on the patio.
Where to find it: We can’t locate a snazzy “beer finder” for Payette Brewing Co, so you just need to check your local craft beer store. We’ve seen it on shelves at Molly’s Spirits and other spots, so keep an eye out for them. Better yet, ask your local beer shop for Payette Brewing beer.
What’s your favorite new Colorado “import” beer?
Have you tried any of the new breweries distributing to Colorado? If so, what’s your favorite new non-Colorado beer? We’d love to hear your picks in the comments below or on our Bottle Makes Three Facebook page!