Denver, CO

The most underrated breweries in the North Denver area

Edward Matthews

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Kokopelli Brewing

Look at any list of American cities with the most per capita breweries and you will see the word "Colorado," littered throughout, with Boulder at 4th, Fort Collins at 11th, Loveland at 12th, and Denver at 18th.

Breweries in Colorado come in all shapes and sizes too, with mega-breweries like Coors and Budweiser represented along with large-scale micro-breweries like Oskar Blues and Lefthand, not to mention all of the nano-breweries scattered throughout Denver. There is truly a brewery for everyone.

After spending the better part of my adult life sampling and tasting beer in the Denver area, here are my 5 favorite hidden gems lurking in the suburbs north of Denver.

#5: Odyssey Berkwerks, Arvada, CO

The folks at Odyssey brew some delicious beer, but none is better than their Psycho Penquin, a tasty vanilla porter that is perfect for those chilly Colorado winters. They also have a superb line of flagship brews, they are all solid. Like many of the breweries in the area, Odyssey relies on a food truck rotation to keep customers filled up while drinking some beer.

Honestly, this brewery should be ranked higher on this list but its location and ambiance set it back a bit. It is in a small concrete industrial park just off of I-76 and they have done what could be done with the place but it just is limited by where it is at. As a plus, it is right off a bike path that I have used many times to pick up a growler on the way home from work.

Ratings (1-5 pints; 5 is highest):

Beer: 3.5 pints

Food: 2.5 pints

Location: 2 pints

Total: 8 pints

# 4: 4 Noses Brewing Company, Broomfield, CO

4 Noses is a great little brewery that is tucked away just off of Wadsworth near highway 36. With an extensive tap list of over 15 beers at the time of writing, there really is something for everyone. The folks at 4 Noses lean into their wild side, with a Michelada collaboration, a couple of sours, and even a cinnamon-maple flavored imperial stout.

However, one of my absolute all-time favorite beers comes from 4 Noses, the seasonally available Pump-Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale. It is a giant size fall favorite in my house.

Food is available at 4-Noses in the form of food trucks and they are extremely dog-friendly. The location and ambiance are alright, there are some views and a nice open-air seating area.

Ratings (1-5 pints; 5 is highest):

Beer: 3.5 pints

Food: 2.5 pints

Location: 3.5 pints

Total: 9.5 pints

#3: New Terrain Brewing Company, Golden, CO

New Terrain is in a category of its own when it comes to ambiance and brewery location. Situated in between Golden and Arvada and perched on a hill in a large office park, New Terrain provides expansive views of both Table Mountains and the Front Range. Its size also allows for it to be always packed yet feel open and welcoming.

But New Terrain is more than just a pretty face, the beer here is seriously good stuff. Every single option is delicious and there is a huge range of beers that allows for even the pickiest beer drinker to find something. It is hard to go wrong with any of their IPAs, however, when I go to New Terrain I always have to get an Orange Groove. The Orange Groove is a stunningly refreshing American Cream Ale with added blood oranges. Nothing beats it on a hot day.

Truly the only issue that I see with New Terrain is that it can be loved to death, sometimes the parking lot fills and folks have to trek from pretty far away, not a bad problem to have though. They also have food in the form of food trucks, probably the same lineup of food that goes to all of the other breweries, no big deal.

Ratings (1-5 pints; 5 is highest):

Beer: 4.0 pints

Food: 2.5 pints

Location: 4.5 pints

Total: 11 pints

#2: Mountain Toad Brewing Company, Golden, CO

This brewery is great. Truly. If I lived in the downtown part of Golden I might pay rent at the Mountain Toad and just stay there. With a large beer list with a huge range, there are so many delicious options to choose from. But with all of the choices my favorite is an ale that few if any, breweries have, the Lavender Belgian Golden Ale. This delicate flowery brew comes in at a whopping 9.0% ABV, giving it substance to match its style.

On top of the great brews, the location is unbeatable. It is in a small building on the main drag through Golden, which is located at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon. This makes this a must-stop location for a brew after a day of kayaking, rafting, or rock climbing.

Food is provided by food trucks and the brewery has a backyard-type atmosphere that is chill and laidback. The only downside that I see is that sometimes it is so busy that it can be hard to find a spot to sit. A small price to pay for great beer.

Ratings (1-5 pints; 5 is highest):

Beer: 4.5 pints

Food: 2.5 pints

Location: 5.0 pints

Total: 12 pints

#1: Kokopelli Beer Company, Westminister, CO

Nobody saw this one coming. But, for me, Kokopelli is the best-hidden gem in the north Denver area. Located in a strip mall in Westminster just off of highway 36 the location leaves something to be desired, it isn't pretty. But Kokopelli lacks in location, it makes up for in beer and food.

This is an especially great brewery for folks who like dark beers with fruit undertones. The Razzmatazz and Black Crimson Kiss are my favorites. However, don't be fooled, this small brewery has over 30 taps. That is a ton of selection and it is all top-notch!

But beers aside, the real reason this brewery is great is the food. They make some of the finest pizza in the Denver area and it is the perfect pairing with any beer you choose. So while all of the breweries on this list are great, my favorite is this small brewery in Westminister, Kokopelli Beer Company.

Beer: 4.5 pints

Food: 5 pints

Location: 3.0 pints

Total: 12.5 pints

Drink up!

While there can only be one winner, each of these breweries is great. I attend each at least 5 times during the year, if not more. So if you are in the Denver area don't get stuck in the city, venture to the north and get some of Colorado's finest.

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My mission is to provide a unique viewpoint on the world and local events. I will be providing you with up-to-date news and insights from Colorado specifically in the Denver area. I also enjoy writing articles on education, writing, and other niche topics.

Arvada, CO
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