List of Boulder Breweries (that keeps getting longer)

Metro Boulder has at least 38 41 breweries. That number will go up by the end of the week, regardless of what week it is. If you’re looking for a complete list of breweries in the state of Colorado, check out the Fermentedly Challenged beer blog.

Here’s a list of where to go and a brew or two to try while you’re in Boulder.

 

BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats, Boulder

5290 Saison, Rigley Red IPA (seasonal), or Citrum IPA

Bru's 5-beer sampler

Bru’s 5-beer sampler is whatever you want it to be. You pick, they serve, everyone wins.

 

Upslope Brewing Company (two locations), Boulder

Citra pale is fantastic, as is the pumpkin ale.

 

FATE Brewing Company, Boulder

Coffee IPA, Nohns, and Clotho

 

Shine Brewing Company, Boulder

Double Red IPA (Down Dog Red)

 

Avery Brewing Company, Boulder (now in Gunbarrel)

Hop heads will want to sample Dugana, Hog Heaven or Maharaja

 

Best Boulder County Breweries

Best breweries in Boulder County, in our humble opinion

 

Avery Brewing building - Gunbarrel, CO

Avery’s new Gunbarrel digs

 

J Wells Brewery, Boulder

English bitter (Defiance)

 

Southern Sun Pub & Brewery, Boulder

Annapurna Amber for a session ale… Illusion Dweller IPA for a bitter hop fix

 

Boulder Beer Company, Boulder

Grab the sampler (bring a friend) or order whatever’s on nitro.

Boulder Beer IPA sampler

Why drink one IPA when you can try four?

 

Sanitas Brewing, Boulder

Red IPA, Black IPA, or any saison

Sanitas Brewing - beer samples

Craft beer and Boulder… almost as popular as WEED and Boulder

 

Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, Boulder

Rotating taps are always a good bet

 

Twisted Pine Brewing Company, Boulder

If you enjoy scalding-hot-pepper beer, try the Ghost Face Killah. Also: the Big Shot Espresso Stout has won several awards…

 

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, Boulder

The grand cru is a solid choice, or try something barrel-aged if it’s available. Another perk: they carry bottles of the Nostradamus Belgian Strong Dark Ale from Brasserie Caracole year round.

 

Redstone Meadery, Boulder

Try the Mountain Honey Wine.

 

Walnut Brewery, Boulder

The Old Elk Brown Ale is a two-time GABF medalist.

 

West Flanders Brewing Company, Boulder

Try a Belgian flight!

 

Wild Woods Brewery, Boulder

Grab a pint of the Ponderosa Porter – aged with whole vanilla beans.

 

Echo Brewing Company, Erie

Order an English Pint of the Powder Run Pale Ale.

 

Industrial Revolution Brewing Company, Erie

Go get yourself shnockered on the Twin Gear Double IPA.

 

Old Mine Cidery & Brewpub, Erie

Gluten-free Handlebar Hard Cider

 

Asher Brewing Company, Gunbarrel

Try a Green Monstah strong ale.

 

New Planet Beer Company, Gunbarrel

Try something gluten-free, because it’s all they serve.

 

beer snob

Are you a beer snob? You should be.

Finkel & Garf Brewing Company, Gunbarrel

Reach for the Pale Ale

 

Vindication Brewing Company, Gunbarrel

American Bold Ale

 

The Post Brewing Company, Lafayette

Order the Townie Ale or the Bulky Oxen barleywine.

 

Odd13 Brewing, Lafayette

Pair a couple pints of Eric the Red IPA with the “Odd” beer hero artwork surrounding you…

 

Front Range Brewing Company, Lafayette

Grab a row of tasters paired with snacks from local Lafayette eateries

 

Liquid Mechanics Brewing Company, Lafayette

Definitely try a seasonal flight

 

Left Hand Brewing Company, Longmont

The Black Jack Porter and Milk Stout Nitro are staples in many Colorado ‘fridges.

 

Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont

Try the Gubna Imperial IPA or the G’Knight Imperial Red.

 

300 Suns Brewing, Longmont

Try something new from the “Collabeerations” menu in the tasting room.

 

Großen Bart Brewery, Longmont

Order the Chin Curtain IPA, just for the name.

 

Pumphouse Brewery, Longmont

Check the seasonal menu for creative twists on traditional ales.

 

Gravity Brewing, Louisville

Treat yourself to the whiskey barrel-aged DIPA because it’s freakin’ excellent, and so are you.

 

Crystal Springs Brewing Company, Louisville

Any IPA or double IPA is a solid bet.

Crystal Springs beer sampler

Crystal Springs brewed a high-IBU, hoppy winner in the “13” (far right)

 

Twelve Degree Brewing, Louisville

The Pink Panther Saison is fantastic.

12 Degree Brewing - tasters

12 Degree Brewing – low-IBU tasters

 

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, Lyons

Ten Fidy is the best Russian Imperial Stout in the state.

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Russian Imperial Stout

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY – chocolate, caramel, coffee, and hops. Pair with rum balls!

 

Bootstrap Brewing Company, Niwot

The Stick’s Pale Ale is perfect to pair with Wednesday night Euchre at Bootstrap. Also: Insane Rush is one of the top-five IPAs in Colorado.

 

Powder Keg Brewing Company, Niwot

Tilt back a Baltic porter and sip away any lingering sorrows.

 

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Three brews that belong in every beer snob’s ‘fridge

Stone Levitation Ale, Ska's Modus Hoperandi IPA, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

Go-to ales: Stone Levitation, Ska’s Modus Hoperandi IPA, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA

These are three of my favorites. They may not be your favorites, but I’m not holding that against you. This beer trio varies from sessionable to serious. You can start and end with Levitation. You can drink Modus Hoperandi all night if you have no responsibilities the following morning. You can have two glasses of 90 Minute and sleep well. You can do whatever the H you want, because this is America, and we Americans, apparently, do whatever we want at all times. Here’s the westtoeast-coast scoop:

  • California Amber Stone’s Levitation Ale is the standard for non-stop drinking on weekend afternoons (4.4%)
  • Colorado IPASka’s Modus Hoperandi is a bitter, extremely hoppy India Pale Ale; it’s a perfect example of the near-west-coast style IPA (6.8%)
  • Delaware Imperial IPADogfish Head’s 90 Minute is a rich, hoppy, malty, complex sipper; it will knock you off your feet if you’re not paying attention (9.0%)

These beers are all readily available at most booze-y stores in Colorado; dive in and drink up.

Stone Levitation Ale

Stone Levitation Ale costs ~$1.67/bottle. You can find crappy beer for 3-4 times that price at a bar, but I’m not sure why you would choose to do that.

 

Ska Modus Hoperandi

Colorado has at least five stellar IPAs, IMHO, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi is in the top two.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

If you haven’t experienced Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA, you’re late to the yuppie party. Buck up, cough up $2.99/bottle, and enjoy your damn life.

BRU handbuilt ales & eats

Ian Clark, formerly of Centro and Jax Fish House, has officially nailed it with Bru handbuilt ales & eats in Boulder.

He could have stopped at unfiltered ales and sourdough pizza. That would have clinched it for me, but he took it to eleven. Here’s what to try at Bru:

Citrum IPA: this is one of my favorite Colorado IPAs (the others being Bootstrap’s Insane RushOdell, Avery, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi).
– Sourdough basil (margherita) pizza… they’ll substitute locally available spinach if basil is not in season.
Beer mustard butter – are you kidding me? This is the peak of culinary creativity. Do I bathe in it or eat it? Hey, I can bathe in it *and* eat it! (thanks, Gaffigan)

Bru should top your list of Boulder brewery destinations, and happy hour is a steal. Check out special Bru beer events here.

Drool factor follows…

Bru's 5-beer sampler

Bru’s 5-beer sampler is whatever you want it to be. You choose, they serve, everyone wins.

Bru trail mix

At Bru, trail mix means almonds, caramel corn, pecans, and spice. Order from the happy hour menu, and a huge portion is $2.

Citrum from Bru in Boulder

Bru’s Citrum is Colorado’s finest unfiltered IPA, IMHO.

Bru sourdough pizza

Why isn’t all pizza made of sourdough? I just ate a ‘Merican-size dinner, and this still makes me hungry.

Bru salad with poached egg

Sometimes you have to pass on pizza and eat salad, so your salad should at least have a healthy damn poached egg on it.

Bru bread and beer mustard butter

Slather your loaf with Bru’s tasty beer mustard butter.

Bru wood-roasted veggies

Wood-roasted veggies w/beer vinegar. Beta carotene, anyone?

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Boulder Beer Company – Colorado’s first craft brewery

Boulder Beer IPA sampler

IPA sampler – Why drink one when you can try four? The Mojo IPA and Mojo Risin’ are Boulder Beer staples.

Best veggie patty in Boulder

The Barley Burger Betasso – it’s one of Boulder’s best veggie patties, and I order it with bacon on top and a side of mashed potatoes, because why not? Keep Boulder weird.

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Black Shirt Brewing Co

Black Shirt Brewing front door

The Red Door opens to Black Shirt Brewing in Denver.

I was lucky enough to score a spot at the Black Shirt Brewing tour/tasting via the BrewDEN Meetup group in January 2013. Black Shirt is unique in that they brew only incarnations of red ale. At first that may seem odd, particularly if red ales aren’t your thing, but taking a closer look, they craft:

  • red saison
  • red ale
  • pale red
  • imperial red rye IPA
  • and… I heard discussion of a red porter on the horizon. Pretty cool. You’ll need to check their taproom “now playing” board to see what else is on offer at the moment, but those listed above are what I know of.

I found myself practically pounding the IPA (out of BSB’s custom-designed glassware) because it was so tasty and drinkable. At some point, I had to remind myself (again) to be careful with high-ABV IPAs. Yikes.

The beer was excellent. I was pleasantly surprised because red ales aren’t typically the first style I reach for, but I’m now a believer. Never doubt a craft brewer. Well, maybe not “never” but certainly “seldom”. These guys know their stuff.

Black Shirt Brewing is less than two miles from Coors Field. Just sayin’. Stop in to say hi to brewers Chad, Brandon, and Carissa, and visit them here.

Black Shirt Brewing custom glassware

Black Shirt Brewing worked with a vendor to create angled, custom glassware so patrons could fully experience the unique taste and aroma of their beers. It *does* make a difference!

Black Shirt Brewing tank

Where the beer happens at Black Shirt Brewing

Note to self: Jettison corporate job. Open Brewery. Smile.

Add Niwot to Colorado’s expanding Napa Valley of Beer contingent… Bootstrap BrewingNiwot’s Neighborhood Brewery, is up, running, and awesome.

In October, I shattered the Phenomenal Luck Piñata by landing an invite to the Taste of Niwot – a paired beer and food tasting at Bootstrap Brewing’s tap room. The food was great, the beer was excellent, and founders Leslie and Steve Kaczeus are awesome. Their actual titles are Chief of Stuff and Yeast Whisperer, respectively. Leslie and Steve founded Bootstrap following the discovery that their corporate careers weren’t producing quite enough craft beer, so kudos to them for taking the plunge and chasing the dream.

So… as evidenced here, here, and here – I love beer.

Pliny the Elder esque

Are you a beer snob? You should be.

I didn’t always love beer, but a few fruitless years on match.com set me straight.

I was introduced to Bootstrap several weeks prior to the Taste of Niwot at the Fall Beer Rave hosted by Boulder Beer Company. Of the 40-ish tap-room-only beers on offer at the Rave, I scored just two brews with a lofty rating of 9/10, and one of those was the Merlot-Aged Boomer Brown Ale from Bootstrap. I can’t adequately do this beer anything approaching justice whilst limiting myself to the confines of prose, so I’ll stop at: It was heavenly fantastic. And as far as I know, it appears to be a seasonal brew, so… maybe start looking for it next summer? I’ll report back on availability following my next visit to Bootstrap, which will be soon.

But back to me getting lucky: As you’ll see below, the Merlot-aged ale was one of the seven Bootstrap beers chefs from local Niwot eateries paired with small plates for tasting that night. They weren’t full courses or beer pours, by the way… if so, they would’ve had to roll us out. Anyway… I feel lucky to have experienced the Merlot-Aged Boomer Brown Ale twice this year, and I’ll be lobbying the folks at Bootstrap’s tap room to see this one again next year, because they have a winner on their hands. More accurately: they have several winners on their hands. The Insane Rush IPA is as good as, or better than, any Colorado craft IPA. Around town, I’ve ordered Bootstrap’s Insane Rush IPA at Backcountry and the Kitchen Next Door. And thanks to this Brewers Association article, I’m going to pair it with some yuppie mac ‘n’ cheese as soon as possible. And to round out the trifecta, Bootstrap’s Mo-Mentus Fresh Hopped Imperial Amber restored my faith in the double amber ale. It’s a sipper, and its best friend is whatever you’re eating for dessert.

I’m looking forward to seeing more Bootstrap beers on tap around town, and I’m virtually high-fiving Leslie and Steve right now. Thanks for sharing your talents via carbonated awesomeness. Cheers!

Bootstrap Brewing’s 1956 Golden Ale

Bootstrap Brewing’s 1956 Golden Ale paired with French Vietnamese chicken wings from Trepedda’s Italian Ristorante… plus ample glasses of water as we prepared ourselves for the beer tsunami to come.

Bootstrap Brewing’s Oktoberfestbier

Bootstrap Brewing’s Oktoberfestbier paired with roasted pumpkin spaetzle from Niwot Market

Bootstrap Brewing’s Merlot-Aged Boomer Brown Ale

Bootstrap Brewing’s Merlot-Aged Boomer Brown Ale paired with port-poached pear on toasted ciabatta with prosciutto and blackberry-balsamic reduction from Niwot Tavern… I really hope they brew this beer again.

Bootstrap Brewing’s Insane Rush IPA

Bootstrap Brewing’s Insane Rush IPA paired with a Kobe beef slider, horseradish Havarti cheese, arugula, and amoroso tomato from the Garden Gate Cafe

Bootstrap Brewing’s Backfire Chili Beer

Bootstrap Brewing’s Backfire Chili Beer paired with chicken and shredded beef flautas from Ajuua!

beer jungle

Welcome to the (beer) jungle… We’ve got fun and games. And tons of beer.

Bootstrap Brewing’s Mo-Mentus Fresh Hopped Imperial Amber

Bootstrap Brewing’s Mo-Mentus Fresh Hopped Imperial Amber paired with a coconut macaroon

fresh hops

Hops… where it all starts.

running out of beer

More hops and not much beer left…

Bootstrap Brewing mantra

Words to live by at Bootstrap Brewing

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The definitive list of Western IPAs that’s likely to change in five minutes

Inversion IPA, Union Jack IPA, and Racer 5 IPA

Colorado, setting sun, front porch, and yuppie IPAs. What more could you want?

My ulterior motive is to flesh out this list of IPAs. I know there are dozens more to add, but my research can only take me so far.  So please, by all means, add your favorite US West IPAs, and let us know where to find them. Here are my favorites:

For peeps who like it citrus-y:

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (CA)
(on draft occasionally at Lucky Pie, and easy to find at most reputable Metro Denver beer/wine stores)

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA (CA)
(frequently on draft at Riffs, and easy to find at most reputable Metro Denver beer/wine stores)

Stone IPA (CA)
(Stone is everywhere in Colorado. Throw a rock – or a stone – and you’ll hit it.)

Odell IPA (CO)
(If you can’t find Odell in Metro Denver, it means you haven’t left your house, and I’m sure if you venture ten steps away from your couch, you’ll probably find one in your fridge.)

Green Flash West Coast IPA (CA)
(on draft occasionally at Lucky Pie, and easy to find at most reputable Metro Denver beer/wine stores)

Ska Brewing Company Modus Hoperandi (CO)
(OK, I’m officially a believer now, thanks to my friend Jeff. And this one’s on offer just about anywhere in the Denver area, so feel free to session it.)

(note: if you want to kick it up a notch, look for the Stone Ruination Double IPA. It’s not crazy-boozy [7.7%], but it will give you an avalanche of orange, grapefruit, and lemon.)

For those who prefer their IPAs a bit more caramel-y:

Deschutes Inversion IPA (OR)
(oddly, I haven’t seen this on draft in Colorado all that often, but it seems to be in every beer/wine store in Metro Denver – and it’s usually on sale, so that’s good enough for me.)

(note: if you like the Inversion IPA, and you feel like going big, I recommend the Dogfish Head 90 Minute Double IPA, which is totally NOT a “western” IPA, given that it’s produced in Delaware, but for some reason, it’s widely available in Colorado. You can intermittently find it on draft at Backcountry and Cheeky Monk, and in bottles at liquor stores all over Colorado.)

For the “Goldilocks” crowd who like it balanced:

Russian River Blind Pig IPA (CA)
(Frequently available on draft at Backcountry, but a bit more rare in bottle form out west)

Great Divide Titan IPA (CO)
(see Odell’s availability above)

(note: we already know you love your IPA “just right”, so you may as well go straight for the top. Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA is a sipper that you should have two of, and then go to bed and have awesome dreams. This is one of the best beers you’ll ever have – but it’s worth mentioning that its sibling, Russian River Blind Pig, is also one of the best. It’s just that the Elder will get you tanked more quickly, if that happens to be on your list of priorities.)

Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

Backcountry bacon & cheese slice

Backcountry Pizza & Tap House does not skimp on the bacon

The story of Backcountry is pretty simple: pizza and beer. They have other edibles such as sandwiches, calzones, fried mac’n’cheese, salads, etc… but really, you go for the pizza and beer. Like most pizza joints these days, you can get gluten-free crust, and theirs is top notch. To be sure, the sandwiches and calzones are great as well, and you won’t leave hungry – everything on the menu is available in large or really large.

So… after you’ve decided you want pizza, the only real decision left is: do you want one of the 50 draft beers or 125-ish bottled beers? Good lord. It’s a beer geek’s dream.

Hofbrau Original at Backcountry in Boulder

Working lunch at Backcountry with a half liter of Hofbrau Original

My recommendation? Start small. Order a microbrew that won’t make your eyes googly right off the bat. Or split a new-to-you bomber with a few friends. Don’t go big right away. Work your way up after you’ve conquered half a cobb salad ($6) or a slice of cheese pizza ($2). Then make your move to the Pliny (Elder or Younger are both available frequently here). Or the 90 Minute. Or any of the 25 rotating taps…

This is one of my top, go-to places in Boulder – it’s a slam dunk for beer snobbery and cheap pizza… and they have a patio!

One last note: you really should try the fried mac’n’cheese. I know, I know… “heart attack”, “clogged arteries”… whatever. They’re friggin’ great, so dive in.

Words to live by - "Beer will change the world! I don't know how, but it will."

Wisdom donning the wall at Backcountry in Boulder

Click here for:

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Rueben’s Burger Bistro

"The Spoke" burger at Rueben's in Boulder

“The Spoke” at Rueben’s in Boulder: crumbled bleu cheese, applewood smoked bacon, crispy onion straws, and a pinch of ground black pepper – which, incidentally, pairs perfectly with sweet potato fries and a 2-0 Red Wings’ playoff win over the Blackhawks.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 on draft in Boulder

Rueben’s in Boulder is one of a small handful of Colorado pubs offering the St. Bernardus Abt 12 on tap.

How many reasons do you need to go get a burger and a beer? I can think of seven thousand, but I know you’ve got stuff to do, so here are three reasons to go to Rueben’s:

Red Wings shirt

The Red Wings are not particularly popular in Colorado for some reason.

1. The Detroit Red Wings — There are two places in Boulder to watch the Red Wings play hockey. Reuben’s is one of them. Their bartender (Dan) loves the Red Wings. I hope he never quits so I don’t have to edit this post. And – Colorado is not the friendliest state in which to watch the Wings so it’s nice to have a home away from home, especially since you’re looking to load up on…

Pauwel Kwak Belgian Strong Pale Ale at Rueben's in Boulder

The famous Pauwel Kwak Belgian Strong Pale Ale in its lab-beaker-esque glass

2. Belgian Beer — If you’re in the mood for a tall, cold Coors, well… Reuben’s is probably not the place for you. But if you like potent, flavor-rich beers made in a country you’ve likely never visited, Rueben’s is your spot. Add to this the Paul Kwak Amber on draft, served in a funky glass that looks more like a lab experiment, and you’ll be in Hog Heaven. Or Burger Heaven, as it were, which is a great reason to order the…

3. Best Burger in Boulder — Simply put, I haven’t eaten a better burger in Colorado – although the Waterloo Icehouse potato/beef burger in Louisville comes close.

Rueben’s is great because the owner and staff know their beer. They have a good happy hour (aka “Halfy Hour” named for half-priced beer), and you can’t beat their food for an upscale burger joint. Also, they appear to have a talented artist on the payroll. Meet me up there sometime, because I’m pretty much guaranteed to be there once a week, usually with my friend Dave.*

*Two notes about Dave:

1. Some time ago, while eating dinner at Rueben’s bar, he dropped the quote of the night:

“This right here,” Dave said, pointing to his Trappist ale and Eddy Merckx burger, “this is perfection.”

I tend to agree.

2. As my great grandma would say, Bless Dave’s Heart for ordering and attempting to keep down a HORRIBLE gluten-free beer at a place known for its awesome Belgian beer. Way to take one for the gluten-intolerant team, Dave… even though you’re not on the team.

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My Brother’s Bar

My Brother’s Bar helps you avoid expensive and uncomfortable Denver parking-latrine garage scenarios thanks to their free parking lot…

My parents hate this place.

I happen to love it.

About every five years, my mom and step-dad come to visit me. They showed up in 2001, 2005, and 2010. I’m guessing I’ll see them with a Rocky Mountain background again in 2015 or so.

The first time they visited, we drove to Colorado Springs, Golden, Estes Park, Denver, Boulder, and a few other places I’m forgetting.

The second time they showed up, we went to fewer cities, but more restaurants. Notably, we went to The Med in Boulder and ordered 21 appetizers, which you can read about here.

Most recently (3rd visit), we went to Oskar Blues (Lyons), Radda, The Med, Le Peep, Mead Street, and… My Brother’s Bar (MBB).

Let me first report that I’m not sure the ‘rents hated MBB so much as they hated downtown Denver in general. We walked – in the hot sun – from Uptown to MBB, which is next door to REI… probably too long of a walk to begin with to go to a place that’s something of a dive, but that’s beside the point. I’m not sure if my mom and s’dad didn’t care for the walk, the “condiment caddy”, or the burgers, but… they were less than impressed. This was slightly disheartening as I really talked up MBB, but this had to happen at some point. Statistically speaking, I suppose they had to hate at least one of my favorite places. 😦

As mentioned: I love My Brother’s Bar – for several reasons:

  1. They have an assload of imported beers on tap, AND you can order by the pitcher.
  2. Their bison burgers kick ass. To add to the ass kicking, they even named their bison burger after CU’s mascot, Ralphie the Bison. Order the Ralphie Burger! (it’s not actually made of Ralphie… as far as you know…)
  3. MBB plays only the finest classical music, which makes it an even better choice for a dive, because you don’t know what to think when you’re sitting at a dive place that plays classical music, except that what you’re doing must be awesome. I think it’s the classiest dive in Denver.
  4. They have one of the best shaded patios in Denver. It’s one of my favorite places to spend Saturday afternoon to escape the hot Colorado sun.
  5. Unlike most Denver restaurants, MBB has its own parking lot that you do not have to pay for. Swish… score. Go there next weekend.

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Beer + Marketing = The Pursuit of Hoppiness

a local artist’s interpretation of what “Kwak” might mean… (from the wall at Rueben’s Burger Bistro)

Being a faux journalist, I can appreciate the creativity via prose, poetry, and irony that’s routinely required for naming a product. Below are a few dozen of the wittier beer names I’ve encountered in my searches on the Beer Advocate website, which, by the way, is the king of sites on which to research yuppie microbrews.

The disclaimer here is that a great name does not necessarily make popular or easy-to-acquire beer. I’ve seen just four of the following bottles (that I can recall) in stores. Regardless… kudos to whoever dreamed up these names…

The “pop culture” winners:

Rye of the Tiger (rye beer)
Yeastie Boys Digital IPA
The Audacity of Hops (Belgian IPA)
A Beer Named Sue (American black ale)
Eight Days O’ Wheat (American pale wheat ale)
Duck Duck Gooze (American wild ale)
Willy Vanilly (American pale wheat ale)

The “general silliness” winners:

Nut Hugger Brown (American brown ale)
Big Red Wibby (American amber / red ale)
Sweetwater Dank Tank Fresh Sticky Nugs (American amber / red ale)
Sour Bitch Lambic
Flying Mouflan* (American barleywine)
Fermentation without Representation (pumpkin ale)
Fatty Boombalatty Belgian Pale Ale (in honor of Chris Christie)
Ambergeddon (American amber / red ale)
Columbus Uncle Rusty (American amber / red ale)

*I have no idea what a mouflan is, but it appears to be something that you wouldn’t typically find in flight.

Honorable mention:

Aroma Coma IPA
Blunderbuss Barleywine
Clown Shoes Muffin Top Belgian IPA
Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA
Fancy Pants (Flanders oud bruin)
Fat Tug IPA
Furry Black IPA
He’Brew Monumental Jewbelation (by Shmaltz Brewing – American brown ale)
Hopfather IPA
Hopgasm IPA
Hoppy Birthday (American pale ale)
Jacques Au Lantern Pumpkin Ale
Kwak (Belgian strong pale ale)
La Terrible (Belgian strong dark ale)
Matt (American strong ale)
Odell Cutthroat Porter
Old Aberration (American barleywine)
Pursuit of Hoppiness (American amber / red ale)
Red Card – for you soccer fans (American amber / red ale)
Shark Pants Belgian IPA
Son of a Peach (American pale wheat ale)
The Costanza (rye beer)
Thorny Goat (American black ale)
Three Sheets Barleywine
Tongue Buckler Imperial Red Ale

odell cutthroat porter

The Odell Cutthroat Porter is not a celebration of serial killing, but rather an ode to the Colorado state fish.

Beer snobbery in Boulder: Top-5 beer-friendly restaurants

beer snob

Are you a beer snob? You should be.

1. Backcountry Pizza & Tap House

50 beers on tap! 25 are static, and Backcountry frequently serves Russian River Blind Pig IPA, which is reason enough to go there nearly every day. The other 25 are rotating taps, and this is one of the few Colorado eateries that carries Pliny the Elder and, extremely rarely, Pliny the Younger. Top it off with $2 pizza slices, and this is win-win all over the place.

2. Rueben’s Burger Bistro

This place has so many Belgian beers, it created a separate Belgian beer menu just for you. Rueben’s also has the best burger in Boulder, in my opinion. Order the Abt 12 on draft at happy hour for $5 – definitely a steal.

3. West End Tavern

West End used to have one of the best rooftop views in Boulder, then some jokers erected a building just west of it and bogarted half their view. The good news is, West End now shows a variety of movies on the monstrosity of a wall constructed just to its west. Anyway, the important thing is: they have great pub food, two levels of restaurant & bar, and a staff that knows their way around hops, malt, yeast, and other buzzy beer terms. I recommend ordering anything spirit-barrel aged and starting your meal with sweet-potato chips and house-made guacamole. Yum.

4. The Med

I’ll just say that I’ve always loved The Med. Even before I moved to Colorado, I wanted to be a local at The Med. Best tapas around, consistently great food, awesome happy hour specials, $5 pizza… what more could you want? Well, apparently, I could want to buy bombers at around a dollar or two above retail store cost. I’m not sure how they do it, but The Med sells (gasp) reasonably priced bombers of very good beer: Dogfish Head, Russian River, Bear Republic, Lost Abbey, Firestone-Walker… I’m impressed. Get there early!

5. Avery Brewing Co.

Here’s all you need to know: Avery has 4-oz tasters for $2-ish each. Yeah. Sign us up. They also serve pizza, sandwiches, etc. from a gourmet catering shop across the parking lot. Get a designated driver!

Bonus round:

Lucky Pie Pizza and Tap House

For those of you Denver types who aren’t interested in driving all the way to Boulder — just go to Louisville (Colorado – not Kentucky). Lucky Pie has a couple dozen microbrews on tap, phenomenal pizza, and a little appetizer known as Joe’s Nuts that’s fun to order, particularly if you used to watch Beavis and Butthead.

Avery Brewing Company

Avery IPA Sampler

Trying to recall what these were… Columbus/Chinook IPA, Maharaja, and Hog Heaven… possibly? Yum!

Avery - The Beast Grand Cru Ale

Bubbly goodness crowns The Beast Grand Cru from Avery. As you can imagine, at 16-ish% ABV, it’s super light.

Avery is one of Boulder’s best bets for happy hour… and, frankly – for any time after 11 a.m. Here’s why:

Avery has long, high-top tables, 4-oz beer tasters ($2-ish/each!), and great pub food in “sharing” sizes from Savory Cuisines – a local catering establishment across the parking lot. Sign us up!  And you’ve gotta hand it to these folks for building a beer-friendly patio in an industrial office park.

Some hearty brews to sample while you’re there:

Hog Heaven Barleywine (for those who love sweet, bitter, extremely hoppy IPAs)
Maharaja Imperial IPA (102 IBUs – yowza!)
Samael’s Oak Aged Ale
Anything barrel-aged – I’m serious. Try one of these, and it will be a winner. And you typically need just one.

Order tasters of all of the above and the Sweet Potato Tots… then get a designated driver! Salut!

Hog Heaven Road

Chance street sign sighting paying homage to Avery Hog Heaven – displayed 1200 miles from Avery Brewing at Oink’s Dutch Treat in New Buffalo, Mich.

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menu

map

West End Tavern

Boulder West End cheeseburger

This is as American as it gets, people.

Boulder West End Tavern beer

Barrel-aged brew lovers and Belgian beer fanatics usually end up at West End in Boulder.

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West End Boulder menu

map

Oskar Blues (Lyons/Longmont)

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Russian Imperial Stout

Oskar Blues Ten FIDY – chocolate, caramel, coffee, and hops. Pair with rum balls!

Oskar Blues IPA Sampler

Oskar Blues IPA Sampler: Ska Modus Hoperandi, DFH 90 Minute, Avery Dugana, Firestone Walker Double Jack & Port Brewing 7th Anniversary DIPA

And yes – in addition to laying claim to one of the finest tap selections in Colorado, Oskar Blues also serves the best mashed potatoes in Longmont. No contest.

Oskar Blues mashed potatoes

The Albuquerque Turkey at Oskar Blues in Longmont – House smoked turkey, cranberry chipotle sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

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Oskar Blues menu

map (Longmont)

map (Lyons)