The Denver beer scene is one of a kind, both historic and on the edge of innovation. But it wasn’t always this way.
Walking through the double doors onto the red carpeted floor of Currigan Hall, I started to tear up a little bit. The room brimmed with late afternoon Colorado sun pouring in through the windows above. But it was the sight before me that stopped me cold. A series of circumstances collided to bring me to this moment in late September. I was 21 years old. And this was my first beer festival. I hadn’t planned on attending a beer event when I booked my trip to visit a friend in Denver. But she knew I was interested in what was then known as microbrews and suggested we hit up a beer event that was happening downtown that night. So we walked up, bought tickets, and walked into the hall. Whether it was good fortune, serendipity, destiny, or whatever mystical predisposition you want to attach to it, the Great American Beer Festival was a defining moment in my personal craft beer journey. In the days before craft beer became omnipresent, the festival opened my eyes to hundreds of craft breweries I had never known even existed. I drank hefe-weizens from Texas, pale ales from California, and yes, brown ales from just about everybody else. It was a transformative moment for me. I was amazed that such a diversity of flavorful beer and a community of passionate brewers existed in this country. It was a party filled with people just happy to be there. And it was all held in downtown Denver, a city I would come to visit dozens of times in the years since.
Denver is a special kind of beer town and one that holds a special place in my heart. I’ve watched as the local Denver beer scene has grown and then exploded, with dozens and dozens of breweries cropping up in parts of town that didn’t even really exist, such as RiNo. Denver has long had a formidable beer scene but today it is one of the country’s best. And on this second episode of the Beer Travelers podcast, we’re going to talk with two local experts, Tristan Chan of PorchDrinking and Jonathan Shikes of the Denver Post. These two are as knowledgeable as they come and as we’ll hear, they are full of advice for planning your visit to the Mile High City.
Stay tuned at the end of the episode for my personal favorite suggestion for Denver. Hint: it’s the perfect place for a nightcap or to end your trip.
In this episode of Beer Travelers, we discuss all that the city has to offer in this episode so let’s start our trip to Denver, Colorado with Tristan Chan and Jonathan Shikes.
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