There are more than 5,000 registered breweries across the country and around 360 in Colorado alone—nearly 15% of the U.S. market. From tightly-curated taprooms to well-stocked bottle shops, discerning drinkers are spoiled for choice in the self-proclaimed “State of Craft Beer,” home to such beloved institutions as Avery, Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Great Divide, New Belgium and Odell.
It makes you wonder: How does a market flush with fantastic beer show no signs of slowing down? Steve Kurowski, the operations director for the Colorado Brewers Guild—essentially a lobbyist for independent brewers—has some thoughts.
"It's a mix of many things—a perfect storm," he explained in the lead-up to Colorado's annual Craft Beer Week. "For one thing, I don’t think Coloradans respond very well to big business. We like knowing who makes our bagels, and we like knowing who brews our beer.”
He continued, "It’s also part of our DNA. We’ve got a handful of breweries that are over 20 years old, so there’s people in their 20s who don’t know what it’s like to have a life without craft beer.”
If you're only in Colorado for a week and want to make sense of its massive craft beer scene, here's a start. We rounded up 25 can't-miss breweries in nearly every corner of Coors country.