When most people think of Golden, they think of beer – but Coors isn’t the only game in town. In the shadow of the world’s largest brewing facility are a growing number of microbreweries slinging inventive beers and catering to a thirsty generation of craft beer lovers.
What makes a great brewery … is it the beer quality? The atmosphere? The service? We here at Golden Group are equal opportunity imbibers and believe every brewery in town has something special to offer. In this post, we’ll spotlight our favorite aspects of each local brewery and interview two rising stars in the Golden beer scene.
So pull up a stool and drink in the best of our best. Cheers!
Ample indoor and outdoor space makes New Terrain a primo meetup spot. Photo: @Shotzr
New Terrain Brewing Company
With 15,000 square feet of floor space and a giant wraparound beer garden, New Terrain is the largest brewery in Golden that doesn’t rhyme with tours. Speaking of tours, if gawking at shiny kettles is your thing, get a behind-the-scenes tour at this expansive facility every Saturday and Sunday at noon. Featuring an inventive and evolving beer list – including the 2017 GABF silver medal-winning Suntrip Wit – New Terrain is a bustling shrine to suds that fizzes with folks around the clock. Yoga on Tuesdays. Live music on Thursdays. You can count on a lively atmosphere and a solid range of craft beers at this modern brewery on the edge of town.
All colors of the beer rainbow at Mountain Toad. Photo: denverhopper.com
Mountain Toad Brewing
With arguably the coolest logo of any Golden brewery, Mountain Toad is a cozy neighborhood local with solid beers and a relaxing vibe. Art prevails at Mountain Toad, not only in the brewing process, but with sidewalk-to-sky murals outside the building and original paintings by local artist Jesse Crock available for purchase inside. Best to go on a crisp sunny day and enjoy a Mount Zion IPA on the back patio where a daily food truck and gas-powered campfire keep residents and their dogs warm and toasty.
Address: 900 Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80401
Beer quality is king at Cannonball Creek Brewing Company. Photo: patspints.com
Cannonball Creek Brewing Company
A haven for beer aficionados, Cannonball Creek is a gold medal brewery founded by two Golden locals in 2013. Your new favorite beer is here today, gone tomorrow, leaving nothing but chalk dust on the floor below the ever-changing beer board. Cannonball Creek is the original name of Clear Creek, named so by french hunters in the early 1800s. Today, the brewery continues its tradition of interesting naming with beers like “Netflix and Pils” and “Let’s Talk About Mex.” Got a beer-loving bud from Portland coming to town? He’ll love this place.
Address: 393 Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80403
Golden City Brewery offers the best beer garden in downtown Golden. Photo: @goldencitybrew
Golden City Brewery
Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood a few blocks from Washington Street, this self-proclaimed “second largest brewery in Golden” is also its second oldest. Golden City Brewery was founded in 1993 and remains a happy hour hotspot to this day. Featuring the best beer garden in town, the sunglassed masses will congregate here on sunny afternoons. But locals know the real magic of this place is riding out a winter storm in the tiny taproom. In addition to a handful of crafties on the menu, you’ll find a selection of refreshing ciders and wines made on site.
Address: 920 12th St, Golden, CO 80401
Beer making is a science at Coda Brewing Company. Photo: Coda Brewing Co. on Facebook
Coda Brewing Company
Golden’s newest microbrewery is immediately a credit to the city’s burgeoning beer scene. Owner Luke Smith, a former yeast microbiologist and research scientist, approaches beer the way NASA approaches space travel. With samples served in beakers instead of glasses, Coda Brewing is a model of precision and experimentation. The beer is uniquely delicious, brewed with fresh and unusual ingredients from around the world. The Wednesday–Sunday taproom is microscopic in size, but plans are underway to expand into the adjacent building this summer, giving Golden beer lovers more of a good thing.
Five questions with Coda brewer and owner Luke Smith
1. How does your science background affect your approach to beer-making?
I use scientific methods to design and make beer. Beer is science – both biology and chemistry. Every Coda beer is designed with a unique yeast strain or blend, and every beer has a unique water chemistry profile to accentuate its style. I also add locally grown or foraged ingredients to push the brewing flavor envelope and live up to our motto of Ale’s what cures you.
2. We hear you traveled to China to source your kit. What’s the story?
I wanted to design a brewhouse with certain unique features to accommodate some of the methods I learned from beer school and my mentor. So I ended up in China designing my kit. Love the street food there as well.
3. What’s your top selling beer?
Pleasant View IPA and Cirrus Blanc Hazy IPA … both of which will be available in cans in August. We try to keep a couple Hazy IPAs on tap at all times. Our barrel-aged sour program is growing due to the newly acquired space next door. And you can expect a lot more barrel-aged sours with locally grown fruit as well.
4. Beer trends change often. What styles should we expect to see in the next 6-12 months?
People want something new every time they visit a brewery. As a nano-brewery we accommodate this trend with beers that are always fresh and change on a daily to weekly basis. IPA will continue to reign in Colorado but you can expect hybrids like milkshake IPAs, brut IPAs and pilsners to continue to grow.
5. When you’re not brewing beer, what’s your favorite thing to do in Golden?
Spending time with my kids in our garden. Little do they know, but they are helping me grow veggies, herbs, fruit and hops that will end up in Coda beer. I truly love gardening and foraging.
Holidaily founder Karen Hertz is a pioneer in gluten free beer. Photo: Holidaily Brewing Company
Holidaily Brewing Company
When founder Karen Hertz was put on a gluten free diet following a cancer diagnosis, she saw an opportunity to share her love for beer with others like her. Today, Holidaily is the only certified, dedicated, gluten free brewing facility in Colorado – if not the county. But don’t let the lack of gluten put you off. The beer is solid and available in tallboy cans for those exiting the friendly taproom, which is tucked away in an industrial park in north Golden.
Address: 801 Brickyard Cir, Golden, CO 80403
Barrels & Bottles is a laid back brewpub in downtown Golden. Photo: Barrels & Bottles
Barrels & Bottles Brewery
We’re partial to Barrels & Bottles … not because of their world class tap list or tasty bar snacks, but because they let us brew a beer every year to raise money for the Golden Civic Foundation! When we’re not hogging the hydrometer, new brewer Mitch Leavelle is at the helm concocting delicious originals to accompany the 20+ guest beers and wines available on tap in the laid back downtown taproom. Barrels & Bottles opened in 2013 and will soon expand to a second location in Pleasant View – bringing most its brewing equipment and leaving a small batch setup for collaborating with local brewers on 12th Street.
Address: #160, 600 12th St, Golden, CO 80401
Five questions with Barrels & Bottles brewer Mitch Leavelle
1. What’s your take on the Golden beer scene?
I love it. Everyone is super nice here and I’ve been having a blast meeting the people who make and drink beer here in Golden.
2. Any beer trends we should look for in the coming year?
I say this every year, and it still hasn’t happened, but dark beers without chocolate cake in them are coming back baby!
3. What attracted you to beer-making?
Having been a musician my whole life, the artistic aspect was the most attractive. I’ve always loved making things with my hands, and once I started learning about all the different malt, hops, and yeast that are available to make beers, I was hooked. Making beer for a living is a great balance between art, science and manual labor, which makes for a satisfying way to spend my day. In the end I guess I just love it all.
4. Best cure for a hangover?
Breakfast burrito, tons of coffee and horror movies.
5. When you’re not brewing beer, what’s your favorite thing to do in Golden?
Drink beer that someone else made and find something delicious to eat!