Denver: Beer and Nature

Denver is one of a handful of places that was never at the top of my travel list that I ended up visiting. However it’s one of those cities that I would not only visit again, but also one of those very few places where I thought, “I could live here!”
I had the chance to visit the Mile High City while traveling with a group of college friends staying for 4 days in the Spring because of a national conference taking place there, so we couldn’t hit up the famed skiing destinations. Missing out on the most epic part of Denver, there are two things that really stick out in my mind making it worth the travel in Spring or Summer – great beer and stunning natural beauty.

1. Craft Brew Heaven

Microbreweries galore! Denver is well known as a beer city, and has even been named the beer capital of the US. More than 10% of the nations craft breweries call Colorado home. That’s over 140 breweries, most of which are in Denver and the rest of the Napa Valley of Beer – the area between Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.

Being the great college students that we were with a plethora of options, we were like kids in a candy shop wanting to try each and every one while commenting on them as if we were established beer connoisseurs. Even if you don’t have the chance to hit up a brewery, brew pub, tap house, gastro pub, etc., rest assured that everywhere there is beer, there will be Colorado craft beer on deck. 
These are some cool spots with original brews: 

Great Divide – Denver Pale Ale (DPA), a classic. 
Breckenridge Brewing – Avalanche Ale. Rocky Mountains, snow, and skiing all in one bottle. 
Denver Beer Co. – Graham Cracker Porter, this needs no description. 
Renegade – try the bold malt Elevation Triple IPA or the citrusy Redacted Rye IPA
Photo: William Omand @williamomand
Wynkoop Brewing Company – Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, brewed with 25 pounds of freshly sliced and roasted bulls testicles for those looking for the weirdest, most creative borderline untouchable brew. 

2. Outdoor Paradise and Nature Porn

City skyline, fresh and crisp air, green landscapes accented with snow capped and red highlighted mountains in the distance – that’s the image I have of Denver. Of course there’s the predominant, snow covered, winter skiing image, but in the Spring – nature was bursting and inviting us to discover her wonders. You’ll probably have too many beers on this trip, so go explore and hike off those extra pounds!
The Rocky Mountain National Park is just over an hour’s drive from Denver, and was named one of the Best Trips of 2014 by National Geographic where you can hike and experience panoramic beauties like high alpine lakes and crashing waterfalls, see elk, moose, high horn sheep, and ride through the highest continuous highway in the US, the Trail Ridge Road, reaching over 12,00 ft.! 
(Photo: blog.brownpalace.com)
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, just about half an hour from Denver, even the amphitheater is immersed in nature’s natural rock formations. We didn’t get to see a show, but this venue is on my concert bucket list!
About an hour outside of Denver are the 14,000 feet high Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods with 500 ft high red sandstone rock formations. 
(Photo: Farzin Montazersadgh)

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