With the help of family, friends, and a loan from the city of Denver, Brian Dunn turned his homebrewing hobby into a thriving brewery in 1994. Since then Great Divide has grown by leaps and bounds, which has them currently bursting at the seams. The taproom is ALWAYS packed (maybe too much), but the beer is flavorful and brewed with great quality.
They’ve been recognized prominently for their brewing efforts, and aren’t afraid to let you know about them. They’ve won 17 Great American Beer Festival medals, 5 World Beer Cup awards, they’re ranked 12th in Ratebeer.com’s 2013 “Best Brewers in the World,” voted Ratebeer.com’s 2013 Top Brewer in Colorado, and they’re 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2010 “All-Time Top Brewers.” Add all that up and it’s a recipe for GDBC to explode over the next few years, much like New Belgium. Hopefully they stay true the traditional brewery route, and doesn’t become like Breckinridge in LoDo, a restaurant/taproom. I guess that wouldn’t be the end of the world of course, but it just doesn’t seem to be their style. Check the Arapahoe St. location out because they’ll need to move as they grow into a bigger entity.
My only note other than the small and crowded taproom is that their tour was fairly lackluster. It’s the only brewery tour I’ve ever been on where there is no tasting at all. It’s fairly informative and all, but ends on the far side of the place in the cooler, and you have to find your way back out, even though he mentioned going to other parts of the facility.
Overall Great Divide Brewing Company is turning into quite the large and professional brewery, which can only mean great things for the city of Denver.
Hercules Double IPA
Yeti Imperial Stout
Hoss Rye Lager
Claymore Scotch Ale
Colette Farmhouse Ale
DPA Denver Pal Ale
Hades Belgian Style Ale
Orabelle Belgian Style Tripel
Old Ruffian Barleywine
Espresso Oaked Aged Yeti
Heyday Belgian White Ale
Chocolate Oaked Aged Yeti
Rumble Oaked Aged IPA
Hibernation English Style Old Ale
Fresh Hop Pale Ale
Oaked Aged Yeti
and some Barrel Aged offerings
|| Yes, you read that beer list correctly. A staggering number of beer offerings from Great Divide, and they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. There’s some beers that aren’t even listed on their website anymore (like Samurai), which means that there’s even more Great Divide beers out there floating around. While some of their pale ales, IPAs, and lagers are a bit lackluster for me personally, their belgian-style and dark beers are some of the best in the country. With so many different recipes and ingredients going on behind the scenes (not to mention all of the different barrel agings), it’s a great testament to the small brewery that they seem to make it all work.
|My Favorite Beer
||The Oaked Aged Yeti is definitely in my Top-5 Denver beers list, and quite possibly in my Top 10 overall beer list. It’s THAT good. Tastes can get a little muddled if you’re sampling beers here because of the variety, but the Claymore Scotch Ale and Old Ruffian Barleywine are definitely two standouts.
||The tap room is fairly small, and can get really cramped. They play really loud music to drown out the machinery, so it’s a little hard to hear each other if you’re with other people. The seating area behind the bar is cool because it basically looks into the production facility.
|| Order drinks at the bar. Try not to get squished too much as people constantly walking behind you.
|| $4-$5 pints (very reasonable for the alcohol content), which are $1 off during Happy Hour. 3 tasters for $3.