Welcome back to The Beer Bucket List (BBL), where I virtually skirt you around the globe looking for the best real-life places to throw back a pint. You may be asking how a bar goes about getting on this list. Well, several factors play into it. Ambiance, history, location, beer selection, reputation, the staff and their knowledge… honestly, there isn’t a hard list of requirements. It can be a or a million dollar joint, but in the end every bar has to have that special combination of things — that special “mojo.” Let’s begin with a place close to my home here in Colorado, the state that produces the most beer per year than any other.
Not far from Coors Field — deep in the heart of Denver’s LoDo (Lower Downtown Historic District) — sits a place called the Falling Rock Taphouse. This legendary beer bar has been around since before craft beer hit the Big Show. It’s been at or near the top of several “best of” lists for many years and hosts the Great American Beer Festival after-party every year, so obviously they’re doing something right. Falling Rock has roughly 70 beers on tap (including one-off kegs you won’t find anywhere else in the world), and just as many bottled beers (many imported from Belgium). “No Crap on Tap” is their much heralded motto, meaning “macro-brewed” beer (Bud, Miller, etc.) is not allowed on the premises.
With stark brick walls, bare wooden floors, and sometimes seriously slow service (especially when they’re packed, which is often) this place definitely qualifies as a hole in the wall. Nevertheless, Falling Rock remains world famous for helping launch the “beerevolution” and maintaining a staggering selection of first-class beers. While the staff may be small in number, they are extraordinarily proud and knowledgeable about their beer. What’s more, they are centrally located in the hippest area of Denver, complete with an outdoor patio for hot summer nights. The Falling Rock Taphouse has it all. Consequently, it gets the official “Beer Geek Tested… Beer Geek Approved” seal of approval!
Colorado is home to a handful of other beer bars that will likely make it on this list. In the meantime, if you find yourself traveling the back roads of this incredibly gorgeous, beer-laden state be sure to pick up the Beerdrinker’s Guide to Colorado Beer Map. It’s an invaluable source of knowledge that will help you make your way around Beerstate, USA.
*One final note about the list: it’s not in any particular order. All these beer bars are great for sometimes very different reasons, so putting one over the other is futile. Just know that you need to get to ‘em before you kick the beer bucket!
Submitted by: Eli - The Mad Beer Man