Dam Brewery Restaurant
Dam Brewery is in Dillon, just a bit outside of Breckenridge and Frisco. The brewery, which is a brewpub, sits just off a dam in town. They take great liberties with the use of "dam" in phrases where "damn" might be used. Their beers suffer from the same mediocrity as many brewpubs, which is a real shame. There were a few of beers out of their regular rotation we really liked. The irish stout and brown ale were both nice renditions of the style. The real winner is the light lager. I'm serious. It was crisp but had a really good flavor with a bit of depth. It was like what Miller would taste like if it was loaded with flavor. Seriously, if Dam Lyte were mass produced, it would demolish Bud, Miller and Coors at their own game in no time at all. A star quality light lager.
Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurant
Rock Bottom was one of our destinations in the Denver Airport while waiting for our plane home. Rock Bottom is a brewpub chain owned by the same holding company as Old Chicago, which boasts a solid beer list and great deep dish-style pizza. Rock Bottom's beers were, well, very mediocre as well. I had a wit which was very average but my wife had a kolsch that was good, but not great. The food was delicious.
Boulder Beer Co.
We also caught this place in the airport. It's a shame we didn't make it to the actual brewery. I believe there was food available at the airport location; if so, Boulder Beer wins for the best brewpub we visited. Good stuff. All the beers we tried were good. The clear winners for us were: Obovoid, an oak-aged oatmeal stout; Singletrack copper ale, a sessionable amber with good flavor depth; and Dazed and Infused, a dry hopped pale ale with good fruity notes. Some of the others we tried were a little hoppy for our tastes but obviously well made beers.
Wynnkoop Brewing Co.
Wynnkoop is a small brewery/pool hall/brewpub in Denver. I neglected to try the chile beer although I realized upon returning home that it actually is on my beer list. Colorado is big on its chile beers, which is awesome and as much as I enjoy a chile beer, I find it to be a style I easily tire of drinking.
We did try to ESB (on cask) and schwartzbier which were both tasty. The ESB was not as good as Left Hand's but hey, Left Hand started out with their ESB as their flagship beer so they definitely have a perfected recipe. What's cool is that they have guest taps with other Colorado breweries. These were the real stars. One was an apricot blond from Dry Dock Brewing with a strong tart apricot taste. The #1 award has to go to the guest Mexican chocolate, pepper, cinnamon stout from Copper Kettle Brewing. It was powerful in taste with an incredible balance of sweet, roast, cinnamon and exactly the right amount of heat at the end. I don't know how much I could drink of it but I could definitely enjoy one or two of those every once in a while. It was the 2011 GABF Gold winner for spiced and herb beers with good reason. If there was a beer worth cloning, that would be it.