Denver’s Chefs Favorite Colorado Beers & Pairings

If your roommate’s beer recommendations aren’t quite cutting it, we’ve compiled an alternate source of craft suggestions, courtesy of some of Denver’s finest chefs. Whether it’s standbys from Upslope and Odell, or diamonds in the rough from Diebolt and Dillon Dam, our judges have slammed down their personal gavels in the court of Colorado craft beer. Additionally, the culinary wizards drafted an ideal meal to pair with their nominees, enhancing your hop and barley experience.

What better way to celebrate the food and booze scene in Denver than lending an ear to your chef’s favorite beer? Take a peek at which brews are awarded gold stars by Denver’s most beer-savvy chefs.

Jorel Pierce, Chef at Crafted Concepts

Jorel Pierce
Photo courtesy of Crafted Concepts.

Favorite Beer: “Upslope’s Thai Style White IPA is well-balanced and delicious, especially in [summer] weather. Their Belgian-style pale ale is also really good.”

Favorite Pairings: “Both are perfect with anything really spicy. Vietnamese? Tacos? Anything!”

Chef Jeremy Kittelson, Culinary Director at Edible Beats 

Fullsize - Ophelia's Large Shoot-6 (2)
Photo courtesy of Edible Beats.

Favorite Beer: “Milk Stout Nitro by Left Hand Brewing Company. I think it is so well made and just so delicious. Left Hand does things the right way and is very conscious about their impact on the environment as well as making delicious beers. They also have some of the best names and labels out there.”

Favorite Pairing: “I would pair it with the Pork Ribs from Ophelia’s. The Milk Stout pairs really well with barbecue and helps to cut through some of the heat from the sauce.”

Adam Branz, Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Vendome

bistro vendome
Photo courtesy of Crafted Concepts.

Favorite Beer: “Anton Francois French Ale from Diebolt Brewing. Everything Jack, Dan and their crew make is awesome, but the French Ale takes it for me.”

Favorite Pairing: “I like beer with lighter options…a wheat berry salad, carrots, cucumber, yogurt, herbs. Something refreshing that compliments the subtle hops, malt in the French Ale.”

Ryan Witcher, Chef & Partner at Sugarmill

Ryan Witcher Sugarmill

Favorite Beer: “[New Belgium Brewing Company] Fat Tire would be my favorite to date, but I have a lot more beer to to try now that I’ve just recently moved back to Colorado. Zuma Zen at Dillon Dam Brewery is pretty fantastic, I just wished I lived closer to the brewery, because I’d probably be there every day.”

Favorite Pairing: “The summer weather calls for BBQing bratwurst and burgers on my back porch—nothing like that classic beer/bbq/burgers combo [with Fat Tire].”

Jake Grant, Executive Chef at Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

euclid hall
Photo courtesy of Crafted Concepts.

Favorite Beer: “Friek from Odell.”

Favorite Pairing: “Pasta Carbonara. Because of the fruitiness of the beer I think a lot of people try and pair it with desserts. I have found that a light cream sauce with fresh noodles, bacon, and peas really plays well with the balance of the beer and accentuates it in all the right ways. The crispiness of the Friek helps cleanse the palate while highlighting some of the sweetness of the peas and cream sauce, while not overpowering the delicate pasta.”

Sheila Lucero, Executive Chef at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar

Photo courtesy of Big Red F Restaurant Group.

Favorite Beer: “Besides anything The Post Brewing Company brews, it’s Funkwerks Saison.”

Favorite Pairing: “I love to enjoy it pre-meal, with cured meats and cheeses. Especially bresaola, or spicy capicola and a dry-aged hard cheese.”

Derek Baril, Executive Chef at Wild Standard

wild standard
Photo courtesy of Prim Communication.

Favorite Beer: “Upslope Craft Lager. This beer is light and refreshing and great to have on a hot day.”

Favorite Pairing: “My ideal meal to make with the craft lager is fish and chips. It makes a great beer batter for the fish. It doesn’t overpower the fish and has a nice golden brown coating on the fish.”

Dakota Coburn, Chef de Cuisine at Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace

Centro Dakota Web
Photo courtesy of Big Red F Restaurant Group.

Favorite Beer: “Top Rope Mexican Lager from The Post Brewing Company. It is such a great summer beer—easy to drink, great taste, just perfect.”

Favorite Pairing: “I love to pair it with a carnitas taco, loaded with fresh avocado and fiery salsa.”

Dan Kane, Chef at Del Frisco’s Grille

Photo courtesy of Feed Media.

Favorite Beer: “Odell’s 90 Shilling. It’s a classic, I can drink it all day and would if I could. Right now, my current obsession is Denver Beer Company Princess Yum Yum. I really never thought I would like a fruity beer, but this is a raspberry Kolsch and it’s fantastic—and not fruity.”

Favorite Pairing: “My guilty pleasure is McDonald’s McRib, and I would never consume one without pairing any beer with it—it’s a must-do. It’s a classic pairing.”

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