As we said goodbye to 2019, many can’t help but feel the year simply flew right by. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it all. But 2020 means there are many promising things ahead. Denver’s culture in both food and booze have grown immensely. So to keep up with hot spots on where to go and what to try what better way than to create bucket lists? We’ve broken it up by neighborhood on a distillery bucket list to get ahead on the new year. Each distillery was born of unique stories and people offering different styles of craft, but all with a common passion. We’re here to help you whether you are seeking a tour with friends, a different kind of date night, or just want a taste for yourself. Here is your Denver Distillery Bucket list for 2020.
Where: 3622 Tejon St. Denver
The Lowdown: Three close friends and Colorado natives came together after adventuring the Alaskan wilderness to build a common mission: experiences, community and hand-crafted quality. At Mythology they source their ingredients locally and practicing sustainable manufacturing processes. Offering a variety of spirits, the distillery asks what’s your spirit animal? Hell Bear American whiskey, Chatter Wolf Rye vodka, Needle Pig gin, Feather Jester rum or the Foragers Botanical gin? Tours can be experienced every day at 6 p.m.
The Family Jones Spirit House
Where: 3245 Osage St. Denver
The Lowdown: Ask a local in the Highlands where to get another good hand-crafted drink and you’ll likely be told to head to The Family Jones. There are multiple spirits to choose from vodka to gin, bourbon to rum and rye. They have built their product from local outlets which include The Whiskey Sisters, a Colorado-based grain brokerage and Root Shoot Malting, a fifth generation of farmers in Loveland and Colorado Stock and Grain of Johnstown. All of them source The Family Jones with quality corn, rye, wheat and malt to create their specialties including Annika Jones vodka, Juniper Jones gin, Atticus Jones rye and Ella Jones bourbon. The Highlands location is the spirit house, however tours take place at their large scale production facility in Loveland.
Bear Creek Distillery
Where: 1879 S. Acoma St. Denver
The Lowdown: Just as many great stories began, Bear Creek Distillery was born with a group of friends who had a common vision. Handcrafted from grain-to-bottle right here in Denver using their German-built Kothe still, they are deeply rooted in their community and prioritize local ingredients and materials from Colorado companies. Beyond their award-winning rye, wheat and white whiskies, enjoy their many selections of straight bourbon, wheated bourbon, rye vodka, wheat vodka, silver rum, spiced rum and cask strength rum. Tours are available to view the entire distillery processes and tastings.
Laws Whiskey House
Where: 1420 S. Acoma St. Denver
The Lowdown: Laws is a distillery, but also a whiskey house dedicated to educating and sharing the creation process with others. Here you can learn each step from milling grains, combining and cooking, all the way to filling the barrel. Just like any good whiskey connoisseur, the priority is quality over quantity in each and every batch. Production is done in-house and grain sourced from a family-owned malting company in Alamosa. Enjoy from a selection of their Hordeum straight malt whiskey, Triticum straight wheat whiskey and straight corn whiskey bottled in bond in addition to their bourbon and rye selections. An in-depth education of their process, viewing of their production and whiskey tasting are available with their tours.
The Block Distilling Co.
Where: 2990 Larimer St. Denver
The Lowdown: Now couldn’t be a more perfect time to visit The Block Distilling Co. The release of their first whiskey came on their two year anniversary December 15, 2019. Their first batch has been sitting in four barrels and recently released 700 bottles to the public. Proudly doing things the long way and the hard way, The Block stands by their method of time and care to create their products. They provide a variety of vodka and gin to coffee liqueur along with their newest addition of whiskey. Tours are available by select dates on their online calendar.
Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse
Where: 3636 Chestnut Pl. Denver
The Lowdown: Ironton was named after an old mining town in southern Colorado. Co-founders Kallyn Peterson and Robbie Adams contribute all the perfect elements to create Ironton. Peterson is a Colorado native, outdoor enthusiast and entrepreneur who has brought to you a taproom along with an outdoor space with a Colorado decor vibe. Adams, a 20-year veteran to the service industry immersed in the culinary scene, has spent the past decade as a brewer and chef. Yes, Ironton offers spirits, liqueurs, bitters and whiskey but they also have a kitchen where you can grab a bite alongside their crafthouse, gin lounge and outdoor patio. Public tours are currently offered every Thursday at 7 p.m.
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Where: 200 S. Kalamath St. Denver
The Lowdown: You may have seen it while cruising along I-25, it’s hard to miss the big yellow Stranahan’s sign. It all started when firefighter Jess Graber responded to a barn fire that coincidentally belonged to whiskey connoisseur George Stranahan. From their shared passions for whiskey and newfound friendship, the recipe for Stranahan’s was born. Simply a smooth American single-malt whiskey, these beautiful signature bottles are offered in a variety of original, Diamond Peak, sherry cask, snowflake and single barrel. There are a variety of tours, classes and tastings as well to keep you satiated.
Where: 5285 Joliet St. Denver
The Lowdown: As for the building, you wouldn’t know it was there. In fact, you could drive right by it and have no idea there’s a distillery inside. But Leopold Bros. —an independently owned distillery appropriately named by brothers Todd and Scott Leopold — is world-class. They had their start as a microbrewery in Michigan and were recognized for their beers, their eco-brewing techniques and organic ingredients. Moving to Colorado, they’ve carried over similar principles with nonflavored agents, no artificial colors, glycol, glycerin or high fructose corn syrup. They go above and beyond and floor malt their Colorado grains and ferment mash their own neutral grain spirit (vs. relying on mass-producers). Their location holds eights stills in five different styles and a 2,000 barrel capacity all on-site. They offer a wide range of spirits and liqueurs but many love their Navy Strength gin. It is a must-visit for any liquor lover. Tours and cocktail classes are available to book online.
Talnua Distillery & Tasting Room
Where: 5405 W. 56th Ave. Arvada
The Lowdown: The Single Pot Still method is distinct is of Irish whiskeys and is almost unseen with American whiskeys. In fact, this Arvada distillery claims it is the first American whiskey distillery to follow all of the Irish regulations to be called “single pot still” in Ireland. The old ways are born again on new land and the result is Talnua, Irish-Gaelic meaning ‘New Land.’ Visit the distillery tasting room to try their Carrowdair whiskey, Inishan whiskey, Finglas Dubdair gin and Finglas gin. Or book a tour to learn about the history, distinct distillation process and production of single pot still whiskey to enjoy some sample tastings.