If you know Boulder, you know we love our beer. And our spirits. And our wine. Really, we love to drink. And with more than 20 breweries, four wineries, six distilleries and a mead hall, finding somewhere to grab a drink is no hard task.
But picking a place? That can seem impossible. Beer or cocktails? Downtown or not? Do you want to pick one place for the night, or hop around? The possibilities are endless.
Our advice: Narrow it down. Pick a neighborhood. Pick a type of drink. Try somewhere new.
If you’re staying in East Boulder or want to stay off the Pearl Street Mall, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of the best breweries, distilleries and mead hall in the East Boulder area. But even this list needed to be narrowed. So for now, we are focusing on places that do not have full menus but rather focus only on drinks.
Here are our favorite breweries, distilleries and mead hall in East Boulder:
Wild Woods’ owners have a shared love for both beer and the outdoors. They brought these two passions together to create Wild Woods’ nature-inspired beers. All of their beers are named for or contain ingredients you would find in nature, such as the Treeline IPA, Wildflower Pale Ale and Smores Stout.
Check out all six of the year-round offerings, as well as a variety of seasonals at the taproom, 5460 Conestoga Court, open Tuesday-Thursday 4-9 p.m.; Friday 3-9 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday 1-9 p.m. While you’re there, be sure to pick up a Camp Can for your next camping trip. Enjoy your beer and then follow the provided instructions to turn the can into a small camp stove. Just one more way to pair beer with nature.
Sanitas Brewing is one of the best-known breweries in Boulder. We bet you can picture that adorable little owl now. Its beers are canned and distributed in many Colorado liquor stores, and they can be found on tap in many local restaurants and bars.
But visiting the Sanitas taproom is a whole other experience. Stop by the modern, industrial space for a drink daily from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. at 3550 Frontier Ave., unit A. Grab your favorite brew and step outside for a game of cornhole, or find a sunny spot on the patio, claimed by many to be the best patio in Boulder. Or grab a spot at one of the large community tables indoors.
Kettle and Spoke
Located inside Green Guru, a bike shop at 2500 47th St. that makes all its products from recycled materials, is the tiny Kettle and Spoke brewery. It claims to be the smallest brewery in the U.S., and honestly, we believe it.
But small doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. This micro-brewery creates small-batch brews by hand with local hops and grains when available. It’s closed Sunday-Tuesday, but you can visit Wednesday and Thursday 4-8 p.m.; Friday 4-9 p.m.; and Saturday 2-9 p.m. Kettle and Spoke currently has six beers on tap and often hosts live music, as well as having a small, covered, outdoor patio area with seating.
And besides, a brewery in a bike shop? How much more Boulder can you be?
Don’t let J Wells’s small size turn you away. Located at 2516 49th St., suite 516, this garage-style warehouse is a hidden gem. It has 14 taps, featuring year-round favorites, as well as seasonal options. It also offers cornhole, ping-pong and board games that you can enjoy along with your beer. It is open Tuesday-Saturday 4-9 p.m. and Sunday 2-9 p.m.
Upslope Experimental IPA. Courtesy Photo.
When most people think of Boulder breweries, Upslope is definitely one of the first names that comes to mind. And with more than 15 awards for its beers, it’s easy to see why.
While Upslope is widely distributed and easily accessible, there’s just something about a beer fresh from the tap that beats a can any day. Visit the Flatiron Court location, 1898 S. Flatiron Court, to see the 30-barrel brewhouse and try one of the 20-plus beers on tap. It’s open Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
It only made sense for Boulder Fermentation owners to open a brewery next door, at 2510 47th St., suite A2. Their first business was home brewing. Why not prove their knowledge and make their brews available to the public?
Open Monday and Tuesday 12-7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 12-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 12-9 p.m.; and Sunday 12-6 p.m., this is a great place to stop for a beer while getting everything you need to brew your own. But beer isn’t all VisionQuest offers. It also makes an in-house, non-alcoholic root beer and kombucha.
The only meadery in boulder, Redstone Meadery, is a must-see destination whether you love that honey wine or have never tried it. The mead hall, located at 4700 Pearl St., unit 2A, offers half-hour tours twice every weekday at 1 and 3 p.m. and once on Saturday, at 12:30 p.m.
If you don’t feel like a tour but still want to try something new, free tastings are offered any time the hall is open, Monday-Friday 12-6:30 p.m. and Saturday 12-5 p.m. Redstone offers nectars, light, crisp carbonated meads; mountain honey wines, non-carbonated, full-bodied meads; and reserves, which are dessert meads, aged for at least five years and only made every so often. If Redstone has a reserve tasting, we fully recommend trying it. Stay for as long as you like, or take a few of your favorites, bottled, to go.
Deviant Spirits’ claim to fame is its rice-based vodka. The vodka is similar to some sakes, while remaining full-bodied and clean. It has a subtle sweetness that makes it perfect to enjoy on the rocks or in a variety of cocktails. Try it for yourself at 2480 49th St., unit E., on Wednesday and Thursday 4-9 p.m. and Thursday-Friday 4-10 p.m. This warehouse location is perfect for tastings, but it also hosts a variety of recurring events, such as dancing and “speed-friending,” as well as one-time events.
On March 2, Deviant Spirits is hosting the Valhalla Winter Ball, featuring fire and burlesque dancers, aerial performers, a vodka ice luge and of course, specialty cocktails.
Vapor Distilling, formerly Roundhouse Spirits, was the first legal distillery in Boulder, started in 2007. Vapor spirits have won dozens of awards and can be found on shelves across Colorado.
The distillery offers staples such as Boulder Bourbon, Boulder Vodka and Boulder Gin, as well as specials and seasonals like the Pumpkin King, made with local, organically-grown pumpkins, and the Arrosta Coffee Liqueur.
Want to try one of these but aren’t committed to buying a full bottle? Visit Vapor at 5311 Western Ave., suite 180, open Tuesday-Friday 4-9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 3-9 p.m. to try the Rhok Gin, Ginskey, Arrosta Coffee Liqueur, Pumpkin King Cordial and Prüf Vodka. Vapor also has a full bar and regularly hosts events.
When his original name was trademarked by an Alaskan brewery, owner Mike Muller had to come up with an alternative. He realized the name had been in front of him all along when he saw his furry friend, Elwood. Elwood Distilling is well known for its single-malt whiskey, which won gold at the 2017 Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival and bronze at the 2017 Denver International Spirit Competition. Try this award-winning whisky at Elwood’s tasting room, 5757 Arapahoe Ave., unit A2. You can get a free sample, buy a bottle or order one of the rotating cocktails that showcase the whisky’s unique flavor. The tasting room is open 4-8 p.m. Friday and 2-8 p.m. Saturday. Keep your eyes open for a new addition, a smoked single-malt whiskey, coming soon.
When you think vodka, you’re probably taken back to college parties you barely remember. Or maybe that’s just us. But J&L Distilling does vodka (and gin and liqueur) differently. We’ve never tasted vodka this smooth. It’s perfect for sipping or for use in cocktails.
The secret is in the process. J&L has two namesakes for its bottles: Sno and Fyr. The Sno (gin and vodka) begins with Rocky Mountain snowmelt and Louisiana sugarcane. The Fyr liqueur is made with a blend of herbs and spices, with a warm finish. Try them at the tasting room, 4843 Pearl St., Wednesday 12-7 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday 12-10 p.m.; and Sunday 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Tastes are free, but J&L also offers shots and cocktails for you to enjoy while you play an outdoor game, enjoy the view or say hello to the owner’s bulldog who’s almost always on the premises.
Whether a vodka, scotch, gin or rum, all Altitude products are certified organic. The father-and-son team believes in sustainability and environmental stewardship. Their use of the highest quality products comes through in all of their spirits. See the difference for yourself at the tasting room, 2805 Wilderness Place, suite 200, which is part distillery workshop and part bar. The tasting room distillery is a testing ground for recipes that may eventually be bottled. Try one of the infusions or special edition, barrel-aged batches. Or try one of the in-house cocktail creations. Altitude is open 4-8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.