This walk near the Santa Fe Arts District visits one of the older craft breweries in Denver and one of the newer ones. It also has the option of tacking on a third brewery.
I started at Renegade Brewing on 9th between Santa Fe and Kalamath, but I’d suggest starting wherever you find a parking spot. Renegade has been around for a number of years and has the standard urban taproom vibe – lots of steel & glass, garage doors, a patio, and an open brewing area. Traditionally I’ve found them to be Pale Ale/IPA-focused but on this visit they had broadened their offerings to include things like Pancakes maple porter and Hummer imperial pumpkin spiced Oktoberfest . I mostly found their beers solid but not exceptional with a couple standouts. Despite being open many years Renegade still draws the crowds and has an energetic and hipster vibe. Like with past experiences, the service was very hit or miss.
From Renegade, a short walk west to Kalamath and four blocks south brings you to Crazy Mountain Brewery. Crazy Mountain is an outpost of the original brewery near Vail and is located in the old Breckenridge building. In many ways it’s the opposite of Renegade – fewer people, more laid back, great service, and adventurous beers. It feels like more of a chill out place, and the bartenders will happily walk you through the diverse beer list including an Orange Creamsicle and Blood Orange Tripel. For me diversity was a double-edged sword. I sampled a pine tips beer and the taste was indescribable (not really in a good way) while the Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter was sublime. The porter starts off with in-your-face chocolate and roasty malt and a slight raisiny flavor, then fades to mild peanut butter. Along the way I also tried a bock and IPA that were pretty good too. If you want to keep the party going at home Crazy Mountain has a big selection of cans and bombers. If you’ve visited before, note that the kitchen has been replaced with food trucks.
Finally, if you want to make the full circle you can go walk a block back to 5th & Santa Fe to visit Black Sky Brewery. Although I didn’t make it there on this walk, I’ve found they they also do relatively adventurous beers, along with some solid staples, in a hard-rock industrial atmosphere. Either way it’s four and a half blocks back to the starting point at Renegade, or you can take a diversion and explore the galleries and shops in the Santa Fe Arts District.