It’s no secret that Coloradans love beer and have for decades. While you may know these beers, you might not know these facts about them. These fan favorites have earned the Colorado beer scene national recognition and epitomize the spirit of the Centennial State.
Basic? Yes. For good reason? Absolutely. Coors Banquet has cachet and history on its side. Founded in 1873, Coors was nicknamed the “Banquet Beer” by Clear Creek Canyon miners, who’d drink it in banquet halls or huge banquet tents. In fact, the Coors brewery itself dates back three years further than Colorado’s own statehood. Despite Coors’ current status as part of a multibillion-dollar, worldwide conglomerate, they still brew Coors Banquet exclusively in Golden, CO. There truly is something special in that Rocky Mountain spring water.
Fat Tire is undoubtedly a brew iconic to Colorado. Its name was inspired by a cycling trip that New Belgium co-founder, Jeff Lebesch, took through Belgium in the late 1980s. By the ‘90s, the amber ale and its story had earned the attention of climbers, cyclists, outdoor adventurers and “dirtbags” traveling throughout the west.
At one point when Fat Tire wasn’t yet distributed on the East coast, some bars would buy and serve it illegally. Nowadays, it is distributed in all 50 states, but fans appreciate the legacy of “bootlegging” across state lines.
It’s safe to say that Wynkoop Brewing, Denver’s first brewpub, is one of Colorado’s most iconic brands. Its roots run deep. The brewpub started out making English-style cask ales, but it was the Rail Yard Ale, an American amber ale inspired by the German marzen-style, that earned the most attention from customers and the larger craft brewing community.
Tom Dargen, an early Wynkoop supporter, first brewed the beer to celebrate his wedding and decided to name the beer after a run-down train station across the street. Little did he know that this beer would make history and become Wynkoop’s best-selling ale.
The 90 Shilling is a go-to draft beer choice for many Denver beer lovers. It began as one of Doug Odell’s first home-brewing recipes and was introduced at Odell’s opening in 1989. Since then, Odell as a company has grown significantly, but this recipe remains a beloved flagship brew. They derived its name from the Scottish method of taxing beer, since only the highest quality beers were taxed 90 Shillings.