A bartender pours a St. James Red at the Walnut Brewery.
A bartender pours a St. James Red at the Walnut Brewery. (Colorado Daily file photo)

Boulder has a great craft beer scene, which means University of Colorado students have the rare opportunity to expand their beer palate beyond cubes of Rolling Rock and kegs of Keystone Light.

So here is a guide to some of the places to grab a pint of IPA or stout while you aren't coating beer pong tables with yellow fizz.

Some disclaimers: If you are a freshman, stop reading this. I will not be accused of encouraging underage drinking. And please drink responsibly. Throwing up Bud Light into your toilet is one thing; puking up craft beer is just a waste.

Obviously, the best place to grab some craft beer is at, wait for it: A craft brewery. Walnut Brewery, Shine Brewing, West Flanders Brewing and Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery are all located in downtown Boulder, and all of them serve food so you don't get all schwasty-faced.

Venture a little further east and you'll find the likes of Twisted Pine (they've got a seasonal cucumber cream ale that tastes way better than it sounds), Sanitas Brewing (get a discount on certain beers when the nearby train passes by), J Wells Brewing (some of the best beer you will ever drink while sitting in a converted garage) and Wild Woods (one of my personal favorites — ask for the black on black and thank me later).

"But Mitchell," you ask in our hypothetical conversation: "What if I want a place with more variety and beers from all over the place?"

Well, hypothetical person, Backcountry Pizza just down the road from campus on Arapahoe Avenue has a wide variety of craft beers that you can get with your pies.


West End Tavern in downtown Boulder also has a good selection and has the occasional tap takeover. They also have a wing challenge in case you have a brave friend and want entertainment with your beer.

FATE Brewing Co. off Arapahoe Avenue near East Campus has a rotating list of guest beers in addition to their house brews, which occasionally includes a coffee kolsch that one of my co-workers loves more than most people.

Don't have time to sit down at a brewery or a taphouse? You can always get your craft beer to go. Hazel's Beverage World on 28th Street looks and feels like Costco, if Costco sold only alcohol.

They have a wide variety of craft beers, and to get the most variety out of your visit, you can make your own six-packs with single beers. And like Costco, there is a tasting area where breweries will sometimes hand out samples of their beer for you to try.

And yes, they sell Keystone Light, too, in case you feel like ignoring all of my painstaking research.

Mitchell Byars: twitter.com/mitchellbyars