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If you're planning on visiting the Mile High City during the Great American Beer Festival this year, you may notice that a lot has changed since your last visit. Eight new breweries have opened up within Denver city limits in the last year (bringing the grand total to 22), not including the dozen or so that have begun pouring outside the metro area. The product of favorable liquor laws and an atmosphere that cultivates and encourages young breweries, Denver—and Colorado as a whole—is quickly becoming an epicenter for craft beer in the United States.
Each new brewery is offering up something unique, from German-style lagers to barrel-aged sours, as well as the first local brewery to both malt and brew. Judging by last year, it wouldn't be unrealistic for any of these breweries to take home a coveted medal at GABF. Not one, but two, Denver breweries accomplished this feat in 2011 within months of opening: Denver Beer Company (who scored a bronze medal for their Graham Cracker Porter) and Copper Kettle Brewing Company (who won gold for their Mexican Chocolate Stout).
Assuming you've already sampled your way through the city's other 14 breweries, here is your guide to the newborns. Technically, one of the breweries on this list (Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew) isn't officially "open" yet, but they're planning on getting there in time for the Great American Beer Festival.
Are you headed to GABF? What are your brewery-visiting plans?
About the Author: Sean Buchan covers the Denver craft beer scene for Denver Off the Wagon in addition to doing freelance photography for Colorado breweries. You can view his beer photography here and check out his blog, Beertographer, here.