Great Divide, A Wonderful Denver Brewery

Denver is one of the greatest cities in America for beer. And the area of Denver, Boulder and Ft. Collins is frequently noted to be the nation’s “Napa Valley” of beer. So if you’re passing through Denver for business or pleasure, head down to one of the best breweries in America, the Great Divide brewery and tap room. The beers are fantastic and they have a great American business story.

Great Divide Founding

During the early 90’s, founder Brian Dunn was running a 1 man show- brewing, bottling and selling small batches of great craft beer to local Denver bars. His beers quickly became popular locally, so he wanted to expand out of his garage. He scouted an abandoned milk processing plant in a run down area of town (still mostly run down 2 decades later) and sought to lease the building. But with heavy overhead required in opening a brewery, Dunn was $50,000 short in what the bank would lend him.

Denver City Council Assisted with a Loan

So Dunn approached the city of Denver with his business plan, explained that the building had been vacant for over a decade and asked for a $50,000 loan. The mayor was obviously a huge fan of good beer because they gave Dunn the loan, with a better interest rate than what the bank would have provided had they gone for it to begin with.

Drinking Great Divide Beers in Europe

Years later, the Great Divide continues to grow – outside Colorado and now outside the USA. The first time I tried their beers was in an American specialty beer bar in Amsterdam, the Beer Temple. It’s one of the best Amsterdam pubs. Now in Dublin, I can go to my local bottle shop, Redmonds of Ranalegh, and several of their beers like the Yeti imperial stout and Titan IPA are sold. And the Dublin proprietor raves about them.

Great Divide beers are popular with beer enthusiasts. They are the recipient of 5 World Beer Cup Awards. They were also ranked 14th in’s 2012 “The Best Brewers in the World” and 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2010 “All-Time Top Brewers.”

Assisting with Denver’s Revitalization

And guess who provided the stimulus for Great Divide to go global? Indeed, the city of Denver. After paying back the initial loan, they went back to the city, who were happy to provide a second loan. While the area is still largely abandoned, the brewery has certainly helped revitalize it. Several new bars and restaurants are located close by. And a mobile pizza truck sits out the front of Great Divide to feed hungry beer drinkers excellent with fresh made artisan pizzas. Because why would someone eat bad pizza with their awesome beer?

Great Divide Tap Room

As for the establishment, the tap room is not very big and it does get very crowded. If it’s sunny (and surprisingly it often sunny in Denver) you can sit outside on the patio. It’s a great place to enjoy the freshest Great Divide beers possible, right from the source. There are around 16 different beers on tap. If you’re undecided, they have a great deal on sample trays.

If you like stouts, I would highly recommend trying the espresso oak aged Yet imperial stout. It’s a truly majestic beer. But at 9.5% a.b.v., be careful if you are driving!

There are loads of fantastic beer choices which you can check out on their website. The Great Divide brewery is one of several highlights of Denver for us. It’s a great city to explore before taking a road trip through the Rocky Mountains. Don’t miss visiting Rocky Mountain National Park either!

Great Divide Address and Phone Number

2201 Arapahoe Street
DenverColorado, 80205
United States
phone: (303) 296-9460

On behalf of all beer aficionados, thanks Denver city council!


  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

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