With Denver ’s reputation as a sudsy Napa Valley of sorts, it’s worthwhile to learn more about where and how the local beer is made. Tours are on tap at a few local breweries, with free samples along the way.
Start with the Great Divide Brewing Company in LoDo (2201 Arapahoe St., 303/296-9460, www.greatdivide.com ). The Great Divide offers free tours six days a week (Mon.–Fri. 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., Sat. on the hour 2–7 p.m.). The tours start in the Tap Room and include four (free!) tastings along the way. Great Divide opened in 1994 and has become an award-winning brewpub with beers named after the region such as Denver Pale Ale and Ridgeline Amber Ale.
A night out with good conversation and drinks can be an intellectual experience in Denver , if you know where to go.
For several years, the Wynkoop Brewing Company  has hosted monthly Café Scientifique meetings in the Mercantile Room. Based on French philosophy clubs that meet in cafés, Café Scientifique (www.cafescicolorado.org ) is an informal gathering where a guest speaker presents a topic and then opens it up to questions from the audience. Topics range from vaccinations to black holes and all kinds of other scientific matters. The meetings are free and begin at about 6:30 p.m. Beer is served, but food must be enjoyed in the restaurant before or after meetings.
If science isn’t your thing, a group of local writers and classical musicians share their crafts in various cafés and bars in Denver, such as the Mercury Cafe . Telling Stories (www.tellingstoriesmusic.org ) night at the Mercury is a chance to listen to original essays and solo classic music selections.
There’s beer, and then there’s food made with beer. Denver  has become known as a beer town, with several original microbreweries and brewpubs and as host of the annual Great American Beer Festival . Cooking with beer isn’t a new idea, but it can be a fun way to try more of those original flavors of ambers, lagers, porters, and pilsners. In addition to drinking a cold one, why not try the “Beer-B-Q sauce” or Vanilla Porter milkshake at Breckenridge Brewery ? Or sample the beer-battered fish-and-chips or stout-braised pot roast at the Wynkoop Brewery .
There might be a connection between serving the fine citizens of the Mile High City a nice cold ale and getting yourself elected to the city’s highest office.
Joseph E. Bates, who served two terms as Denver’s mayor from 1872 to 1873 and again from 1885 to 1887, also owned the Denver City Brewing Company.
John W. Hickenlooper was a o-founder of the Wynkoop Brewing Company and was first elected mayor in 2003, then again to a second term in 2007. The Denver City Brewing Company is long gone, but the Wynkoop is open seven days a week and sometimes Hickenlooper still stops by.