in Colorado 5

Lone Tree Brewing Company is the brewery that community built. The whole family can enjoy an evening out at Lone Tree.

As John Winter leans on the shiny bar, laughing with a customer over a few pints of beer, he says he never expected his craft brewery to grow this large.

Lone Tree Brewing Company started brewing about 50 barrels a year in 2011. Today, they’re making more than 2,400 barrels of beer per year.

But Winter says the brewery is much more than just making—and drinking—beer.

“It’s about creating a community atmosphere where people who share the excitement in the science, experimentation and development of a handcrafted beer can feel right at home,” Winter says.

Winter was a home-brewer for years before leaving behind the corporate grind. His desire to be part of the close partnerships and community the beer industry in Colorado provides, drew him to turn his hobby into a new career. From there, Lone Tree Brewing was born.

Settled into a nondescript strip mall surrounded by manufacturers, Lone Tree Brewing was one of the first breweries to call the southern Denver suburbs home. Aimed to mimic the local neighborhood breweries seen throughout Europe, Winter wanted the European-style craft beer style incorporated into his brewery. But, they have since expanded into more experimental varieties, now leaving about one-third of the beers Belgian, German, English or Irish.

In fact, the brewery won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2015 for their Mexican lager, making them the first craft brewery to medal since 1998.

They also believe in using only Colorado-made and natural products. You can taste it at the first sip: Their Peach Pale Ale is made with actual peach puree. And, to focus on quality and excellence, Lone Tree Brewing sells only local products in the taproom. From local food trucks five days a week to the hand soap in the bathroom, all products are Colorado-made consumables.

But what really sets Lone Tree Brewing apart is their dedication to charity. From supporting Reel Recovery, a group that provides free fly-fishing excursions for men with cancer, to helping the local humane society, the brewery contributes a portion of any tasting room sales to local nonprofits every month.

To try their newest experiment though, a Belgian Dark Strong at 10 percent ABV brewed with 33 pounds of Belgian dark candied sugar, you’ll have to visit their taproom in Lone Tree. And maybe get a ride home from a friend.