Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book Review: Colorado Breweries by Dan Rabin

Colorado Breweries by Dan RabinColorado is quickly becoming a travel destination for craft beer enthusiasts and it's no wonder why it can be difficult for visitors, and locals, to find out where to go to begin exploring Colorado's wealth of breweries and brewpubs. Luckily, there are several books guide books now available that can help you find your way around the state's breweries. One in particular was just published this month that has loads of current information is called: "Colorado Breweries" by Dan Rabin.

Dan Rabin may be familiar to many local beer fans as he has been writing the Rocky Mountain column in the Celebrator Beer News for a while. Rabin has also written for Draft Magazine, Beer Connoisseur and the Ale Street News.

Dan has been busy for the last few years touring around Colorado and visiting as many breweries as possible. His book, "Colorado Breweries", highlights 149 of the 230+ breweries in the state. Why 149? If you figure by the time he started writing the book there has been nearly 100 new breweries open in Colorado just in the last 2+ years. Plus, given the fact that Colorado is a big state, some breweries are about 400 miles away from his home in the Boulder, Colorado area and the mileage can quickly add up.

The book itself spans 326 pages and is packed with as much information as it possibly could hold about each brewery stop. Rabin covers each brewery and brewpub in about 2 pages each. There are no pictures of the breweries in this book - just company logos, and for good reason, the book would have been nearly twice the number of pages and twice the price otherwise. So what he does cover is just the important details you should know about each Colorado brewery. he kept the book down to a nice compact size that you can take along as you tour the state yourself.

The Colorado Breweries book organizes descriptions and stories of each brewery into 6 specific regions of the state for easier location. The sections are split into: Denver and the Burbs, The Northern Front Range, The Southern Front Range, the Central Rockies, Southwest Colorado, and the Western Slope. The bulk of the breweries fall within the Denver and Northern Front Range zones.

Sample page - Colorado BreweriesEach focus on a particular brewery covers a wide variety of topics: it's history, the owners, how the brewery evolved, some interesting trivia about each brewery, and a description of the types of beers each likes to brew. Dan then goes on to describe some of the beers and suggests one beer in particular the reader might want to try. There is also some suggestions on other attractions in the area you might wish to visit while your in the neighborhood.

Back in 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Rabin on several occasions at various beer festivals and brewery stops. Dan was kind enough to tell me about his adventures with his wife while touring the various breweries. It was interesting to hear his particular impression of various breweries we've both visited. Each brewery has a story all its own and it would be very easy to write a book about each one, but in the end, Dan had to work his magic and condense the important tidbits down to just 2 pages for each brewery. A feat that I know must not have been easy to do.

As I read the book, I couldn't help but smile and compare my own impressions of the breweries I've visited with Dan's synopsis of each brewery. This book doesn't try to judge each brewery, rather it attempts to convey just what the reader needs to know about each spot and gives you an idea of what to expect. No ratings, no rants - but he does offer at least one brew suggestion at each location.

The information that Dan includes about each brewery is very much to the point and highlights just what a visitor would want to know about a particular brewery. I was impressed with the amount of work Dan put into this book and envy that he was able to spend a lot of time traveling to each of these breweries. I'm trying to do that myself and still have a long way to go to hit them all.

If you love Colorado craft beer and want to know more about it, this book is a great place to start. I realize others have tried to do similar offerings in the past. Dan's is certainly the most recent and up to date. I hope that Dan can follow up in a year or two with Volume 2 as by then there will be nearly 300+ breweries in the state.

Author: Dan RabinAt just under $20 (US) for this book, this is a brewery guide that is well worth it. It's compact and concise, it highlights the most interesting facts about each brewery and has a comprehensive index to help you find just what you're looking for in a Colorado brewery or brewpub. Dan also has a handy web site that acts as a companion to his book. Visit: There you will find more information on breweries, his current book signing tour, various book reviews, important updates, great related links to the Colorado beer scene and a way to order his book online.

Colorado Breweries by Dan Rabin is published by Stackpole Books and is available now online ( and coming soon to stores near you if not already there.

(Photo of Dan Rabin courtesy of his book web site)

Related articles:
- Book Review: Vintage Beer by Patrick Dawson. (2014)
- Book Review: The BrewDogs of Colorado II. (2014)
- Book Review: Drinking and Driving in Colorado. (2009)

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