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Colorado beer tour

Colorado produces alot of beer and has 240 craft breweries. Denver has also been the host to the Great American Beer Festival- the nation’s oldest and largest annual gathering of beer brewers – for nearly 37 years. It’s home to some of the well known craft beer companies like New Belgium Brewing, Lefthand Brewing, Odell, Great Divide and Avery. With all these options we thought we would go on a Colorado beer tour and share our findings with you!

Since we live in neighboring state of Utah, we planned this road trip to sample our way through some of the breweries listed above, as well as dozens others. Although we drove to Colorado from Salt Lake City, you could easy fly into Denver Airport and follow this itinerary. This would be a great weekend adventure!

Colorado is a great place to enjoy a beer!

Tips: We recommend looking for airfare deals from your city to Denver and planning your trip when flights are cheap. Although we normally recommend Airbnb’s, this trip we are suggesting staying in hotels. Hotels in this area are reasonably priced and when moving places frequently they are comparable in price. You really won’t be cooking while on this trip and staying at a hotel with breakfast included will save you money.

You will also need to book a rental car for this trip as you will be covering several hundred miles. When we fly to Denver, we usually find car rentals for under $40 per day.

This itinerary can be adjusted so you spend another night in a different city on this itinerary. For example: We’ve been to Denver a handful of times so we decided to spend more time in Fort Collins this trip. There are plenty of breweries in both cities, so when booking your trip, we suggest looking into what breweries are on your must do list and plan your hotel night based on that.

Day 1- Fort Collins Breweries

Drive to Fort Collins

Fort Collins is only 70 miles north of Denver on the I-25 which will take about an hour to arrive. We planned two nights at this location because there are so many options in this city, as well as some of our favorites in nearby town of Greeley. Check out our 5 favorite breweries in Fort Collins but here are a few of our other favorites and recommendations:

  • Purpose Brewing- Small batch brewery with limited barrel releases features new rotations frequently. Ranging from light lagers to bourbon barreled beers.  Cool comfortable location which rustic decor and tables or couches.
Best beer in fort collins
Beer Flight at Purpose Brewing
  • Zwei – Local neighborhood joint vibe with classic German styles and a few American IPAs. Patio features plenty of seating and ping pong with shade.
  • Maxline Brewing – Very popular spot and large variety of beers. We were lucky enough to get sample of peach mango pale ale before running out. Mango strawberry sour was a good one.
  • New Belgium – Great outdoor patio and large space. I love sitting on the patio enjoying the sweet smell of beer brewing in the works. Is there anything better? New Belgium features beers that are sure to have something for everyone.
  • FunkWerks – Located in the outskirts of Fort Collins but is definitely worth the drive. Funkwerks focuses on saisons, sours, and barrel aged beers. The staff is very friendly and willing to help with any suggestions. 
  • Jessup Barrel Farmhouse – This breweries taphouse is located in a barnhouse and features delicious sours and some bottles to go.

Day 2- Best Greeley Breweries

Greeley and Fort Collins

We recommend starting your day driving to nearby town of Greeley, Colorado which is about a 30 minute drive from Fort Collins. Don’t let the smell along the way deter you from some of the most interesting beer in Colorado. We love the breweries here and recommend the following breweries:

  • Weldwerks – I dare you try to find a bad beer here! Specializes in adding interesting ingredients to their beer and they do it well! Their popular beer is Juicy Bits, a  NE iPA. But they also have sours and some speciality barrel aged beers. Interesting flavors like Key Lime Pie Berliner and Fluffer Nutter (stout with marshmallows and peanut butter).
  • Wiley roots – They introduced Slush Beer as a fun summer seasonal that spoofed Sonic Drive-In’s famous slushy drinks. Sounds weird for a beer, I thought the same thing until I tried it. They also have other sour and funky options to sample like key lime, blueberry & lemon, and peaches and cream cobbler! 
  • Brix – Good brewery and taproom including a large range of beers from neighboring breweries. 
Colorado Beer Tour
Building art in Greeley

After sampling a few of these amazing beers in Greeley, head back to Fort Collins and enjoy the remaining breweries you didn’t hit the day before. Check out our 5 favorite breweries in Fort Collins

Day 3- Best Boulder Breweries
Boulder

Boulder is about 40 min drive from Fort Collins. You could spend your day in both Boulder and Longmont. We didn’t use this service but we’ve seen the Brewhop Trolley around which allows you to hop-on/hop-off at any of their 13 Longmont breweries. Sounds like a great say of relaxing and not worrying about where to go next. Drop us a note if you end up trying it! These are a few of our favorites that you should definitely visit:

Don't miss Avery Brewing!
  • Lefthand Brewing – Lefthand is always a happening spot in Longmont. They brew a variety of styles with several nitros and even some casks. Inside is a bit small and loud but they have a large outdoor area with several tables and a huge gas fire pit.
  • Wibby Brewing – A German lager brewery with large space inside and friendly staff. We were there on a Monday early afternoon so we were the only ones there but this place has a large outdoor area that features live music during summer months.
  • Avery Brewing – We love this brewery! By far one of the reasons we plan this trip to visit. Not only do they have great year-around beers, but they feature taproom rarities where you can find everything from barrel aged stouts to belgains. The food here is delicious and we recommend eating here so plan to visit here to dinner.
Day 4- Best Denver Breweries
Denver & Littleton

We stayed in Denver one night which allowed us to hit our favorite breweries as well as try new 2 new ones this trip. If you are staying downtown and visiting downtown spots, it’s best to Uber to these locations as parking can be difficult. These are a list of our recommendations:

  • Little Machine Beer One of our new finds! This brewery has an artsy eclectic atmosphere with over a dozen brews on tap. They take the robot theme seriously with lots of interesting robo art works. Small taproom with foozeball and games. Friendly service
  • Great Divide (2 locations in Denver) – We like both locations but the new taproom located in the Rino district is much larger and more seating. Great Divide is home to the Yeti and its many variations. We sampled a variety beers ranging from IPA’s to sours.
  • Prost – They have a location in Fort Collins as well. We didn’t visit there, so we are adding it to the Denver list. Feel free to visit the location that fits into your plans. Prost specializes in german style beers, which is one of my favorite styles of beer.
  • Breckenridge – The Farmhouse located in Littleton is worth the drive out this way. The food is spectacular so I would recommend making reservations and have some dinner with your beers. They also have a taproom if you’re not interested in fried chicken or the best cast iron bread with smoky cream butter and fresh raspberry preserves. Beer range from Dry Irish Nitro Stout, Vanilla Nitro Porter to Agave Wheat. At the time of our visit, they had a notable NE IPA.
  • LocaVore Brewing – This was a good find on our trip while in Littleton. If you are already in the area, this is one you should make a stop. Great variety of beer from a blackberry wheat beer to several NE IPAs. 
Colorado Beer Tour best beer
Prost
Beer in colorado- breweries
Breckenridge Farmhouse

Beer drinking tips: Colorado breweries offer flights of beer with up to six 4oz samples of draft beers. This is the best way to sample the variety of beers that each brewery offers. Because beer style preferences vary, if you find a brewery you like always ask the beertender for other recommendations. This is our favorite way to find new breweries!

With beer ABVs ranging from 5%-16% and the high altitude in Colorado, stay hydrated (with water!) and make sure you are snacking and eating food. Breweries usually have food trucks on location or small beer bites. And be smart and don’t drink and drive! If you are planning on sampling beer all day, use Uber to each location so you don’t have to worry about driving. 

Not only is Colorado a beautiful State but they have some of the best beer we’ve ever had! Whether you’re wanting to do a Colorado beer tour or you are traveling for another reason, make sure you at least stop in a few of these breweries we recommend. Let us know your favorites in the comments below. We’d love to hear your recommendations!

 

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-Nicholle

Colorado beer tour

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