The opportunities for craft beer in the state of Colorado seem endless. Making a decision about what and where to drink can be overwhelming, especially during a short visit. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Fort Collins, just an hour north of Denver, here are six must see breweries in the area.
#1 – New Belgium Brewing Company
|New Belgium Brewing Company
500 Linden Street |Fort Collins, CO 80524
The idea of New Belgium Brewing Company was born in 1988 when homebrewer Jeff Lebesch was riding his mountain bike with “fat tires” through European villages famous for beer. Jeff went home a perfected his brews in their basement, then sold his first commercial beer in 1991. His wife Kim Jordan was New Belgium’s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer, and financial planner, as well as the company’s longtime CEO.
You can still enjoy that first New Belgium beer, Abbey Dubbel, as well as several other year-round, seasonal, sour, and pilot beers inside the tasting room at New Belgium Brewing Company. Beers are served in full pours or tasters. Some beers are available in bottles and cans to go.
Be sure to take advantage of the free 90-minute tour, which includes several samples of beer! Tours begin at 11:30 AM and leave every half hour until 4:30 PM. You can book a tour up to two months in advance online. Don’t hesitate because tours fill up quickly.
New Belgium is open daily from 11 AM to 8 PM. A parking lot is just a short walk from the brewery. There are plenty of bike racks on site, too.
#2 – Odell Brewing Company
|Odell Brewing Company
800 East Lincoln Ave | Fort Collins, CO 80524
Doug Odell’s passion for craft beer started in the 1970’s while scrubbing the mash tun at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. He decided to take his passion into a career after enjoying flavorful real ale in the UK during his honeymoon.
Odell opened in Fort Collins in 1989 with the first commercial release, Odell’s Golden Ale. Odell is now the 34th largest craft brewery in the country.
You can visit Odell’s impressive, modern facility in Fort Collins. Beers are available in full pours or flights. Beer is available to go in crowlers and growlers, as well as some bottles and cans.
Odell offers free tours daily at noon, 1, 2, and 3 PM. You can sign up online up to two months in advance, however there are also walk-in spots available the day of the tour. Tours last about 30 minutes.
The taproom at Odell is open Sunday to Tuesday from 11 AM to 6 PM and Wednesday to Saturday 11 AM to 8 PM. There is a parking lot on site.
#3 – Funkwerks
1900 E Lincoln Ave. Unit B | Fort Collins, CO 80524
Funkwerks first opened its doors in 2010 by owners Gordon Schuck and Brad Lincoln. The pair met in 2009 while attending the Siebel Institute of Technology. Schuck was an award-winning homebrewer, and Lincoln was an accountant.
Funkwerks is a Saison-focused brewery, however they love to experiment with a range of Belgian styles, barrel-aged small batches, and sour beers.
Beers are available in full or half pours, as well as a variety of flights to choose from. Several beers are available to go in bottles. Don’t miss the Red Wine Barrel-Aged Saison.
Funkwerks is open Sunday to Thursday from 11 AM to 8 PM and Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 9 PM Brewery tours are offered on Friday and Saturday at 2, 3, and 4 PM. There is a parking lot on site.
#4 – Jessup Farm Barrel House
|Jessup Farm Barrel House
1921 Jessup Drive | Fort Collins, CO 80525
Jessup Farm Barrel House was founded on having fun and letting creativity explore the myriad of possibilities blending beer has to offer. Beers are blended with different fermentation variations to create unique and original flavors.
The Barrel House is located in a 133 year old, 3,000 square-foot restored barn that sits on the 13-acre Jessup Farm Artisan Village. The first floor is used for fermenting, blending and barrel storage. Upstairs seating features a large wrap around bar and communal tables. There is also a full service outdoor beer garden.
The Barrel House has 16 beers on tap of various blends. Beers are available in pints, flights and growlers. Several beers are available to go in bottles. Don’t miss Train Delay, dry-hopped pale ale or NSFW (not safe for work) NITRO, a whiskey barrel-aged coffee infused red ale.
Jessup Farm Barrel House is open Sunday to Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM and Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 11 PM. There is a parking lot on site.
#5 – Left Hand Brewing
|Left Hand Brewing
1265 Boston Ave | Longmont, CO 80501
The story of Left Hand Brewing begins when co-founder Dick Doore received a homebrewing kit as a Christmas gift in 1990. In August 1993 he met up with former college buddy and soon-to-be Left Hand co-founder, Eric Wallace. It wasn’t long until they said, “Let’s start a brewery.”
The brewery was incorporated in September 1993 and named after Chief Niwot (meaning left handed), a Southern Arapahoe chief whom wintered his tribe in the Boulder Valley area of Colorado. Left Hand opened to the public in January 1994 with their original flagship, Sawtooth Ale. Left Hand Brewing is now the 44th largest craft brewery in the U.S.
Beer can be purchased in full pours or flights. Beer is available to go in growlers, cans, and bottles. Don’t miss Wake Up Dead Nitro, the Russian Imperial Stout, and Smokejumper Smoked Imperial Porter. Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get to snap a picture with Eric Wallace while enjoying one of these great beers.
The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 9 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 8 PM. Brewery tours are offered daily and can be booked well in advance online. There is a parking lot on site.
#6 – Odd13 Brewing
|Odd13 Brewing, Inc.
301 East Simpson Street | Lafayette, CO 80026
Odd13 Brewing is a microbrewery located in Lafayette, Colorado that focuses on hoppy American styles, Belgian styles, and experimental styles. The brewery was founded by Kristin and Ryan Scott. Kristin grew up in area code 513 and Ryan grew up in 313, hence the name Odd13.
Beers are available in full pours or flights. Purchase beer to go in growlers, bottles, and cans. Don’t miss nOOb and Lupulin Amnesiac, two impressive hop creations.
The taproom is open Monday from 3 PM to 9 PM, Tuesday through Thursday from 3 PM to 10 PM, Friday from 1 PM to 11 PM, Saturday from noon to 11 PM, and Sunday from noon to 9 PM. Street parking is available.
Odd13 also has a podcast! Check it out here.
Bonus Stop – Avery Brewing Company
|Avery Brewing Company
4910 Nautilus Ct N. | Boulder, CO 80301
Yes, I know Avery is in Boulder, however I would be remiss not to mention this brewery. Avery Brewing Company has been committed to producing eccentric ales and lagers that defy styles and categories since 1993.
The Avery Tap Room opened in 2003, allowing the barrel aging experimentation to begin. They began canning beers in 2010, and they moved to their dream brewery in February 2015. The facility is complete with an impressive brewhouse, several bars, and a restaurant.
The restaurant at Avery Brewing Company focuses on locally sourced produce and meats. The food is the perfect complement to the delicious beers. I highly recommend the Seitan Shepherd’s Pie. Meat eaters would enjoy the Fried Chicken Sammy or one of the many options from the smoker.
Beer can be purchased in full pours or tasters and is always served in the proper glassware. Beer is available to go in growlers, bottles, and cans. Don’t miss the taproom only rarities. I especially enjoyed Bourbon Barrel-Aged Carlos Caliente, a Bourbon barrel-aged Belgian-style quadrupel ale infused with raspberries, chipotle, serrano, and habanero peppers.
The taps are open Tuesday to Sunday 11 AM to 11 PM and Monday 3 PM to 11 PM. Food is served until 10 PM. Tours are offered daily and can be booked online. There is a large parking lot on site.