Wasatch 100

Wasatch 100

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Colorado Front Range Brewery Tour 2010

November is one of my favorite months to visit local Colorado breweries because there are few races and ski season is not up in running. This years tour was done on two weekends. The first in Colorado Springs and two weeks later we went to Fort Collins.

Above is the highlight of the trip, New Belgium Brewing. See below for details.

Rocky Mountain Brewery – Colorado Springs: We discovered Rocky Mountain Brewery at the Great American Brewing Festival in September. The samples were good enough to encourage a trek to the Springs to try the brewery first hand. RMB is located at 625 Paonia Street, by Peterson AFB. We ordered a sample tray which included their Blonde, Amber, Smoked Hefe, and IPA. The blonde, amber and IPA were above average; you have to enjoy smoked beers to enjoy the smoked hefe (I hate smoked beers). The brewery itself is in a warehouse which could benefit with an interior upgrade. Food can be ordered from a trailer outside. Ultimately, unless you live nearby, I would suggest seeking their beers on tap at a local Old Chicago.

The following three pictures are of RMB

Bristol Brewing – Colorado Springs: We have been going to Bristol since before we moved to Colorado in 2005. We stop there on our journeys to or from NM or TX and this is a great stop to grab a growler to go. They have been around since 1994 and we enjoy all their beers. Kelly enjoyed a Beehive Honey Wheat and I enjoyed a Mass Transit Pale ale. If you visit their tasting room you can enjoy tacos or free pretzels served in dog bowls. It is at a convenient location at 1647 S Tejon ¼ west of I-25. http://www.bristolbrewing.com/

Tap Room in Bristol
Trinity Brewing – Colorado Springs: Trinity is a newer brewery located west of I-25 on Garden of the Gods Road in a well utilized warehouse. They have a patio that wraps around the building with good views of the foothills. They have good food, beer, and atmosphere. Along with their house beers, they always have good selection of other craft beers from around the country. They are generous in their free samples so you can get a good taste of their beers. We enjoyed the Sauna Wit and the Flo IPA. Be sure to enjoy their Belgian Fries! http://www.trinitybrew.com/index.php

Next three pictures are of the Trinity Tap Room

Breckenridge Brewing – Breckenridge Colorado: I have made previous posts for the main Breckenridge Brewery in Denver. The original 1990 brewery in Breckenridge is still up and running with the mainline beers and occasionally a local small batch. If you are on vacation or just up for the day skiing (what we were doing), stop by. They have $2.00 pints and half price appetizers during happy hour. http://www.breckbrew.com/food/locations.html

Two ski pictures and the Breckenridge Tap room
That's me below

New Belgium Brewing – Fort Collins: Two months ago when I made my November reservation to go on the New Belgium Brewery tour, I assumed that there would be another few weeks before peak ski season. I was wrong. We began our journey grudgingly leaving Breckenridge at 8:00 am to make our 11:00 am tour time.

The tour began in the old 100 barrel brew house where we learned about the history and we saw the original pilot brew system that started it all in 1989. I will omit the history lesson because it is a major part of the tour. Our tour guide, Bernie, took us from the old brew house to the new 200 barrel state of the art system with included samples on each stop. What makes NB unique is its history, culture, dedication to the environment, and their advocacy to brewing and the community. After working 5 years, employee owners will go on a Belgium brewery tour, and after 10 years, they get a tree named in their honor and a one month sabbatical. As for their beer, everyone is great and one can enjoy up to four free samples in their tasting room which is open Tuesday through Saturday. http://www.newbelgium.com/
Tap Room with an owner employee serving tasters
seating area
cool bikes for decoration
Shrine to St. Arnold the patron saint to brewing
Bernie our tour guide in brew house 1 with a bunch of Okies on the tour (lots of wasted samples)
notice the table is made out of bike rims
Dress made out of Fat Tire cans
The original pilot brew system that started it all
The new brew house see the bike wheels hanging from the ceiling
The new bottling line below
New fermentation tanks
Inside the bottling line
After 1 year of work employees get a cruiser bike. Notice the tread
We all got to ride on the employee cyclone slide
Our final two samples
Christmas decorations

Fort Collins Brewery – Fort Collins: After leaving NB we drove ¼ mile to the new Fort Collins Brewery and tried a taster tray. They just opened a new expanded operation and tasting room. They have a broad selection of beers and good atmosphere. http://www.fortcollinsbrewery.com/
The new brew equipment at Fort Collins brewery
Tasting tray made out of pine beetle kill wood
Odell Brewing – Fort Collins: This is the home to my favorite IPA (remember I am the Running Hop Head). All their beer is amazing and they are active in coming up with new styles. Last year they expanded their brewing operation and tasting room. They are located just a half mile from NB and this is a must stop if you take the trip to Fort Collins. Their sample tasting trays are $4 but if you are a member of the American Homebrewer’s Association, the sample tray is free. As of now they only distribute to 7 states so rest of the country will have to wait to enjoy this Colorado classic. http://odellbrewing.com/home
Outside the new expanded brewery and tasting room
The main mash tun and brew kettle
The famous 5 barrel system where they try new beers
Our tasting tray
Hop shaped bike racks!