Craft Beer Guide: Fort Collins
Simply put, our trip to Fort Collins was awesome. The town itself is beautiful, clean, and very easy to get around. The downtown area, known as Old Town, features several blocks of cool restaurants, bars, shops, and a handful of good breweries. It’s a very pleasant and doable 65-mile drive from Denver and is certainly worth the trip up.
Fort Collins is not your average college town – In fact, I think you would be hard pressed to find a college town in America with a better craft beer scene. Fort Collins is currently home to 15+ microbreweries and brewpubs, including 3 of Colorado’s largest breweries; New Belgium Brewing, Odell Brewing Company, and Fort Collins Brewery.
Odell Brewing Co. is Colorado’s second oldest and third largest microbrewery. The Fort Collins area staple recently completed a huge renovation to their production space and built an incredible new tasting room and patio. We got a behind the scenes look at the brewery during our visit and can honestly say that Odell is one of the coolest breweries that we’ve ever been to. The patio is a favorite local hangout and often features live music, food trucks, and other local artisans sharing their crafts for sample. The taproom is a great place to try both the Odell flagship brews, some seasonal recipes, and a few ‘pilot system’ one-off batches that are not available anywhere else. Overall, if you are anywhere near Northern Colorado – Do yourself a favor and swing by Odell… It’s amazing.
About a quarter of a mile from Odell, you will find neighboring breweries Fort Collins Brewery (FCB) and Snowbank Brewing Co. Fort Collins Brewery has both a small tasting room, known as the “Brewers Breakroom”, and a larger ‘Modern Tavern’ with a full locally sourced food and cocktail menu. Snowbank Brewing first opened in summer of 2014 but has already gained a great local reputation. The adventurous beer recipes, cool taproom, and friendly vibes make for an overall very enjoyable experience. They have lawn games outside in the parking lot and often times host a food truck on the weekend.
New Belgium Brewing is also within walking distance of Odell and FCB. New Belgium is one of the nation’s largest microbreweries and their massive facility is worth checking out. If you are looking to tour the brewery – Make sure to make a reservation in advance!
Old Town Fort Collins is the main downtown hub of the city. Here you can find several blocks of cool restaurants, bars, and shops; many of which are housed in beautiful old buildings. Coopersmith’s Brewpub, Equinox Brewing, and Pateros Creek brewing are all located within a few blocks of each other in Old Town and make for a great Saturday afternoon ‘craft crawl’. Coopersmith’s Pub has a full menu, full bar, several pool tables, and some very delicious brews on rotation. Equinox Brewing Co is a quaint brewery in a cool old building with a very nice beer outdoor beer garden. Pateros Creek features a good-sized tasting room, a nice little patio, and some very easy drinking brews.
Black Bottle Brewery is another brewpub located very close to the Colorado State campus. They offer a large selection of delicious house-made beers, multiple ‘guest’ taps from other local breweries, a full spirit and wine selection, and a diversified menu of very tasty food offerings. BBB has a cool indoor seating area with a great view of the brewhouse, as well as a spacious outdoor patio.
The most notable ‘hidden gem’ in Fort Collins is Horse & Dragon Brewing Company. Although Horse & Dragon is slightly off the beaten path, it is definitely worth visiting. The environment is extremely laid back and comfortable incredible natural artistic wood furniture. The brews are some of the most unique in all of FoCo and are gaining quite a bit of praise from local craft beer drinkers.