We Visited All 24 Brewery Taprooms in Fort Collins
At the beginning of our senior year at Colorado State University, my friend Caylor and I set out on the ultimate senior mission: to visit every brewery in Fort Collins.
And now, 356 days later, I am excited to announce that we reached our goal. Now, this might not sound like an accomplishment, but come on — there are 24 breweries in Fort Collins with their own taproom.
We didn’t want to just bop in and bop out to each brewery for the sake of checking them off the list; we wanted to truly experience them as they were meant to be. Which could easily fill multiple years of weekends, as anyone who’s a fan of FoCo and breweries knows.
But first, we had a few ground rules for this quest. Number 1: For a brewery to be considered, the company had to brew their beer in-house. This was an important distinction, since there are several beer houses in Fort Collins that don’t actually do any brewing (not that that’s a bad thing). But since we had to draw a line somewhere or risk trying to visit every establishment that sold beer in town, we only counted active brewers. Rule number 2: We had to order a different beer (or 2) than each other at each brewery. That way, we were able to try more than one beer at each stop we made. The last rule, which should be pretty obvious: We always had to finish our beer. But that was never an issue, let's be honest.
I am here to share our experiences at these 24 breweries with you, and hopefully entice you to give a few of them a shot!
1. Black Bottle Brewing- This brewery is actually where the idea of our great quest started, though we didn’t know it at the time. When we went to Black Bottle, it was mainly to watch a Broncos game. But after enjoying a couple beers each and discovering there’s more beer out there than just Busch Light, we decided that we needed to broaden our palettes and try as many beers as we could. And what better way to do that than take a tour to all the breweries in Fort Collins? We owe it all to you, Black Bottle.
2. Odell Brewing- Odell tugs on my heart strings a little, as this was the first brewery we visited and toured after turning 21. And let me tell you, Odells is the place to be on a nice Saturday afternoon. Or a Tuesday. Or whenever, really. Good vibes and good beer all around.
3. New Belgium Brewing- Anyone who is anyone here in Fort Collins has heard of New Belgium Brewing, and for good reason. If you have never gone on a tour here, it's an absolute MUST if you like beer, breweries, or even Fort Collins. Plus, you get to try 3 beers during the tour itself, so it's a win-win if I do say so myself.
4. Maxline Brewing- We went to Maxline in a time of weakness. For my part, I went there for the first time after getting the worst spray tan of my life, when I needed the comfort of a good friend and a good beer to confide in. Luckily for me, Maxline did the trick! Caylor and I even ended up going here a few times, and every beer we tried did not disappoint.
5. Snowbank Brewing- This brewery’s a hidden gem. It’s nestled back behind Red Truck Brewing and can be easily overlooked, but let me tell you this brewery is a MUST. It’s another perfect place to relax, get some work done and enjoy a nice brew.
6. Gilded Goat Brewing- Hands down, this is my favorite place to do homework. The Gilded Goat has 2 floors, and while the main floor is usually pretty busy and full of energy, the second floor is a bit quieter and where you’ll find people working and relaxing. So you get the best of both worlds!
7. Zwei Brewing- I know the whole point of breweries is that they sell beer, but let me tell you, if you go to Zwei Brewing, then you HAVE to try the greek food truck that’s often parked outside. You can also get some of the biggest glasses of beer here.
8. Prost Brewing- This place is a total classic-- Traditional German beer, cornhole and a big patio area? Yup, we were there.
9. Horse and Dragon Brewing- Not going to lie, trying to find this place was not the easiest, but it was definitely worth the search. Both Caylor and I are suckers for beer and games, and let me tell you that the Horse and Dragon is well-stocked with both. It’s amazing-- Oh, and the beer was pretty great, too.
10. CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing- You’ve probably seen this one if you’ve ever driven through FoCo. Located in the heart of Old Town, Cooper Smith’s offers quality beer, food and pool tables any day of the week.
11. Rally King Brewing- If it wasn't for a group project in my marketing capstone class (thank you, Group 2), it would have taken us a lot longer to find this great brewery. Rally King has a fun and welcoming energy to it and you might even get lucky enough to come in on a day when the bartenders bring their dogs. Puppies and beer, there is no better combination.
12. DC Oakes Brewhouse & Eatery- This location is the perfect combination of restaurant and brewery. The food was amazing, I got a BBQ chicken sandwich and Caylor got the pear & apple salad, both of which were brilliant. But although the food by itself would have been great, pairing them with a beer was the best combination.
13. McClellan’s Brewing- This is a popular spot for CSU students because it’s only 4 blocks away from campus. Then once you’re there, there’s plenty of beer and wifi to go around for anyone that wants to get homework/work done.
14. Intersect Brewing- Besides having some solid brews, there is always something fun going on at Intersect if you’re looking for a night out. They have trivia nights, a running club on Tuesdays, and even have live music some nights!
15. Funkwerks- Sour beer has to be my favorite beer right now, and Funkwerks has some of the best sour beer in Fort Collins. So it only makes sense that this is one of my favorite spots to wind down on the weekends. Not to mention that they also have a great outdoor area.
16. C.B. & Potts- Contrary to popular belief, C.B. & Potts is more than just a great place to grab a bite to eat, they also brew beer and a lot of it!
17. Anheuser Busch- This one’s definitely worth the drive to I-25. There are so many beers on tap that both Caylor and I had to get a flight, and we barely scratched the surface of this breweries repertoire.
18. Envy Brewing- Envy is one of the newest breweries in Fort Collins and they had some of the best sour beers (besides the ones at Funkwerks) that we’ve tried in NoCo.
19. Equinox Brewing- OK, it’s time for my honesty hour: This is the only brewery Caylor and I did not go to together, but luckily, this didn’t affect the quality of the beer. Equinox offers a large variety for beer and is also in the middle of Old Town, which makes it a great stop bar hopping.
20. Purpose Brewing & Cellars- The vibe in this brewery is different from the others we went to -- Think more ‘woodsy yet modern’ than your average bar. It’s a quaint and cozy brewery with aging barrels for decor and wooden wall accents, reminding us, once again, that it's all about the aesthetic, folks.
21. Ramskeller Brewpub at CSU- Would you find us here every Monday at 6:15? Yes. Would you find us here at any other random time throughout the week? Also yes. Hey, what can I say-- you can't beat a brewery right on the CSU campus.
22. Red Truck Beer- Red Truck has to be our go-to spot. They have a large amount of seating inside and out, amazing food, and a great selection of beer. P.S.: The hotdogs are to die for, 10/10 would recommend.
23. Pitchers Sports Restaurant- Pitchers is not your typical brewery, but they have some good beer and equally-good waffle fries, let me tell ya.
24. Jessup Farms Barrel House- Jessup Farms holds a special place in our hearts, since this was the last place we hit on this 8 month brewery crawl. Honestly, we thought this day was just as much of an accomplishment as graduating college.