Colorado Beer Road Trip – Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver

posted by Russ, September 8 in travel, united states with tags , , ,

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Beautiful Colorado Rockies

Beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains

MARCH – After descending over the Rocky Mountains on one of the more bumpy flights I’ve ever had, we arrived in Denver on Friday morning. The plan was to check out the major cities of Colorado over the next four and a half days, and while we were at to sample a lot of the great breweries and pubs in the area as well. It turned out to be a sort of impromtu beer tour, but that worked just fine because it gave us direction and motivation to keep moving along. So to get started, we picked up the rental car and then headed straight to Boulder, which was the place I was looking most forward to seeing. I had only driven through Colorado, without ever having spent any time there, so this was all new to me.

I had written down a few potential places to stay, but we decided on the Quality Inn, as it was the only one I knew of that was walking distance to Pearl Street. It turned out to be a great choice, and I can say without a doubt that it is probalby one of the nicest Quality Inns I’ve ever stayed at. Without going into all the details of what we did, I will say that we loved Boulder, and decided on staying a second night, which gave us more time to explore. (This was partly due to the snow storm in the mountains which we opted not to drive though heading to our next destination.) The downsides of Boulder for us were that it was such a college town, and also that we found out the cost of living was pretty steep. Which makes it a great place to visit but probably not a place to ever move to. The accessibility of everything was definitely nice; bike lanes everywhere, and even a paved walking/biking trail that led from the center of town right up into the mountains. A definite plus coming from California where everything requires driving.

Some of the boulder highlights were the Mediterranean Restaurant, Mountain Sun Brewery, Avery Brewing, and the Boulder Draft House. A couple places that were great but I think maybe a bit overrated were Walnut Brewery and Jax Fish House (overpriced).

While in Boulder, someone clued us in on the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival that was going on in Nederland, so Sunday morning we checked out and headed up into the mountains. We didn’t actually see any of the festival, but we did get a pretty good idea of what it was like based on the general level of debauchery going on in town. We had a few beers and some ribs at Wild Mountain Brewery, and then went north to Estes Park. Estes Park was gorgeous, but the brewery there was definiately not worth the drive. But the scenery and the wildlife sightings near the entrance of Rocky Mountain Natinal Park made it worthwhile.

Downtown Denver at Night

Downtown Denver at Night

From Estes Park our next stop was Lyons, where we hit Oskar Blues Brewery. We loved that place and it was everything we expected. So after a late lunch and a couple beers, we hit the road again for Fort Collins. We knew nothing about Fort Collins, but after driving around for a couple of minutes, we quickly found our bearing and got a nice room at the Armstrong Hotel. I would have loved to spend more time in this small city, but due to our impending departure from Denver the following day, we wanted to get down to Denver and have a little fun there before flying out. One of the reasons we wanted to go to Fort Collins was to check out the New Belguim Brewery, as I have heard many good things about the way they run their business, especially from an environmental standpoint. But as it turned out, we planned our trip there on Monday, which was the day they were closed to the public. But we did get to check out CooperSmith’s Brewery, Fort Collins Brewery (which we were pleasantly surprised by due to how small they are), and Odells Brewing. But alas, we couldn’t linger because Denver was calling.

Denver was a little stressful to arrive in after spending the last few days in smaller cities and on the open roads, but after only a little bit of confusion, we found ourselves at the the Jet Hotel downtown. It was nicer than we were looking for, but with night closing in we were getting frustrated and as it turns out the rate was better than expected and the location was great.

We made it out to dinner that night, and also to the Falling Rock Tap House. The following day we finished up our beer tour by hitting Great Divide and then Old Chicago for a late lunch before heading to the airport for our flight home. All in all it was a wonderful trip. It sounds like we drank too much, but we were mostly sampling, which is how we were able to fit so much in. And as for Colorado, I really liked how easy it was to move around between the cities and see so much in such a short time frame.

>> See Full Colorado Beer Road Trip Photo Set

Originally posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 at 6:12 AM .

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