With so many things to do in Colorado, it’s easy to forget about all the great local breweries. Fort Collins is home to over 20. Some you’ll recognize as popular or even national brands, like New Belgium or Odell’s, but don’t miss out on the hole-in-the-wall spots this college town has to offer. Use this guide to brewery hop and you’ll hit local spots and famous companies alike.
1. New Belgium Brewing Company Tour
New Belgium takes number one for a couple reasons. First, the tour is free and they serve you four 8oz beers. Secondly, the brewery has donated millions to the development of Colorado State University (CSU). The bar attached to the brewery has 16 fresh, year-round New Belgium favorites on tap. They also have a variety of seasonals and sours. Schedule a tour, it gets pretty busy.
2. Funkwerks, Inc.
Funkwerks is a long-time Fort Collins favorite. The barrel room isn’t always open, but sometimes you can check it out. There are also full brewery tours offered on Fridays and Saturdays at 2, 3 and 4p.m., no reservation necessary. Ask your bartender to make you a mixed beer, it’s creatively delicious. Or get a beer flight, they’re reasonably priced. My favorite is the fruit provincials.
3. Odell Brewing Company
These guys get my vote strictly due to quality beer taste. There’s nothing wrong with the atmosphere, but I can think of a dozen better places in Foco I’d rather grab a drink. Luckily, most bars in Fort Collins have Odell on tap. If you enjoy a heavier beer, try the 180 Shilling Ale. The malt-based flavor with traces of cherry and vanilla is hard to beat.
4. Black Bottle Brewery
With so many big name breweries in Foco, I think Black Bottle is often overlooked. Great food, awesome service and you get that local vibe. Choose from 40 rotating taps, some of which are guest taps featuring beers from other Colorado breweries.
5. Horse and Dragon Brewery
If you don’t mind feeling a bit crowded, definitely stop at Horse and Dragon. Park in the garage to save time circling around looking for a spot, it only costs one dollar. They have a nice patio area outside that I usually find less crowded. There are so many good craft beers to choose from, so again, I recommend a flight of your choice. Pick from 15 rotating taps.
6. Three Four Beer Co.
Three Four has an incredible selection of craft beer. I’ve never tried one I didn’t love. They all have a similar under taste that gives you a less bitter, but still hoppy, flavor. The food is a bit pricey for the portions so I usually only stop in for drinks.
7. Budweiser Brewing Experience
Budweiser probably isn’t your favorite beer, mine either. But I’ll admit it was cool to see production on a larger scale. Would have been nice to hear about the coupon ahead of time, but I’d say it is worth the full price.
7. Equinox Brewing
Hit a few of the big breweries, catch at least one tour. But then, come settle in for a few beers at Equinox. They take pride in the friendly, cozy atmosphere (and the good beer, of course). They also have a patio, food trucks Thursday through Sunday and sometimes even live music. Protip: find special deals on their Twitter and Facebook pages.
8. Maxline Brewing
Food trucks come through at the Maxline too, here’s the schedule. Stop by for a beer and bring your dog along. The selection is smaller than most microbreweries in Foco, but you can read more about the Maxline crafts in detail before you go. If you have a fun idea for a new brew, pass it off to the employees...they take customer critique very seriously!
9. Zwei Brewing Co.
I rarely make it out to Zwei because it’s so far south of other great breweries, but for those of you living or staying near Harmony, this is your spot. This German-style brewery also has a rotating food truck schedule. It’s a great place to go with the kids. Tons of board games and TVs to keep them entertained (oh and giant jenga). The building itself is even fun to look at. Best German beer I’ve had outside of Europe, but the IPAs are good too.
10. The Ramskeller
This is the campus brewery. New Belgium has helped establish the young brewers bachelor’s program at CSU. Some of these students go on to intern at New Belgium or Odell, but many stay on campus to help brew for the Lory Student Center restaurant and bar.
Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong. I guarantee good beer and great atmosphere at any of these spots. For those who have a few days to kill, try hitting them all! Head to the company website for happy hour information. This map will give you location, hours and the order I recommend for a brewery hop.