If you are a beer lover traveling through Colorado, Boulder is a town you must explore. Good beer is part of the town’s culture, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a bar around that isn’t boasting an extensive craft beer list, almost exclusively from within Colorado. There are at least half a dozen microbreweries here in town, plus a couple more in Longmont, our neighbor to the north. On top of those, another half a dozen (plus!) microbrew pubs are spread throughout Boulder, so there is no shortage of places to grab a delicious pint.
Among those breweries here in the Boulder area, Boulder Beer Company, Avery Brewing, Oskar Blues, and Left Hand Brewery are distributed throughout the country, and have very well-known flagship beers (Hazed and Infused, Ellie’s Brown Ale, Dales Pale Ale, and Nitro Milk Stout, respectively, are near-household names to craft beer lovers). Oskar Blues, in particular, is one of the pioneers in all-canned craft brews, which is an environmentally-friendly trend growing nation-wide. Others, like Upslope Brewery and Twisted Pine are well on their way to national distribution. Even the niche markets in the brewing world are covered here in town, with Asher Brewing serving up all organic brews, as well as New Planet Beer keeping our gluten-free friends happy. Nearly all of these breweries offer free tours and have tap rooms to sample the goods, and the tour guides are super knowledgeable and will answer all of your questions. Even with all these options in Boulder, the industry keeps on growing, with one of the newest up-and-comers, Sanitas Brewing settling in nicely.
When it comes to grabbing a bite to go with all those tasty beers, the brewpubs in Boulder are tough to beat. The Mountain Sun (along with it’s sisters Southern Sun and Under the Sun) offer huge tap lines, and some of the tastiest pub food, including burgers, burritos, and plenty of vegetarian-friendly options, to go along with them. These guys love getting creative with their beers, and especially like hops, so there is always something new and original to try. February at the Mountain Sun is an especially unique experience, as they celebrate their very-own Stout Month with an employee side-burn/mutton chop contest.
The Walnut Brewery is another brewpub where it is hard to go wrong. If you’ve ever had the chance to enjoy an evening at one of the Rockbottom Brewery locations throughout the country, you’ve got the guys at the Walnut to thank for starting the chain. The Walnut’s food menu has a wide range of options to keep everyone happy, from huge salads to juicy burgers, and an employee favorite, buffalo fajitas. Every couple of Thursdays, they tap a new beer and their head brewmaster Rodney will come out and give a pint of the new brew to everyone in the bar. The daily happy hour is quite the crowd pleaser, too, with cheap beers and about 15 appetizers for $8 or less.
West Flanders has the good fortune of being right on the Pearl Street Mall, which they take advantage of by serving up some delicious beers and the comfort-food to go with it. They’ve designed their food menu to pair well with a beer or two, and Belgian-style beers are their specialty. The folks at West Flanders also love the home-brewer crowd, and have held contests to let them show off their handy work.
One of the newest brewpubs to enjoy in Boulder is Fate Brewing. Another pub with a long tap line, these guys have a long list of their own beers on tap, and rotate several guest breweries as well, most from Colorado. The food menu is extensive, and many their items are going to include a house-made sauce, which they infuse with some of their favorite brews. Fate’s got a huge patio where you can easily enjoy a beer on one of Boulder’s 300 sunny days throughout the year.
Overall, the micro-brewery scene in Boulder seems to leave no stone unturned, and one of the best parts is that the people here are very passionate about it. It seems like no matter how many new breweries or brew pubs open up, Boulderites love giving them a shot, and you’re always going to be in good company at any one of them.