Fort Collins is the largest producer of craft beer in Colorado (responsible for 70 percent, in fact), which is ironic for a town that was “dry” until 1969. Currently, the city is home to more than 20 craft breweries, the most in the state. Each has its own distinctive style, including one of the world’s largest operations (who is also a leader in eco-friendly and sustainable business practices). To get a taste of award-winning lagers, pilsners and ales year-round, take part of some brewery tours and a wild variety of taster trays. You might even want to spend a few days to taste them all!
A large percentage of Fort Collins breweries are located within historical downtown, including industry-leaders New Belgium Brewing and gold-medal-winning Odell Brewing Company, all within walking and bicycling distance, making them easy to visit in one trip. Beer lovers can also take guided tours that provide insider knowledge and transportation between each brewery, making for a perfect beer day. One of the best and most fun ways to gain this insider knowledge is signing up for brewery tours with Beer and Bike Tours. Fort Collins has experienced a boom in brewery growth in the past decade, bringing breweries to all areas of the city, including South Fort Collins, Midtown and the Colorado State University campus.
Fort Collins produces beers of every type, including locally loved IPAs, tasty stouts, collaboration ales between all breweries and extremely drinkable wheat beers. These passions make Fort Collins a perfect beer lovers’ and homebrewers’ paradise. Brewing stores offer hard-to-find hops, malts, tools of the trade and experts to consult.
Bicycles have a close relationship to the beer in Fort Collins with New Belgium Brewing Company’s affinity for bicycles, including the annual Tour de Fat bike parade and festival, bike and beer tours, keg delivery by bicycle, bike paths linking breweries together and a bike-share program through Spin.
If you want to see the inner workings of the brewing process you can sign up to take brewery tours at New Belgium Brewing Company. Or you can hop on a bike and ride from brewery to brewery with Beer and Bike Tours. Bottling and canning lines, sustainable practices, water- and green-energy initiatives, and tasting insights are all part of what you learn on the tours.
Now set out on your taste bud adventure to some of these high quality Fort Collins breweries!
C.B. & Potts
C.B. & Potts Restaurant and Brewery has been a Colorado tradition since 1974, featuring quality food, award-winning beverages and medal-winning craft-brewed ales and lagers in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere.
CooperSmith’s Pub and Brewing
This is the perfect place for a bite to eat with your brews. CooperSmith’s is the longest-operating brewery in Fort Collins, and is an anchor business downtown. Their specialty beers, such as Albert Damm Bitter and Punjabi India Ale, are served in the English tradition, dispensed from hand-drawn “beer engines” that pull in nitrogen from the atmosphere to give the beer a nice creamy head.
DC Oakes Brewhouse and Eatery
DC Oakes was named after Daniel Chessman Oakes who was one of the earliest settlers in Colorado. This brewery pays homage to Oakes’ pioneering spirit by emulating his tireless work ethic through the passion of making handcrafted beer. DC Oakes also serves up great tasting food, along with classic cocktails, wine and other local beers on tap.
Envy Brewing adds to the craft beer presence on the south end of town. In addition to beer, Envy also has a full kitchen and offers select Colorado-made spirits. Envy considers itself a community-centric brewery that welcomes collaboration with local microbreweries and homebrewers alike.
Equinox is inspired by the balance and intrigue of the equinox and the changing of seasons, which brings a dynamic twist to their beers. A cozy outdoor patio that is always buzzing, live music and very tasty brews makes this a must stop. Enjoy many rotating selections and special firkin tapping every Thursday.
This brewery focuses primarily on saisons, with fruity aromas, and often offers drier profiles which become wonderful summer beers made by the masters. Funkwerks has won many medals in the past 5 years. Their Deceit Belgian-style golden strong beer was awarded a silver medal in 2014 at the World Beer Cup. Refreshing and award winning, it's a must stop along your tour.
Gilded Goat Brewing Co.
This is a small, family-owned and -operated neighborhood brewery in the heart of Fort Collins. They serve a mix of classic styles, experimental batches and sour beers in a very comfortable taproom. Check out the club-level seating so you can see the brewhouse in action or, if you prefer, stay for a guided tasting session. They also have a location downtown with a quaint backyard patio.
Hello Brew Co.
Hello Brew Co. is a brewery-taproom located in a 120-year-old home in the River District. This small taproom offers a minimalist, yet homey, environment. Hello Brew Co. is focused on providing contemporary IPAs and Czech-style Pilsners.
Horse and Dragon Brewing Co.
A a local Fort Collins’ favorite that includes a skilled master brewer and owners with years of beer-industry experience. Their motto is: "Work and family, hops and malt, Horse & Dragon." They craft high-quality, great-tasting beers sustainably while building community in the heart of northern Colorado.
Intersect is a neighborhood-focused craft brewery that's family-, bike- and dog-friendly, with a taproom, beer garden and quick access to the Spring Creek Trail at Drake and Taft Hill.
The Jessup Farm Barrel House
This brewery is unique thanks in part to being housed in a 133-year-old restored barn that sits on the 13-acre Jessup Farm Artisan Village. The Barrel House is known for blending beers with barrels used for wine, bourbon and other specialty barrel-aged beer in order to create intricate flavors derived from the attributes of those barrels.
Maxline has a commitment to quality malts, hops, water and yeast that matches their passion for brewing enticing beer. This brewery has a focus on supporting the community, as each member of the company dedicates six hours each month volunteering at local nonprofits and sustainable farms.
Located in west Fort Collins, Mythmaker's mission is to brew in traditional and experimental ways in a community-driven, hospitality-focused environment. Their small-batch-brew system ensures a constantly changing beer list for your exploratory palate. With up to 17 beers of all varieties from pale and black to sweet and sour to experimental and historical on tap, you'll find your favorite.
New Belgium Brewing Co.
Born on a bike, New Belgium Brewing is recognized as a leader in sustainability and social responsibility. Founded in 1991 by a homebrewer and social worker in Fort Collins, the company expanded to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2016 and Denver in 2018 — and is now the fourth-largest craft brewery in the U.S. Dedicated to proving that business can be a force for good, New Belgium is a Certified B Corp and was the first brewery to join 1% for the Planet. New Belgium is famous for its flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale, along with year-round favorites like Voodoo Ranger IPA, Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza and La Folie Sour Brown Ale. They also have an award-winning, wood-aged sour program and innovative limited release beers.
Odell Brewing Co.
Home brewer Doug Odell opened his craft brewery in 1989. In addition to their original 90 Shilling, a rich amber ale, Odell’s popular brews include Easy Street Wheat, a gold-medal winner at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Levity Golden Amber and Isolation Ale, which is available from November to March. A go-to brewery for locals and visitors, you'll find live music, food trucks and warm fire pits make the Odell patio a regional destination.
Peculier Ales Fort Collins
A distinguished craft brewery that prides itself on its unique blend of tradition and innovation is what you'll find here. Nestled within an industrial brewhouse, the company's ethos is "Beer Set Apart" — perfectly encapsulated by every beer’s unique creativity, set apart by its flavor, texture and the craftsmanship that goes into its brewing.
Prost Brewing Company
Prost's alleyway taproom is a homecoming of sorts for the Denver-based craft brewery thanks in part to Prost Brewing having an ownership team comprised of CSU alumni. The gold-medal-winning brewery makes German-style lagers exclusively and serves them in a Bavarian-themed taproom.
Purpose Brewing and Cellars
Purpose has introduced a new concept to the Fort Collins brewing scene where beers change weekly and are never repeated. Their "purpose," is to use a thoughtful, artistic, collaborative and authentic approach to crafting one-of-a-kind coffees and beers and support the local community.
Rally King Brewing
A favorite neighborhood brewery for Midtown locals and other craft-beer lovers, Rally King is located right off of the Spring Creek Trail. The family-run brewery is kid, dog and bike friendly, and offers a variety of brews from European-style ales to IPAs and sours, releasing new beers to to three times per month.
Colorado State University's on-campus brewery includes a full-scale brewing operation for students of the Fermentation Science and Technology Program. Ramskeller has a 264-gallon brewing system, making it the largest housed system at any university in the country. Students brew for class and tap those beers at the Ramskeller campus bar.
Salt Road Brewing
Salt Road Brewing sources high-quality Colorado ingredients to create unique, classic, innovative styles of beer. The downtown location provides a gathering space for the community to bond while sipping on delicious beer made from local malts, hops, yeast and pure Rocky Mountain water. View local artwork in the taproom or relax on their patio around a cozy fire pit surrounded by hops.
Stodgy Brewing is one of the newest breweries in town. It's a casual neighborhood gathering space with a large outdoor patio and cozy indoor areas. Stodgy is the perfect place to relax and have a wonderful end to your day exploring Fort Collins.
A departure from the traditional brewery, Snowbank Brewing focuses on innovation and a passion for the Colorado lifestyle. Beers are named for wonderful Colorado landscapes and made from Colorado snowmelt.
Zwei Brewing Co.
Zwei is focused on German beers and the great heritage of Old World brewing. These ideals and passions have helped inspire their flagship beer line as well as their rotating taps.
A version of this article originally appeared on visitftcollins.com.