When travel experts, outdoor enthusiasts, and environmental activists list the top cities in America sure to cater to their cause or passion, Boulder, Colo., consistently stands out. Known throughout the West for its commitment to sustainable living, aptitude for outdoor sports and focus on the arts and entertainment, this Front Range hub is now making a name for itself in an industry that many people can get on board with: beer.
With no less than 14 microbreweries and brewpubs within the city limits, not to mention famed Denver and Fort Collins, Colo., breweries such as Great Divide and New Belgium within driving distance, Boulder is quickly becoming a beer mecca for brew snobs and lovers alike.
Mountain Sun has not one, not two, but four spin-off locations in or near Boulder where you can drink beer, eat food and bask in the warm glow of a colorful and whimsical environment.
Rocking hardy pub-grub and slinging ales, such as their well-known and well-loved Colorado Kind Ale, this Boulder staple makes its home on downtown Pearl Street, while also offering a bigger version with a mountain view, Southern Sun, in south Boulder. Located just below Southern Sun is Under the Sun, a bistro-style restaurant where the food morphs from the grilled cheese and fries of Southern Sun, to craft pizzas and fresh salads that pair perfectly with the beers on tap. The newest location, Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse located in Longmont, Colo., (just northeast of Boulder) offers delicious eats and all of Mountain Sun's staple beers.
A Glass All Its Own
Leading the pack in microbreweries is Avery Brewing Co. In operation for more than 20 years now, Avery is finally expanding beyond its cozy taproom on the outskirts of the city to its new and much bigger location near Gunbarrel, Colo.
But don't fear. All of the Avery favorites are coming along, including the refreshing White Rascal, savory Ellie's Brown and the bold Reverend.
Popping the top on some Avery — Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing Company
A Touch of Class
Two breweries making a name for themselves not only for their delicious ale concoctions, but also for their food pairings, are Fate Brewing Co. and BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats. Instead of taking the hole-in-the-wall pub-grub approach, these establishments prefer to craft their food to compliment the beer.
Got the Blues
With two locations within a short drive of Boulder, Oskar Blues Brewery is a must-visit when checking out the beer scene of the Front Range and Boulder area. The location in Lyons, Colo., is funky, exciting and known for its quality musical acts in the subterranean taproom.
Oskar Blues of Longmont, known as the Tasty Weasel Taproom, offers and fresh beer-scene vibe, savory Creole-inspried food and jams in the beer loft.
On Your Tour
Some other names that simply must be mentioned, particularly if a beer tour is on the itinerary, are up-and-coming Upslope Brewing Co. and Colorado's very first microbrewery, Boulder Beer Co. Both spots offer lively atmospheres, refreshing ales and are representative of the thriving beer scene of Boulder.
For those interested in big-name distributers, Coors Brewery makes its home in Golden, Colo., just 30 minutes from Boulder and on the way to scenic drives, skiing, and rock-climbing. Their brewery tours are known throughout the Front Range for being fun, informative, and culminating with beer sampling in their tasting room, of course. The tour is free, self-paced, and open daily.
With so many options, eating, drinking, and being merry in Boulder is par for the course.