It’s always been my opinion that beer is gross. Don’t get me wrong, I partook in a good number of college drinking games and willingly consumed watery, cloudy concoctions, but to my limited knowledge, all beer was heavy and disappointing. Trust me, Urban Dictionary says it best: “Natty Light- an important part of every college kid’s nourishing diet. Best when consumed in excessive quantities.” And boy was it consumed in excessive quantities. But lo and behold, beer can be good (I did not say is good, and I think I have proved my point with Natty Light). Little did I realize when moving to Colorado, not only would I happily drink the occasional beer, but I would suggest weekend beer tastings and brewery tours as a thrilling activity! No wonder people are so active here, because otherwise Boulder would have the world’s highest population of beer-bellied slackers.
“The Napa Valley of Beer,” is a title I have come to associate with the Boulder Valley region. I kid you not, Colorado alone has 140 established microbreweries, with new craft beers being poured every day. The Front Range, which extends from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs along the western ridge of the Colorado Rockies, is heavily populated with phenomenal microbrews, such as New Belgium, Odell’s, Avery, Boulder, Oskar Blues, and Great Divide Brewing Companies. Furthermore, Denver is the home to the Great American Beer Festival, which sold out all 49,000 tickets in 45 minutes this year. Needless to say, beer is BIG.
If the statistics and numbers didn’t impress me, the flavors did. Upon moving here, I expected to see the stereotypical Bud Lite, Miller Lite, and of course a plethora of Coors to dominate the taps in a college town, but instead I encountered Hazed and Infused, Fat Tire, and Colorado Native. What’s more, it’s cheap! Not tasting, but costing. How easily I can access phenomenal blends of hoppy goodness. I’ve been on five different brewery tours between Fort Collins, Boulder and Golden, and I know the most important ingredient in beer is water (shocking, but here you actually get to taste the Rockies). Every time friends come to visit, my first thought is which brewery to take them to. I love the experience, I adore the people, and the delectable drafts keep me coming back for more.
I know it seems so stereotypical talking about beer in October. After all, I was born in Germany, and they do Oktoberfest right. But this past weekend we took some friends from home to New Belgium. This is the largest microbrewery in Colorado, distributed to 26 states, and it all started with a guy mountain biking through Belgium. Who doesn’t want to work in a place with a swirly slide? Before we knew what else we would do that weekend, I quickly snatched the last available tour slot, and smiled knowing no matter what, we would have a great time. And we did.