Distilleries: The Other Side Of the Craft

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By Lauren Hoff

It is no secret that you can’t throw a pint glass in this town without hitting a locally crafted beer. This town is overflowing with suds, but there are other craft beverage industries growing and thriving in Northern Colorado, too. By the end of the year, local distilleries will be closing in on 10 spirit making companies. Local wineries are springing up too, with 7 already making vintages. If you ever have a need to sip something a little less carbonated, Northern Colorado has you covered.

Fort Collins is about to get its first distillery, Feisty Spirits, in the coming months. They plan to focus on the production of whiskey and bourbon. Located on Lincoln, perfectly placed on the route between Funkwerks and Odell Brewing Company, it is sure to become a popular stop for craft enthu- siasts. It has been no small feat for Feisty Spirits to be opening in Fort Collins, as others have sought to open in the town but found it too difficult.

Most distilleries in Northern Colorado are located outside of Fort Collins, in Loveland and Greeley. Dancing Pines, Spring 44 and Overland Distilling are all located in Loveland. Syntax Spirits in Greeley originally planned to open in Fort Col- lins, but choose otherwise after a year of wasted time and money. Heather Bean, Mistress of Stills for Syntax believes, “the regulatory climate (in Fort Collins) is rather inhospitable” and began looking elsewhere to take their business.

The variety of spirits these distilleries provide is just as vast as the amount of beers available. If you are looking for a top shelf liqueur for your next cocktail party, Dancing Pines Distillery will have you covered with their chai, brulee, or cherry tar liqueur. Spring 44 has your vodka and gin to go with them, including their popular honey vodka.

Wine lovers are not ones to be left behind in the growing craft movement. Despite the Colo- rado climate being generally unforgiving to the needs of grape vines, local wineries are popping up in La Porte, Estes Park and Loveland. They offer their fermented grapes just as a brewery would, in cozy tasting rooms and bottle distribu- tion. Ten Bears Wintery located in La Porte offers

their wines for sampling in their tasting room. They also make a popular cider called Bear Trap. You can sip their wines along with 400 others at Fort Collins Winefest on March 22nd. Other local wineries such as Snowy Peaks Winery, will also be featured in this event to benefit Disabled Resource Services.

We can’t forget about honey wine, also known as mead. Hunters Moon Meadery in Severance produces several styles of mead. Their Kim’s Clove Metheglen and Lunar Lemon Melomel offer a different craft tasting experience. They make their meads from honey they produce with their own bees. You can tour their facility and bring some home by making an appointment.

It is easy in Northern Colorado to get drowned in the beer culture and forget that there are other tasty libations to sip. The craft culture reaches farther than we think, we are truly lucky to have so many amazing businesses that are run by pas- sionate people. Next time you are looking for a drink at happy hour, ask what local spirits or wines are available.

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