by James Yearling
Welcome to the next frontier of beer. In Fort Collins, beer inspires us to dream big and grow outside of our comfort zone but to always remember what’s brewing here at home. It reminds us to be proud and to work harder, but to always follow our folly and find time to play just as hard (with recyclable can in hand, of course). Simply put, beer and life in the Choice City pair together perfectly, with downtown Fort Collins serving up the best of both.
A short 25 years after the first microbrewery was established in Fort Collins, local brews now flow naturally into the landscape, while “beer” and “celebration” have almost become synonymous. Local beer is everywhere: poured at community concerts and events, served in fine dining establishments, included in art gallery walks, donated at fundraisers, honored through brew festivals and hosted on guest taps at local watering holes.
Fourteen breweries are vested members of the Fort Collins community, as the “Napa Valley of Craft Beer” quickly approaches official beer-centric status. Paved bike paths connect breweries and the popularity of six-packs has been surpassed by that of take-home growlers – the equivalent of “farmer’s market fresh”, straight from the brewery taps to your table.
Downtown Fort Collins serves as an incubator for artistic expression and ideas, and our beer helps to band us together in support of local music, art, food and most anything that is soulful, artisan, locally-sourced or hand-crafted. Even the beer itself is revered as “liquid-art,” with carefully-sourced ingredients, thoughtful preparation and an affinity for reinventing the ordinary. Some breweries even double as live music and performance venues, and most regularly showcase local art and photography.
Through awards and industry acclaim, Fort Collins beer is putting us on the map. Each local brew shipped out the door highlights the area as a desirable place to live and work, ripe with entrepreneurial opportunity – a breeding grounds for innovation and a place where the radical collaboration of ideas has proven to be both economically and environmentally sustainable. Fort Collins beer inspires us to grow and thrive, and exemplifies how to do it the right way by sourcing locally, re-using and recycling, and supporting organizations that benefit the community.
In Downtown Fort Collins, a glass of beer is a hand-held reminder of who we are and what we love.
This year, the Colorado Brewers Festival celebrates its 25th edition on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29, hosted in downtown Fort Collins’ Civic Center area. The festival will present over 100 Colorado craft beers from 50+ Colorado breweries, paired with Colorado-centric vendors, festival-style attractions – think mechanical bull rides under a blue sky – and will also feature some of the state’s finest musicians performing on two stages. And best of all, admission is free!