Story and photo by: Veronica Baas
Fort Collins is home to over 20 unique, successful breweries. Some are nationally recognized, and for good reason, but don’t miss out on the hidden gems this college town has to offer. Use our guide to brewery hop and you’ll hit local spots and famous companies alike.
1. New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium takes number one for a couple reasons. They offer the best tour experience in town, and it’s free. They serve you four 8oz beers as you walk through the factory—gotta love the drink and learn method. Plus, there are two chances to win additional beer throughout the tour. Make a reservation online, preferably 6 to 8 weeks in advance as they tend to fill up quickly. However, each tour does have a standby list, but you must be at the Liquid Center 10 to 15 minutes early to add your name.
2. Black Bottle Brewery
The at food Black Bottle is awesome, and the service is too, but I go for the vibe. Being located next to CSU, the crowd tends to be younger—especially in the afternoons. Black Bottle rotates 40 taps, most which are Colorado brewed. If you have any ideas for a new brew, don’t be shy to share with them…they take customer critique very seriously!
3. Funkwerks, Inc.
If you are interested in touring Funkwerks on a weekday, call ahead to arrange something. Otherwise, show up on a Friday or Saturday afternoon for a walk-in tour. Funkwerks really does a phenomenal job with the sours and saisons. Iff that is your thing, I recommend a beer flight so you can try them all. Or ask your bartender to make you a mixed beer—they’re trained to make it tasty, I promise.
4. Horse and Dragon Brewery
This spot can be crowded, but the beer comes at a good price and it’s top notch. I recommend sitting out back on the patio where there’s more space and the service is quicker. With 15 taps to choose from, go for a flight again.
5. Three Four Beer Co.
Whether you’re looking for a quick drink or a bartender to take care of you all night, this is the place to go. Three Four has a big selection of craft beer, and I’ve never ordered one I didn’t love.
6. Gilded Goat Brewing Company
This brewery offers a well-rounded selection of beer—house favorites, as well as some funky flavors too. Schedule a tour to see the brewhouse and hear more about the locally sourced ingredients used in Gilded Goat beer.
7. McClellan’s Brewing Company
McClellan’s tends to be on the opposite side of town for most people, but I’d say it’s worth the drive, especially if you’re hungry. Some of the nicest servers I’ve had were at McClellan’s, and the service is always fast. Plus, they are mindful when it comes to reducing food waste.
8. Budweiser Brewery Experience
Budweiser is not my favorite beer, probably not yours either. But I admit, the touring experience was well worth it. I enjoyed seeing production on a larger scale, and the tour guides were very resourceful. They knew so much about other interesting, non-beer related Fort Collins history. Use this coupon to save 50 percent on admission.
9. Maxline Brewing
Be sure to catch at least one tour, as well as hit a few of the big breweries. But then, settle in for a couple beers at Maxline. The inviting, friendly atmosphere is laid back and all ages. They have a big patio and food trucks come through. Stop by for a beer and bring your dog along. The selection is smaller than most microbreweries in Foco, read more before you go.
10. Zwei Brewing Co.
Unless Zwei is my only stop, I rarely go because it’s so far south. However, if you live near harmony, this should be your new spot. It’s a German-style brewery with traditional European beers, but a good IPA selection too. Food trucks come here as well, and it’s another one of Foco’s kid-friendly breweries with plenty of TVs and board games to entertain them.
Each of these breweries has something different to offer. No matter where you go, you’ll find great beer, good service, and a unique business model. If you’ve got time, stop at them all! Check the map for my recommended brewery hop route, location, and hours.