If you’re just here for the breweries...
It says something that the trade group representing craft breweries, the Brewers Association, has its home base here. Coors, of course, got its start in the state, and has an enormous manufacturing facility a half-hour away in Golden -- the free tour is super popular! But if you don’t want to leave Boulder’s confines for a local beer, you certainly won’t be lacking for options. In fact, Boulder has the second most microbreweries per capita in the country.
Pay homage to the craft beer brands that started locally and achieved an international reach like Avery and Oskar Blues (which began as a brewpub in nearby Lyons). Both have expanded well beyond their humble beginnings, none more so than Avery, which shed its original cramped digs in an industrial park and built an awe-inspiring brewery/restaurant in north Boulder. You’ll be able to taste taproom rarities you won’t find anywhere else, as well as find plenty of its boozy, barrel-aged selections that are produced in limited quantities. Don’t skip the food, either. Avery’s menu is loaded with both vegetarian and carnivorous entrees as well as excellent brewhouse shareables like pretzels, fries, poutine, cheeses, and wings.
Oskar Blues’ newly opened taproom on Pearl Street is worth swinging by if you’re in the area, but there’s something homey and charming about their Longmont taproom location. Sure, that charm might be enhanced by a 12.8% barrel-aged Ten Fidy with chocolate, hazelnut, and praline, but you’ll feel it all the same. If you have any non-drinkers in your party, hook 'em up with a pint of OB’s own Hotbox Roasters nitro coffee on tap. And while you’re in Longmont, don’t miss the chance to swing by one -- or both -- of the brewery’s restaurants, which serves up items like delicious Angus burgers at Chuburger and solid tacos (like chicken, chorizo, and sweet potato with green chile) at Cyclhops.
Colorado’s new school breweries are also well represented in Boulder and the surrounding towns. A half-hour outside Boulder is Lafayette’s Odd13 Brewing, a must-hit for hazy IPA lovers. Upslope Brewing’s two taprooms around town are pouring beers that have been quietly racking up Great American Beer Fest awards since 2009. Seasonal suds are Upslope’s strong suit, from Thai Style White IPAs in the summer to masterful Pumpkin Ales in the fall. And don’t forget to give the little guys some love, like VisionQuest Brewery, with a host of inventive wild ales and sours sure to please even the most critical beer snobs.