Denver Vacation Day 3: Views & Brews

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Ben and I couldn’t have been more excited to get Day 3 of our Denver vacation started (me because it started with another Starbys) but also because we were headed to beautiful, unique Fort Collins, Colorado!

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Fort Collins, located 57 miles north of Denver, was founded as a military outpost in 1864 on the Cache La Poudre River. It was established to protect the Overland mail route in the region during the Indian wars in the mid 1860s. Today, it is the fifth largest city in Colorado and is home to Colorado State University.

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Money Magazine named Ft. Collins Best Place to Live in 2006 and they nabbed the #2 spot in 2008!

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While Ben drove, I concentrated on hydrating. Colorado air and elevation sucks the water right out of your body – we literally could not drink enough water while we were out there!

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About an hour after we departed Denver, we arrived in Ft. Collins!

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One of the main reasons we wanted to head up was to tour the New Belgium Brewery located in town. Ben is a fan of their 1554 beer and we thought, heck, when in beer country – tour! The tours didn’t begin until 1:00pm though, so we headed up to Horsetooth Reservoir for a couple hours of exploring. :)

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The Horsetooth Reservoir is located in the foothills of Ft. Collins and is 1,900 acres of water surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land.

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The reservoir is open year round and is absolutely breathtaking!

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On the drive up the foothills, there were several places to park, get out and take pictures. So, of course, I did. ;)

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The sky was as blue as could be against the sandstone rock on our right.

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But paled in comparison to the deep blue of the fresh water to our left.

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Ben and I hiked a bit around the boulders and trees. You can see how gorgeous the weather was – Ben is only wearing a t-shirt!

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IGE – picture taking warrior. ;)

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The couple that hikes together, stays together!

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There was a lot of silence on this hill too. Ben and I both appreciate naturally occurring beauty like this. It really puts things into perspective and makes you realize how little your “big” problems in life really are.

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I didn’t want to leave!

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Soon enough, though, it was time to head out. Belgium Brewery Tour Time! 

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The New Belgium Brewery was started in 1991 after its founder returned from a bike tour across Europe with a mission to create delicious beer with character from unconventional ingredients – new Belgium beer! 

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After several brewery moves, the company finally built their current location from the ground up, and I’ve got to tell you, it couldn’t be cooler!! You’ll see…

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We started our tour in the malt and yeast cellar. 

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These huge kettles contained the mash that feeds the yeast in the beer – and also made the room about 90 degrees. 8O

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Luckily, they planned for it and had a beverage waiting for us to cool down with – Le Fluer Misseur. Named for a time when the founder of the company had a rough day biking through France on his original journey, and was cheered up when a small boy offered him a flower. :) The beer was very florally, light and unique – I liked it a lot!

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The room was more art gallery than malt & yeast cellar, with beautiful mosaics on the floor surrounding the massive kettles.

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Cheers!

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Yep.

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We left the cellar and paused to appreciate all the bikes that decorate the brewery. One of the beers they’re most known for is Fat Tire Beer – named for the founders bike trip through Europe.

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A lot of the employees ride their bikes to work, too!

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Next we saw where the hops get added into the mix.

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LOTS of pipes in this place!

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And saw a map of where all the brewery visitors have come from.

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Whoop, whoop – Iowa!

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Next we passed by the canning room. New Belgium has only recently begun to can a small selection of their beers – they can do about 600 cans an hour in here, if I remember correctly!

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After a short trip outside and into another building…

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We found ourselves in the bottling area. Here, they can process over 700 bottle a minute!

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Don’t worry – there’s still time to play during all that bottling. It IS beer, after all!

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This is about the time when Ben and I started to wonder if we were in the right industry…

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The bottle cap opener on the door into the main building confirmed it for us. This place is DOPE!

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Ping pong tables: check. Bottle cap openers: check. Slides going from one floor to another: CHECK! Ne Belgium brewery is a FUNHOUSE!

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Also scattered throughout the brewery were hula hoops, skateboards and foosball tables. You know – things you’d find at any office… ;)

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After the incredible tour, we were treated to two tastes of any of the beers on tap.

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Oh, here’s our tour guide – she was so great!

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Ben and I chose a seat in the bright, open lounge.

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And sipped our tastes slowly. These were as fresh as can be and SO tasty!

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I tried the Abbey brew which smelled like bananas when swirled in the glass and finished with my personal favorite New Belgium beer, Mothership Whit, a wheat beer with citrus notes. Delicious!!

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Life was good. :)

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It was about this time when we received the news that we had better come home in the morning, or risk not being able to come home at all. So, we re-strategized and came up with part 2 of our third and last day in Colorado on the fly. Re-cap coming soon!

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Comments

  1. I can’t get over how gorgeous the scenery is there!

  2. Molly 12.23.2009

    GORGEOUS! I will be out in Colorado on Monday, and your pictures are making me more and more excited! Love it!

  3. Jessie 12.23.2009

    I love New Belgium beers. A friend of my husbands introduced us to Fat Tire in the spring and we love it!

  4. Christina 12.23.2009

    Simply gorgeous!!!

  5. Colorado looks SO gorgeous!! I would love to go sometime. And yes, Fat Tire is delicious :).

  6. Sarah Jayne 12.23.2009

    Ummm and I thought the Coors brewery was awesome. SOO incredible! Now I will be on a mission to find as many varieties of New Belgium as possible! I have only ever had 1554.

    Gorgeous views while hiking as well :) Perfect last day!

  7. FoodCents 12.23.2009

    Isn’t the brewery incredible? Great company. If you get back to FTC, check out the O’Dells Brewery.

    You did get out in time, snow coming down now, flights being canceled :(

  8. April 12.23.2009

    My husband and I went to Ft. Collins for the 1st time this summer and fell in lOVE with the town. I so want to quit my job in cubicle hell and work as a greeter at New Belgium! Thanks for sharing and reminding me of the awesome vacation we had this year!

  9. Erin 12.23.2009

    I’m a native of Fort Collins and am so happy you enjoyed your time here…it truly is an amazing place to live! Next time you make it out, try summer and hike Horsetooth; it’s lovely!

  10. Anne 12.23.2009

    What a fun trip! I love all the pictures. The scenery is breathtaking!

  11. Graze With Me 12.23.2009

    Yay, I’m so glad you had a good time in my town!!! I love New Belgium, its the only brewery left in Fort Collins that still lets you taste for free. It’s ALWAYS packed on Saturdays (the only day I can go) too. It’s so cool seeing one of my local hangouts on someone else’s blog!

    Can’t wait for the next part… :)

  12. You are making me want to visit Colorado asap! Gorgeous pics. And now I’m wondering if there is a bewery in my area that might be in need of a Communications Specialist – but only if their work environment is as fun as that place. I’ve also determined I need to expand my beer horizons – my Bud Light choice is looking pathetic. :-/

  13. Ft. Collins looks beautiful and I’m SOOOO jealous! Fat Tire is my FAVORITE beer! : ) I’m definitely going to have to try the Mothership next!

  14. Deirdre 12.23.2009

    I didn’t know they made Fat Tire! I had them all the time when I was at my cousin’s wedding in Denver this summer. Its a great beer. Looks like you guys had a great time!

  15. Katie 12.23.2009

    Great photos!

    I love the hanging bikes!

    Happy Hump Day,

    Katie
    http://katiechangesforkatie.blogspot.com/2009/12/win-some-booty-slim-secrets-winners.html

  16. Quinn 12.23.2009

    LOVE all your brewery tours! This one looked really cool with all the slides and entertainment!

    And that scenery is absolutely gorgeous. So jealous of your trip!

  17. The views everywhere in Colorado were amazing. Some of the photos I took are now art on my walls.

  18. Barista 12.24.2009

    Hope you have a great trip and happy holidays!

    So yesterday I was looking at my wordpress stats and saw that someone got to my blog by searching for ” ‘iowa girl eats’ panties”. I’m. not. lying. I cracked up when I saw that and had to share. Creepy fans out there, eh.

  19. […] Comments « Denver Vacation Day 3: Views & Brews […]

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  21. para kazanmak 08.07.2011

    “”Ft. Collins looks beautiful and I’m SOOOO jealous!””

  22. […] brewery tour on bikes. A couple years ago we did the Coors brewery tour in Golden, CO, and the New Belgium Brewery tour in Ft. Collins (a MUST DO for anyone visiting the area!) but, hello, multi breweries visited via […]

  23. Jessica 12.23.2012

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post! I work at New Belgium (previously as a tour guide, now in the accounting dept) and am glad you had such a good time there. Your tour guide Melinda is also a good friend of mine. She had a baby a year and a half ago and I was hired in her place! You did a great job of capturing our culture here. Come back again, we’ve grown and changed so much already!

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