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No visit is complete without sampling the local brews, wines and cuisine that have made Colorado food famous. Season 15 of the popular TV show Top Chef filmed in Denver, Boulder and Telluride to showcase the state as a culinary destination for inspired chefs and foodies. Farm-to-table menus were a mainstay in Colorado long before they became trendy. Regional specialties like Colorado lamb, classic steaks and chops taste better when paired with locally grown vegetables. Some restaurants even have their own gardens and farms to ensure patrons are served only the freshest foods.
Fans of spicy dishes soon discover that the Centennial State has its own version of Mexican cuisine. The Pueblo chile is grown only in Colorado. It is often fire-roasted and quite spicy. The Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival in September celebrates the fall chile harvest. Sample a variety of dishes using fresh green chiles and enjoy live music, arts and crafts vendors, cooking competitions and a farmers market. The Fort Collins Foodie Walk is held the third Friday of the month in downtown Fort Collins. Take a self-guided tour and enjoy locally made wine and beer, fresh-baked desserts and tasty appetizers served by local food shops and restaurants.
Colorado is home to over 200 craft breweries and produces more beer than any other state in the country. The Front Range boasts the most breweries but other areas of the state also contribute a good share of craft beers. More than 50 distilleries manufacture a variety of fine spirits using ingredients grown in Colorado. Some spirit makers are teaming with local chefs to create specialty cocktails using fruit-infused vodkas, whiskeys and liqueurs. Fort Collins and Golden are two popular destinations for brewery tours. Visit the Budweiser Brewery on Busch Drive in Fort Collins and enjoy a complimentary tour. See panoramic views of the foothills and get a behind-the-scenes look at the beer brewing process. Enjoy a variety of brews in the beer garden and catch a glimpse of the famous Clydesdale horses.
The Fort Collins Brewery at the corner of Lincoln and North Lemay features popular brews like 1900 Amber Lager, Rocky Mountain IPA, Major Tom’s American Wheat and seasonal brews. New Belgium Brewing Company on Linden Street in Fort Collins began in 1991 and has grown into the third largest craft brewery in the United States. Free tours are offered daily from 11am-4:30 pm. Sample popular brews like Fat Tire and 1553 Black Ale and learn how the various brews are made. Odell Brewing Company is located on Lincoln Avenue, east of 3rd Street in Fort Collins. Tours are offered daily from 1-4pm and last one hour. Stop by the brewery for Live Music Wednesday during the summer months. MillerCoors Brewery is the world’s largest single-site brewery. Take a self-paced tour of the Golden, Colorado plant and see the various stages of manufacturing including malting, brewing and packaging. Enjoy tastings and see exhibits, historic photos, cans and memorabilia. Tours are offered Thursday-Monday.
With over 110 wineries in the state, Colorado is a connoisseur’s delight. Palisade and Grand Junction on the Western Slope are considered the heart of Colorado wine country and most wineries in the region offer free tours and tastings. Have a picnic with scenic views of the vineyards, or kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy an outdoor concert in the summer months. While most wineries offer classics like chardonnay, white zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, many Colorado vineyards use unique grapes that grow better in the state. Others concoct fruit wines using locally harvested apples, peaches, apricots and cherries. Explore the I-25 Corridor along the Front Range and stop by wineries in Castle Rock, Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins and Estes Park. Going west on I-70 you’ll pass wine tasting rooms in Georgetown, Dillon, Aspen, Steamboat Springs and Minturn. The Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs areas in South Central Colorado boast a growing number of wineries and some of the state’s oldest vineyards at Salida and Cañon City. The Four Corners Wine Trail in Southwest Colorado begins in Durango and winds through Cortez, Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia.
Fruits in Colorado are cherished for the special sweetness achieved by warm days and cool nights. The orchards located along the state’s western slope grow a bounty of peaches, cherries and apples. Stop at roadside stands in late summer and fall for fresh fruits, jams, honey and other locally made specialties. At many of the state’s popular food festivals you can sample delicious fruits and vegetables at their peak. Strawberry Days, held in Glenwood Springs each June, features strawberries served a variety of ways, plus a carnival, live music and crafts. Rocky Ford’s Watermelon Day in August is part of the Arkansas Valley Fair. See expert watermelon carvers, test your skill at spitting seeds, or choose a free watermelon from the giant pile and enjoy it at a picnic.
Many towns have weekly farmers markets with farm fresh produce, craft vendors and live entertainment. Visitors to the state’s rural areas also enjoy farms and ranches with pumpkin picking, corn mazes, hayrides, petting zoos and other activities around the fall harvest and Halloween season. Fritzler’s Corn Maze, near Greeley, features a fun maze, a mini-roller coaster ride, duck races, pumpkin cannons, a haunted maze and fun for the whole family. Anderson Farms in Erie is famous as one of the state’s longest running corn mazes. Join the zombie paintball hunt or try your luck with gourd launching. Mesa Verde County has several farms where you can pick your own apples, pumpkins, corn, squash and herbs. Jumpin Good Goat Dairy in Buena Vista features tours of the working dairy, cheese samples and a chance to test your skill at milking.
Originally introduced to the public in 1876, Budweiser is one of the largest beer companies in the world, available in more than 80 markets – the name alone is nearly synonymous with beer. A pale lager, Budweiser features breweries around the globe, including one in Fort Collins. As you explore northern Colorado, be sure to plan a visit of the Budweiser Brewery.
You'll find the Budweiser Brewery on Busch Road, just west of Interstate 25 and south of Richards Lake Road. Once you're there, enjoy a complimentary tour, where you'll find an up-close view of the brewing process – start to finish. Open to those 21 years old and over, the Budweiser Brewery Tour is a great way to complement any visit to Fort Collins.
Founded in 2003, the Fort Collins Brewery is one of the newer additions to the brewing family of Fort Collins. Within the general Fort Collins area, you can also find breweries for Budweiser, Odell's, and New Belgium. The Fort Collins Brewery can be found on the northwest corner of Lincoln Avenue and N. Lemay Avenue.
The Fort Collins Brewery is an ideal destination for any beer lover – make your way there on your next trip across northern Colorado. You'll find some top brews like the 1900 Amber Lager, the Rocky Mountain IPA, and Major Tom's American Wheat. Some of the seasonal brews at Fort Collins Brewery are Maibock and the Big Shot.
Originally founded as Coors Brewery in 1873, MillerCoors Brewery officially came to be in 2008, and has been a Golden must-see ever since. Denver area visitors enjoy a self-paced, free tour of the "world's largest single-site brewery," catching highlights of the processes for malting, brewing, and packaging.
After the tour, try a sample in the refrigerated room and check out the historical photos, bottles, and memorabilia. Even better, stop by the Coors & Co. Gift Shop to purchase a "sudsy" souvenir from the tour.
Relatively new on the beer landscape, New Belgium Brewing Company introduced their first line of beers in 1991 in Fort Collins.
A pride of northern Colorado, New Belgium has grown into the third largest craft brewery in the United States as of 2012.
Daily tours of the brewery begin at 11 a.m. and run through 4:30 p.m., departing every half hour.
On your tour of New Belgium, you'll see just what it takes to craft some of the most popular beers in the country, including Fat Tire, the flagship beer, and 1554 Black Ale, a Belgian dark beer.
Founded in 1989, the Odell Brewing Company is a staple of Fort Collins.
A popular destination for beer fans both local and visiting, the Odell Brewery is found just east of 3rd Street on Lincoln Avenue.
On your next visit to northern Colorado, be sure to set aside some time to explore the Odell Brewery.
Enjoy a tour of the Odell Brewery in Fort Collins – find your best time as the hour-long tours are available all week long beginning at 1 p.m., and ending with the 4 p.m. tour.
During the summer months, the Odell Brewery also hosts Live Music Wednesday.