Bluegrass and Breweries in Denver
We had the privilege of a personal tour around downtown Denver with Rich, a beer aficionado and Denver expert. He’s lived in Denver for over 35 years, after arriving by accident in a rundown Volkswagen Beetle that wasn’t able to drive out of town. He took us to his favorite breakfast spot, Sam’s No. 3 Diner and Bar. Between the group, we ordered just about every classic all-American breakfast dish off the menu. Their amazing waffles, pancakes, sunny-side-up eggs and hash browns fueled us up for the fun day ahead.
Next, we visited one of the oldest lodgings in town, the Oxford Hotel. Rich brought us to the hidden art deco bar, which was inspired by a bar that Queen Mary was commissioning at the same time. The red neon lighting inside added to the cool ambiance and made this a must-see destination.
Craft Beer Spotlight
Wynkoop Brewing Co., Denver
From there, we went to Colorado’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co. Its unique wooden interior had a distinct warm personality and charm. They have everything from Bavarian malts, to American pale ales. Trust us, we tried as many as we could and we each had a personal favorite.
Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont
As we approached Oskar Blues Brewery, it was hard to miss the giant farming silos that are painted to look like giant cans of beer. The live bluegrass music upstairs set this brewery apart from any other we had visited on our trip. The charming restaurant had a healthy yet hearty menu, inspired by local-farm produce curated by their proud chefs. They are particularly well known for their homemade farm pickles and sweet potato fries. We couldn’t leave without trying the beer-tasting flight and it was well worth it. We all tried the 10 different brews and each of us had a favorite. Our server, Tyra, also debuted their newest brew available in a can, Old Chub Nitro; its velvety texture was delicious. We shopped for souvenirs in the gift shop before heading off to our next brewery stop, New Belgium Brewing.
New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins
We left Denver for Fort Collins and the nearby New Belgium Brewing Company. Its founder discovered inspiration for his first brew on a bicycle tour around Belgium, and the European influence can be felt in every detail at the brewery. We had a beer tasting and tried the first beer they ever produced, Abbey, a banana-flavored brew. Because New Belgium is one of the best microbreweries in the country, it really felt like we were almost tasting history. Tasty, tasty history.
After our tasting, we quickly headed into the historical old town of Fort Collins to take in the sights. After exploring the charming town, we could see why it was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street. The unique clock, street lights and architectural details stood out, and were reminiscent of many childhood memories.
We made our way to Austin’s American Grill for dinner. We met up with Jessica, the local Fort Collins expert, and she recommended we sample the rotisserie chicken and prime rib. We were thoroughly impressed with everything. We left Fort Collins full and happy. Colorado exceeded our expectations and we all promised to come back to explore more another time. Next stop: New Mexico!