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Beercation: Boulder-Longmont, Colorado

On your next trip to the Centennial state, venture north of Denver to explore these off-the-beaten-path destinations in one of the state’s brewing hotbeds—the Boulder-to-Longmont corridor.

Jamie Bogner Sep 17, 2016 - 14 min read

Beercation: Boulder-Longmont, Colorado Primary Image

Denver may be the capital of brewing in Colorado, but Boulder (and its close neighbor Longmont) are, arguably, its spiritual center. Home to the Brewers Association, the American Homebrewers Association, and Colorado’s first craft brewery, the Boulder area has a long history of leading and inspiring brewers both inside and outside of the state. It’s no surprise, then, that the breweries formed in this formidable shadow have found acclaim—there’s something in the water, or at least in the regional brewing gene pool, that almost guarantees it.

The big names are familiar—Avery, Oskar Blues, Left Hand—but despite the popularity and scale of their national brands, experiencing them on their home turf is a far more intimate and rewarding experience. Likewise, these institutions have trained and seeded a creative new generation of brewers making their own beer that you’ll rarely find outside of their taproom. So grab a designated driver and get started on this itinerary to sample some of the best that Boulder, Longmont, and the surrounding areas have to offer.


If you drink craft beer at all, it’s almost certain you’ve heard the name Avery Brewingat least once. These Boulder-area stalwarts have been doing their thing for 23 years now and have done plenty of pioneering work in barrel-aging and sour-beer fermentation, but most of that history was spent in an unassuming (and parking-challenged) business park lovingly named “the alley.” Last year, Avery built their dream brewery just outside of Boulder in Gunbarrel, and the gleaming temple of the brewer’s craft is a must-visit. If your goal is a meal, book a reservation in advance on Open Table—the limited space in the upstairs dining room gets booked fast, and the alternative is often a two-hour wait for a table. But the good news is the kitchen is fantastic, and you won’t regret it. If you do have to wait, grab a beer from the bar and stroll through the raised walkways on the self-guided tour overlooking the brewery. Before you leave, check out the cold cases across from the hostess stand—Avery is notorious for stocking it with vintage bottles from their barrel-aged series.


Upslope Brewing’s Flatirons Park taproom.

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].