Last week, we took a trip up north to Fort Collins Colorado with our friends Greg & Jamie Pavlak. It just so happens that a few of our favorite breweries call Fort Collins home, so we thought we’d pay them a visit.
Our first stop was Odell Brewing Company. In my humble opinion, Odell crafts the finest IPA this side of eternity! The predominant flavor in an IPA is hops, which can make or break a brews flavor due to its bitter nature, but Odell gets it so right (a hop flower is their logo).
We showed up a little early for the tour and since Odell crafts many fine brews (not just an IPA), we ordered up two sample trays containing some of the best beer created by Odell & Co.
We attempted to play a little game with the sample trays. The girls had one tray and us guys had the other, after sampling all five beers, each team decided on their favorite and least favorite brew. Then the trays were swapped, and each team repeated the process. Then we each attempted to guess what the other teams best and worst brew was. I’m not sure if anyone actually won, but we sampled some great beer! 🙂
After the samples we joined a group for a tour around the brewery. Since we would literally be walking through the brewery, they made us wear eye protection (the glasses happen to be fashion statements as well).
We were taken through the entire brew process. From where they combine the ingredients to where they bottle and package the beer. The whole process was fascinating, but one of my favorite stops was their barrel room. They age several of their brews in wooden barrels which gives an oaked flavor to the beer. Some of the beer in that room has been aging in barrels for several years! To top off the tour, our guide gave us each a beer directly off the assembly line!
We then made our way over to New Belgium Brewing Company. New Belgium is quite large in comparison with most micro-breweries (you’ve most likely heard of their Fat Tire brew) but they make some quality beer (Abby, Tripple, & 1554 are some of my favorites).
The new Belgium brewery tour was with a substantially larger group, but had stations throughout the tour where we were given their various beers to sample. At the very first station, our guide asked the group to name which brew we were sampling. Betsy was the only one to give the right answer!
New Belgium’s’ Brewery was very impressive, and there were some really creative touches to the place (stools and tables made from bike parts), but Odell was by far our favorite brewery.
We had such a fun day with the Pavlaks, and it was incredible to see and taste some of the best beer from some of the best breweries in the country! And it was all just an hour away.
Check out all the photos here!