When Santa Claus brought Left Hand Brewing Company’s cofounder Dick Doore his very first home-brewing kit, the jolly man unknowingly set Dick on a whole new life path. Home brewing became an obsession, and soon he had partnered with his college buddy Eric Wallace and started making their first batch of beer: the Sawtooth Ale. Just a few months later, Dick and Eric took home two medals at the Great American Beer Festival.
Nearly 20 years later, the brewery’s accomplishments have swelled: 16 medals in the Great American Beer Festival, 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and 3 medals at the European Beer Star. The brewery was also the first craft-beer company to master bottling a nitrogenized craft beer without a widget, owing to the introduction of their popular milk stout. Its extensive offering of brews is now available in 25 markets. Favorites include the golden crisp Polestar Pilsner and a roasty black Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout, both of which are available in the Longmont tasting room.
Nestled near the foot of the Front Range mountains about 30 minutes from Denver and Boulder, Hilltop Inn pampers patrons with homey confines and ample amenities. After checking in, guests are greeted in their king mini suite by a half dozen chocolate-covered strawberries, a complimentary snack bar, and breathtaking mountain views. A romantic gas fireplace keeps toes toasty, and a satellite-enabled, 27-inch flat-screen TV inspires epic, popcorn-fueled channel-surfing competitions. Guests can stop by The Wildflowers Tea Room & Restaurant and use their $10 gift card toward a late-afternoon tea, an english bread pudding, or something heartier, such as corned beef cooked in Guinness and whiskey. With a refrigerator, microwave, and kitchen sink in their room, boarders can pack it in for the night and take advantage of the WiFi connection to perform magic shows via video chat to enraptured family and friends. After all sheep are counted and the violet hue of the sun paints the eastern sky, lodgers start the day with a full-size breakfast before heading off into the mountains for a bout of exuberant yodeling.
Giant cheshire cat grins stretch across the metal tanks at Wonderland Brewing Company?and most likely, a similar smile will soon spread over anyone who steps inside the brewery's tap room. Twelve taps line the bar here, showcasing some of the brewmasters' greatest Belgian, American, and English beer creations. Depending on the season, the brews flowing might be Belgian blondes and stouts, traditional pale ales and spring hefewiezens, or winter ales and pumpkin beers.
Despite their ambitious beer lineup, the team found themselves with an abundance of extra room in their 9,000 sq. ft. facility. So they filled it?not with ugly plants and thousands of spare bathroom keys, but with six tournament-style ping pong tables. They also put basketball courts outside and left open spaces for food trucks and special events, such as live music and pub trivia.
According to a 2013 article in the New Yorker, Colorado is No. 3 in the nation in terms of number of craft breweries (it has 151 altogether). According to that same article, the number of craft breweries continues to grow every year in almost every state. It seems like people can't get enough of the inventive craft beer flavors made by beer lovers from breweries such as Broomfield's Big Choice Brewing.
Located Southwest of 120th and Main in Broomfield, Big Choice Brewing is a little off the beaten path. It offers pints and growlers of their 10,000 Summers Saison, brewed with wildflower honey, or the #42 Poblano Stout, which contains poblano peppers. To make the beer tastings more of an experience, Big Choice offers in-house movie nights and trivia nights.