Avanti Winery handcrafts its own signature wine blends alongside more than 25 local Colorado wines, furnishing oenophiles with myriad grownup grape-juice choices. A bottle of chardonnay ($16.95) transports hints of vanilla, lemon, almonds, and hazelnuts to taste buds, and the popular white table wine ($16.95) melds five varietals potent enough to charm palates and steal guests’ girlfriends at dinner parties. Swill sips of Avanti's table red wine ($17.95) or uncork the signature cabernet sauvignon ($22.95), bursting with maroon-tinged fruits. The merlot ($22.95) introduces cherries and a dry finish to palates, and the port III’s dashes of caramel, cherry, and chocolate ($24.95) form a trio of dessert flavors in tipsifying liquid form. Avanti Winery also offers free wine tastings Thursday–Sunday from a different Colorado winery each month.
Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.
While struggling to renovate their mountain cabin in the dead of winter, Kristian and Kimberly Naslund caught sight of the snow-covered pines outside their window, swaying in time to music softly playing in the background. Today, the husband-and-wife team has immortalized this shared placid moment through the very name of their craft distillery, bringing along Kristian's father Chris into the business as the trio fashions small-batch whiskeys, rums, liqueurs, and gins of the highest caliber. Since the distillery is a working production facility, visitors and tourists are likely to witness workers filling, labeling, and numbering each bottle by hand in the bottling area or berobed and bearded alchemists turning mash into spirits over the artisanal copper-pot still. Each powerful sip of bourbon and sweet mouthful of liqueur is culled from all-natural ingredients, free from artificial extracts, flavorings, or coloring agents.
To Grant Jennings, wine is more than just a way to unwind at the end of the day—it’s his career. When he isn't teaching wine classes, he’s at home curating his own blends or working with the UC Davis winemaking program. His dedication to the craft infuses the atmosphere at Brix Wine and Spirits, where the staff members pick up on their boss' enthusiasm and happily guide customers through a collection of wines and beers selected to appeal to the discerning palate. The cozy shop, complete with exposed-brick pillars and golden-cylinder light fixtures, also offers locally produced beverages and small-production wines‚those varietals that are often too short to ride the upside down rollercoasters. The staff also hosts wine classes, beer classes, private wine tastings, and alcohol-education events.
The community-driven Big Beaver Brewing Co serves several handcrafted brews concocted on-site—though the racy titles of its drinks are appropriate for adults only. Thirsty patrons can sidle up to the bar to sip on eight different 2-ounce beer samples, including the Potent Peter IPA, a hoppy, aromatic ale, and the Wonder Wiener Wheat, boasting strong notes of clove and banana. Fermentation fans can then take take 64 ounces of their favored barley in a Big Beaver growler, which can be kept, refilled, or returned to the brewery for a $4 refund. Big Beaver’s brewing model relies on a community of beer lovers refilling their growlers with reusable containers to reduce their carbon footprint and give feedback as to what types of beer should be brewed next.
Each batch of Syntax Spirits Distillery’s vodka, whisky, and rum is made by hand using stainless-and-copper fractionating stills, Colorado Weld County wheat or American Molasses, and Cache La Poudre River whitewater. The result of these curated elements are incredibly smooth, complex spirits versatile enough to be sipped or mixed.
At the distillery, visitors are filled in on the process that brings these drinks to life and can taste the fruits of the facility’s labor. Along with its signature spirits, the distillery boasts housemade infusions that range from bourbon vanilla to citrus flavors. Guests can sample the different infusions as chilled shots or in a signature cocktail at the cocktail bar in the industrial-style tasting room where neon signs and antique light fixtures illuminate each sip. When guests aren’t mid-pinball game or sampling drinks at the 40-foot-long concrete bar, the staff leads complimentary tours of the distillery’s manufacturing area, where Laverne & Shirley imitations are prohibited.