Boulder may be home to the state’s first craft brewery, Boulder Beer, as well as an impressive number of reputable breweries.
But any beer-lover knows Longmont, too. A proper beer-cation wouldn’t be complete without tipping a pint in this city just east of Boulder.
Longmont, about 20 minutes from Boulder, is home to some of Colorado’s best breweries, as well as Colorado’s only hop-on, hop-off brewery tour, the rapidly growing BrewHop Trolley. Earlier this year, Thrillist named Longmont one of the “7 Small Beer Cities That Deserve National Attention.”
Here’s what not to miss on your next hoppy skip and jump through Longmont.
1. Left Hand Brewing Company
1265 Boston Ave, Longmont
Left Hand should be your first stop in Longmont because it boasts more than its own fair share of firsts. It was Longmont’s first brewery, and it launched America’s first ever nitro bottle. This landed Left Hand in the national spotlight.
Nitro is one place where Left Hand really shines. Try the Milk Stout Nitro if you try only one beer.
But Left Hand has plenty of other sparkle, too. It’s one of Colorado’s most awarded breweries, having earned more than 27 Great American Beer Fest medals, nine European Beer Star awards and 11 World Beer Cup awards.
2. Oskar Blues
1555 Hover St., Longmont
Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids is another Longmont brewery to hold a big first. It’s known for making the “original craft brew in a can.” In 2002, Oskar Blues put its beer, Dale’s Pale Ale, in a can, sparking a craft beer revolution. While the original location of Oskar Blues is nearby in the mountain town of Lyons, the Longmont branch is filled with that same innovative spirit, and of course, that same great beer.
Today, Oskar Blues only puts its beer in cans and kegs, not bottles, like is common among other craft breweries. It’s the biggest craft brewery in the nation to not use glass bottles.
Oskar Blues is more than beer. The food at Oskar Blues is elevated above standard pub fare, using ingredients from its own farm. This brewery has its own Longmont burger restaurant, CHUBurger, and its own Longmont Mexican joint, CyclHOPS Bike CAN-tina. As the name suggests, you can also tune up your bike at this can-tina. Tour the production line and snag a pint outside at the casual, dog-friendly Tasty Weasel Tap Room.
And Oskar Blues also sponsors a big event, the Burning Can Festival, which brings together other craft breweries that can their beer.
Oskar Blues has scooped up some accolades, too. For example, the New York Times named Dale’s Pale Ale the best pale ale, Esquire magazine named the beer one of the best canned beers, the brewery made the cover of Market Watch magazine and Advertising Age named it one of the “hottest brands” in 2010.
3. Wibby Brewing
209 Emery St., Longmont
Wibby made waves for sparking the lager movement in Longmont. This unique brewery makes only German-style lagers. (The founder studied in Germany, to add some cred.) Wibby has earned a reputation through some of its award-winners, like the gold-medal-winning Lightshine Helles. Try it mixed with a housemade raspberry lemonade for something new.
Wibby is a great brewery to visit because of the tap room vibe. You can hang out inside or outside, where games abound, from basketball to shuffleboard to yard games.
Up and Coming Smaller Breweries
Beyond the big three, Longmont has some up-and-coming, smaller breweries that visitors love.
- The Pumphouse, 540 Main St., is a casual brewpub right on Main Street with a monstrous patio an and equally as impressive food menu. If you want to eat in downtown, the outdoor vibe can’t be beat.
- 300 Suns Brewing, 335 1st Ave., exudes Longmont pride. It’s named after the average 300 days of sun in Longmont. This casual brewery is full of soul, which you can feel when you visit. As it writes on its website, “We’re just people and when we started this brewery we never had delusions we were beer gods. We think that means we can provide an experience that makes us feel like home to other normal people. We also think that opens opportunities in creating our beer that craft beer snobbery would close for us. But if you are a craft beer snob, that’s ok, we’ll serve up our best IPA and happily discuss what’s going on in the craft beer industry with you.” In addition, 300 Suns has a great menu with what some call the “best grilled cheese sandwich ever.”
- Then there’s Großen Bart Brewery, a brewery with a ton of character and funkiness (like Longmont). “Großen Bart” means big beard in German, so one unique feature here is that this brewery sells its own beard oil.
- Shoes and Brews, 63 S. Pratt Parkway, is another unique combo: a tiny brewery and shoe store all in one. You can shop for running shoes, go on free fun runs and then tip a brew. When visiting, request the 800-Meter Road Challenge: The faster you run 800 meters, the cheaper your beer is. Some people call Shoes and Brews a “mullet” store: it’s business in the front, party in the back.