Three Boulder tap rooms in a day
Even though Boulder is a short half-hour drive from my home it’s rare that I take the time. And there’s several great breweries there that have been beckoning me to make that short trip. Recently a group of us made the journey and checked out three of Boulder’s great tap rooms: Boulder Beer Company, Avery, and Twisted Pine. As you can see from the map above, all of these fine breweries are rather closely congregated which gave us the option of walking (always good when drinking copious amount of beer). We made a simple plan of starting at Bolder Beer follow the train tracks south-east to Avery, and then double back west to Twisted Pine to finish the day. And that’s what we did, mostly.
Stop one, Boulder Beer. Just walking into this brewery you feel like you’re in a classic American micro-brewery. The beer styles, the American pub setting, everything here says micro-brewery to me and not craft brewery. I am not saying Boulder Beer is not producing craft beer, I am saying they were around before anybody had uttered the phrase craft beer. It also helps that Singletrack Cooper Ale and Buffalo Gold were among my favorite beers when I first started drinking beer. In a way, visiting Boulder Beer was like hanging out with my first girlfriend. You naturally feel comfortable here. You have a history. You know everything is solid. Not amazing but solid and welcoming. You never forget your first.
What beer to drink? What great beer to re-enjoy? If you’re feeling ambitious, and being our first stop we were, you can select the beer tray. All three of us went ahead and ordered a tray, which I had mistakenly thought was a flight of five or six beer. Well it was actually a flight of ALL the beers on tap. Fourteen beers. Fourteen 4oz pours. As the waitress started to fill up our table with all that beer I realized why she had given me a look that said, “seriously?” when we placed our order. Okay, our plan started to deteriorate a bit here because we had only intended to spend around an hour at Boulder Beer and this was going to take a little longer than that. But with fourteen beers sitting in front of you (42 beers if you count all three trays) it’s rather hard to complain.
This is what drinking 42 beers looks like.
The beer was good. Nothing blew us away, but it was like I said before. Steady. Good. Welcoming. In fact the beer I enjoyed the most was Buffalo Gold.
Alright, next stop. We’re running a little late, but we find the train tracks and make our way towards Avery. The problem here, a planning error on our part, was a lack of sunscreen. How dumb, right? Come on! The sun beat down on our tipsy asses and that walk felt much longer than we anticipated. Walking along the train tracks proved to be much more enjoyable than the boring old street and made us feel like the kids from Stand by Me. This part of Boulder is a warehouse/industrial area. Sure there’s mountains on the horizon, but this isn’t a particularly interesting neighborhood.
The other part of Boulder.
Finally, we arrived at tap room two, Avery Brewing. A nondescript, in fact rather dull looking building, convinced us we made a wrong turn until we saw the fermentation tanks. Walking into Avery you don’t get the microbrew atmosphere, your get the craft beer atmosphere. The menu is a bit more interesting than the pub food, the tap list is full of crazy sours, oak aged ales, and massive imperials. The beer is crazy, creative, and challenges the boundaries first crossed by breweries like Boulder Beer. It’s exciting to try each of these beers, but our livers weren’t up for another “tray” of beers. Plus, you would be insane to try all of the Avery beers in one sitting. So, we sipped our way through some rare tap room sours. Because of my negligence in keeping a notebook I can hardly remember what we each consumed. But I can tell you we ate the jalapeño poppers for a snack and those fuckers are extremely hot and had me drinking glass after glass of water. Damn, they were good.
Okay, a few more beers and a screaming sunburn later the walk to Twisted Pine slipped away as a possibility. We even debated the possibility of not going to Twisted Pine at all. Yes, we actually pushed ourselves near that breaking point. Would we abandon such a large part of our plan? No. It can’t be! With a little peer pressure and a short motivational speech we found the energy to call a cab and make it to our last stop. And glad we were.
Twisted Pine is the youngest brewery on this trip (just a couple years younger than Avery), and it’s beer have a style kind of between that of Avery and Boulder Beer—slightly more experimental than Boulder Beer without the sours or the Belgians of Avery. The tap room is the smallest of the three which in a way made it the most inviting. Our main reason for coming here? Ghost Face Killah! A chili beer with 6 different peppers including the hottest chili of them all, the Ghost Pepper. I am a huge fan of chili beers and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a pint of this—even after those crazy jalapeño poppers at Avery. With a lot of luck with us, we managed to get the last few pints of this amazing beer. I worried that it would be too hot. Instead it had some welcoming not overwhelming spicy pepper love. Delicious! Ah, chili beer. What a perfect way to end a long beer adventure.
The Ghost waits.
There are many great breweries to visit in the Boulder area, but these three are places every beer lover should go out of the way to see.