Tapping into Northern Colorado’s Craft Beer Boom

Tap and Handle

By Colleen Hunt

Colorado has one of the largest concentrations of craft breweries in the world. We’re ranked second in the country for most craft beer by volume, according to reputable websites like ratebeer.com and beeradvocate.com. With over 118 breweries statewide and about 23 in Fort Collins alone, it’s obvious that our thirst has not yet been quenched.

Anyone can start the process of being a “beer nerd” with seasoned local breweries like Odell and New Belgium leading the way and perfecting the craft. And with the knowledge that home brewery retail stores like Hops & Berries (125 Remington St.) and Rocky Mountain Homebrew Supply (4631 S. Mason St.) have to offer, the quest for homemade craft beer is easier than ever.

Between home breweries, beer-only bars and large-scale breweries, the bubbly beverage affects our community in a large way. The craft beer industry has generated over $83.2 million to Larimer County payroll and has created over 938 local jobs. Clearly, craft beer is so much more than alcohol; it is a way of life.

Fort Collins’ newest member of the craft beer community is Tap and Handle, located at 307 S. College Ave. Having been open about a month, Tap and Handle is packed full of delicious beer, amazing food and old-school arcade games. With 74 beers constantly rotating on a custom-built tap system, the selection of phenomenal beer is guaranteed to satisfy any discerning tastebud.

And whether you’re a beginner or a serious connoisseur, owner Jeff Willis can deliver a spot-on review for all of his tasty beverages to help point you in the right direction.

“If I had a favorite brew, I wouldn’t have opened up a craft beer bar,” Willis said.

Willis has been in the craft beer business for 12 years. He ran a nationally known beer bar in Austin, TX, and is well versed in the craft and international beer scene. Here are some beers to look for, as suggested by Willis and his accommodating staff. But hurry, they’re constantly changing!

Tree Hugger Organic Amber
Brewery: Asher Brewing Company (CO)
Style/ABV: American Amber/Red Ale (6.00% ABV)
Flavor: Smooth, full-bodied malty brew with a mild hop bitterness

Black Force One
Brewery: Xbeeriment (Denmark)
Style/ABV: American Double/Imperial Stout (10.40% ABV)
Flavor: Dark and chocolaty with a smoky kick

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