Hot! Brew Tour 2 – New Belgium

It was just an average Tuesday afternoon as I pulled up to the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins. Neighbors were streaming in on their beach cruisers, others were picking up kegs, and everyone was making merry in the small tasting room.

The brewery known for Fat Tire beer and its love of the eponymous fat tire bicycle culture, is more than just a quasi pub. The lodge-style tasting room and the expansive brewing facilities behind it is a community gathering spot for all ages. A place that hosts the Tour de Fat bicycle parade and summer movies on the lawn as easily as it makes its beverages.

My visit to Fort Collins was well timed. New Belgium had just changed their tour process, and from what I heard from locals, they were changes for the better. You could now reserve your tour time online rather than a take-your-luck day of system. I arrived early for my 4 pm tour and they gladly handed me a complimentary drink ticket and pointed me to the bar.

On tap were varieties I had never heard of before so I tried something new with an Elysian. When the tour started our guide Megan told us another change – we would now sample as we went along rather then all at the end. First up was the Abbey as she explained how New Belgium and Fat Tire came to be.

As we wandered through the Mothership fermentation rooms, bottling and packaging, we heard about the famous Fat Tire culture. We passed rows and rows of employee bikes, given to staffers after their first year on the job. And we passed plenty of fun and games. Rather than take the stairs down to the final conference room, we were invited down a corkscrew slide.

Megan finished the tour by answering questions while we tried two employee created beers. Back in the tasting room I wrote free postcards to friends back home, then joined Ingrid and her family for a much needed swim.

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