All it takes is mention of an Easy Street Wheat, Fat Tire Amber
or Punjabi Pale to start mouths across all of Fort Collins, the
rest of Colorado and increasingly more states in the country,
Fort Collins is the home to several fine microbreweries and
brewpubs (restaurant-breweries where beer is consumed on site) and
the main reason is also the main ingredient.
“There are a lot of good reasons to brew in Colorado, namely the
quality of life, but also the water in Colorado is really good,”
said Bryan Simpson, the public relations director for New Belgium
Brewery. “The water is not very hard, which means that it doesn’t
have to be treated as much.”
Eric Smith of Odell Brewing agreed.
“The water is coming right from the source,” he said.
But another very important benefit to brewing in Fort Collins
lies not in the ingredients, but in those who consume them.
“It is nice to have an educated population that can appreciate
the brewing culture,” Simpson said. “Such a dense population means
that there are a lot of people who are receptive to what we
What microbreweries such as New Belgium, Odell Brewing, Fort
Collins Brewing and CooperSmith’s do is brew craft beer. Craft beer
is generally all-malt domestic beer produced using 100 percent
malted barley, according to beertown.org. In the case of wheat
beers such as Easy Street, the malted barley is replaced with
malted wheat and the same is true for rye beers.
“The people in Fort Collins are highly educated in craft beers,”
Smith said. “Generally it is a younger, outdoor-seeking demographic
that is looking for things like craft beers.”
And those with sensitive taste buds will go seeking for the
variety of craft beers available around town.
“What craft brewing does is offer a wide variety of different
brews and it is beneficial to have this variety,” Simpson said.
“Beer can be so much more than a watery, light lager.”
And craft brewing is not only taking off in Fort Collins, but
also across the country. The total growth of the craft beer
industry in 2003 was 3.4 percent according to beertown.org. In 2003
alone there were over 6.6 million barrels of craft beer produced
and that was the 34th consecutive year that production
And as any economist will tell you, when sales are booming,
there are always people ready to jump into the industry. But this
increased competition doesn’t scare local breweries; in fact, just
“It is fortunate that we live in an area where there are so many
good breweries to choose from,” Simpson said. “The deeper you get
into beer-tasting, the more you learn about the culture that
surrounds it. It can be quite enlightening to sample the different
brews that we have in this region.”
Odell Brewing holds a similar perspective.
“Competition is always good,” Smith said. “The more
microbreweries there are, the more that people get interested in
this segment of brewing and the general benefits of craft beer over