A 40-ounce bottle of Bud Light, $2.59; 6 pack of Budweiser, $5.35; case, $17.99; keg, $51.99.* Having the most productive brewery in your backyard … priceless.
Fort Collins is home to a place where 2,000 cans of beer and 1,200 bottles are produced every minute. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Fort Collins is responsible for the turnover of 700,000 cases of beer every 24-36 hours.
Located along the peaks of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the brewery offers the public an opportunity to learn about the rich brewing heritage of Anheuser-Busch and how beer is brewed and packaged today. While at the brewery, visitors also can visit the Clydesdale Hamlet – home to the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
Tours showcase Anheuser-Busch’s time-honored brewing tradition and century-old commitment to quality. After the tour be sure to not miss, as if you would, your free tasting of any two Anheuser-Busch products.
Many brands are produced here in Fort Collins including; Budweiser, Bud Light, O’Doul’s, Busch, Busch Light, Busch Ice, Natural Light, Natural Ice, Red Wolf, Bud Ice, Bud Ice Light, Michelob, Michelob Light, Michelob Amber Bock, Michelob Honey Lager, Tequiza and Doc Otis.
They also produce a Michelob Seasonal Brew All Malt Lager during the winter season.
“The Seasonal Brew can only be found from November through January in the Michelob Sampler pack,” said Bill Beymer, assistant supervisor for brewery tours and the gift shop in Fort Collins.
The Budweiser time-honored brewing process includes seven basic steps.
The first step is the “Milling” process, this is where barley malt and rice are ground and precisely weighed. Barley malt gives the beer color and flavor; rice gives the beer a lighter body and a crisper taste.
The second step is the “Mashing” process, barley malt and rice are mixed with water; natural malt enzymes break down the starch from the grains into fermentable sugar.
The third step is the “Straining” process in which the combined grain mash is strained, leaving a sugar-rich amber liquid called wort.
The fourth step is where hops are added to the boiling wort in the brewkettle.
It then goes onto “Primary Fermentation,” here the wort is cooled and clarified, and the yeast is added; for six days, the yeast ferments the wort to beer. Yeast converts most of the fermentable sugars to carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Anheuser-Busch is the only major brewer in the world using the next process of “Beechwood Aging.” During lagering, the beer is krausened, naturally carbonated and aged on beechwood chips for 21 days to mature the flavor of the beer.
In the finishing step, the beer is chillproofed and filtered for clarification before being released for packaging into bottles, cans or draught kegs.
“The result is a beer with perfectly balanced flavor for superior drinkability and a crisp, clean, refreshing taste,” said our tour guide Shannon Quist, a senior at CSU.
In addition to their responsibility campaign, “We All Make a Difference,” which aims to educate and promote responsible drinking, Anheuser-Busch is also credited for their commitment to the environment.
“We are the largest aluminum recycler in the world,” Beymer said. Recycling 699 million pounds a year of glass, plastic, beechwood and water, which results in 97 percent of their waste being recycled.
Free tours are offered Thursday thru Monday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. For more information call 490-4691 or visit their Web site at www.budweisertours.com.
Directions (from Fort Collins): Take I-25 to Mountain Vista Drive (Exit 271). Turn right onto Busch Drive.
* prices quoted from Campus West Liquors