5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit

One of the best things about living in central Colorado is that we can point the car in almost any direction, and find a fun day trip at a little city or town an hour or two away. So this past weekend that’s exactly what we did. We hadn’t been to Boulder in some time, so we directed our Jeep towards the Flatirons for a day of exploration. Boulder is a fun city with a whole personality unlike any other city in Colorado.

Why Boulder?

Boulder is nearby, fun, and awesome. There are a boatload of craft breweries, plus plenty to explore between brews. Plus, a day trip to Boulder means you’re surrounded by beautiful views, like this one:

5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit - Boulder, Colorado | BottleMakesThree.com

We started our day in Boulder with some hikes and sightseeing, but of course, we saved plenty of time to visit some of their great craft breweries. There were still so many Boulder breweries we had never even visited. For this trip, we made it a priority to stop at places new… or at least, new to us. We managed to stop at 5 breweries during our weekend getaway: Upslope Brewing Company, Wild Woods Brewery, Vision Quest Brewery, Vindication Brewing Company, and Finkel and Garf. All were vastly different in their beer styles and atmospheres, but there isn’t one that we wouldn’t return to again. Read on for our takeaways from each stop, and be ready next time you make a trip to Boulder!

Upslope Brewing Company (Flatiron Park)

So the first thing we learned when we arrived in Boulder at noon on Saturday, was that not many breweries are open in Boulder at noon on Saturday. Clearly, Boulderites spend early Saturdays hiking, biking or sleeping off their Friday evening shenanigans. As soon as we arrived we realized most Boulder taprooms don’t open until 2 pm. Fortunately, Upslope Brewing Company’s Flatiron Park location opened at 11 am, so we made that our first stop.

Upslope Brewing - Flatiron Park| 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com

We’re no strangers to Upslope Brewing Company. We’ve been to the brewery before, but previously we’ve only visited their original location on Lee Hill. The Flatiron Park location is now their main production brewery, and the taproom here is great. Inside it’s large, open, and comfortable, with plenty of seating options. There’s also a large patio if you prefer to drink your brew outside.

The beer selection at Upslope was awesome. There were 24 beers on tap including flagships and seasonals, with plenty of variety for every type of beer lover. We ordered a taster flight of 5 beers plus 2 extras because there were so many good options. Upslope Brewing makes great beers, and everything we sampled was delicious. Among our favorites was the Lemondrop Kolsch, which was citrusy and refreshing on such a hot day. We also loved all three of the IPAs we tried: the traditional Upslope IPA, the Thai IPA, and the Mosaic IPA. If you like IPAs like we do, all three were fantastic.

If you visit Upslope Brewing in Flatiron Park, you’ll be right next door to White Labs Tasting Room, where you can taste an ever-changing beer lineup featuring brews created with different White Lab yeasts, and different brewing and fermentation techniques. Just plan ahead, because, like many other spots, White Labs doesn’t open until 2 pm (and they are only open a few days a week.) We never made it to the White Labs Tasting Room, but that just gives us another excuse to visit Upslope Brewing sometime soon.

Upslope Brewery Flatiron Park
1898 S Flatiron Ct
Boulder, CO 80301

Wild Woods Brewery

Our second stop, technically, was lunch. We had some time to kill before the next brewery opened so we grabbed lunch at Pica’s Mexican Taqueria. After all, what better way to waste some time than by stuffing your face with tacos, right? Lunch was fantastic, and we finished up just as our next stop was about to open across the street: Wild Woods Brewery.

Wild Woods Brewery| 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com

Wild Woods Brewery opened as a 2-barrel nano brewery in September 2012, but they’ve since expanded to a 7-barrel brew house. It’s easy to see why, as the beers were really great. The taproom had a great outdoorsy appeal, perfect for Boulder! Rather than play the field with a bunch of samples, at Wild Woods, we both found beers that seemed to be right in our wheelhouse. I had the Wildflower Pale Ale, citrusy and floral pale ale, brewed with whole dried jasmine flowers. Jeff had the Treeline IPA, featuring juniper berries, which had a great pine and resin bitterness. We also sampled the Tropical Paradise Imperial IPA, which was amazing, but at 10.5% ABV, we stuck to sharing a taster and bought ourselves a bottle to bring home. Hooray for souvenirs!

It was pretty quiet during our visit to Wild Woods Brewery since we were basically the first customers in the door at 2 pm. Still, the staff was friendly and attentive (thanks for chatting with us Chris!), the woodsy camping inspired theme was awesome, and the beers were really great. We enjoyed our time hanging out at Wild Woods Brewery and would definitely recommend you give them a try.

Wild Woods Brewery
5460 Conestoga Ct
Boulder, CO 80301

Vision Quest Brewery

At Wild Woods, we asked the staff, where should we go next. They had lots of recommendations but when they told us about Vision Quest Brewery we knew that had to be our next stop. This would be the newest and smallest craft brewery on our stop, and we were told that they were making some really incredible brews. Plus, the Vision Quest Brewery is attached to Boulder Fermentation Supply homebrew store. That may not seem like a big selling point to everyone, but it is for me. After all, our personal homebrew journey started after I got Jeff all buzzed on Dry Dock beers and then took him shopping at The Brew Hut next door. If we played that scenario out again, who knows what fun new equipment we could come home with this time?!

Vision Quest Brewing Company| 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com

Vision Quest Brewery brewery opened late last year. It’s owned and operated by a staff that have spent the last decade operating the Boulder Fermentation Supply homebrew shop, so you know they have had plenty of practice perfecting their brews. To find Vision Quest we actually had to go through the homebrew shop, giving it a bit of a hidden, speak-easy type of feel. Inside the taproom is fairly industrial, with decor that is both totally random and awesomely unique. It’s an eclectic space, to say the least, and we couldn’t actually tell where the brewing happens, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to give them a try.

Boulder Breweries-019-20160723

We settled in at the bar and decided we’d each have a pint. Vision Quest has a great lineup of beer, so it was tough to decide which to try. In the end, Jeff went for light and hoppy with a White Zombie IPA, and I went for dark and fruity with a Space Jam raspberry pomegranate dark sour. Both beers were incredibly good. The IPA was great, and the Space Jam sour was probably as good as any sour I’ve had, ever. For real, these were some great beers. If we weren’t on a mission we would have stayed for more. You can bet your ass we’ll be back for more Vision Quest beer next time we’re in Boulder.

By the way, this is what happens when you put a bell in front of Jeff, and I tell him “No matter what, don’t ring that bell.” He just can’t help himself.

Vision Quest Brewing Company| 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com

Vision Quest Brewery
2510 47th St, Suite A2
Boulder, CO 80301

Vindication Brewing Company

Next up was Vindication Brewing Company. It was late afternoon and Vindication was pretty packed when we arrived, but we managed to grab a few bar stools. Behind the bar, we met Tyler, who welcomed us in and told us all about Vindication, and what makes their beers so different. In short, Vindication Brewing Company only uses natural ingredients, with no chemicals, enzymes or stabilizers at all. The end result is clean tasting brews, and we were ready to try all of them. We ordered a sample of all seven beers plus their house-made ginger ale.

Vindication Brewing Co| 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com

The Vindication lineup of beers were all very good, and I really loved the ginger ale, too! At this point in the day our note-taking became a little sloppy, we still made notes of our favorites. I really loved the Citrus IPA, it’s another great beer for a sunny, summer day. Jeff was all about the Reds: the Red Rye and Imperial Red IPA were his favorites. In fact, we brought a bomber of that Imperial Red IPA home, so that’s a pretty solid endorsement.

Vindication Brewing Company was perhaps the most fun spot to hang out. Maybe it was because for once we weren’t nearly alone in the tasting room, or maybe it’s because Tyler was so nice and kept us filled up on popcorn. Whatever it was, we really liked the vibe here and would totally recommend you stop if you’re nearby. Bonus tip: If you are with someone who prefers something harder than beer, they can check out Geek Spirits right next door. Everybody wins!

Vindication Brewing Company
6880 Winchester Cir
Boulder, CO 80301

Finkle and Garf Brewing Co

Our final stop of the day was at Finkel and Garf Brewing Co. We literally knew nothing about Finkle & Garf when we arrived, but it didn’t take long to see that it was different from any other spot we’d visited. This is the place to go to enjoy spending time with friends and family. Not only is there beer, but there are games, toys and various other what-nots to keep everyone entertained. In a word, this place is FUN!

The other big difference at Finkle and Garf is their insane snack bar menu! Their $1 snack menu features just about anything you may be craving at the moment. Twinkies, Slim Jims, Little Debby snacks, Pop Tarts, various styles of potato chips, crackers, cookies, and nuts are all there for you to purchase. You name it, they probably have it. It’s impossible not to want a snack at Finkel & Garf, because you’re sure to see something you didn’t even know you were craving.

At this point of our day, we had to slow things down considerably, so we each had a few tasters of beer. I went light with the Peach Wheat and American Lager. Jeff sampled the IPA and Imperial Red. All of the beers were solid, though perhaps not as exciting as some of the other places we’d visited during the day. Still, they were good, solid beers and the atmosphere was totally fun. Plus we had some Pringles and Tootsie Rolls, so all was good.

Finkle & Garf| 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com

Finkel and Garf is the place to go hang out and just have fun. Everyone is sure to find something they like, whether it be beer, food, games, or all of the above. It’s just a wonderfully relaxed and fun place, perfect for bringing out the kid in anyone.

Finkle and Garf Brewing Co
5455 Spine Rd
Boulder, CO 80301

More Breweries to Explore in Boulder

We had a fun day in Boulder. We sampled a ton, and we really had a good time at each of our five stops. There isn’t a place we stopped at that we wouldn’t return to again. If you visit Boulder you should check a few of them out for yourself.

For more info on craft beer from Boulder, check out some of the previous articles about Boulder area breweries: 

Avery Brewing Company (March 2015)

Walnut Brewing (March 2015)

Boulder Beer Company (August 2014)

Mountain Sun, Twisted Pine Brewery, Sanitas Brewing, BRU Handbuilt Ales (May 2014)

Twisted Pine Brewing Co (July 2013)

FATE Brewing (July 2013)

West Flanders Brewing & the original Upslope Brewing (Lee Hill) (September 2012)

Chris & Jeff

Boulder Road Trip: 5 (More) Boulder Breweries Worth A Visit | BottleMakesThree.com