As a city, Fort Collins has embraced the craft beer culture and so have the locals.
Fort Collins resident Kyle Hamm stops by Black Bottle Brewery at least once a week to fill a growler or two.
“I pretty much only drink locally now,” Hamm said. “Why wouldn’t you in Fort Collins? I’m rarely let down.”
Liquid Poet Society president and Colorado State University alum Jason Connor shares the same belief.
“I’m obviously a big beer fan,” Connor said. “There’s almost no reason to go outside of town.”
Even the bars around town have accepted the craft beer culture.
The Mayor of Old Town – the brewpub, not Karen Weitkunat – is well known for their 100 different taps, the majority of which are microbrews. The tap house even offers The Mayor’s Flight to anyone wanting to sample all 100 different available beers.
“I know a group of guys that sat down to do it and by flight number two they were wondering what they had done,” Connor said. “Fortunately they all had rides.”
With 16 different breweries, some may believe the city, which has been called “the Napa Valley of beer,” now has too many breweries.
“I don’t think 16 is too many,” Hamm said. “They’re kind of like restaurants and Fort Collins has a ton of those.”
Exactly why Fort Collins has been able to support 16 different breweries is up for debate.
“I think that because craft brewing has been so common in Fort Collins for so many years that it’s just expected,” Hamm said. “New breweries can really shake up a boring beer scene.”
Scotty Lytle, a bartender at Black Bottle, said when he drinks beer it is typically only releases from other local breweries.
“Peoples’ tastes and preferences for beer change so much and so rapidly that the industry has no choice but to continue to grow like this and keep getting new breweries out there,” Lytle said. “Otherwise, it’s going to flounder and die. The more the merrier, everyone’s welcome.”
Hamm and Lytle both believe that the success of the local brewing industry is largely in thanks to the Fort Collins community.
“Being open to trying new things is a big part of the culture behind craft beer,” Hamm said. “We have a really well-educated drinking population in this town too, you’ve gotta meet their demands.”
Whether it’s the myriad of beer styles available or simply the quality of the beer itself, craft beer culture seems to be here to stay.
“The people are so friendly (in Fort Collins) and they’re so willing to try new things and welcome people here with open arms,” Lytle said. “People always need a reason to sit down and relax, and theres no better reason than doing it over a beer.”
Collegian Reporter Erick Plattner can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ErickPlattner.