The Destination: Odell Brewing Company  in Fort Collins
The Odometer: 64.2 miles from Denver
Why it's Worth the Gas Money: If Coors  started it all and New Belgium Brewing  germinated Colorado's craft beer craze, Fort Collins' Odell Brewing is the industry's backbone. Whenever we talk to up-and-coming brewers, they point to Odell as their inspiration for recipes and business growth. We don't blame them: It seems like the brewery is undergoing an expansion everytime we visit, but that the beer quality doesn't suffer as a result.
Our only gripe? Even with the expansions, the tap room is often so packed that it is difficult to find a place to sit. If you do find a spot, don't give it up, because you'll need some time to sort through the draft list. It is tempting to stick to the classics (IPA, Red Ale, Cutthroat Porter), but ask the staff what's selling fast. The taproom goes through speciality brews so quickly, it is hard to keep the boards updated. Lesson learned? Ask for the best; take home the rest (which is also pretty darn good).
Who’s Sitting Next to You: A Denver professional who is skipping out on work.
What You’re Drinking: You can't go wrong with Odell's IPA or Red Ale. However, if we've hauled our growler to Fort Collins, we're begging for whatever they have on nitro.
The Details: 800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins, 970-498-9070
As with any brewery visit, we recommend that you sip, savor, and stash a growler in the trunk so that you can enjoy the brews responsibly at home.