Part of an ongoing series on Colorado tourist traps that keep us coming back for more.
Let’s start with the end of the tour: You get free beer.
This is why you’re going to sit through the shuttle tour of Golden, take pictures in cowboy hats made of old six-pack boxes, listen to the drawn-out history of the Coors Brewery, and walk around with cheap, corny headphones. The prize is free beer when you are done.
But, joking aside, this quintessential tourist trap is actually worth your time. Coors Brewery in Golden (a town with a population of about 20,000) is the largest single-site brewery in the world. The unguided tour shows the simple malting, brewing, and packaging process that moves Coors' distinctive bottles from their location in the Colorado foothills to distributors nationwide (they produce more than a million gallons of beer a day). The tour is fairly unstructured, but you’ll pick up little trivia nuggets along the way (read some of what you’ll discover here). For those of who are thinking you wouldn’t even drink Coors Light if it was free: MillerCoors also produces Blue Moon and Batch 19, which you’ll find in the tasting room. (And, c’mon, Coors Banquet is a classic.)
Fair Warning: This tour is not for someone sensitive to malt, yeast, or hops. The smells are overwhelming, and an unassuming hand dip into the display of hops can lead to eye and skin irritation.
Tip: Just buy the cowboy hat photo. You won’t regret it.