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The Most Delicious Hike in Fort Collins, Colorado: The Fort Collins Brewery Trail

Updated: Dec 10, 2021


After living in Fort Collins for several years I was quite surprised that I could not find any kind of brewery hike or bar crawl in a town that dubs itself Colorado’s brewery capital! With over 20 breweries and more popping up on an almost regular basis, I knew there had to be a way to see the most in one day without having to drive all the way across town. That's why I took it upon myself to figure out how to see the most of these fantastic craft beer creators all on foot.


This 5.7-mile hike takes you to 8 craft breweries across the entire Northern area of Fort Collins. This includes some of the largest brewers in the country such as New Belgium and Odell's Brewing Company, along with several more local brewers. One of the must-do activities of a Fort Collins, this brewery hike is sure to get anyone in the hiking spirit.


 

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Pregame: Things to Know Before the Hike



  • This hike takes you to 8 breweries and is 5.7 miles total if you take the entire loop with only 80ft elevation gain (super flat and easy walk)

  • If you get confused with your directions, the mountains are always West

  • PLEASE, bring this map with you, or download the one I made on the "All Trails" app, there are a couple of tricky spots that may be difficult to navigate without some sort of directions

  • This hike starts in the Old Town area of Fort Collins and loops through a more industrial district and ends in the nice trail along the Poudre River. This gives you a view of almost every part of Fort Collins.

  • This hike can be taken in either way of the loop, which is either the trail first or last, but I suggest you take the trail last. You can always grab a rental bike, scooter, or rideshare from any brewery location if you do not want to walk all the way back into Old Town

  • It’s a good idea to switch out for tasters or other smaller size beers to avoid being plastered by the final brewery (especially if you're not from a high altitude the alcohol will hit you harder)

  • This hike will take practically all day, so I suggest starting around when the breweries open at 11 am to be able to enjoy each one accordingly

  • Fun fact: Fort Collins has so many breweries because we have some of the best water in the state of Colorado. Being the furthest city North, we are the first to collect the fresh glacier water from the Cache la Poudre River


 


Equinox Brewing the first stop on the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

You will start out your exciting adventure at Equinox Brewing, in Old Town Fort Collins. This is a smaller brewery with a stage for live music, a multitude of rotating taps, and two outdoor patios, all in the comfort of Downtown. Equinox strives to keep things local by holding intimate events in their bier garden and distributing their beer on their very own “keg trike” which is a 3 wheeled bicycle that helps them hand-deliver each keg to local restaurants.


a Google map of where to start the Fort Collins brewery Trail and where to park

The best spots for parking are either for free along Remington St. or across the street from equinox is a parking garage that charges $1 an hour.



 


Coopersmith's Pub and Brewery on the Fort Collins brewery hike

After Equinox, start walking North on Remington St. and across Mountain Ave to reach your second location, Coopersmith’s Pub and Brewing.


A google map of how to get to Coopersmith's Brewing from Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins Colorado

This place is quite unique for the fact that they have two separate buildings right next to each other. The one on the East side will be their pool hall, while the one on the West is their regular restaurant. Both serve food and their original beers, but not always the exact same ones between each building.


The restaurant side of Coopersmith's Pub and Brewing in Fort Collins

They are pretty well known for a green chili blonde ale that is quite unique and definitely worth at least a taster, but I also love their Horsetooth Stout, named after the local Horsetooth reservoir.


 


The front of Prost Brewing Company on the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

Prost is hidden in a small back alleyway that makes it another more unique find in Fort Collins. Continuing North through the town square, you’ll cross Walnut St and take a right, heading East down Walnut. Right before you hit the restaurant Illegal Pete’s, you’ll see an alleyway (Firehouse alley) that has a black and gold sign about 8 feet up that says “Prost”, just follow that down the alley and Prost will be on your right.


Google map of how to get to Prost from Coopersmith's in Fort Collins Colorado


Besides being in an almost hidden spot, this is one of the more unique breweries of Fort Collins. Originally Denver based Prost actually brews German-style biers. They use only malts, yeast, hops, and water, in the traditional style, creating simple yet robust German style biers that are meant to be drank in a stein. They’ve won many awards for their classic Pils and Weissbier, though personally, my favorite is the Vienna Lager, and Austrian Style Amber.



 


The front lawn of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins Colorado

Heading Northwest from Prost through Firehouse alley, you’ll come out to Linden St. Simply take a right and follow this street out of town for about .5 of a mile until you reach New Belgium.


A Google map of the Fort Collins Brewery Trail showing how to walk to New Belgium Brewing

The fourth-biggest craft brewer in the US, New Belgium upholds some of the best standards in social and environmental change. Not only are they the creators of the famous Fat Tire amber ale, but they made this beer the first in the world to become carbon neutral! Showing their commitment to our planet with actionable change, including LGBTQ+ events, New Belgium is a brewery for good. Not to mention their annual “Tour de Fat” bicycle and beer festival held throughout Fort Collins every year is a blast!


The inside of New Belgium Brewing the fourth stop on the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

Their Fort Collins location is an enormous facility, with a large grassy outdoor sitting area that regularly hosts food trucks and live music. This is a great spot to grab some food truck grub and chill out on the grass for a bit, since you’re already 4 breweries in it doesn’t hurt to take a breather.



 


The front entrance of Odell's Brewing Company in Fort Collins Colorado

Walking down Buckingham St headed West, you’ll soon turn right down 3rd st. Take 3rd all the way down onto E Lincoln Ave, and you’ll see Odell’s to your left.


A Google map showing the Fort Collins brewery trail and how to get from New Belgium to Odell's

Odell’s is another very large brewery with compassion for humanitarian and environmental issues. They give to so many charities both locally and globally and frequently sponsor local river cleanups around Fort Collins. They are also 100% employee-owned meaning all employees own stock in the company, giving their employees more say in their work lives.



The Odell’s location in Fort Collins is quite big, with tons of outdoor seating with a stage for live music and frequent food trucks this is another great spot to hang out for a little bit before continuing the tour. As for the brews, their 90 shilling is one of their flagship beers and to me, one of their best. Luckily, this is a big brewery that still likes to try new things so it’s always fun to try what crazy new beers they come out with. Not to mention they opened up a wine bar next door called The OBC Wine Project, proving their dedication to trying new, fun things.



 



Starting to head more East of town, follow E Lincoln Ave for a quarter-mile, then turn left on 9th St. Snowbank Brewing will be on your left in a small strip mall looking spot.


A Google map showing how to get to Snowbank Brewing from Odell's Brewing along the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

Side note: As of writing this, there is a closed brewery between Odell’s and Snowbank. It was originally called Red Truck Brewing but they shut its doors in

2020 and was recently acquired by

Three glasses of Snowbank Brewing Beer on the outside patio of the Snowbank Brewery

Sweetwater Brewing with goals to open in November of 2021. So, if you’re doing this tour once they’re open, then you can add another stop and let me know how good they are!




Snowbank Brewing is another one of our smaller local stops. So small that the owners are the ones serving your beers and even running the trivia nights. I think it really shows their commitment to their process that they are on the front lines with everyone else, showing off their unique brews. My favorite weird concoction is their Cranknbrew, a coffee pale ale that is sure to be unlike any other coffee beer you’ve ever tried.



 


The Front of the Horse and Dragon Brewery in Fort Collins Colorado

This is where the directions get a little tricky so try to pay close attention. Walking back to E Lincoln Ave staying on the Northside of the street, cross the intersection over 9th following E Lincoln Ave for about .5 of a mile. From there take a left on N Link Ln, your next right onto Poudre Pkwy, and a quick left onto Commerce Dr, you should then see the red Horse and Dragon building to your right.


A Google map showing how to get to Horse and Dragon Brewing Company From Snowbank Brewing along the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

Horse and Dragon has always felt like a cozier place to me. With the smaller indoor seating area and the cute outdoor patio, there are times where it can be hard to get a seat, but it’s worth the wait. Horse and Dragon are the creators of the Fort Collins famous Sad Panda coffee stout which can be found at practically every bar in town and is one of my top 3 stouts of all time. Not only do they make great comforting beer, but they are also another brewery committed to our environment, making great efforts to be a part of green organizations, and create water and energy-friendly brewing processes.




 


The outside of Funkwerks the final craft brewery on the Fort Collins brewery hike

If you’re not already pretty tipsy at this point, this is how to get to your final stop of the hike. Heading Southeast on Racquette Dr for .3 of a mile, take a left at Heath Pkwy. Then, you’ll take a right onto Air Park Dr, and you’ll see Funkwerks to your left.


a Google map of how to get to Funkwerks from Horse and Dragon along the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

Another one of our smaller and lesser-known breweries, Funkwerks has been a part of the Fort Collins community for over 10 years. Originally specializing in award-winning Saisons and sours, they’ve grown to start experimenting with a multitude of beers. While I’m not huge on sours myself I always go for one of their interesting IPAs and I’ve never been disappointed. I suggest relaxing out on their patio area and enjoying their always complimentary pretzels.



 

Getting back to Old Town, Fort Collins


A Google map showing how to get back to the beginning of the Fort Collins Brewery Trail from Funkwerks

While every time I try to make the whole loop, I have either rented a bike or simply called a rideshare by the time I finish Funkwerks, you do have the option to finish off this loop with a 2-mile hike on the Poudre River Trail.

To get back into Old Town you will want to leave Funkwerks heading west on E Lincoln Ave, then taking your first left onto Air Park Dr. After, you’ll hit the CO-14 Hwy which you will follow West for .5 of a mile and cross the intersection of Lemay and Mulberry (CO-14) to reach the Poudre River Trail. This trail will take you a mile north back into the Old Town area, just get off at the next intersecting street (E Lincoln Ave) West and you’ll be back in town.


The secret entrance to Pinball Jones, an underground pinball bar in Fort Collins Colorado

Congratulations, you did it!! Now feel free to explore Old Town, maybe grab some more food, or head home (if you didn’t take my tip about switching to tasters). If you have time, I highly suggest checking out Pinball Jones, an underground pinball arcade that also serves many of our local beers, it’s a fun way to end the evening if you’re still hoping to get more in before the end of the night.


 

Hannah Unbound drinking a beer on the Fort Collins Brewery Trail

This hike means so much to me, since coming to Colorado and discovering all of the amazing craft beer Fort Collins has to offer I am so happy to be sharing some of our best and brightest breweries to locals and visitors alike. This 5.7-mile hike takes you to 8 (soon 9) of our best breweries in town and gives you a taste of what Fort Collins is about.


Don’t forget to keep your phone charged, follow directions, stay together, and you’ll have a blast exploring the best things about the fine state of Colorado besides the mountains, craft beer.


Please let me know if you have any suggestions for this hike, other brewery hikes around Fort Collins I need to try or if you try this one out! I always want to hear your opinions and I sincerely hope you have fun! Feel free to contact me through email or on Instagram. Cheers!


Until Next Time,

Happy Trails!



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Hey there! My name is Hannah Smentkowski, I'm the photographer, writer, hiker, camper, and craft beer drinker of this blog!

 

Here, I share my travel, camping, and hiking tips to help anxious explorers get outdoors with confidence!

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