Front Range Mountains

Easily accessible from Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs, these four drives cover breweries that invite beer explorers into the mountains without a long haul on I70.  Many of these are somewhat lesser-known spots, but in towns and areas of the front range that deserve a visit. All four drives are a perfect way for locals to spend a Saturday afternoon, or for visitors to get the best of Colorado: Rocky Mountain scenery and craft beer.

The Denver Foothills Drive offers a variety of beer tasting experiences, from Golden’s 2nd largest brewery, to the beer/slot machine combo at Dostal Alley in Central City, to the legend of the Tommy Knocker in Idaho Springs. Each of these establishments offer solid standard selections, and always seem to have something experimental on-tap as well.  And over the years, all three have received GABF medals for a beer or two.

One of the most popular scenic drives in Colorado is over Trail Ridge Road on the Rocky Mountain National Park Loop.  While there isn’t a craft brewery at 11,000 feet, there are definitely beers worth drinking at either entrance to this drive in the resort towns of Winter Park and Grand Lake on the west, and in the classic Colorado towns of Estes Park and Loveland on the east. This drive can also be extended to reach the lone brewery all the way in Steamboat Springs, a ski town not to be missed.

Connecting these two drives, the Peaks-to-Peak Highway is a scenic Colorado byway not to miss.  By starting in Boulder, travelers see the stunning beauty of Boulder Canyon and then begin their beer tour at Wild Mountain in the funky-cool town of Nederland, the infamous home of the frozen man.  Traversing under the Indian Peaks, Estes Park Brewing welcomes visitors with a diversity of beer and the occasional elk siting.  And to culminate the day, the original Oskar Blues location, the Grill and Brew in Lyons, provides a a perfect place for dinner, music, and big beer.

Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods remain two of Colorado’s favorite scenic areas. The Pikes Peak In View Drive offers beer enthusiasts the opportunity to visit, hike and explore these major landmarks, while enjoying some fine beer and food along the way.  Commencing at the farmhouse ale-focused Trinity, then grubbing on some BBQ in the old part of Colorado Springs, and culminating with the scenic drive to Woodland Park for a selection of German styles at BierWerks, this drive has it all.

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