Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Odell Brewing

Firkin Around...Fort Collins, Colorado.
Moving a child out of the dorm at Colorado State University at the end of the school year might seem to be a difficult task for some.  Even more daunting when you live 2000 miles from the school. Add to that high altitude  and a 10 inch drop of snow in the middle of the move (in May!) when you're used to temps in the 80's at sea level.  Starting to get the picture?  Still unsure this was worth the trip?  I never look at any of those things as problems.  I keep focused on the goal of returning our daughter home, safe and sound.  Oh yeah, along with a trip to the best place I can think of, Odell.

I fell in love with Ft. Collins from the start.  The fact that there were three craft breweries within a couple miles of the campus was enough to lure me, I'll admit.  But it is Odell that has become my favorite while visiting there.

The last time we visited they were in the midst of an expansion, turning their brewing facilities up a notch along with the tap room.  The expansion is now mostly complete and you'll hardly recognize the place at first, if you are familiar with the original layout.  Gone is the plain lot to the west of the original building.  It now contains a tidy parking lot with some super cool bicycle racks shaped like hops and the Odell logo.

Inside, you now enter a new welcome vestibule from the west side of the building that flows into the gift shop area.  It then continues to wrap around to the east side of the building where you will start to recognize the bar, the 90 Shilling refrigerator door and the seating area.  And speaking of seating, the new tap room looks as if it can handle three to four times as many guests than previous capacity.  There are tours of the brewery workings available.  You can see the magic of brewing up close and personal.

You can still sneak a peek into the brew house from the tap room as the door has a generous sized window for viewing.  The bar front is now more accessible and the friendly staff will help you through any of the selections you choose.  If you can't narrow your choice down to a pint, they will be happy to offer you one of the three different 'flight' selections they have available.

More than just beer.

For every four dollars you spend, you get a wooden chit worth that much in return for a single purchase of ten dollars of merchandise from the gift store.
You can select from hats, shirts or Odell bar paraphernalia.  They even have Odell glass growlers with their own coozie slings.  How convenient.  Not feeling the urge to purchase some memorabilia? You can donate your chit to one of the various charities that Odell sponsors.

We enjoyed a couple of their flights, especially the Co-Pilot Tray featuring:
  • cHOPper HOPper (American IPA) brewed by the CSU brewing science department with some help from Doug Odell
I know they are famous for trial or 'pilot' batches of ales, but after seeing the high ABV content on this flight, I had to chuckle at the pun 'Co-Pilot'.  I'm glad to have had a designated driver on this day.

If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of the Denver area (one hour drive), do yourself a big favor and make the trip up to Ft. Collins.  You will be rewarded with the best experience of brew pubs, craft breweries and even one macro brewer.  Make Odell your first or your last stop, but by all means make the stop.  Then you'll see what I mean.  Like the Grand Canyon, or Cooperstown, it's a hike to get there, but well worth the trip.
Firkin Fort Collins! 

Odell Brewing Company
800 East Lincoln Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80524-2507

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