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48hrs in Ft. Collins, Colorado

Less than 2 hours from Denver, Colorado is Fort Collins. This a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community that boasts over 450km biking trails and bike lanes. There are very few chain businesses in this town, which preserves the historical buildings, so you truly feel the essence of supporting local businesses everywhere you go.  
 After driving to Fort Collins, you’ll be hungry! Farmhouse at Jessup Farm has got just what you need. Their seasonal menu offers a wide variety, most of which come from the farm, that really hit the spot. The food and service are excellent and space is so welcoming with the high ceilings letting in lots of natural light. For even more natural light, the Farmhouse has a large patio at the back and a small one at the front. It’s located in a 19th century building in the Jessup Farm Artisan Village which is super adorable.  
After your food coma, take a walk around. Pop into Knapsack and HeyDay(both in the old loafing shed) and take a look around for products from new designers. You should know the coffee in Colorado is on point, so I recommend stopping into Bindle Coffee(former 19th century mechanics shop) OR grab a beer at the Jessup Farm Barrel House. The Barrel House is FULL of barrels, as advertised. They offer 16 taps in this 133 year old barn and those barrel-aged brews are quite tasty. I tried their Helles Lager and a couple of their sours. Cheers to that!
It’s about time to check into the historic Armstrong Hotel. It is venue in the heart of downtown that has its own cat, Oreo. She’s beautiful and friendly, you must say hi! The hotel has early 20th century architecture with a contemporary feel. Everyone that works there greets you with a smile so genuine, you can’t help but smile back. The rooms are so gorgeous and cozy, like sleeping on a giant pillow surrounded by more pillows. The bathroom was almost the size of my bedroom at home. So jelly.  

Now that the luggage is dealt with, let’s tour....bike tour, to be exact. Beer and Bike Tours is a great way to see the town and have some great beer. Our tour had 3 stops, but could have more or less depending on time and what we felt like doing. Maggie, our fabulous tour guide, was very patient with those of us that had not ridden a bike in awhile(ME), so don’t be shy if you’re a little rusty. She is also a beer enthusiast and knows exactly where to take us. The bike lanes in Fort Collins, along with drivers who know how to navigate around cyclists, made this a relaxing tour. I’ve never felt so safe riding on a city street. 
The first stop was Troubadour Maltings where we chatted with Chris Schooley, Roaster Extraordinaire. He explained the importance of brewers having an open dialog with growers to ensure they are able to make the best quality beers. He is very passionate about brewers and beer drinkers knowing where all of the ingredients come from. Every one of their malts has a musical name. Neat! 

Stop 2 was Horse and Dragon Brewing where we met Carol, one of the brewery’s owners. This brewery has only been open since 2014, but it was a dream of theirs for over 20 yearsI had a flight, including a berliner weisse with passionfruit and guava, some summery pale ales, a sexy, dark dunkel and a tasty guava stout. The tap room is full of beautiful, wood tables and their patio is relaxing with lots of greenery. A great location!  
 The last stop was at Funkwerks. Let me tell you, Fort Collins knows how to patio! This location has a huge patio with lots of tables and umbrellas. Funkwerks offers a ton of beers from year-round to limited release to seasonal to barrel-aged. They truly have a beer for everyone. I was lucky enough to try a Helles Lager, a Saison and a Wit. So damn good! If I hadn’t had a ride a bike after, I definitely would’ve tried more!  

After the fantastic bike tour, it was time for supper. Stopped back at the Armstrong to freshen up, say hi to Oreo and then walked over the Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market. I’m glad I wore a dress, because this place is very classy. The staff are professional and know the wine and food well. The Grilled Shrimp Cocktail appetizer was the perfect size to start. For my entree, I had their Tuesday special, Roasted Colorado Lamb Loin, and it came with ratatouille and tarbais beans sprinkled with dried niçoise olives all sitting in the tastiest tomato lamb jus I’ve ever had. Was there room for dessert? (Why is this even a question??) Of course! The Frozen Espresso Souffle was incredible. Creamy and rich with a side of warm crullers; a must try. 

Fort Collins had a lot to offer in the evenings for a night cap. Beside Emporium is a cocktail bar called Magic Rat, which often has live music. There is also a speakeasy inspired jazz bar called Ace Gillett’s as well as Social, a great place to stop for a properly paired libations and charcuterie.
For breakfast, we had heard so many good things about Ginger & Baker, that we had to go. You guessed it, located in a historic building, this former grain mill has taken on new life as a restaurant and bakery. You can sit inside the restaurant, grab a pastry in their café, sit on the patio or rooftop. Their claim to fame is pie and you can even get it with breakfast! I went with the Farm Stand Skillet. It had all the things a skillet should have in it and on it, potatoes, veggies, cheese and eggs with a fresh biscuit and fruit on the side. A hearty start to the day! 
 Did you know that Old Town Fort Collins was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA? So random. This area is full of local shops to explore. The Old Town Spice Shop offers a great selection of spices and sauces, including a section dedicated and inspired by beer; beer jelly, beer salt and even beer cookbooks! Another stop was Ragstock, a clothing store with a section for new clothes a section for previously enjoyed clothing. Cool selection with some hilarious shirts. We continued our walk seeing lots of cafes, art installations and pianos....lots of pianos; art is everywhere! 
 Lunch brought us to CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewery in the heart of Old Town. A large venue with a patio facing the square as well as lots of indoor seating. I had the Pesto Turkey Sandwich with a garden salad. The sandwich was fab, so fresh, but the star was the salad! It had the usual cucumber and lettuce, but what made it special was the yellow tomatoes, garbanzo beans and to toasted pumpkin seeds. I didn’t even put dressing on it! As for the beer, I tried their Oktoberfest and Not Brown Ale. Both were tasty, but that brown ale was my fav; it had all the malts a girl could ask for!   

As a beer gal, I realized I’d never been in a beer/liquor store in the USA. We checked out Mulberry Max. Tons of refrigerators and aisles with a great selection. Very different than the LCBO in Ontario! The staff knew a lot about beer and answered all of our questions. Picked up a couple bottles that I can’t get in Canada. Beer = my souvenir. 🙂 
Across the street from Mulberry Max is the Tap & Handle. If you’re looking for a great beer selection and great food, this is the spot for you. There’s a patio and lots of indoor seating with TVs all over. They have 74 rotating taps plus a cooler with a wide selection of cans and bottles. There’s a good chance you’ll find a brew here you didn’t see anywhere else!  

Hope my 48hrs in Fort Collins, Colorado gave you some great ideas for your trip. There’s so much more to it than what I could fit into 2 days. A huge thanks to the Colorado Tourism Board for sponsoring this post. As usual, all of the snazzy reviews and opinions are my own. 

Please checkout https://www.colorado.com/ for even more to see and do!  


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