The Rise of Brewing in Central Colorado: A Historical Perspective

In 1859, Rocky Mountain Brewing became Colorado's first known brewery, but this Denver establishment only lasted about a year. With the arrival of the gold rush, which brought thousands of people to the state in the 19th century, an opportunity and demand for beer arose. A gold miner had to relax after a tiring day at work, after all!However, Colorado residents were thirsty, so the brewery was far from the last of its kind; it was closely followed by other establishments that appeared in mining towns all over the mountains. When a new mining camp was being built, setting up a tavern was often the first priority, and anyone with a superficial knowledge of brewing immediately had a thirsty clientele willing to try their products. Opened in 1989, the Old Colorado Brewing Co.

was the first microbrewery in the city of Fort Collins. Located on the ground floor of the Northern Hotel, in the old town, it was one of the forerunners of the microbrewery revolution of the 1980s. While it no longer works in the old town, it is operational in the vicinity of Wellington, Colorado. Small neighborhood breweries are as essential to local culture as the taverns that once served as the center of mining camps, and you can't go anywhere without seeing the name of a new brewery or a flavor of beer you've never tasted before. When the American economy plunged into the Great Depression, men were waiting in line while breweries were idle. With an impressive number of breweries per 100,000 residents and beers per establishment nationwide, Colorado is truly considered a mecca for craft beer enthusiasts.

This brief tour of downtown and northeast Fort Collins was created by selecting Clio entries created by Thomas Cauvin and his students at Colorado State University. Although Fort Collins has more than 15 breweries today, at the time of Coopersmith's creation in 1989, Fort Collins only had six breweries. This could explain why, according to some historical estimates, there were up to 129 breweries across Colorado at the height of the gold rush beer boom. On weekends, you can find it in the latest edition of bottles or by visiting some of Colorado's newest breweries. And so that Front Range doesn't get all the credit, there are hundreds of breweries scattered around the mountains and ski towns of Colorado. Soon after local breweries began to emerge, the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority saw an opportunity and embraced this industry, offering incentives and promotions to breweries as tourist attractions. Zang Brewing, a historic Denver brewery located in what is now the Denver Aquarium, produced enough beer in 1910 to place it among today's top five breweries in Colorado. The breweries of gold rush era mainly produced German-style beers such as pilsners and lagers.

However, due to barley scarcity they got creative and supplemented their beans with rice or corn. Called The Rise of Craft, it illustrates how Papazian would inspire an era of homebrewers who would later create some of Colorado's best-known breweries. As alcohol consumption in America reached historically high levels, reformers saw that alcoholism trapped families in poverty and generated violence - particularly in homes. And while no beer is served at this exhibition, its location in downtown allows visitors to be very close to many Denver's 70 breweries. The popular brewery helped spur redevelopment of Denver's then-difficult Lower Downtown district which is now a vibrant neighborhood where residents and visitors can still enjoy Wynkoop beer or choose from a long list of new restaurants and breweries.

Betsy Nevels
Betsy Nevels

Hardcore tv aficionado. General music trailblazer. Friendly bacon maven. Lifelong twitter specialist. Infuriatingly humble social media maven.

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