Colorado’s first capital, Golden, is surrounded by mountains and high rock buttes. Main street is lined with shops and restaurants, and the world’s largest single brewing site, Coors Brewery, was founded here in 1873. It is a beautiful little town, surrounded by some of the most stunningly rugged scenery I’ve ever visited.
My little tour of Golden started with the free Coors Brewery tour. You can actually learn quite a bit from that link, but the self-guided tour will offer a 30-minute romp through a live brewery / bottling plant. So even if you know how beer is made, it’s something else to be in the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Now, I toured the old Heineken brewery in Amsterdam last year which I would say was a slightly better tour and experience, but that was not a working factory, and you had to pay $10 Euros per person to do it. I’m not wishing to take anything away from this tour. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, they give you a lot of free beer and you get to see something you’ll probably only do once in a lifetime.
As always, there are a few little things to be aware of that the old travel books don’t exactly disclose.
First, everyone quotes this as a 40 minute tour. Well, the actual tour probably only takes 40 minutes, but you should also know that you have to first park in a remote lot, board a shuttle, wait for the shuttle to fill up, then drive to the factory. This whole process will cost at least 15-20 minutes each way.
Next, after arriving at the brewery, they hand out little beer bottle labels which signify the particular tour to which you’ve been assigned. When I was there, I was part of the third tour group to be sent while I was waiting. This cost at least another 20 minutes or so.
Finally, after taking the tour you get to go to the “bar” where you get to sample several free beers. Depending on how long you personally want to stay here, this could conceivably take a while.
So, the 40 minutes they quote is a serious underestimation of this event which will doubtless take at a minimum 2 hours or more. Still, I’d say it was worth doing, and it is something that the entire family can do together. (They serve coke to people under 21). Learning how the beer is created from all of the natural ingredients is kind of a mini science lesson, and there is no more appropriate place to learn it.
After taking the brewery tour, I decided to check out the Red Rocks Amphitheater, less than 15 minutes away. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was totally blown away by what I found!
I’m no geologist, but it doesn’t take one to know that this place is special. These are the largest, reddest rocks jutting out of the ground that I’ve seen anywhere. They were a breathtaking site to behold, and I highly recommend this short diversion to anyone.
Now, there were quite a few other things to do in and around Golden, but my time was running very short as I was on my way to the airport for a flight about 2 hours after I finished looking at Red Rocks. Also of note is Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum, the Colorado Railroad Museum and finally the downtown and surrounding areas of Golden.
John P. is a former CEO, former TV Show Host, and the Founder and Wizard behind Texas Metal Works. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Feel free to send shoutouts, insults, and praise. Or Money. Money is good.