Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Left Hand Brewing Company

Where: 1265 Boston Avenue
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 3-8pm, Friday-Saturday: 12-8pm, Sunday: 1-8pm

For beer snobs around the country, Longmont is simply a name on a label, thanks to the presence of two major craft breweries in town -- Oskar Blues and Left Hand. Left Hand, having set up shop along the banks of the St. Vrain River in 1994, is the original Longmont beer-maker, known for its Sawtooth Ale and Milk Stout. In case you haven't heard, craft beer is booming these days; in Colorado alone, brewers added a hefty $486 million to the economy in 2011, and Left Hand is now distributed in 29 states, a number that will have undoubtedly increased by the time you read this. But the place to get their excellent beer at its absolute freshest is the Longmont headquarters. 

In a seemingly eternal state of expansion, the Left Hand Tasting Room is now actually several good-sized rooms, not to mention two outdoor patios, all furnished with rugged red Colorado sandstone tables and bars. Order a pint or two of your favorite brew, or try all 12 of the Left Hand concoctions on tap in sample sized portions. A word to the wise -- Left Hand doesn't serve much food, just pretzels (which are free), beef jerky and chips (which are not). You might want to eat beforehand, since some of the beers you'll be trying have exceptionally high alcohol content. Afterwards, walk it off along the St. Vrain Greenway, just on the other side of Left Hand's parking lot.

Tip: Homebrewers take note! Left Hand's tours (1 and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays) go behind the scenes at the brewery -- but don't expect them to reveal their top-secret Nitro Milk Stout formula. Well, they could tell you, but then they'd have to kill you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Vance Brand Airport / Flight Deck Grill

Where: 229 Airport Road
More info:

Most weekends, the air in Longmont is filled with the distant (or sometimes not so distant) buzz of private airplanes emanating from the Vance Brand Municipal Airport. While piloting is not a hobby we see ourselves taking up anytime in this lifetime, we strongly suggest heading out to the airport on the weekend. The views are spectacular, naturally, with the twin peaks of Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker looming in the distance, almost completely unobstructed.

The airport is also home to one of our favorite Longmont hidden gems, the Flight Deck Grill (find their Facebook page here). Open Wednesday through Sunday in the spring and summer, this homespun operation offers excellent (and cheap) breakfast and lunch items, including pancakes, breakfast sandwiches and hot dogs. They've got a very nice patio right next to the runway, where you can watch planes taking off and landing -- and get an occasionally dizzying glimpse of scores of skydivers plummeting towards the earth. Bike out in the morning (they open bright and early at 7:30am) and enjoy a cup of coffee and some delicious crumb cake while gazing into the wild blue yonder.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Longmont Farmers Market

When: Saturdays, 8am-1pm, first Saturday in April through the first Saturday in November
Where: Boulder County Fairgrounds (9595 Nelson Rd.)

With every passing year, the Longmont Farmers Market gets bigger and better. What once was a fairly bare-bones affair has grown into one of the bigger events of its type on the Front Range. On sunny Saturday mornings, throngs gather to enjoy the fresh bounty of local farms. Of course, this is a 21st century farmers market, so the produce is merely the beginning of the goods offered. Munch on tasty pastries, sample some Colorado wines, listen to a little live music, buy handmade crafts and get your cutlery sharpened. Highly recommended: the artisanal cheeses at Windsor Dairy's booth. They're made with 100 percent grass fed milk from Swiss cattle, aged over 60 days, all natural -- but the important thing is that they are totally delicious. There is plenty of prepared food too, ranging from pupusas to pizza, so the market is a great breakfast, brunch or lunch destination.

Tip: Though parking is generally in abundance at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, we strongly recommend biking. Not only is the market located right off of the St. Vrain Greenway, but Bicycle Longmont ( offers a free bike valet service, located at the north end of the market. Just drop off your wheels with them and start exploring.