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.