The mountains are calling, and I must go -John Muir
After days of driving the windy plains of Nebraska and Wyoming (there were literally tumbleweeds rolling across the highway), we were giddy when the Rockies came into view.
When we arrived at Aaron and Heather’s in Ft. Collins, we quickly unloaded the car and took the bikes to a local brewery and restaurant. Luckily for us it was trivia night. Luckily for those Colorado State Students, we pedaled home early!
We started our day with a hike in the Cache La Poudre River valley.
It felt great to stretch our legs in the fresh mountain air.
Hungry and tired we stopped at Big City Burrito.
From there we went to New Belgium Brewery.
I started the tour skeptically. I was sure that New Belgium had to have “sold out” to go from a project in some guy’s garage to the #3 craft beer producer in the country. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that while their production has sky-rocketed, they have stayed true to their values.
They are now 100% employee-owned(meaning that all stock is shared by employees without outside investors), with a “Director of Fun”. The brewery features a rock wall, an indoor slide, pool and fooseball tables, and sand volleyball courts. Each employee gets a free “New Belgium” cruiser bike at their one year anniversary.
They produce their own methane-gas power and clean their own waste water for the city of Fort Collins (free of charge).
Their in-town promotion and delivery vehicles are fully electric.
Their bottling operation is fully-powered by a massive solar panel installation.
Even if you don’t drink beer, you have to acknowledge that the world would be a better place if all companies valued their employees, their community and the environment the way that New Belgium does.
And did I mention that they make great beer?
We then spent the afternoon basking in the Colorado sun on the patio at another Ft. Collins staple, Odell.
A perfect date night in “Old Town” was the icing on the cake. Ft. Collins definitely lives up to the hype!