Redefining Taprooms

By: Lauren Hoff
Beer has always been a life vein in Northern Colorado. Even before Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewing, the city has seen a lot of breweries come and go. Taprooms provide place for community members to gather, but as the landscape of breweries is changing, so is the taproom.
With nearly 20 breweries in the region now, a brewery needs to rely on the regular customer more and more. Taprooms realize they need to offer more than just tasters to keep their customers there longer, and more importantly, coming back. Along with events such as live music and new beer release parties, breweries are coming up with creative and entertaining ways to entice the beer enthusiast – everything from food trucks to trivia nights. Those who are not focused on beer are also taking advantage of the demand for more beer entertainment.
Even before a city ordinance change this year allowing looser restrictions on the location of food trucks, they have always found a home at small breweries.  The FoCo Food Truck Alliance hosts events in the parking lot of Pateros Creek Brewing Company every few months offering more than a half dozen dining options. Umami, an Asian inspired eatery inside a Streamline, can be found outside Funkwerks, Odell Brewing and Equinox Brewing several nights a week. The Waffle Lab is outside New Belgium Brewing twice a week offering innovative waffles to both staff and patrons. For the business owners unable to provide warm food at their production breweries, the collaboration benefits both involved.
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, in Loveland, also offers daily food truck, as well as live music and a new trivia night on Mondays starting at 6p.m. Hosted by Geeks Who Drink, Grimm owner Aaron Heaton decided to offer this event on Mondays because it was a slow revenue day.  If you play, you can win some beers for your team. On Wednesdays you can get your geek on while satisfying your beer nerd at City Star Brewing in Berthoud at 7:30 p.m. Both Odell and New Belgium offer occasional after hour trivia nights with proceeds going to charity.
If you would rather gain knowledge than display it, educational events are happening more and more often. Small companies such as Tap into Painting and Napa of Beer offer events to tantalize your palate and your mind.
For the gamers, corn hole tournaments are happening at several breweries. New Belgium just put in a new rolly-bowly court on the patio and Pateros Creek installed ring the bull in their new expansion.
Beer-centric bars are also offering more for their patrons than the usual fun and games. Tap and Handle on College Avenue opened with a game room of old pinball machines, foosball and even Mrs. Pac-Man tucked away in a corner. If you show up on Brewery Night at The Forge Publick House you can find some finger foods free to patrons while a representative is chatting up enthusiasts and handing out stickers, shirts or pint glasses.
Even establishments not focused on beer are offering more beer-centered events. The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop offers beer pairing nights with Napa of Beer. Loveland Aleworks recently paired with Generations Wine and Martini bar to offer a five course, 10-beer dinner.
There is so much more to just drinking a beer in Northern Colorado. You can try new food, hear a new band, beat your friends in a friendly game, or learn something new.

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