When I think of iconic food and beverage companies in Colorado, Oskar Blues is at the top of my list. They have five food concepts, the Hops and Heifers farm, their breweries (one is now in Brevard, NC) and a their CAN’d Aid Foundation to do their part to give back to their community.
What started as a restaurant/brew pub in the small town of Lyons in 1997, turned into packaging their popular beer in 2002 (a pioneer of canned beer – they were the creator of the first American craft beer in a can), turned into the New York Times naming Dale’s Pale Ale the Best Pale Ale in 2005, turned into opening their 35,000 square-foot brewing facility in Longmont in 2008, turned into opening Homemade Liquids and Solids Restaurant in Longmont in 2009, turned into their Hops and Heifer Farm opening in 2010…and to this day, standing as one of the most loved and respected breweries in the state of Colorado (and beyond).
Here’s their synopsis: Founded as a brewpub by Dale Katechis in 1997, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft beer-in-a-can apocalypse in 2002 using a tabletop machine that sealed one can at a time. In 2008, the makers of the top-selling pale ale in ColoRADo, Dale’s Pale Ale, moved into a 35,000-square-foot facility in Longmont, ColoRADo. The brewery has since experienced explosive growth—packaging 59,000 barrels of beer in 2011 and 86,750 barrels in 2012. In December of 2012, Oskar Blues opened the doors to an additional brewery in Brevard, North Carolina. Together, the breweries packaged 119,000 barrels of beer in 2013, distributing its trailblazing craft brews to 31 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.
I’ve written about Oskar Blues before and had an incredible time at their farm dinner at Hops and Heifers (sign up for the next one this Summer season) and they even hosted our Boulder Food Media group by taking us around in their trolley to all their locations (talk about fun). After experiencing many of their locations, their loyal employees, their joy for life and watching them donate so much to the flood, I couldn’t help share my respect.
Here’s the food rundown:
The Original Oskar Blues Brewery – Lyons, CO: Go for open pick night on Tuesdays. Amazing musicians and vibe.
Home Made Liquids and Solids, Longmont, CO: Can I just say the tagline is “One fine-ass joint in Longmont, ColoRADo servin’ up the best liquids and solids around.
CHUBurger, Longmont, CO: This is their “craft casual” concept. The grass-fed beef served here, is from their very own Hops and Heifers farm. Those hand cut fries and their hand shake – a chocolate shake with Stranahans Whiskey and Old Chub Nitro – are amazing.
cyclHOPS, Longmont, CO: This bike cantina concept is their newest opening. It combines bikes and craft beer, while hosting their retail home for the Oskar Blues in-house bike brand, REEB Cycles alongside this cantina.
Bonewagon, Food Truck: Brainstormin’ Smokateria on Wheels. They’re good with their words. Based on their four food venues, this is their food truck that travels near and far to serve up Hops and Heifers farm meat (they eat spent grains from the brewery), smoked wings, Morning Chub Breakfast Burrito and other specials.
I personally love The Tasty Weasel taproom that’s right inside their brewery. The space is fun and they have great events there (like free yoga on Sunday’s as part of Outlaw Yoga!)
Their locations usually have live music and a generally, laid back but enjoyable vibe. To me, it oozes Colorado and I can always trust any location I visit, is going to be a good time. Whenever I meet a new employee or staff member, they gush on loving working for Oskar Blues. From a server, to a sales rep, to a bartender – they share the same sentiment which isn’t easy to do and doesn’t feel contrived.
One final thought. When is Oskar Blues going to rock out a Boulder location?