The tasting room at New Belgium Brewing may not be a restaurant in a strict sense as no food is served but their many beers deserve to be treated in a culinary sense. It's a big high-ceilinged boisterous room with a huge oval bar which is manned by three or four very able bartenders. These people are über servers but beyond that, they are entertainers and great promoters of New Belgium Brewing. This place would be worth going to even if you didn't like beer! If you do like beer, they give you four free samples of about four ounces each.
If you do not like beer, perhaps you have not tried the right ones. Mass-produced lagers made by the big American brewers tend to be tasteless affairs but there are many great beers being produced by regional brewers across this great land. Many times, I have given a beer to a friend who claimed to not like beer only to have them say this did not taste like beer to them. So, do not shortchange beer, it's the world's oldest fermentable beverage and its range of styles easily matches and perhaps surpasses wine.
They had 12 beers on tap the day we tried 10 of them in addition to La Folie: 1) Old Cherry-Light sourish cherry brew w/ fruity dry flavor. Not Rodenbach but perhaps easier to drink for the masses. 2) Loose Lips Saison-Semi sour dry session ale. Could be a tad hoppier but again all to easy to drink. 3) Abbey-Original New Belgium beer and its most highly awarded. Nice take on an abbey double. Clove & fried fruit plus lots of malt. Fairly dry finish for alcohol content. Not super complex but again hallmark easy to drink. 4) Giddy Up-Amber espresso ale w/ definite bitter coffee palate. Fairly dry finish & all too easy to drink. 5) Abbey Grand Cru-9.6%-Amped version of their Abbey to commemorate their anniversary and only been made three times. More pronounced dried fruit & alcohol notes but remained fairly dry. 6) Sunshine-Light golden filtered wit beer w/ corriander notes but lighter in body and flavor than a true wit. 7) Mothership Wit-Unfiltered honey hued classic wit w/ zesty coriander palate. 8) Trippel-Deep golden w/ lacy head. Huge malty palate w/ spicy notes. Bitters slightly in semi-dry finish. 9) Blue Paddle-Light bodied w/ fluffy white head. True to form pils in Czech style. Hoppy & bitter but well balanced. Crisp dry finish. More like a German pils actually. 10) Mighty Arrow Pale Ale-Deep golden w/ thin lasting head and nice lacework. Floral hoppy bouquet and palate. Dry but bitterness well-balanced by ample malt. Very nice.
As you can see, the brewery's hallmark is drinkability and that's why it has become a big player in the regional marketplace. While most of them are not ground breakers, they are well crafted and they do have their experimental beers like La Folie which do push the envelope a bit. La Folie is an intensely tart beer that takes on cherry notes though no fruit is in the beer. The wild yeast strains impart this very Flemish aspect. It is aged in big oak barrels so expect some of these notes as well. At $18 a 750ml bottle, it is a bit pricey when you consider you can get the same size bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru for half that much but it is a valiant (and successful) attempt at making a classic (and unfortunately dying) beer style on US soil. It is not more than a good bottle of wine and believe me, far rarer. It is an acquired taste but if you like tart things, this is just fantastic.
We paid $26 for a six-pack of their Abbey which came in true to shape abbey style bottles that really mimic those in Belgium and the big bottle of La Folie. The tastings, tour and fun were free.
Get there early or bring your German wife to ensure a spot on the tour. No German wife? I'd suggest getting one of those too. I LOVE mine!
Favorite Dish: If you are looking for something to eat before or after the tour, try Coopersmiths Brewpub at 5 Old Town Square in downtown Fort Collins. They have an extensive menu and their house-brewed beers are excellent too. I ate their on my first trip to Colorado in 1994 but did not have time to stop by on the recent 2008 one.
This place has the best, freshest food in town, with many vegetarian dishes. Everything from fantastic traditional omelettes to mexican and asian flavours for breakfast or lunch (sometimes open for dinner as well). Salads, stir fry, pasta...
We used to go at least once a week.... and its one of the first places we hit when we are back in town visiting. There's a wonderful shady terrace in back... perfect for sunday brunch.
Favorite Dish: The falafel plate... with feta and olives... mmmm
This large bistro has a high degree of decor. High ceilings, multiple color palettes running through the place, along the walls, and lots of details which give it a very modern air. High-backed booths, interesting plates and dishware. The food is a pan-Asian approach, including Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and some Korean, with everything from sushi to sweet and sour pork. It is kind of a mish-mash, but they execute well, so you don't feel as if you're eating sweet and sour from a cheap Chinese place.
Favorite Dish: I had the sushi to start off, a plate of tuna nigiri, which was fresh and clean. The cut was a little loose, but otherwise a good starter. I finished with a Chinese chicken dish, the name of which escapes me. But the chicken was tossed with chilis, peas, and other veg. It was tasty, I wish it had more heat.
We met with the Colorado State University IEEE student group so we could share student-to-student information and tour their facilities. They ordered this pizza for us, and it was very good, and very cheap. We tried all of the basic toppings--cheese, pepperoni, sausage, etc. It's also ranked number one by CSU and has a 5-star rating from Feasting Fort Collins, so if you're looking for a good, cheap pizza delivery while in the area, try 'em out!
Nice decor, good selection of food and drink. The Charco-broiler has been around for a very long time, and there's a reason it has lasted.
Favorite Dish: Their menu shows: ............................................................Chef salad ............................Pepper Steak .............................................Trout Almondine .....................................Salmon Filet ......................................New York Cut Sirloin Steak ............and so on.........
(I removed the prices recently as they may be out of date)
Yes, there is such a thing as Colorado style pizza. This is it - the mountain pizza style, which basically is a regular pizza with the crust rolled over, making a fat yet airy crust of the pizza. You eat the inside part of the pie as you normally would, then, you cover the crust with honey (bottles provided at the table). So each slice is a combination of your meal and your dessert. Also unique about Beau Jo's is that you don't order a small/medium/large, you order in pounds (the 1 pound pizza, two pound pizza, etc.) Prices are a little higher than other pizza places.
Service is pretty friendly here, although the larger pizzas can take a while to cook. As you might expect, dinner time on the weekends brings the crowds. This outlet of Beau Jo's is located in the Old Town section of Fort Collins, so you'll have the opportunity to walk off your dinner in the shopping district.
I know Five Guys is a fairly common chain, but most of us had never eaten at one before. It had a very all-American feel to it, and the food was good, although maybe a little pricey for what you're getting.
Favorite Dish: They have free peanuts that you can scoop up while you're standing in line, good burgers, and very good fries in either the regular or Cajun varieties. They also offer over 100 drink options (created by having about 20 different types of soda that can be mixed with 5 different flavor shots), but I don't know if I advise this. The lemonade tastes okay with the flavor in it but most of the other types of pop taste odd, as if they didn't put in enough flavoring.
Cozzola's has been voted BEST PIZZA IN FORT COLLINS for over 12 years straight in the Coloradoan Reader's Poll, and rightly so. You can choose from three crust varieties, five different sauces and a multitude or toppings. This is not always a good thing since it makes it a little difficult settling on all the parameters if you are in a big group. The good news is that even with all the possible combinations it's virtually impossible to put together a bad pie. Their sauces are rich with flavor - reminiscent of the pizza back east. The Herb Crust and the Whole Wheat Poppy Seed Crust are both thick and bready like you might find in the midwest, while the Traditional Thin Crust is more like the New York style. They also offer some interesting combinations which makes ordering a bit simpler.
The ambiance at the downtown store is casual, cozy and quaint - but looks a little bit dated. It's like a place out of the past - both in terms of ambiance and the quality of the food. I've always found the service to be top notch. The staff is friendly, and the turnaround time on a pizza is about 20 minutes. While waiting enjoy the local beer on tap or a bottle of wine - very reasonably priced, and listen to the mix of tasty tunes ranging from bluegrass to 60's jazz, to old blues, and some classic folk/rock.
For the quality of pizza and the overall dining experience, the prices are very cheap. Two people can enjoy a bottle of wine, a couple of salads and some stellar pie for under $35, and cheaper still if you catch the specials during the week.
My criticisms would be that they need to offer patio seating in the summer, need to expand their wine list, update the dining room a little and get a web site set up. Other than that I give it a five star rating. If you're visiting Fort Collins you should allocate a night to Cozzola's.
They also offer delivery for pretty much the whole town.
Favorite Dish: My favorite combination currently is the Spinach Ricotta filling over a mix of Fresh Garlic and Sweet Basil sauce on the Traditional Crust and topped with fresh mushrooms and Italian Sausage. It's reminiscent of the stuffed pizza that you can find in Chicago.
I've been to a lot of ice cream stores across the country, but nobody has ever come close to touching Walrus. This store has moved several times over the years, but it's because they've become more and more popular and need the space. Currently, they are located in the Old Town area of Fort Collins, where they continue to serve their premium homemade ice cream. Some nights, the lines will go out the door, but it's worth the wait. They produce some very unique flavors - but I have yet to try one I didn't like. The only problem is that once they run out of a flavor, it comes off the board and a new one jumps on. So from day to day, the menu changes, and if you love a particular flavor, it may not be around the next time you come in. Check out the website for flavors of the day. Scoops are a few bucks, but the serving size is pretty large. Enjoy indoor or outdoor seating.
Favorite Dish: The very best flavor I've had here was the root-beer cherry (root beer ice cream with cherries). We went back later in the day for seconds, but they were already sold out.
Tortilla Marissa's is located on College Avenue, south of the campus. Here, you'll find a pretty decent Mexican restaurant with great service. The building itself is nothing special, but you shouldn't be too disappointed in the food. They don't really do anything that is a specialty item, just your standard menu (enchillads, tacos, burritos, fajitas, etc.) Prices are fairly reasonable, and this is an appropriate place to bring your family. Open for lunch and dinner. Rarely had a long wait for a table, except on the weekends.
Favorite Dish: I'd go for the steak fajitas. Very flavorful, with plenty of steak and veggies. The flour tortillas are not dry and hold everything together nicely.
On College Avenue (very near Old Chicago) is a pleasant bar with an Irish pub feel. The Crown Pub has a nice selection of microbrews (including many from New Belgium). They offer bar stools, tables, and sofas inside and patio dining on the sidewalk
Favorite Dish: Chicken with Knocchi and Prochuto!!!
My favorite dish in all of Fort Collins
Coopersmith's is a big, busy brewpub with a food menu that shows a great deal of imagination and planning. There were several brews to choose from. The chili-beer was "three-alarm," and is definitely for persons with cast-iron tummies.
Favorite Dish: If you like beer try the Punjabi pale ale
Yes, I have several pizza tips on my Ft. Collins page (What did you eat when you were in college?) Old Chicago is a chain that is most prevalent throughout the central US. There are two locations in Ft. Collins, I've only been to the one in Old Town. There's a livelier crowd here, and you're right around the corner from Walrus Ice Cream (see my other restauant tips.) The pizza at Old Chicago is pretty good - you'll have your standard choices of toppings and crusts. The unique feature of Old Chicago is their beer list - they have over 110 different beers to choose from. They call this the World Beer Tour, and you can get a card to mark off the beers as you try them. Try them all, get your name on the wall :) They also have your standard selection of appetizers and other Italian salads and dishes. Service is good, and you don't have to worry about bringing the kids - definitely a family atmosphere.
Favorite Dish: The pizza of course! It's "Old Chicago", so try the deep dish. You can't go wrong with "The Classic" (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and garlic) or the Chicago 7 (sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, red onions and Mozzarella).
OK, it's carry-out/delivery only, costs about $5 with a coupon, and is a staple of the students (We were informed we placed 35 orders one semester). So it's not the greatest in the world (I place it above Pizza Hut and Dominos), but will crave a late night hunger wave. If you're visitng from out of state, definitely go to Beau Jo's or Old Chicago, unless you're almost out of money or want to relive a true college experience.
Favorite Dish: Sausage or pepperoni pizza - you don't want to get too exotic.
Clean - creative - classy! What more could you want from a restaurant/deli or caterer. Fiona's Deli has it all, in combinations you wouldn't have expected. My personal favorite is listed below, but I venture away from that one at times because the house-smoked salmon is simply to die for!
Fiona's caters, too! And they do it beautifully!
Favorite Dish: #42 - Brie...bacon... raspberry chipotle sauce... chicken panini. 'nuff said!