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O T E D I U YOUR G T N O M G N O L N I T A RE

G S ’ T A WH

2020

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InsiderEdition 2020 - Longmont Chamber Page.pdf 1 2/26/2020 4:31:53 PM

presents

presents

March 21, 2020 | Longmont Museum

April 17 - 26, 2020

The marijuana industry is a massive player in our local and state economy, but often, misinformation prevents many from seeking more information around the potential benefits of using cannabis & CBD. Let’s Be Blunt creates an educational and conversational space for those intrigued by both.

Longmont Restaurant Week is the ultimate celebration of the unique, growing, and thriving dining scene in our community. You can expect delicious deals on meals, drinks, and more every day between April 17 – 26 at two fixed menu prices: $18.71 and $28.71. #FeedMeLongmont

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HIGH PLAINS BANK presents

The Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce is honored to represent the business community of America’s #1 Boomtown. At the Longmont Chamber, we believe that a vibrant and strong business landscape is foundational to a thriving community. We have some big plans to help connect business and community in 2020, and we hope you’ll join us at our events this year!

August 28, 2020 | Downtown Longmont

For more information about the Longmont Chamber and our events, please visit:

Unity in the Community is the final festival of the Longmont summer! Unity is a family-friendly, fun evening of entertainment, music, food, drink, and connection. We bring people together for one big celebration in our beautiful downtown, connecting businesses, nonprofits, and you.

www.LongmontChamber.org


A r t i s t : Je s s e W ils on

A r t i s t : Chris tia n H e a le d

Tr u s te d fo r A ll Yo u r B o d y A r t Nee d s Since 1994

A rt ist : Jesse W i l s o n

- Tatto o s

- P i erc i ng

Art ist : Ch ris tian Hea led

- Je we l r y

Artist: Christian Healed

w w w. t r i bal r i te s.co m 1309 College Ave., Boulder 303.449.4611

7735 W. 92nd Ave., Westminster 303.421.5700

1716 Main St., Longmont 303.776.9333


Just the facts, ma’am...

6........ The Longmont Nature Guide

Longmont’s natural splendor

11...... Entrees for grownups

Six Longmont destinations where you’ll want to linger over dinner

12...... A space for memories

The St Vrain is a unique wedding and event center that, three years in, already feels vital to Longmont

STAFF

Publisher, Fran Zankowski Special Editions Editor, Michael J. Casey Circulation Manager, Cal Winn

14...... No need for an inferiority complex

EDITORIAL

19...... Colorado’s freshest milk

PRODUCTION

A brief history of Longmont brewing

Longmont Dairy Farm is as farm-totable as you can get

20...... For a song

Open mics offer free evenings of singers and stories

21...... Lyons lair

The hip little mountain town with a mighty roar

23.......Niwot by the numbers Just the facts, ma’am...

24...... Inkberry inquiry

Art Director, Susan France Senior Graphic Designer, Mark Goodman Graphic Designer, Daisy Bauer

SALES AND MARKETING

Retail Sales Manager, Allen Carmichael Account Executives, Julian Bourke, Matthew Fischer Market Development Manager, Kellie Robinson Advertising Assistant, Corey Basciano Mrs. Boulder Weekly, Mari Nevar

GENERAL

Circulation Team, Dave Hastie, Dan Hill, George LaRoe, Jeffrey Lohrius, Elizabeth Ouslie, Rick Slama

Founder/CEO, Stewart Sallo Editor-at-large, Joel Dyer

SHERRI O’HARA/COURTESY VISIT LONGMONT

boomtown, usa

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ast year the financial technology company SmartAsset went looking for boomtowns. Using seven metrics — population change, unemployment rate, change in unemployment rate, GDP growth rate, business growth, housing growth and change in household income — SmartAsset analyzed 500 of America’s largest cities to identify the future of economic growth. It’s no surprise that Colorado was wellrepresented on SmartAsset’s top ten list with three cities, and it should be no surprise that Longmont reigns supreme as the topranked city on SmartAsset’s list. Welcome to Boomtown. But you knew that already, didn’t you? Longmont was Colorado’s first-gigabit city with the buildout of NextLight back in 2014. With unemployment at an impressive 2.4% (as compared to the national rate of 3.6%), a five-year housing growth rate at 17.61%, and an average yearly GDP growth of 5.53%, Longmont isn’t just Boomtown, USA, it’s the place to be. Inside these pages, you’ll see why. From parks to admire the splendor around you to the hot spots where you can test your hopes and dreams at open mics. From a local dairy farm to local beer, and from one of Longmont’s newest event centers to Niwot’s newest bookseller. And we’ve got things to do and see in Niwot and Lyons in here as well. Turn the page and let the adventure begin.

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The story behind Niwot’s new independent bookstore

Editor, Matt Cortina Associate Editors, Angela K. Evans, Caitlin Rockett

WELCOME TO LONGMONT

5........ Longmont by the numbers

staff

LONGMONT

Insider is a special issue of Boulder Weekly, which is available every Thursday throughout the county.

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303.494.5511 690 S. Lashley Lane, Boulder, CO 80305

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WWW.EATSNARFS.COM @SNARFSSANDWICHES


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PHOTO BY JASON VALLERY COURTESY VISIT LONGMONT

LONGMONT BY THE NUMBERS Just the facts ma’am… Founded.......................................................................1871 Incorporated...............................................Nov. 15, 1885 Counties..............................................Boulder and Weld Elevation............................................................4,979 feet Land area................................................22 square miles Highest Visible Peak............Longs Peak (14,259 feet) Rivers.....................St. Vrain Creek and Boulder Creek Parks.........................................................Over 192 acres

Climate...............................................................Semi-arid Days of sunshine.........................................................250 Average winter highs (F)..................High 47º / Low 17º Average summer temps (F)..............High 86º / Low 51º Average rain precipitation.............................15 inches Average snow precipitation..........................36 inches

Population................................................................95,000 Median age..................................................................36.9 Breweries........................................................................11 Cideries..............................................................................1 Distilleries........................................................................4 Churches.......................................................................50+ Public Schools...............................................................53 Museums...........................................................................5

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF LONGMONT

The Longmont

Nature Guide by Claire Lardizabal

MCINTOSH LAKE NATURE AREA The 3.5-mile loop around McIntosh Lake (at left) offers views of Longs Peak. DAWSON SILVERWOOD This aluminum sculpture (featured below) located at Lake McIntosh features inscriptions from local students.

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n the city of Longmont, residents have plenty of places to get outside and enjoy nature, including 41 parks containing a total of 2,242 acres.

“Longmont puts a lot of pride into the park system,” says Kathy Kron, Longmont Parks and Natural Resources senior project manager. “When it comes to having a variety of parks, we have neighborhood, nature and greenway parks. “It’s a neat aspect because you can get lost in nature without having to leave town.” And as long as you’re lost in nature, here are a few of the things you can do before you find your way back home: Bird watching: It’s common to see osprey, bald eagles and a wide variety of hawks and other raptors. Many species of smaller birds such as chickadees, finches, blue jays, doves and woodpeckers are also common. Near evening or early morning be on the lookout for wild turkeys. And while harder to find, rare species such as the burrowing owl, which can be found near prairie dig colonies, do appear from time to time. When water is present, expect to see cormorants, American white pelicans, great blue herons, a wide variety of ducks and Canada geese.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITY OF LONGMONT

GOLDEN PONDS NATURE AREA Catch some rainbow trout or largemouth bass at Golden Ponds, or just enjoy the natural beauty.

Wildlife encounters: While most animals in Longmont are of the small and furry variety — rabbits, prairie dogs, weasels and the like — larger animals such as beaver, coyotes and deer are sometimes encountered. And if you venture west to Longmont’s Button Rock Preserve (west of Lyons), you’ll get the chance to see mountain lion and bear. Art viewing: Some of Longmont’s parks have wonderful nature-inspired art. So why not take in a little culture on your next hike with art including these pieces: “The Spirit of Longmont” This installation — created by Rafe Ropek in 2009 — can be spotted on southwest Diagonal Highway. The 48 leaves alternate from yellow to green to represent Longmont’s agricultural roots, while the sphere in the middle calls to the future. “Dawson Silverwood” Located at Lake McIntosh, Steve Jensen’s aluminum sculpture, created in 2003, contains inscriptions by students about their hopes for the future. see NATURE GUIDE Page 8

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COURTESY CITY OF LONGMONT

KEEP CONNECTED

facebook.com/boulderweeklymedia twitter.com/boulderweekly

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“A LADY AND A DAMSEL” These two sculptures by Amanda Willshire are located at 210 Ken Pratt Blvd., in Longmont on the St. Vrain River Trail.

NATURE GUIDE from Page 7

“A Lady and a damsel” Built in 2019 by Amanda Willshire, this towering structure is made from recycled bike parts, an old Volkswagen hood, and golf clubs; 210 Ken Pratt Blvd., on the St. Vrain River Trail. There’s plenty more where those came from, including all along the St. Vrain Greenway. But we know half the fun is when you discover such art on your own, so we’ll keep the list short. So, now that you know what to do, let’s take a look at some of the great places to do them right in your back yard. Since the 2013 flood wreaked havoc on much of the city, the Resilient St. Vrain Project (RSVP) has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore and prepare the riparian corridor should a calamity strike again. From the RSVP, the Dickens Farm Nature Area came to fruition. Senior Project Manager Steve Ransweiler says the nature area was underway before the flood seven years ago. The name pays homage to Longmont’s first homestead and will feature a watercourse, a nature discovery area, three shelters and a bike skills course. Dickens Farm Nature Area will be the perfect addition to 8

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Longmont’s abundant park scene come May. But there’s no reason to wait if you have the urge to get outdoors right now. Here are a few places to get lost in Longmont’s natural beauty: McIntosh Lake Nature Area (1929 Harvard St.) This 3.5-mile loop around McIntosh Lake offers gorgeous views of Longs Peak while you’re surrounded by critters as far as the eye can see. Venture to the north side, where you’ll run into a sassy prairie dog colony on the way to the Boulder County Agricultural Heritage Center, a renovated 1909 farmhouse with plenty of interactive exhibits (think farm animals, a milk house and guided tours). Golden Ponds Nature Area (2651 Third Ave.) The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife stocks the water feature at Golden Ponds with fish such as rainbow trout, largemouth bass and bluegill, according to Dan Wolford, Public Works and Natural Resources land program administrator. Wildlife sightings: Mallard ducks, red-tailed hawks and the occasional mountain lion or black bear are often seen at Golden Ponds Nature Area. Roosevelt Community Park (700 Longs Peak Ave.) The Veterans’ Memorial rose garden on the west side BOULDER WEEKLY


CITY OF LONGMONT, BUTTON ROCK PRESERVE

of the park was planted after World War II and is one of two display gardens in Colorado recognized by the AllAmerica Rose Selections, according to former Parks senior project manager Paula Fitzgerald (the other was the Denver Botanic Gardens). History lesson: Roosevelt Park was one of the first three parks built by the Chicago-Colorado Colony upon Longmont’s inception. Fitzgerald says Roosevelt Park used to have a horse racetrack and barns. It was also the former site of the Boulder County Fair. Sandstone Ranch Community Park and Nature Area (3001 Colorado Highway 119) The 313 acres of Sandstone Ranch are jam-packed with activities such as an adventure playground, sports complex, skatepark, hiking trails, and historic home. “Sandstone is a fantastic place to view and photograph wildlife,” Wolford says. “We have a variety of wildlife including bald eagles, pelicans, hawks, kestrels, wild turkey, numerous waterfowl, coyotes and white-tailed deer.” St. Vrain Greenway Although the St. Vrain is undergoing a multi-year, multi-million dollar reconstruction effort, an eight-mile trail remains open between Sandstone Ranch and Golden Ponds Nature Area. Thanks to the Art in Public Places Commission, bikers and hikers can appreciate 16 sculptures along the way. New additions include “Rejuvenation” by Boulder’s Josh Wiener at Dickens Farm Nature Area, and the “Golden Ponds Guardian” by Steve Carmer of Fort Collins. Find the comprehensive art bike trail map at longmontcolorado.gov; Multiple trailheads. Button Rock Preserve (CO Highway 80) This preserve isn’t in Longmont but is owned and managed by the City because it’s the source of the city’s drinking water. It’s a 30-minute drive west and a fantastic fishing spot for cold-water trout. Wolford says if you’re lucky, you might see bears, mountain lions or mule deer. At higher elevations, you can run into grouse and Aberts’ squirrels. A fresh water source: The trail through Button Rock Preserve leads to Ralph Price Reservoir, the primary drinking source for 100,000 residents in Longmont, Lyons and parts of unincorporated Boulder County. The reservoir collects and releases 1.3 to 1.6 billion gallons a year, says water resources manager Ken Huson. Dickens Farm Nature Area (Boston Avenue) “This is the first nature area to encourage people to interact with the BOULDER WEEKLY

water,” Ransweiler says. “When we treated St. Vrain as a habitat corridor, we used the opportunity for people to get into the water.” The grand opening is scheduled in late May when run-off water is usable and at its most fun, he says. The half-mile watercourse will be an excellent way for tubers to cool down during the summer months. And that’s just a short list of options. Bottom line, you have every opportunity in this boomtown to get outside and enjoy nature, so get to it.

Thank you for 60 delicious years!

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Pearls of Wellness

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Wellbeing Coaching

A wellbeing coach acts as a guide to behavior change, helping us to achieve a holistic, whole of life experience. As an ACE-certified health coach with 35 years of diverse professional experience within the wellness industry, I assist in your self-empowerment that you may transform health goals into realities.

ACE, AAAI, Yoga Alliance certified ~ Licensed Esthetician est. 1990 Serving the front range from my private Longmont studio or the comfort of your own home. 970.412.5571 • www.jpspearls.com

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Entrees for grownups

COURTESY OF SUGARBEET

by John Lehndorff

LONGMONT HAS SOME great barbecue and excellent pizza, as well as outstanding taquerias and top-notch burger and fried chicken spots — all casual places to grab a bite. However, sometimes you want more from a meal, more than a quick feeding. You want to sip a cocktail, chat, share a dessert and enjoy an evening out.

Six Longmont destinations where you want to linger over dinner BABETTES ARTISAN BREAD 2030 Ionosphere St., babettesbakery.com

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ongmont eaters have been dropping by Babettes since its move from Denver in 2019 to grab pastries, crusty breads and French cakes. In the evening, the wood-fired oven kicks on for artisanal pizzas. The kitchen offers braised short ribs from Longmont’s Buckner Family Farm on crispy polenta with well-aged Parmesan. The favored starter is roasted artichokes with smoked burrata cheese and fennel pollen. CAPRESE TRATTORIA 1067 S. Hover Road, capresetrattoria.com

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his is not your typical neighborhood spaghetti joint. Caprese specializes in elevated Italian dining. There are plenty of noodles, but they arrive as perfect spaghetti carbonara bound with pancetta, egg and cream, or housemade butternut squash ravioli in a sage butter. The meatier “secondi” menu showcases traditional veal piccata, trout in lemon sauce, and the great chicken preparation: brick-pressed pollo al carbone with fresh herbs and garlic. BOULDER WEEKLY

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THE ROOST 526 Main St., theroostlongmont.com

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hen dining out means tucking into a great piece of meat, The Roost is a choice destination. The eatery grills house-cut filet, ribeye and New York strip steaks as well as lamb chops from Buckner Farm, siding them with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and fried Brussels sprouts. Secret vice item: sweet potato fries with marshmallow dip. SAMPLES 370 Main St., sampleslongmont.com

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he starters at Samples are so comfy — think chewy, gorgonzola-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates and arancini (cheese- and chile-middled risotto balls) — that some diners never get to the main event. That means they miss out on Korean BBQ sandwiches, authentic Alpine cheese fondue and duck tortellini in broth. The longtime crowd-pleaser is the crispy Scottish salmon with ginger brown butter and mashers paired with a flight of wine tastes. INSIDER ’20

SUGARBEET 101 Pratt St., sugarbeetrestaurant.com

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inner possibilities range from caramelized sea scallops with orzo, beets and broccolini to meaty, roasted King Trumpet mushrooms with bamboo rice-stuffed peppers, English peas and a fragrant yellow curry. Major attractions include rack of lamb with spaetzle and filet mignon with potato roulade, paired with a notable by-the-glass wine list. PB&J is a fun finale with peanut butter ice cream, grape sorbet, butter cookies and chocolate ganache. TORTUGAS 218 Coffman St., tortugaslongmont.com

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t’s the seafood: That’s why fans have set out for Tortugas for nearly a quarter-century. Caribbean and Southern flavors fill starters like lime-marinated shrimp ceviche and Creole BBQ shrimp and classics like jambalaya with shrimp, crawfish, chicken and andouille sausage. The fresh fish choices of the day can be served in Cuban mojo sauce, spicy voodoo sauce, with West Indian curry or Caribbean jerk style. I

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PHOTOS BY CASSIE ROSCHE

WE ARE LONGMONT INDEPENDENT & LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1993 For advertising information call 303.494.5511 www.BoulderWeekly.com

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The St Vrain is a unique wedding and event center that, three years in, already feels vital to Longmont by Matt Cortina

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hree young people, kids I call them, in our family got married within six months of one another at very different venues,” says Annie Danielson, who runs The St Vrain — a wedding and event center in downtown Longmont — with her husband, Mark. “So we were educated that year about the process that couples and their families go through

to host a wedding. We all kind of felt bludgeoned to death, THE ST VRAIN 635 Third Ave., by the end of it. “We felt like this Longmont, thestvrain.com could be a lot simpler for people,” Danielson says. Danielson and her husband are “serial entrepreneurs,” who ran a home décor design and manufacturing company for 25

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years before taking a brief sabbatical to reorganize their lives. But their experience with their kids’ weddings brought them back into entrepreneurship, with the idea of starting a wedding venue that takes some of the hassle out of wedding planning. “Our goal was not to rent people a building and then expect them to figure out how to fill it or for us to say, ‘Oh, now you’ve got to rent the tables. Now you have to rent the chairs. Oh, do you want the lights turned on? Well, then we’re going to charge you $400 to turn the lights on.’” Danielson says. “We took a slightly different approach and said we want to offer people an experience for one of the biggest days of their life, so we’re going to take care of all the foundational pieces... so that you can bring what best represents you as a couple to the space.” The location was also a selling point for the Danielsons when choosing a building to house their business — the venue regularly hosts weddings for couples from Fort Collins to Denver (and beyond) and its access to the airport makes it easy for visiting guests. The building was formerly an antiques mall, and before that it was one of Colorado’s first car dealerships. The Danielsons are handy, so they worked the space to maximize its industrial roots while also adding in softer textiles, art, fixtures and furniture to create a uniquely cozy atmosphere. Mark built beautiful, long tables from reclaimed lumber sourced from a fourth-generation sawmill in Southern Colorado, where the Danielsons are from originally. Clever accents like lockers and a foosball table in the groom’s room, natural lighting and soft-fabric chaises in the bridal suite a wall away, a massive tapestry designed by the Danielson’s daughter, and a manicured lawn with games fill out the space. That balance of soft and hard elements is perfect for the space and perfect for Longmont. “When couples come to The St Vrain, they love that this is an older urban building, so it has that sophistication of being from the city, but you have all the conveniences of a small town,” Danielson says. She adds that it was fortuitous for them to land in Longmont not only for its location, but for the booming culBOULDER WEEKLY

tural scene. “Longmont provides a really interesting culture with our newer restaurants that keep popping up, 11 breweries and 4 micro-distilleries. I feel like Longmont’s in the midst of a renaissance, really, and we’re so happy to be part of that,” Danielson says. The St Vrain has hosted about 200 weddings since opening in late 2017. It

also hosts corporate events, and as of this year, concerts: The Winter Folk Music and Photography Showcase was held in late February 2020 and brought in artists like Mason Jennings, Brett Dennen, Gasoline Lollipops and Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival. Altogether, the space fills a critical regional need for wedding and events spaces, and with its unique, modern

atmosphere that can serve multiple purposes, it’s a boon for Longmont, which has supported the project from the beginning, Danielson says. “The City’s been amazing, so welcoming. I think they had a lot of foresight by going, ‘Well, yeah, we need this. What can we do to help you?’” Danielson says. “Which was very different than other municipalities that we had looked at property in.”

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No need for an

inferiority complex A brief history of Longmont brewing

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ome to 11 operating breweries — including one with roots in Lyons, and another stretching down to Niwot — and a dozen-plus dedicated tap houses, Longmont is beer country. And yet, it’s Fort Collins, 30 miles north, that English beer scribe Michael Jackson dubbed, “the Napa Valley of beer.” And it’s Boulder, 22 miles southwest, that boasts the headquarters of the Brewers Association, the American Homebrewers Association and Brewers Publication; the birth of the Great American Beer Festival; and the first post-Prohibition craft brewery in the state. Sort of: That brewery, the Boulder Brewing Company, may have been conceived by a couple of CU-Boulder engineers, but when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms issued the permit, the address read: 15555 N. 83rd St., Longmont, Colo. 80501. That’s right, the beginning of Colorado’s craft beer revolution began in Longmont. Boulder Brewing moved south to its namesake in 1984. It would be another decade before Longmont started producing beer again, but one brewery would give way to many. And, by 2011, two of those would be among the most influential in the entire craft beer movement.

‘NOW IS THE TIME.’

Like most brewing communities, Longmont’s beer scene was initially conceived overseas before taking root in American soil. Eric Wallace and Dick Doore were the first to plant in the town of 51,000. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Wallace was the son of an Air Force officer and grew up all over the world, notably going to high school in Germany before returning to the States, “confused and flabbergasted that the wealthiest country on Earth had such a monochromatic view of the beer world.” Following in his father’s footsteps, Wallace joined the Air Force Academy, then tech school, and spent

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COURTESY LEFT HAND BREWING CO.

by Michael J. Casey the remainder of the 1980s overseas. It was at the Academy, in ‘82, that he crossed paths with Doore: born in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, raised in a rural New Hampshire farm town. Life overseas — in Germany, Italy, Turkey and England — contributed significantly to their sense of beer-drinking culture. When the two returned to the States in the early ‘90s, they settled in Niwot and decided to partner. Wallace was invigorated by a recent cross-country trip of every major craft brewery at that time — “All the way to Homer, Alaska, and back.” — and Doore had been homebrewing since his brother gave him a homebrew kit in ‘90. Enthusiasm collided with experience. “Dude, what are we going to do?” Wallace recounts. “This beer thing is going to happen. Now is the time. It is the time.” According to Doore, the first beer they brewed together was a stout. “We brewed it once. And started drinking that first batch,” Doore told Theresa McCulla, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution. “I think by the end of that evening, we had decided to start a brewery.”

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They began visiting every brewery they could drive to, talk to any brewer who would give them time, and broke down any beer they could drink for inspiration. They also needed a place to brew, and a 5,300-square-foot former meatpacking plant on Boston Avenue proved to be ideal — even if the previous owner lost his right arm in a sausage grinder. Oddly enough, that’s not where Left Hand got its name. Wallace and Doore originally wanted to call their brewery Indian Peak Brewing Company, but there was a naming conflict. Instead, they looked to their home of Niwot — the Southern Arapaho word for “left hand” — and drew inspiration there. Wallace and Doore incorporated Left Hand in September 1993, started building out the brewery in October, and brewed their first batch of beer, Sawtooth Amber Ale, on Jan. 2, 1994. That same year, Sawtooth netted the two a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. • • • • Wallace and Doore were far from the only ones who thought opening a brewery in the ‘90s was a good idea. At a nearby aerospace company, Craig Taylor was trying to recruit Dennis Coombs to do the same thing. Like most professional brewers, Taylor was a homebrewer tipsy on his tipple and saw a future in it. Coombs was game, as was Dave D’Epagnier, who overheard Taylor and Coombs talking shop. He, too, was a homebrewer and wanted in. Soon Tom Charles was on board, and the foursome had momentum. “We just jumped into it,” Taylor told author Dan Rabin. Located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Sixth Avenue, Pumphouse Brewery resides in the “William Lugg Building,” named after a prominent Longmont businessman from the early 1900s. The building had been host to a wide array of businesses — from wood and coal storage to a roller rink — but never a fire station. That didn’t matter to Taylor and company; you need a theme to stand out, and a firehouse theme was as good as any. The four had the passion and a location; they just needed direction. Enter Ross Hagen, who brought brewpub experience. The quintet was set, and May 1,

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BOULDER WEEKLY


MICHAEL J. CASEY

1996, Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant opened with a firehouse décor and similarly themed beers. • • • • At the beginning of the 1990s, Longmont had no breweries. By the turn of the century: three had opened, two remained. The third, Overland Stage Stop Brewery (located at 526 Main St.), opened in ‘95 with the help of Wallace and Doore. By the time it closed in ‘99, another familiar name was associated with Overland: Dale Katechis. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Katechis might have been the only homebrewer in The Heart of Dixie. There he met and married his high school sweetheart, and there he read a ‘91 Outside magazine listing Wise River, Montana, as one of the top 10 places in the country to live. “Saw a picture of Wise River, Montana, and said: ‘That’s my life,’” Katechis recounts. The two packed up and took off, running out of money in Boulder. They stayed with Katechis’ college roommate’s sister, found odd jobs, and fell in love with the Centennial State. Katechis started bartending at the Old Chicago on Pearl Street — a hub in the Boulder County craft brewing movement — before getting the opportunity to open the Longmont Old Chicago in ‘96. The move brought Katechis closer to his home in Lyons, but his tenure with the famed taphouse was soon to end. “One day, at Old Chicago, a regional manager threw a calculator at my head, and I was like: ‘Fuck this, I’m done. I’m going to go do it.’” “It” was a restaurant. Katechis grew up in the business, and it was his dream to open his own. All it took was one airborne calculator — and about $50,000 in advanced checks and credit cards. “And we opened Oskar Blues, April 25 on a Friday night, 1997, in a four-foot snowstorm,” he says, grinning. Named after two friends Katechis met on a bike trip — Oskar and “Old Blue” — Oskar Blues Grill & Brews is an unlikely institution to set up in a town of 1,400. The first year was quiet, BOULDER WEEKLY

DALE KATECHIS overseeing the canning operation at Oskar Blues’ Tasty Weasel production brewery.

and the house beer, “Oskar,” was brewed at Left Hand. One of Katechis’ regulars, Craig Engelhorn, started badgering Katechis to brew his own. “I set about teasing Dale that his new restaurant should have a brewery. After all, it was the ’90s and we were in Colorado,” Engelhorn told Virginia Miller in 2018. A self-described “mediocre homebrewer,” Katechis called Engelhorn’s bluff. Engelhorn then found a used 6-barrel system built by legendary brewer Jim Schlueter in Santa Clarita, California, for sale. “We went out to see it, and it was in the guy’s front yard, and his wife was standing in the front door,” Katechis recounts, chuckling. “It was a bitter divorce, and the brewpub was part of it.” The two brought the brewpub back to Lyons, stuck it in Oskar Blues’ basement, and contacted Brian Lutz, whom Katechis knew from the RedFish Brewery in Boulder. “[Lutz] was really respected, he loved making big Belgian beers,” Katechis says. Katechis had a recipe dating back to his college days at Auburn Univeristy. He and Engelhorn also had a shared affection for North Coast Brewing’s Red Seal Ale. Add those to “Brian’s commercial experience,” and Dale’s Pale Ale was born in July 1999. ‘NOT JUST US CRAZY REDNECKS UP HERE.’

Dale’s Pale Ale was just the beginning, and Oskar Blues’ success extended into the following decade with a series of milestones. In 2002, they began canning Dale’s Pale Ale, and expanded to a 20-barrel system procured from Brian Dunn at Great Divide I

Brewing Company — the 6-barrel Schlueter system moved out to the barn where they still use it for R&D. In 2003, Frontier Airlines began carrying Dale’s Pale Ale on its flights, and in 2005, the New York Times awarded Dale’s Pale Ale “best pale ale in the country” in a blind taste test. “I was really that moment,” Katechis reflects. “It’s not just us crazy rednecks up here in Lyons. [The win] validated it, and we used it.” “Best pale ale in the country” pushed Oskar Blues to the next level. “Years and years of triple-digit growth” followed, and in 2008, Oskar Blues expanded to Longmont with a 35,000-square-foot production brewery, affectionately dubbed: the Tasty Weasel. • • • • Left Hand’s trajectory was similar. Though years ’94 through ’98 saw rapid growth, the capital-intensive nature of brewing also made for lean times at the brewery. Then, in April 1998, Left Hand bought Tabernash Brewing, a struggling brewery in Denver’s River North district. “After buying Tabernash, we were cash-strapped,” Wallace explains. We were managing two different wholesalers, and that wasn’t working. “And then Left Hand’s wholesaler tried to put us out,” Wallace continues. “They closed down their division and left us hanging.” That was in June, three days before Left Hand planned to ship its first 12-ounce six-packs. Wallace, who is still a little bitter about the endeavor, resolved not to be put in those straights again. “After a bunch of gyrations, we started our own distribution company,” he explains. “We’d been self-distributINSIDER ’20

ing in Boulder County the whole time, so using that as the base, as the skeleton, we built on to that and started distributing on a more widespread basis, going all the way down to Denver and into the mountains.” Formed in November, Indian Peaks Distribution Company (never let a good name go unused) partnered with High Point Brewing Corp. in Eagle, Bristol Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, Ska Brewing in Durango and Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder to create a distribution network among independent, like-minded breweries. And as they expanded, so did their reach: North Coast Brewing Company, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Brewery, Stone Brewing Co., Allagash Brewing Company, Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, Two Brothers Artisan Brewing... “We started bringing all of these brands into Colorado because Colorado was a good beer market — it was independent liquor stores and super competitive and super open,” Wallace says. “We got nominally profitable, over about seven years, while the brewery stayed flat [the norm in the industry at that time]. “In January 2006, we sold our distribution company to C.R. Goodman,” Wallace continues. “That allowed us to be debt-free and really focus on building a sales force and trying to grow. And that was the first of 10 years of double-digit growth.” It also opened the door for Left Hand’s next milestone: Milk stout. Left Hand’s iconic beer was first brewed in ’99, inspired by a trip to Tanzania where Doore discovered Castle Stout (a stout dosed with unfermentable milk sugar, i.e., lactose). The beer features a creamy mouth and a dollop of sweetness between dark roasted malts and bitter hops. It’s like dropping cream in your coffee. “Milk Stout had basically gone extinct in the U.S., there were some oatmeal stouts around, but no milk stouts,” Wallace says. “We did it once, and then we did it again. We put it into see CRAFT BREWERS Page 16

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LESLIE AND STEVE KACZEUS PHOTO BY MICHAEL J. CASEY

CRAFT BREWERS from Page 15

bombers; it was popular, made a couple of batches. And then a year later, we started putting it into six-packs, with the intent that it would be the winter seasonal. It just started going.” Milk Stout quickly became one of Left Hand’s most popular beers. But when they started packaging it nitrogenized in 2011, it became their numberone seller — rare for a dark beer. Wallace describes it as a “disturbance in the force.” “People go: ‘I didn’t know beer could taste like this,’” Wallace says. YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD BREWERY

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Despite strong showings from Left Hand and Oskar Blues, not to mention consistent business from Pumphouse, the 2000s were quiet for Longmont’s brewing scene. But things began to change following the Great Recession. Down in Niwot, Leslie and Steve Kaczeus decided to get in on the brewing scene. “I fell in love going to Bavaria and seeing people walk down the street with the growlers in their hands,” Leslie says. “And they go to the local brewery and fill them up.” If they were going to open a brewery, Leslie wanted it to have that communal quality. Lucky for them, a small commercial space — 1,200 square feet — was available not too far from where they lived. Even better, the landlord was an avid beer drinker. Leslie and Steve hail from Boulder County: He from Boulder, she from Erie. The high-tech industry both took them to California for 13 years and brought them back. But, it was a homebrew kit Leslie gifted Steve for Christmas that changed everything. “It was kind of an outlet for me to be creative,” Steve says. An ambitious homebrewer, Steve I

graduated from extracts to all-grain brewing quickly. And the beer was good. So good, they began wondering if a career in brewing was a viable next step. To test that, Steve attended a twoweek seminar at the American Brewers Guild, “to learn how to brew from a technical perspective.” When Steve returned, opening a brewery was inevitable. The Kaczeus’ opened Bootstrap Brewing Company (the name is a nod to the brewery’s DIY origins) on June 20, 2012, with a 3.5-barrel brewing system in about 400 square feet of brewing space. Cozy, to say the least. Packaging and distribution was part of the Kaczeus’ game plan from day one, and their first beer out the door was Insane Rush, an amber-hued IPA laced with potent hops and stiff bitterness. “It became the best-selling IPA along the Front Range,” Steve says. Their second beer, Stick’s Pale Ale, won gold at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival. Currently, Bootstrap distributes five core beers in liquor and grocery stores. It’s what took Bootstrap from humble beginnings to wild expansion, and eight years of growth that quickly overwhelmed their Niwot location. As things were getting their tightest, Steve reached out to Katechis (their sons played baseball together at Niwot High School) for space. Katechis agreed to store their cans at the Tasty Weasel. One night, Steve and Leslie dropped by the Tasty Weasel for a beer. Ever seen where they keep our cans? Steve asks Leslie. No, she says. “I take her into the back, there’s all our cans, and there’s this guy riding his bike in sandals, and it’s Dale,” Steve says, recounting how a casual conversation swiftly manifested into something more. “‘We’re looking for a building, we gotta go bigger.’ ‘How big?’ ‘I don’t know, 10-15,000 square feet.’ BOULDER WEEKLY


“[Dale] says: ‘I got a building. Wanna go check it out?’” Steve continues. “‘Alright.’ ‘Let’s go do it now.’“ Located at 142 Pratt St., Katechis’ building was what the Kaczeuses needed and more. They moved in 2017, opening a taproom and performance stage next to their dauntingly large production space; space that has quickly filled with Bootstrap beer. They brewed 7,000 barrels of beer in 2019, and Steve expects they’ll brew 9,000 to 10,000 barrels this year. It can handle 25,000 barrels, Leslie says, but they probably won’t hit that number for at least a couple years. AFTER THE FLOOD From Sept. 11-15, 2013, Longmont experienced the most devastating flash flood in its history. Once-in-a-lifetime natural disasters have ways of destroying budding industries. Yet, Longmont and the surrounding areas bounced back stronger than before. A new wave of industry was coming, and nothing signaled this more than the closing of the Butterball turkey processing plant in 2011. When the Butterball plant was built in 1950, Longmont’s primary industry was agriculture. Sixty-one years later, Butterball was the last vestige of those days, wiped out by booms in retail as well as housing and residential amenities. 300 Suns Brewing, the first start-up brewery to open in Longmont since the Pumphouse in 1996, planned to open in late 2013 but had to wait because of flooding during construction. Many businesses suffered a similar fate or worse. On Feb. 21, 2014, 300 Suns Brewing, owned and operated by husband and wife Dan and Jean Ditslear, was the first brewery to open in the shadow of Butterball. Like most craft breweries at the time, their location was somewhat removed from the walkabout portions of the city. But their focus was hyperlocal, reliant on damn good beer, and a culture of curious drinkers. Less than a mile away, Shoes & Brews was another family establishment: Ashlee and Colin Anderson and their friend from college, Dave Zakavec; Colin’s father, Roger; and Ashlee’s friends, Kris and Mike Donohoe. They opened their doors on July 1, 2014 — less than one year after hatching the business plan — along the banks of the St. Vrain Creek in a flooded building. “Everything you see, we built,” Ashlee says of Shoes & Brews. When they moved in, it was one big room with two bathrooms in the back. Now they have separated the retail store BOULDER WEEKLY

from the bar. When they opened in 2014, they weren’t sure the concept would catch on. But, they figured, “Shoes will pay for brews.” “It’s its own wonderful thing,” Ashlee says. “If you had to separate the businesses, you could. But, the fun thing is, you don’t have to.” Shoes & Brews has 20 taps, three to five of them brewed in-house by Roger. He works with a one-barrel system (making Shoes & Brews the smallest commercial brewery in Longmont). Now married, Ashlee and Colin

weren’t when they started their Shoes & Brews journey. Neither were Ryan and Robin Wibby when they opened the doors to Wibby Brewing on Sept. 4, 2015. That changed at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival when Wibby Brewing won silver for their Moondoor Dunkel. While accepting the award on stage, Ryan dropped to one knee and popped the question. The win and proposal generated headlines, but it was Ryan’s eclectic lagers that has kept the doors open and the tanks full. Born in Golden, Ryan picked up a

love for lager in Central Pennsylvania while working at Iron Hill Brewery in Lancaster. He turned passion into profession with a six-month “Certified Brewmaster Course” at Berlin, Germany’s VLB. There, he settled on a combination: traditional German lagers melded with American ingenuity. “Technically, it’s more difficult to make a crisp, clean lager that’s good to drink,” Ryan says. “Our goal is: Anything an ale can make, a lager can make better.” see CRAFT BREWERS Page 18

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CRAFT BREWERS from Page 17

Like 300 Suns, Wibby Brewing also opened near the shuttered Butterball plant, this time on the north side of the facility at 209 Emery St. At the time, both breweries were operating in industrial-like settings. But, in the past five years, the Butterball plant has been leveled, and now the South Main Station apartment complex will bring the neighborhood to both. Across Main Street, Ashlee says a whole, active complex has cropped up around Shoes & Brews. “Next door to us, this building was just bought, and there’s a gym inside of it. Behind us is the Longmont Climbing Collective, which is a bouldering gym. Connected to them is Warrior Playground,” she says. “This area has really become a center for people who are looking to be more active.” • • • • Farther south in the pocket neighborhood of Prospect New Town, another husband-andwife team, Brandon and Lisa Boldt are producing some of the oddest, funkiest, most surprising beer in the area. But, as Brandon points out: “Colorado has one of the most, if not the most, educated beer communities in one consolidated area.” It would be hard to open up a place like Primitive without that education. The beer they make is locally sourced, spontaneously fermented, barrel-aged (often on fruit), blended and served still (without carbonation). For some drinkers, the tart acid, vinous flavors, funky yeast and occasional tannins will hew closer to wine than beer. But, as the Boldts suspect, a lot has changed in what beer drinkers are looking for. Back in 1993, beer drinkers gravitated to Left Hand because the Sawtooth Ale Wallace and Doore brewed packed more flavor than all those mass-market light lagers combined. Less than a decade later, Dale’s Pale Ale upped the ante with a face full of hops. Tastes progress, and when Brandon and Lisa Boldt opened the doors to Primitive on April 14, 2018, they simultaneously took those tastes to new heights while also bringing beer back to its roots. “I think it’s beautiful,” Brandon says. “It gets back to the history of this beverage. ... Trying to use that local ingredient and trying to speak to 18

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to Aug. 31, 2019, before turning out the lights. Back in Prospect New Town, Open Door Brewing Company beat Primitive Beer to the neighborhood by a year. They were even canning their beer before that, but still ended up closing on June 29, 2018. Just about everyone gets into this business with the same goal: Make good beer. But the reasons they RYAN WIBBY PHOTO BY SUSAN FRANCE get out of it are legion. Some have multiple investors with different objectives. Others lack the dayin-day-out business sense it takes to run a brewery. Too many lack backgrounds in hospitality. And then there’s the beer. Without a quality product, and without consistency, not only does it jeopardize personal success, it puts the rest of the industry at risk. It’s a point Steve Kaczeus from Bootstrap takes seriously. Steve: “The last two, three years at the Craft Brewers Conference, that’s the flavor of your area.” one of the first thing the guys at the Brewers Association—“ ‘DON’T F— IT UP.’ Leslie: “Paul [Gatz, the director of “Eight, nine years ago, [beer] was the Brewers Association] stands up at the gold rush,” Leslie Kaczeus says. his keynote and says: ‘Get out.’” “‘Oh, my gosh! I’m going to open a Steve: “‘—All these guys, who’ve brewery and become a millionaire!’” been in the business for 20, 30 years, they she jokes. “We just laugh hysterically got us to this point. All you new guys comevery time someone thinks they’re ing in behind: Don’t fuck it up.’” going to make money brewing beer.” • • • • Some are doing well; others are Longmont’s brewers are heeding doing better. Most are breaking even; a Gatz’s charge. And they are doing it by few are not. Yes, there is a vast beer following their bliss and incorporating community, but business is still cuttheir passions into every beer. throat. Shelf space in liquor and groGroßen Bart Brewery (pronounced cery stores is hard to come by, and the “grossen”) opened Nov. 1, 2014, with a competition for tap handles is stiff. 10-barrel system in a cozy but spacious Though there has been an explosion in facility on Delaware Avenue behind the the craft beer market since 2012 — Safeway on Ken Pratt Boulevard. both locally and nationally — it hasn’t Grossen is German for “big beard,” been smooth sailing for all. and owner Taylor Wise sports one On July 12, 2014, the Powder Keg alongside a tap list with facial hairBrewing Company became the second named beers, from Chin Strap IPA to Fu brewery in Niwot. They closed their Manchu Foreign Stout to HandBarley doors on March 10, 2018. Skeye Wine. Brewing Company opened its Hover Out east, Collision Brewing Street taproom on June 1, 2015, and Company is a family-run brewpub resclosed three years later on June 25, taurant with an automotive theme. One 2018. Brewmented, a homebrew supply of their beers, aptly named Blinker store with a small taproom in the back, Fluid, is a Kölsch made with butterfly opened a few storefronts down from tea and Blue Juniper berries. In the Skeye on May 14, 2018, but only made it wrong light, it looks like neon blue mud. INSIDER ’20

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In the right light, it pops with cyan, chartreuse, even lavender. “We like doing some odd beers here,” owner Eric Blythe says. Eric runs the front of the house while brother Jason brews in the back. They’re currently running a seven-barrel system, but have plenty of room to grow into a 30-barrel system. In a way, Collision is reminiscent of the brewpubs of the late-’90s, early2000s. The majority of the 10,000-square-foot operation is reserved for dining — their menu is extensive and quite tasty. Beer is a draw, but not the draw. Similar to how Engelhorn goaded Katechis into brewing his own beer, it just makes sense that the Blythes brew their own as well. Head even farther east, and you’ll find Longmont’s newest brewery, Outworld Brewing, located at 1725 Vista View Drive. They opened their doors on Feb. 28, 2020, and plan to showcase Belgian and Bavarian styles, with a few juicy IPAs and Mexican lagers tossed in for good measure. • • • • History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Spend some time dining and drinking at Collision, and you’ll find whiffs of Oskar Blue’s first restaurant. Wibby’s passion for lagers in an industry of ale matches Wallace’s disgust for monochromatic beer. The Boldts mirror Steve and Leslie Kaczeus, and vice versa. As national beer sales slow and stall, only time will dictate which local brewery will survive the next shakeout and which will not. And which will experience the rocket ride of growth the way Left Hand and Oskar Blues did. One thing is certain: Longmont brewers need not play second fiddle to their neighboring brethren. They never did in the first place. “There’s now 11 breweries operating in Longmont? There was zero when we came here,” Wallace from Left Hand says. “We started the first one, and we helped our friends start the second one. ... Now there’s a bunch. “And look what that does to the fabric of the community. All of us are little nodules of community building, linked together. Now people want to live in Longmont. Longmont was always kind of a cow town, and a bit of a butt of a joke,” he continues. “Longmont had an inferiority complex, and I was always confounded by it.” The days of inferiority complexes are over. In Longmont, the best beer may still be yet to come. BOULDER WEEKLY


Colorado’s Freshest Milk

Longmont Dairy Farm is as farm-to-table as you can get

by Claire Lardizabal CLAIRE LARDIZABAL

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ave one glass of Longmont Dairy Farm’s ultra creamy and delicious milk, and you’ll know why 25,000 customers on the Front Range remain loyal to this longtime institution. The Family Business

Longmont Dairy Farm (LDF) is more than half a century old and three generations in. Founded by Reese Boatman, Karl Obluda and Jim Boyd, LDF has been delivering fresh Colorado milk to their customers’ doorsteps since 1965. In 1988, Boyd’s son and daughter-in-law, David and Susan, took over the business. Then in 2015, their children, Dan Boyd and Katie Herrmann, became the new owners. Boyd is in charge of the mechanical side, including the processing plant, trucks and milk routes, while Herrmann oversees customer service, sales, marketing, IT and human resources. Since they took over, the two continue their grandfather’s legacy of running a sustainable and local dairy farm. “We have big shoes to fill,” Herrmann says. “We want to keep our legacy alive. There’s a pressure to keep business going since my grandfather passed it on to my parents and now me and my brother. We have a sense of pride to keep this in the family. The Longmont Dairy Farm family has [served Coloradan] families as stewards of God,

nized, pasteurized and bottled in recycled glass bottles. Crates of chilled milk bottles wait until nightfall when an armada of 35 delivery trucks head out at 11 p.m. and make deliveries into the wee morning hours, Sunday through Thursday. Herrmann says the company delivers about 4,000 gallons of milk daily between Loveland and Highlands Ranch. A Convenient Coincidence

and we want to carry that forward.” From Farm to Table

Herrmann says it takes a little over 48 hours for milk to travel from the Loveland dairy farm to a customer’s front door. The milk comes from Colorado born-and-raised Holstein cows, fed on a local diet of grain, hay and corn silage. Milk is stored in a tank until a truck transports it to the processing plant on Coffman Street. At the processing plant, the milk is homoge-

Ninety-nine percent of LDF’s business is from single-home deliveries but apartmentdwellers, fear not — milk is available for purchase at Your Butcher Frank and Longmont’s Whole Foods. In the past, LDF has offered orange juice, eggs and butter. Since its 2018 plant expansion, LDF now delivers loaves of bread from Castle Rock’s Bread in the Box, cold brew coffee and fresh iced tea sourced by Boulder’s Silver Canyon Coffee and, more recently, Denver’s Prefare chicken and pizza meal kits. Modern technology has made it more convenient for grocery delivery services. It’s expected the U.S. online grocery market will experience mulit-billion dollar growth over the next few years. Regardless of market trends, LDF has proven its value to Front Range families for generations. Sign up at longmontdairyfarm.com.

COURTESY LDF

COURTESY LDF

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hen you sign up for milk delivery service, Longmont Dairy Farm gives you a complimentary cooler. But, if you want to take the nostalgia up a notch, LDF also offers stainless steel and wooden milk boxes. Customers can then enjoy their breakfast with a glass of milk, free of antibiotics and rBST growth hormones. Once you’re finished with your bottle, don’t toss it in the recycle bin. Instead, leave it in the cooler (or milk box) so the delivery driver can take it back to the plant to be washed, sanitized and used again.

Community Service

Since LDF launched the Milk Caps for Mooola program in 2012, it has collected 7 million milk caps and donated $350,000 to 350 participating elementary schools along the Front Range. Herrmann says with that money, students are able to access new technology, music programs and field trips.

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YOU NEVER KNOW

if the next singer you hear at an open mic night will go on to music fame and fortune. Take Nathaniel Rateliff, now a huge star with or without his band, the Night Sweats. He started out singing songs at open mics on the nights he wasn’t working in a Denver bottle factory. Lots of musicians got their start that way. “Open mics are a great way to dip your toe into performing in front of an audience for the first time to see whether you like it,” says Longmont singer/songwriter Kevin Dooley, who played open mics in Boulder in his early days. Longmont is becoming known as a hub for live music with eager audiences and weekly open mic opportunities at restaurants, bars and tasting rooms. There are plenty of spots hosting well-attended bluegrass jams where everyone joins in, as well. Open mics are more like performances, usually by a single singer or a few musicians with acoustic or electric instruments. Dooley has some advice for newcomers. “Make sure you are ready to go. Nobody wants to listen to you tune. You usually only have time to do about three songs. Don’t spend 10 minutes telling us about the song, just jump right in,” he says. These open mics are hosted, and musicians arrive early to sign up for the choice time slots. All ages of musicians are involved, with varying levels of experience, but open mics are always free — for performers and listeners. Some venues offer performers a free beer. Dooley recommends stopping by various open mics to get a feel for the ambiance, which can range from noisy casual spaces to the big stage at Dickens Opera House. Here are the top open mics taking place weekly or monthly in Longmont with a few suggestions for beverages to sip while listening for the next Billie Eilish. MONDAY 6 p.m. Bootstrap Brewing. 142 Pratt St., Longmont. Hosted by Dennis Driscoll. bootstrapbrewing.com Beverage suggestion: Bootstrap NutStrap Imperial Coffee Stout brewed with OZO Coffee’s Mocha Java beans TUESDAY 8 p.m. The Speakeasy. 301 Main St. Hosted by Brian Rezak. thespeakeasy.buzz Beverage suggestion: Moscow Mule WEDNESDAY 6-9 p.m. On the second Wednesday of the month, Longtucky Spirits. 350 Terry St. Hosted by Emrys Hanley. longtuckyspirits.com Beverage suggestion: Longtucky Alpine Dry Gin flavored with Colorado juniper, spruce, sage and lavender THURSDAY 7 p.m. Dickens Opera House. 300 Main St. Hosted by Brian Rezac. dickensoperahouse.com Menu suggestion: The Dickens Pie: roast beef, onions and carrots with a topping of mashers and cheese. GET IN A JAM (OR TWO) If you have a ukulele or want to learn to play, join the weekly ukulele jam, 2-4 p.m. Sundays at Bootstrap Brewing in Longmont. All ages are welcome, and host Brian Rezac brings extra ukes along. From 6-8 p.m. on Wednesdays, 300 Suns Brewing (335 First Ave.) is home to an acoustic music jam — meaning singing and playing together. Hosted by Tim Ostdiek. 300sunsbrewing.com Beverage suggestion: 300 Suns Fortunate Squirrel Nut Brown Ale.

For a song INGS N E V E E E R F R E F F O S IC OPEN M RIES OF SINGERS AND STO

by John Lehndorff

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NOCOAST

Lyons Lair

The hip little mountain town with a mighty roar

COURTESY OF WEECASA TINY HOUSE RESORT

by Sarah Tuff Dunn

SITTING PRETTY in the foothills of

our fabled range, Lyons is known as the Double Gateway to the Rockies, thanks to the two highways that twist into Rocky Mountain National Park. But make no mistake, this is no drive-by town. Slow down to discover award-winning spirits, playful creeks, a tiny-house resort and an established bluegrass scene. YOU’RE SO VRAIN The St. Vrain Creek earned a bad name when it severely flooded Lyons in 2013. But seven years later, luck has returned to the St. Vrain, tumbling down from 12,000 feet and luring fly fishing enthusiasts from across the state with its trout-teeming waters. North and South join in town, creating playful creeks for not only casting caddis patterns but also swimming and sunbathing. The North St. Vrain is also where top tubing conditions prevail. One of the access points is located downtown, around the corner from the original Oskar Blues Brewery (Colorado’s birthplace for craft beer in a can), which just so happens to sponsor a fly fishing film tour. We’re partial to a pint of Dale’s Pale Ale and a plate of wings, perfect fuel to help us fly up the mountains surrounding Lyons. Head to Hall Ranch (also a mountain biking mini-mecca) for rolling grasslands and sandstone buttes spread across 3,000 acres. Or to Rabbit Mountain for miles of family-friendly easy and moderate trails. You’ll see why many consider Lyons one of the state’s top adventure towns. WEECASA ES SU CASA Tiny homes are still as trendy as ever, with more than 10,000 around the country and 700 more added each year. For those who want to test the waters before taking the plunge

2020 Lyons Events

AIN’T NOTHING LIKE A HOUND, DOG There must be something in the Lyons water that makes it a haven not only for craft beer aficionados but liquor lovers, too. Just look at Spirit Hound Distillers, one of the town’s liveliest gathering spots for live music, libation-oriented lectures, open-mic nights and food pairings. The pooch-named hooch is the draw here, though, thanks to handcrafted spirits with local ingredients. “We started our distillery with the sobering knowledge that whisky takes time to produce,” Head Distiller Craig Engelhorn says on the company’s website about the multiaward-winning Straight Malt Whisky. “Rather than cave in to the temptation to source our whisky from another distillery, or force a quick age using small barrels or oak chips, we made

RockyGrass: July 24-26 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival: Aug. 7-9 Art at River Bend: Sunday. Aug, 23 Halloween Spooktacular: October Holiday Bazaar: December Parade of Lights: December

Burning Can Fest at the Lyons Outdoor Games: May 30 Lyons Good Old Days Celebration: June 1 Sandstone Summer Concert Series: Thursdays, June 11 through Aug. 13 BOULDER WEEKLY

into serious downsizing — or for those who just want a twist on the typical overnight stay — Lyons is home to WeeCasa, the world’s largest tiny-house resort. Tucked into the River Bend wedding and special event venue, WeeCasa offers 22 creatively themed sleepaway structures, from 165- to 400-square-feet each, and for $149 to $299 a night. The turquoise-touched Judy Blue Eyes, for example, has a 1970s vibe, while the especially tiny Cherry Birch creates a cozy hideaway for two. WeeCasa emerged from a partnership of community members in the aftermath of the 2013 flood, a testament to the town’s creative resilience. Fans of HGTV, meanwhile, can breathe a sigh of relief that they don’t actually have to pick up a hammer and a nail to enjoy the simplified lifestyle — with some special extra perks from the resort. Think thick, plush bath towels, French press coffeemakers, crisp sheets and property-wide WiFi. But, chances are you’ll be too busy playing corn hole and kicking back around the communal fire pits to even remember what an email is. (weecasa.com)

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an early decision to produce a straight malt whisky of our own, from scratch, using 100% Colorado malted barley as the base.” Other offerings include the Mountain Bum Rum, Colorado Sambuca and White Dog Moonshine, all of which get mixed into creative cocktails at the Spirit Hound tasting room (takeout food is welcome). Find free distillery tours seven days a week — and maybe a designated driver, too. (spirithounds. com). STARRING THE PLANET Planet Bluegrass is, quite simply, an out-of-this-world destination for two legendary music festivals on a 14-acre playground tucked beneath a rim of 75-foot-high red sandstone cliffs along the St. Vrain Creek. Every July, a stellar lineup lands on the Planet to pick bluegrass tunes for the RockyGrass Festival. This year’s main stage performers (marking the 48th year of the twanging tradition) include Béla Fleck, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and Never Come Down, which is about how attendees feel after a day experiencing the hot licks and hyper tempos at the festival. For a slightly mellower vibe, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in mid-August has featured such artists as Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird, The Wood Brothers and Gillian Welch, among others. Planet Bluegrass also produces the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June. But why travel to the far corner of Colorado when you can spend a hot day wading in the creek, cracking open a cold beverage and listen to some of the country’s best live music just up the road? Locals can also wander here for the Wildflower Concert Series every spring and fall, attend the RockyGrass Academy in July, and enroll in August’s Song School staged just before the Folks Festival (bluegrass.com).

Lyons Share: Don’t Miss... ...a mocha at the Stone Cup ...truffle fries at the Lyons Fork ...an Old Fashioned at Spirit Hound Distillers ...elotes at Mojo Taqueria ...a Dale’s Pale Ale at Oskar Blues ...the Hoggin Combo at Smokin’ Daves BBQ

INSIDER ’20

...a New York egg cream at the Lyons Soda Fountain ...Pie at the Colorado Cherry Company ...Coconut milk ice cream at Julie’s Thai Kitchen ...Bread and butter at Bella La Crema ...coffee ...and biscuits for four-legged friends at the Barking Dog Cafe. I

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PHOTO BY KRISTEN BOYER COURTESY VISIT LONGMONT

NIWOT BY THE NUMBERS Just the facts, ma’am…

SUSAN FRANCE

Founded............................................................... 1872 County............................................................Boulder Elevation.................................................... 5,095 feet Land area................................... 4.008 square miles Parks.......................................................................... 3

Climate.......................................................Semi-arid Days of sunshine................................................. 240 Average winter temps (F.......... High 50º / Low 32º Average summer temps (F)...... High 85º / Low 65º Average rain precipitation..................... 15 inches Average snow precipitation................... 38 inches

Population (est.)................................................ 4,006 Median age.......................................................... 36.6 Breweries................................................................. 1 Churches................................................................... 2 Public Schools......................................................... 2

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• 4,000+ monthly events • Streamlined search • Comprehensive details • Social sharing features 24

Oskar Blues Brewing. Photo by Susan France.

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Food • Drink • Entertainment • Music • Classes • Art • Sports • And More!

Looking for something to do?

Head to Boulder County’s Definitive Guide to Local Events Boulder County Events .com brought to you by INSIDER ’20

PHOTOS COURTESY INKBERRY BOOKS

Inkberry Inquiry The story behind Niwot’s new independent bookstore

by Sarah Tuff Dunn

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s professors at the University of Colorado Boulder, Gene Hayworth and Keith Waters know a thing or two about the written word. So when the chance arrived to open a new bookstore in Niwot, the couple went beyond the book in the era of big-box and online retailers, deciding to dedicate their free time to creating a community centered around consuming some of the 6,000 new and used titles the store carries. We tracked down the co-owners for the run-down on operating a bookstore. Q. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN INKBERRY BOOKS?

Hayworth: I’m a full-time librarian, a publisher and an author, and as you can imagine, books play a major role in my life. I grew up with five sisters and one brother in a rural community in North Carolina, and books were a luxury. The school library was my second home. It wasn’t until I left home as a firstgeneration college student that I discovered bookstores — for me that was cathartic. I developed an obsession for collecting books, and when we moved to Colorado in 1995, we traveled here with about 5,000 volumes. I realized that I had to do something. I opened an online store, but I realized at the time that online was not the best solution. A bookstore needs a community and a physical place to share ideas.

Q. WHY NIWOT?

Hayworth: When we first moved to Boulder, there were about 10 bookstores here. One by one, we have seen them close. Boulder still has Boulder Book Store and Red Letter Books, and Longmont has the two wonderful stores, Used Book Emporium and Barbed Wire Books. With its location between Boulder and Longmont, Niwot was a logical choice. I

BOULDER WEEKLY


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Vegan & Gluten Free available! Waters: Niwot has the charm of a small town, with a cultured and highly educated population. It seemed like exactly the right mix and has the advantage of being home to many authors and artists. Q. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO OPEN AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE IN THIS DAY AND AGE?

Hayworth: It is exciting and frightening at the same time. Although we’ve been open for two years, there are still many people in Niwot who do not know we’re here. The Niwot Business Association does a wonderful job organizing events like “Let’s Wine About Winter” and the First Friday Art Walk, and those events help get people out and into the store. Running a bookstore really is a labor of love, and we’re grateful to have this opportunity. Waters: There are challenges and opportunities. Not everyone enjoys reading — or reading from actual books — but those who do have been unbelievably supportive of our store. Gene also has envisioned the spot as a kind of cultural center for author readings, and we’ve had both local and nationally known authors, and we’ve done jazz concerts and other events.

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TOPPINGS TO CREATE WHAT YOU CRAVE

Q. WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL BOOK REQUEST YOU HAVE RECEIVED SO FAR?

Waters: A discounted edition of the original Gutenberg Bible. Hayworth: Our bestselling book is the children’s title ‘Walter the Farting Dog.’ One morning a young boy came in with his mother and asked her to buy it for him. His mother said, “Let’s talk about that while we eat breakfast next door.” As they were leaving, the boy turned around, pointed a finger at me, and said, “You keep an eye on that book for me!” BOULDER WEEKLY

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1749 N. Main Street, Longmont • (303) 923-5513 INSIDER ’20

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SMALLTOWN.

BIG HEART.

For a small town we have a lot of heart. We also have great independent stores, restaurants, coffee shops, art, sculpture, history, and an outstanding children’s park.

Nelson Hall photo is courtesy of the Niwot Historical Society

Come and let your heart experience our great small town.

LONGMONT

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