(First, Happy Birthday to my fellow drinking buddy, and a Happy Easter as well!)
Hey the Nomad here! First I would like to say a formal hello to all the readers as this is my first guest posting. It is the beginning of spring break here in Fort Collins, so Lo was naturally out of town, but that was not going to stop me from drinking great beer to start my break right! Lo did have to remind me to take notes while I was there but I needed a partner in crime so I brought my trusty dog MoJo who made an appearance in the Grey rock hike post.
Hidden toward the back of the “industrial” area of Fort Collins is one of my favorite newish breweries Horse & Dragon Brewing at 124 Racquette Dr, Fort Collins. The closest major crossroads are Lemay and Lincoln, if driving north on Lemay, turn right/east onto Lincoln and drive behind the Wal-Mart. Continue down the road for about a ¼ mile you will see a light for Link lane, drive straight through it and take the next left onto Commerce Rd. You will take this road until it ends at Raquette, turn right onto Raquette and you will immediately see the red building that houses Horse & Dragon. Parking is limited in front of the brewery so you can park in front of the of the industrial buildings next door or better yet ride your bike and hang it on their unique bike rack trees!
I love going to Horse & Dragon, as soon as you walk in you feel like a local (whether you are like I am or not). The taproom feels open yet cozy with its rough cut wooden bar, tables and stools. There are banners of some of their favorite beers hanging on the rafters with examples of brewery attire you can buy. The walls are a patchwork of famous quotes, chosen by staff and people who had a hand to start the brewery, and items that you find in the home of a world traveler. The back wall of the taproom is actually a set of giant windows the peer into the brew house. Tim and Carol Cochran started this brewery 2 years ago as of May and it has taken off like a rocket thanks to their love of beer and their head brewer Linsey Cornish. Creating unique and flavorful beer is what Horse & Dragon is about and I have yet to ever be disappointed.
On this day they had 9 beers on tap, 6 per taster box. You can go with the pre arrange set of beer or mix and match between the usual and the specialty brews. As you order you can ask and taproom staff for a tour of the brew house at almost any time. One of the many things that very apparent H&D is passionate about other than beer is supporting the community thru fundraisers. They raise money for various groups by having a fundraising jar instead of a tip jar, that day the 2 groups were Larimer County Food Bank and a Jamestown Archeology field trip fund. H&D also hosts fundraising parties and a fairly regular basis. Even the beers help raise funds! Every pint of their Fire Captain Irish Red sold gives $1 to the Firefighter Community Compassion Fund. A particular way I enjoy also helping others out, which the taproom staff encourages, is to Pay it Forward and help pay for the next person to order beer.
Once MoJo and I got our 9 tasters we found a place to sit at the long table near the front door with a constantly rotating group of friendly people which MoJo enjoyed meeting while we had great conversations. Out of the 9 beers that day, 3 stood out with their own unique qualities. On the lighter side is the Fire Captain Irish red that I mentioned earlier, you can get it both with regular CO2 carbonation and on Nitro. This red on CO2 had biscuit and malt as the dominating flavors, a lighter hop background with a smooth finish. When you compare it to its Nitro counterpart you notice the smoothness of the flavors increase, while the malt and hop flavors are toned down but still keeping a delicious biscuit flavor. For a good middle ground beer I highly recommend the Whistle Blast Honey Brown with its mild coffee tones that makes you feel like you are in a classic pub with its rich but not over powering flavors. My number one choice though at Horse & Dragon is the Sad Panda Coffee Milk Stout. Don’t let the name fool you, if you are a fan of stout this beer with make you extremely happy with is rich balanced flavors of sweet coffee. This is a very impressive brew for how dark and heavy it is, it is still and smooth and an easy drinker.
Horse & Dragon is expanding their keg distribution outside of Fort Collins to bars in Loveland, Longmont and even Denver now. For a true experience come visit the brewery here in Fort Collins with your friend whether they are on 2 or 4 legs.