Article and photos by Andrea Cannistraci
Boulder, Colorado is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of just under 6,000 ft. The city is 25 miles northwest of Denver and if you’re arriving via airplane, you’ll likely fly into DEN. Known as the home of the University of Colorado, Boulder is indeed a college town. It’s small town with plenty to do and see, easily over a weekend. A few things you won’t want to miss include the coffee, the microbrews, the outdoor activities, and the food. (Not necessarily in that order.)
What to drink?
Boulder is serious about coffee. I didn’t realize just how serious coffee was in Boulder until I met up with Megan from Local Table Tours. Megan took me around to a few of her favorite coffee joints in town for a crash course education on all things coffee.
We started off at The Cup, 2011 Micro Roaster of 2011, where we enjoyed Conscious Coffee. Owner Wendy then treated us to her Kyoto Drip. It’s the only one in town and it takes 24 hours to brew a pot. Ozo Coffee, unlike The Cup, roasts its own beans. Barista Blair educated us on the “importance of pre-heating your vessel,” and gave us Seltzer water to cleanse our palates between tastings. Who knew? At Piece, Love, and Chocolate Chefs Sarah and Jenny had over 60 amazing chocolates for us to sample. My favorite by far was the chocolate basil. There is a chocolate flavor for everyone here: everything from Mayan spice to sun dried tomato. They ever have truffles with beer in them!
What to drink? Part 2
And speaking of beer…a morning of coffee called for an afternoon of beers. Did you know that the craft beer industry makes up only 7% of the market? There are four breweries within walking distance of downtown Boulder, and Lee from @BoulderBrewTour took me around to three of them. First stop was Shine where we sampled Podha Pilsner—it means “good life” in Czech. And yes, drinking a cold brew on a 90 degree plus August day in Boulder is definitely living the good life! West Flanders is where you can enjoy their flagship brew, The Angry Monk. The name has an interesting story. The beer was first labeled as a “Trappist-style Ale.” Within a month the brewers received a Cease and Desist letter from a law firm representing the best interests of Belgium’s Trappist Monks. In the letter they pointed out, not so gently, that the brewers weren’t Trappist Monks and therefore incapable of brewing a Trappist Ale. Hence, the name sake.
Walnut Brewery is the oldest brewery in Boulder, and the original, started in 1991.
Where to eat?
If you eat at one place in Boulder, make it Frasca. This Italian restaurant is phenomenal! @frascafoodwine blew my socks off (and I’m Italian) I made a reservation two months prior and upon arrival was escorted to the Chef’s Table in the Kitchen. The food, the wine, the education was all first rate. Other notables include The Mediterranean, Salt and Kitchen. And apparently, Boulder Cafe has the best happy hour. And if you find some extra time back in Denver before your flight, definitely stop by ChoLon Bistro for the kaya toast. It’s amazing and the bartender, Gonzalo, is quite knowledgeable.
Where to stay?
Hands down St. Julien Hotel & Spa. Located in the heart of Boulder’s historic downtown, St Julien Hotel & Spa is within walking distance of more than 200 shops and 80 restaurants, just steps from the historic Pearl Street Mall, the beautiful University of Colorado campus, miles of hiking and biking paths and numerous entertainment options.
What to do?
If you don’t love the outdoors, don’t go to Boulder. Boulder is all about the great outdoors—and the activities are endless. Pick your poison: hiking, rafting, mountain climbing, biking, mountain biking. journeyPod spent one morning with Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides as they took us on a 22 mile ride down the Switzerland Trail. The Switzerland Trail is a historic narrow-gauge railroad line and a well- known biking trail because the smooth grade and 2%-5% slope of the railway make an easy traverse, while the narrowness of the rail bed (typically 8–10 feet wide) brings bikers close to the spectacular terrain. If you do one activity in Boulder—hire these guys to take you on the trail. Our guide, Alex, was very knowledgeable about the area and peppered the ride with fun facts and stories about the places we rode. It’s an amazing view, and a great workout!