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  • Writer's pictureAmy Leggett

Touring Coors Brewery and Looking for Those Blue Mountains

Updated: Dec 7, 2022


One summer when I was in college (which was, ahem, several years ago), I was lucky enough to land a temporary job working at the Coors Brewery as a greeter/hostess welcoming tourists who wanted to come take a tour of the brewery and learn how the famous Rocky Mountain beer was made. My job was to organize guests into groups of 12 to take the guided tour. Those in the know would come in and ask to take the "short tour" which was basically a fast track to the tasting room. On my recent trip home, my sister and I decided to check out Coors Brewery for this blog and I found myself on the visitor side of the tour. Turns out we didn't plan far enough in advance to secure a spot for a guided tour and we were "forced" to take the infamous short tour (now known as a "Sampling Only" experience). While I was disappointed to miss the tour, I was very excited to get to taste freshly made Coors Light...my favorite beer! Regardless of which Coors experience you choose, visiting Coors Brewery and the surrounding small city of Golden is a great way to spend the afternoon.



The Coors Mystique

I may get teased incessantly about my love for Coors Light, but there was a point in time where Coors beer was a coveted beverage. For a long time, it was only sold west of the Mississippi and only in 11 western states. It was the number 1 selling beer in all of those states (except Texas because it was not distributed to all parts of the state). Coors didn't do a lot of paid advertising at the time, but the lack of wide spread distribution and resulting scarcity created a mystique around the beer that made it a highly desired beverage for East Coasters. Rumors spread of people smuggling cases of Coors back to family and friends living east of the Mississippi. Presidents and movie stars requested Coors to be provided in the White House and on set. The Coors mystique peaked in 1977 when the whole premise of the Smokey and the Bandit movie was for the main character (played by Burt Reynolds) to smuggle 400 cases of Coors from Texas to Georgia for a large sum of money. This plotline is highlighted in the Coors museum with a picture of the trunk of Smokey's car filled with cases of Coors.


It wasn't until the late 1980's that Coors became licensed to sell east of the Mississippi. All varieties of Coors beers are widely available across the US so there is no longer such a mystique around the beer. The continuous ridicule I receive for basically drinking "water" when I order my Coors Light shows the respect has diminished. I am a loyal consumer though and would still be willing to smuggle cases of Coors Light if I couldn't get it here in New York. Thank goodness I don't have to face that moral dilemma!


Planning Your Visit

Things have changed since my college summer job days. The brewery has grown and gotten more popular. Coors Brewery claims to be the largest single site brewery in the world. Reservations are now required for both the Coors Brewery Tour and the Sampling Only experience. Guiding tours are made available 28 days in advance. A guided tour costs $20 and takes approximately 1.5 hours. If you are 21 or over, the tour will end in the tasting room with your choice of 3 samples in branded recyclable aluminum cups that you can keep for future beer drinking. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available for younger visitors and your designated driver!



The Sampling Only costs $10 and will take you straight to the Coors hospitality lounge for the 3 samples. You do not have to plan as far in advance if you only want to do the tasting, but you still need a reservation. Spots for Sampling Only are made available 1 to 7 days in advance. Even if you choose to just do the Sampling Only, you will still get the branded recyclable aluminum cups to keep after your tasting.


You can make your reservation for a Brewery Tour or a Sampling Only here.


When You Get There

There is a separate parking lot for tour parking with a shuttle bus to take you to the tour greeting area. TOURIST TIP: You should be aware that as Coors Brewery is a food manufacturing facility, so there are strict security and safety measures in place about what can be brought into the Brewery. The Brewery does not allow ANY bags so make sure to leave your purse, backpack, fanny pack or shopping bags in your hotel room or your car. Only a small wallet is permitted. A woman in front of us had to walk back to her hotel room to drop off her purse because they have no place to store or hold a prohibited bag.


They will divide guests into groups based on whether you are taking a Brewery tour or a Sampling Only experience and further divide guests based on reserved entry time. It is good to get to the parking lot/shuttle bus loading area about 10-15 minutes early, especially if you are taking a tour so that you can get to the Brewery before the tour leaves. The shuttle bus ride is only a few minutes and the driver will give you an overview of what to expect when they drop you off.


How My Expectations Were Built Up and Then Crushed..But Then Revived !

On the shuttle bus ride over to the Brewery, the driver told us about the beer that would be available to taste. She listed Coors Banquet (the original Coors beer brewed from Rocky Mountain Spring Water), a couple of Colorado Native brands (Coors answer to craft beer made with only Colorado ingredients, Blue Moon, Coors Edge (non-alcoholic) and my favorite...Coors Light! She also said that in addition to the Coors Light from the tap, we would have the chance to taste SUPER COLD Coors Light served just below freezing from a mountain of ice. Any one who knows me knows I have a tendency toward Disneyland expectations for every experience I plan to have. So given this information my mind immediately started picturing an adult Willy Wonka style beer tasting with a mountain ice sculpture in the center of the room with a blue light inside (to indicate that the beer was cold enough to drink of course) with Coors Light flowing from the top like lava so you could just reach your cup out and fill it up! Imagine my surprise and disappointment when this is what the mountain of ice looked like...

My overzealous expectations aside, I will say Coors Light served Super Cold is amazing! I also tasted Coors Banquet and the Coors Native Wildflower Honey Helles (inspired by wildflowers found in the Colorado Mountains and made with Colorado-produced honey for a hint of sweetness). Both of those were also great-tasting. My sister went for her favorite Blue Moon. After enjoying the three tastings of your choosing, you can head over to the gift shop to purchase all kinds of Coors branded merchandise.


Once you finish your Brewery Tour or your Short Tour, make sure to spend some time wandering on the main street in Golden right across from the Brewery. There are lots of cute shops and restaurants to make your visit to Coors Brewery and the City of Golden a full day!



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