Sporting a theme celebrating the end of prohibition, Fort Collin’s 1933 Brewing Company partially succeeds at recreating the atmosphere of the Depression-era (ragtime music on the radio, paintings depicting the 30′s, art-deco fonts and a bar lovingly constructed from wood reclaimed from an almost century-old boxcar), but fails to follow through enough on this theme to make the concept truly memorable.
Being located in a modern stripmall and otherwise decorated with a distinct sense of minimalism does little to give the taproom any kind of time-transporting vibes. Of course, it’s fair to say that a brewery has no obligation to be akin to a theme restaurant in Disneyland, but it’s a shame they didn’t take the idea to the interesting fruition it could have reached.
If they’d chosen a property in an older part of town and perhaps invested in vintage furniture it could have made the atmosphere quite exceptional. In a marketplace as competitive as Colorado, little things like this can help a place stand out. It merely feels like a missed opportunity, and certainly doesn’t detract from the overall experience in any substantial sense.
The beer, however, is outstanding all around. A line-up of tried-and-true styles are all given respect, with each flavor displaying a loving balance between malt and hops and all having a distinctiveness that sets them apart from the legions available in the northern Colorado area. After drinking tasters of all six varieties, it was genuinely difficult to choose a favorite — a most impressive feat.
Overall, 1933 Brewing Company is off to a very strong start and offers a selection of beers that are more than worthy of your attention. Perhaps this is why I feel like they should have invested just a little more effort into the presentation of the taproom: this place could be a bonafide destination, but for now they are just really, really good at what they do. For most people, that will be enough.
A few minutes down the road in Greeley, Colorado lies Broken Plow Brewery. Since we’d already about reached our limit for how much beer we wanted to consume on this trip, we settled on having just one beer here: the chili wheat — and what a good choice it was.
With ample green chili flavor and low-level yet adequate heat, this was one of the strongest entries we’ve had in this category. One could safely mention this beer in the same breath as the wonderful chili beers from San Luis Valley Brewing and Coopersmiths. Highly recommended for aficionados.
What’s more, our service was fantastic. The owners and employees were talkative and friendly, making our brief visit seem unfortunately short: we could have easily passed an afternoon here.
So, today was two-for-two. Both 1933 and Broken Plow are more than worthy of a road trip from Denver residents, and are a no-brainer for Greeley and Fort Collins locals.