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Coors brewery tour

Monday, April 6th, 2009

My wife and I took vacation recently in Colorado, specifically Fort Collins and Boulder which is about a hour north/north-west of Denver by car. There are several breweries that give tours in that area. One of them happens to be the largest single site brewery in the world, the Miller-Coors brewery in Golden Colorado. Hey, that sounds too good to pass up even if it is swill beer?

coors brewery montage

coors brewery golden colorado

Miller-Coors pumps out an astounding 22 million barrels annual. A barrel has 31 gallons, so that is 682 million gallons, or 87.3 billion ounces of beer! It is hard to imagine all that beer. Sadly most of it is keystone light, Coors, and a few others. They have their own freight system which is pretty sweet.

coors brewery freight train

The brewery is built right on the water source. They also own a glass bottle plant nearby. This all factors into why the beer is so inexpensive. The water there is reportedly very good for brewing, comes down out of the Rockies, must be pretty low in overall mineral content.

coors brewery water

coors brewery water source

The tour starts on a bus that drives a few blocks through the town and then drops you off inside the complex. After they check you in, they take your picture. Later they try to sell it to you for $20. Then they give you a hand held device that acts as your tour guide. Like their beer, the tour was tailored for mass production.

Some of the inside of the facility is pretty neat, pictures provided.

coors brewery kettles

coors brewery mash tun

They press their grains with these odd contraptions which they don’t explain. I imagine this is how they get an extra few percentage points of efficiency out of the brewing process, which probably amounts to millions of dollars annually.

coors brewery grain press

Towards the end of the tour you get to see one of the packaging lines.

coors brewery packaing line

At the end, you can have three free glasses of beer, from about four different types too choose from.  We were not totally impressed and left most of it behind. Granted, we are discriminating beer drinkers. I wouldn’t say we are beer snobs, but our taste for beers has developed with our home brewing skills. One of the most notable flavors in Coors’ banquet beer is the sweetness. It dominates the flavor profile and squelches out any malt or bitterness. In the other styles we noted tannins, sourness, and oxidized flavors!

After the tour and the free beer, finally the best part – the gift shop. We had fun modeling cardboard keystone light and Coors hats made from the boxes the cans come in. They also make Coors Light bikini underwear, but we didn’t pick that up. I did bring home a $1 Miller-Coors plastic mardi gras chalice cup. I collect chalices and other beer glasses, so if figured for $1 what the heck!  It works good for ice cream.

Click here for the New Belgium brewery tour we took on the same trip, up in Fort Collins Colorado. Now that is worth going to. Fort Collins also has two other local breweries that give free tastings and a couple other brew pubs.

  1. 7 Responses to “Coors brewery tour”

  2. I lived in Golden, Co. while I went to Golden High School and took the short tour (directly to the tap room) on many occasion. If I recall correctly, the fresh, Coors on tap was far better than anything I bought in the can or bottle. Your pics brought back fond recollections of my past there. thanks for the tour.

    By mark taylor on Apr 7, 2009

  3. The press looks like a plate and frame, they build up a layer of ‘cake’ in the press, then pump product through the inlet. As it passes over the ‘cake’ the bugs, solids and yeast are captured on the cake. Saw them at the Guiness tour in Dublin

    By JMC on Apr 13, 2009

  4. i would like to take a tour with a friend from arizona that loves coors

    By Adrian Figueroa on May 17, 2009

  5. i really dont drink but really remember drinking the party bowls back in the days

    By Adrian Figueroa on May 17, 2009

  6. I work at the Coors Golden brewery and most of your information is correct. The one point that I took issue to is the brewery water source. It is actually Rocky mountain spring water from under ground aquafers that are not seen. The aquafers are supplied soley from melting snow and naturally filtered through the sediment.(Several pumping stations can be located on site and many others up the mountain. The lakes in front of the brewery are actually for cooling of the machinery and the brewing process.

    By Brian on Oct 31, 2009

  7. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for the feedback and clarification. That point was not made clear by the tour. Hope to visit again in the future, and keep on brewing!

    By Larry on Nov 1, 2009

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