When you're sampling microbrewed beer from Colorado, you've got a pretty good shot at finding high quality brew. The state is home to a bevy of brewing greats, and the Left Hand Brewing Company is yet another of them from out near the left coast. Founded in 1993 on the banks of the St. Vrain river in Longmount, CO, their beers are characterized by their great balance; since their inception they've striven for the perfect balance and harmony between malt and hops in every beer they brew. And in a state like Colorado, where great microbrews abound, you've got to keep up with and even outpace your competition. Quite impressively, the folks at Left Hand have been kept the beer flowing for 13 years now. And it all started with a small homebrewers kit in 1990…
Christmas of 1990 Dick Doore, co-founder of Left Hand, received the kit as a gift from his brother. Little did either realize the full impact that single Christmas gift would have (hint, hint, nudge, nudge: the holidays are coming and the gift of great beer might make the perfect to inspire someone you know to start the next great microbrewery!) After homebrewing for over two years, Dick moved to Colorado where he met up with a former college buddy and soon-to-be Left Hand co-founder, Eric Wallace. They two quickly got to brewing together, and their batches impressed their friends and neighbors. After many batches of homebrew, the epiphany hit that they should start their own brewery.
Within weeks of making the decision, they incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing Company, honoring the Indian Peaks wilderness in their area. However, it was soon discovered that another brewery was using this name for one of their beers, so, indirectly keeping the Indian theme, they changed their name to Left Hand in honor of Chief Niwot, whose tribe wintered in the local area (Niwot is Arapahoe for left hand). Months after setting up shop in a former meat packing plant near downtown Longmount, they opened their doors to the public on January 22, 1994, releasing their first batch of beer, Sawtooth Ale. That year, the homebrewers-turned-pro took home the Gold Medal in the Traditional Bitter Category at the Great American Beer Festival. Way to kick things off big! You've probably noticed by now this is one of the featured beers this month—yes, it's still around, and it's still damned good!
Over the years they've grown considerably. In 1998 they merged with Denver based Tabernash Brewing, in a move that made them one of the state's 10 largest craft brewers. To accommodate brewing both Tabernash and Left Hand brews, they added an additional 7,000 square feet, more than doubling their original size. These days, they're highly focused on the Left Hand brand (the Tabernash brews were phased out over time).
We strongly encourage you to pay them a visit; the tasting room is open to the public from 2pm – 8pm Monday through Thursday, and 12pm – 7pm on Friday and Saturday, with tours available on Saturday (call ahead for times at: (303) 772-0258). Check out their web site at www.lefthandbrewing.com.