Loveland. A land to love, and not just for the open skies and outdoors. The drinking in these parts is incredible. We were up for the Arise festival at Sunrise Ranch, so we decided to pop our heads into a few of the local spots for sips and hellos with the locals keeping Loveland lushy — I mean lovely.
First up, Big Fat Pastor Spirits. Talk about a holy good time. What the distillery lacks in size, it makes up in quality and care. See, Big Fat Pastor Spirits is run by a full-time pastor: Father Hans Breuer. The distillery started as a way for Breuer to “invest in the next generation … and the only thing I could get my kids to agree on was making alcohol,” Breuer said. From their still, aptly named “Still Murray,” to their partnerships with community charities, you feel good and whole drinking Big Fat Pastor Spirits. The Holy Smokes Whiskey — reminiscent of an Islay, peat-heavy scotch — and the incredibly fragrant, smooth, cardamom-heavy Genesis Gin, make Big Fat Pastor Spirits an unforgettable, spiritual experience.
Just around the corner, we popped into Spring44. We were flying high, which is probably why they gave us travel sized bottles to go, but let’s talk goodness. The folks at Spring44 claim to have some of the best water in the business — and for clear spirits like vodka and gin, high quality water is paramount to craft spirits. From their remote artesian spring in the Rockies, Spring44 is one of the largest producers of spirits in Colorado. The high mineral content in their water imparts a substantial mouthfeel onto their vodka. Nevertheless, Spring44’s honey-flavored vodka is unforgettable, made from local co-op Colorado Honey Company honey. It’s sweet, it’s floral, it’s a must-have for your home bar. Also notable is the Spring44 whiskey, which will be released sometime this fall. If you like bold, campfire flavors, this whiskey has your name written all over it.
Finally, in need of more suds and less spirits (it was barely 1pm), we headed over to the brand new — opened July 27th — Dratz Brewery. The brewery is inspired by it’s founder, Kerry Drake’s, family history and several beers are named after family members starting from Josias. Drätz is the original name of the family, but to avoid harassment from the English in the 1800’s, the Drätz name was dropped and changed to Drake. Kerry has been homebrewing for decades and decided to dive into the craft scene. We tried several Dratz beers, all of which are lovely, but the standout was the RAW Pineapple and Rosemary Saison, poured right from the bright tank. Delectable. Drawing on legacies and family history, reclaiming a family name lost due to oppression, and brewing very excellent beers makes Dratz a brewery must for your next road trip.