For many anglers in Colorado, fly fishing and beer drinking go hand in hand. Whether it is cracking a cold one after a long day of work on the riverside as you throw caddis dries in the summer months or it’s the 10:00 am boat beer cause why not you’re relaxing on the river with a fly rod in one hand and beer in the other. In Colorado, many brewers are also avid fly anglers, they know what it takes to make a great brew for the riverside. Below are the 10 Best Colorado Brewed Beers for Fly Fishing. As a constant reminder to always drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive.
1. Coors – The Banquet Beer – Golden, Colorado
Style: American Lager, ABV: 5%, IBU: 15
Sorry to all the microbrew lovers out there, Coors tops the list as guides and anglers alike gravitate towards the old time staple. I mean what’s there to not like than the fact that Coors Banquet is brewed with 100% Rocky Mountain water. The same water where we spend countless hours exploring and fishing outside. And it is brewed only in one place, Golden, Colorado, and nowhere else.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Anytime you hit the water, Coors is a go to. Sort of the like the Chubby Chernobyl these days, the go to fly pattern.
2. Dales Pale Ale – Oskar Blues Brewery – Lyons, Colorado
Style: APA American Pale Ale, ABV: 6.5%, IBU: 65
Dale’s is a “voluminously hopped mutha of a pale ale,” it is a classic and favorite among anglers. With a 6.5% ABV it packs a punch. Hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and
citrusy floral hops from the first sip to the final swig.
Fly Fishing Pairing: For anglers looking to get off the skunk/goose egg and onto a fish. The refreshing taste is guaranteed to supercharge your fishing ability to bring a fish to hand.
3. Pete’s Stash Pale Ale – Vail Brewing Company – Vail, Colorado
Style: American Pale Ale APA, ABV: 5.6%, IBU: 40
Brewed locally here in the Vail Valley and named after a famous Vail ski run “Pete’s Stash” after Vail’s founder Pete Siebert. It is the most “crushable pale ever,” brings plenty of hop flavor and aroma, chock full of fruity and citrusy notes nice and light and malty. The beer is brewed to be enjoyed in the mountains of Colorado. #drinkbeeroutside
Fly Fishing Pairing: No better place to enjoy this beer than fishing the Gold Metal stretch of Gore Creek that runs through Vail Village. Where catching a grand slam (rainbow, brook, brown and cutthroat trout) is a common occurrence.
4. Codename: Superfan – Odd13 Brewing – Lafayette, Colorado
Style: Juicy Hazy American IPA, ABV: 6.5%, IBU: 80
For all you anglers who have jumped on the Juicy Hazy IPA train, this one is for you. And if you haven’t definitely try this one first, you will be pleasantly surprised. Superfan is a deliciously modern take on the American IPA style, brewed with a variety of juicy American hops from the Pacific Northwest.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Springtime fishing along on your local water fishing the Blue Winged Olive hatches.
5. Fishwater Double IPA – Telluride Brewing Company – Telluride, Colorado
Style: American Style Double IPA, ABV: 8.5%, IBU: 82
The Fishwater packs a punch! With 8.5% ABV you better be ready for a buzz or be celebrating the catch of the day. The beer features caramel notes balanced by generous amounts of spicy and fruity American hop goodness.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Post fishing celebrations of the 20 inch brown trophy trout you landed in the 12th hour.
6. Craft Lager – Upslope Brewing – Boulder, Colorado
Style: American Lager, ABV: 4.8%, IBU: 15
It’s like the Banquet Beer for microbrew enthusiasts. Snowmelt-infused and river-ready, the session beer brings a clean, easy, light-bodied lager for the ages. Upslope also donates 1% of all Upslope Craft Lager can sales to your local Trout Unlimited chapter. Talk about a win for the angling community.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Long treks into remote waters targetting the native Colorado cutthroat trout.
7. Mexican Style Logger – Ska Brewing – Durango, Colorado
Style: Mexican Lager, ABV: 5.2%, IBU: 20
This lager is light refreshing and will hit the spot in the summer heat. The low alcohol content will keep you focused on the dry fly eats all day long. The SAAZ hops are the star in this amazingly delicious lager.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Under the summer sun throwing hoppers along the bank, and served with a fresh cut lime off the Yeti Cooler.
8. Easy Street Wheat – Odell Brewing – Fort Collins, Colorado
Style: Wheat Ale, ABV: 4.6%, IBU: 21
Brewed along the banks of the Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado, the beer is a main staple for many wheat beer enthusiasts. Easy Street is an unfiltered American-style wheat beer with a slight fruit flavor and cloudy appearance that gives it a nice smooth finish. The Odell’s family are avid anglers and give back to the fishing community through Trout Unlimited events and more. So as anglers it’s great to put our beer dollars knowing they may come back to us.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Midday fishing breaks in the summer months while floating one of many of Colorado’s famous float fishing rivers.
9. First Cast IPA – Elevation Beer Co – Poncha Springs, Colorado
Style: American IPA, ABV: 6%, IBU: 60
This beer is named after the first few moments of joy every angler experience as you take “Your First Cast” of the day. Using nearly 2 pounds of hops per barrel, this well balanced IPA has huge notes of grapefruit, citrus, and pine, making it our everyday beer of choice. And you guessed it, the folks at Elevation Beer Co folks are avid anglers.
Fly Fishing Pairing: Well, of course, this beer is meant to be paired with your first cast out on the water. Just make sure you have an extra hand to set the hook as the first cast a lot of times can result in the first bite.
10. Crank Yanker IPA – Eddyline Brewing – Buena Vista, Colorado
Style: American Style Double IPA, ABV: 7%, IBU: 70
“Beers for any adventure,” Eddyline brewing’s flagship Crank Yanker is very drinkable IPA. A very balanced, complex, yet easy drinking IPA. Tropical aromas of mango, orange, and pineapple balance with the malt and a crisp bitter finish.
Fly Fishing Pairing: The after work fishing session in your local honey hole. The 16 ounce can is perfect to drink that long work day into some tight lines.
Essential Beer Drinking Fly Fishing Accessories:
Fishpond River Rat 2.0 $19.95 “Keep your drinks cold and your stoke high!”. The River Rat is a beer koozy and that you can wear around your neck giving anglers both hands.
Simms Wading Koozie $12.95 This Simms product is a perfect accessory for anyone who enjoys beverages out on the water. The Koozy has a velcro belt strap that attaches to your wading belt or fishing pack. No more spilled beer or lost fish.
There you have it the 10 Best Colorado Brewed Beers for Fly Fishing. As a constant reminder, pack it in pack it out, avoid glass bottles use cans, and always enjoy responsibly. Avoid drinking excessively and rowing boats or wading rivers. Always have designated drivers while drinking. Obey all laws in regards to alcohol possession and consumption. Be stewards out on the water and always leave no trace.
Patrick Perry, Content Contributor and Former Guide, @patperry