When patrons enter Boulder Beer Company, there is a hushed air of anticipation. Any bar really, seem to possess this strange, otherworldly quality, where this magical space—for a few hours at least—provides a jovial interlude for relaxation and good times, where people can forget their worries for a little while and indulge in a beer amongst friends and coworkers. Boulder Beer Co seems the pinnacle of such locations, with its good vibe atmosphere and surprisingly interesting (& eccentric) history behind it.

Being a college town with hard-working students looking to blow off a little steam, Boulder seems like an excellent location for bars and breweries. In 1979, two physics professors at CU thought so too, and started up Boulder’s first microbrewery, the Boulder Brewing Co. At first, the duo Randolph Ware and David Hummer, started small, brewing beer at home and sharing with colleagues and friends. When the brew became a hit amongst their cohorts, the pair decided to expand and start a business. They attained their license, set up shop (literally) in an old goat shed, and Boulder’s first brewery was born.

As the brewery gained notoriety, they were able to move their location to a castle-like facility on Wilderness Place, gaining some prominent friends in the industry like Jeff Coors, and start-ups like Sierra Nevada Co and Sam Adams. However, in 1990, the company hit a snag and went bankrupt, unable to meet demands. The future was looking grim for the company. Luckily, new investors emerged and stepped in to ramp up the company. They added a
restaurant, renovated the location, and focused on the quality of the beer. They had a new beer master too, David Zuckerman, who pioneered some of the iconic tastes the brewery is known for, like Hazed and Confused, and the “Looking Glass” series. Like any burgeoning business, or student bent on genius, the brewery went through various name changes and identity crises before reaching full maturity. To give you a quick timeline of the name changes:

1979: Boulder Brewing Co

1990: Boulder Beer Co

1993: Rockies Brewing Co

2005: Boulder Beer Co

They went back to its roots in 2005, celebrating its 25th year, and were eager to connect with its prior history and with the town itself. And its eclectic series of beer suits the town quite well. The new “Dude” series is fantastic, featuring my current favorite, ‘Scourge of the Dude’, which has a caramel, malt flavor. And as you can see, much like the Dude himself, the Boulder Beer Co abides.


Theresa Duncan is primarily a student of writing and lover of literature, currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, England. She has previously worked for Ocean Magazine and the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, and enjoys learning about the esoteric eccentricities of every town she visits. She loves books of all kinds, climbing and bouldering around Colorado, and drinking a jag of Pimms with her tutors when she’s in England. She has a BA from California Lutheran University in English and hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D in Literature.