Wait, back up a minute, Coors has a lion on its logo?
Yup, well at least it used to and it has 2 tails, in case you were wondering. I had a free hour today so I went on the free Miller-Coors brewery tour and this entry will walk you through some of the highlights.
Erin and I had done the Coors tour a few years ago and I did the tour about a month ago when I was job hunting. I wasn’t sure they would permit my entry because I just did it a month ago, but they did.
The first thing you do is park your vehicle and walk to the bus stop. After getting on the bus, it does a short 5 minute tour of Golden, Colorado before dropping you off at the front entrance. (see pic of kettle and huge Coors can)
The lobby is actually more like a “hall of fame” museum that contains multimedia and photos. They take your picture (so they can sell you copies later) and then check your ID for your tasting wristband. What is new from years ago is the tour is not guided anymore and you have a playback fob that you carry instead. (just press the button of the number you see on the signs and hold it up to your ear….pretty simple)
This is a Mash filter, we learned about them in brewery school. I was shocked on how BIG these things were. I should probably preface that the Coors plant has been the largest “single-site” brewery in the world for many years. (Modelo Group is building a larger one in Mexico soon.) Essentially after the malt has been converted to sugar, it is put into one of these and squeezed to extract all the wort and it leaves behind the spent grains.
Here is a pic of some of the 50 or so kettles and cereal cookers….all copper. This is my favorite view in the whole brewery, quite spectacular.
Here is the control room which I’m pretty sure is a few times larger than mission control in Houston. For how big this brewery is, you don’t see many employees (well except all the tour guide staff that is stationed throughout to help lost people or attend to their guests for any reason)
Next you get to walk past the quality lab. They have a “really old microscope” in a display case. This thing is way nicer than the one I have in my brewery…I wonder how expensive the new ones are that they are using?
Here’s their hydrometers for measuring the specific gravity of the wort/beer. Again, they said these were “old”….I’ll take them, they are very similar to the ones I’m using right now at the Yak.
Next you walk past a stainless steel wall with a viewing window. This isn’t really beer, but does a good job of mimicking it by bubbling air behind the glass window.
I’m not sure “why” but in this room they give you a 1oz taster of Coors Banquet or Coors Light. I think they do this to get the saliva working up your desire for more beer in the tasting room.
One of the things I liked about the brewery, besides its meticulously clean hallways and floors was all the murals on the walls. These were pretty simple, but it added a lot to what would normally be boring industrial walls.
I can’t remember who’s wife (probably Adolf’s), but she insisted that the brewery not look so industrial, so she had them put in a flower greenhouse on the property which has at least a couple full-time staff who keep fresh flowers all over the brewery, lab, tasting room, etc.
When you get in the tasting room, you return your talking handheld fob and stand in line for free beer (seriously, how much work do I have to do to get free beer around here?!?!) To entertain the people standing in line they have old advertisements, posters, paintings and other things to read.
I really liked this print of a painting that shows the original brewery with the ponds (still there by the way) and the cool rocky cliffs behind the brewery (keep in mind the height, I’ll show you another pic later)
I kept this pic bigger hoping you could read it…maybe not. You get 3 free samples if you are willing to stand back in line again to get them. I just had the Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat and the Batch 19 (pre-prohibition lager).
Just a view of the tasting room patrons. Very few places to sit, mostly standing room around little bar tables. The room is quite large and easily fits 100+ people. When I got my 2nd beer I overheard the bartender tell the two guys ahead me “See you guys tomorrow!” So I asked if you could go two days in a row, just being curious…..turns out these two guys show up EVERY DAY for their 3 beers after work. So much for being worried about not visiting in a month….they were more likely to say, “why did you wait so long to come back again?”
It probably didn’t take Coors long to figure out that if they gave people free beer and placed the gift shop after the tasting room that buzzed people would be more likely to make ridiculous impulse purchases. (to quote Guinness: “Brilliant!”)
When you are heading back to the bus pickup point you can see the hill just behind the newer buildings (barely) and the ponds (which are now part of their water treatment facility, or something).
If you look really close you can make out an “M” on near the top of this mound (viewable from the east side of the pond). Golden is home to the School of Mines and this “M” represents the school. I’m not sure who copied who but I have always been partial to this one. (Go UW-P!)