City Park Field “The Fox Den”
Team: Fort Collins Foxes
Affiliate: N/A (Centennial State League)
The Fort Collins Foxes play in the Centennial State League, a small wooden bat summer collegiate league based in Northern Colorado. Like many of the smaller collegiate summer leagues the Foxes play in a ballpark that is not specifically dedicated to the team.
City Park Field or “The Fox Den” as it is called is a part of a larger park system that includes multiple ballfields, tennis courts, and basketball courts. The Fox Den has a small section of bleachers set up behind home plate with the press box situated behind in a tall shed-looking structure. The backstop is a chain link fence which can be difficult to look through at times.
The crowd is smaller but are very interested in the game, following each play. With many of the fans also being host families for the players it is easy to see why they are so involved with the action on the field. Each game has a promotion which also helps with attendance.
Best Spot For Beer: (TLDR: there isn’t one) There is a small section behind the third base dugout with their gift shop and concession area set up on tables. Since the ballpark resides on a public park there was not alcohol for sale. The Fox mascot was roaming this area entertaining kids throughout the game.
We have a soft spot for summer collegiate leagues and The Fort Collins Foxes did nothing but bolster this. If you are in Denver for a Rockies game it is worth the trip up to Fort Collins to visit some of the world-class breweries (and catch a Foxes game if they are in town).
And now, a special edition of the brew section of our post this twofer is our attempt to acknowledge one of the first and largest craft breweries in the country, and a more “traditional”small craft operation as well.
First, the “if you’re in town, you can’t not go” brewery:
New Belgium Brewing Co.
Brew Basics: If the Google Campus was a brewery.
Rating: Grand Slam!
Beer snobs may tell you that New Belgium isn’t craft beer, they have significant reach, self space, national distribution and status as roughly the 4th largest craft brewery in the United States, brewing around 900,000 barrels of beer a year. However, they started the way many of the nation’s craft breweries began, personal recipes, encouragement from friends and family, and a husband and wife team who should get credit for jumping in to the brewing market in the early nineties, way before craft brewing became a “thing”. You can even find a story about an “aspiring homebrewer” and his fat tire bike on their website.
The site itself is just a fun, welcoming place. There’s all kinds of outdoor options, fire pits, places to sit, games to play and even bikes to ride. The building itself is a beautiful mountain cabin gone massive with gleaming wood planks and multi-story windows letting in all kinds of light.
A testament to their ingenuity, willingness to try new things and just plain good beer is their continued popularity in the face of #drinklocal movements, thousands and thousands of new competitors and all around brew snobbery. We’re sure you’re familiar with at least some of their many, many offerings – to the point that we’re not even going to break them down for you. If you’re a beer drinker, we’re sure you’ve had their stuff. We do want to point out that if you are in Fort Collins you’ll have lots of options for craft beer, but it’s worth making a pilgrimage out to New Belgium where, along with some of the standards, you’ll fine all kinds of one-offs, special releases and brewery only specials. Have fun!
Part two of the double review: for the craft beer purists:
Equinox Brewing Co.
Brew Basics: Quintessential Fort Collins
You’ll find the expansive 3 room-plus-beer-garden Equinox right in downtown Fort Collins. With a hippie-ish granola-y vibe, it fits right in with the city it calls home. A four-seasons theme and local art make the large rooms feel homey and the 19 beers on tap will appeal to all comers. Both the employees and their website will tell you they focus on the “social” aspects of beer. It’s not just about enjoying a good brew, it’s enjoying the company sharing the experience with you. For that reason there are lots of different seating options at Equinox. From booths to tables to bars and high tops many are set up as a communal space, and you won’t find any TVs.
Along with various pours, they do bottles and firkins and flights by the tray (standard or specialty). Chalkboards behind the bar are regularly updated with current pours. Though it was the middle of summer when we visited, we were happy to see more than just summer ales and ipas on the board. Though flights (as mentioned) were an option, we were there during a happy hour that was too good to pass up so we just sampled the following four:
O’Rion Irish Red (5.2 ABV)- Caramel brown color, smells dry, tastes bready. Smooth and kind of sweet but without much aroma. The moderate carbonation is still sparkly on the tongue. Good initially but the soft malts end up in a too-sugary sweet finish.
Night Ryder Munich Dunkel (5.7 ABV/24 IBU) Retired– Chocolate cherry brown in color with a ring of lacing. More defined aroma than Orion, with a nutty, roasted malt smell. The palate is built around a solid malt profile and a highly carbonated finish. Also quite sweet (and tastes sweeter as it warms).
Truffle Shuffle Chocolate Porter (5.4 ABV/25 IBU): Smells like wood smoke, pours dark cola colored with a ring of tan lacing. Smoke aroma and palate mix with the chocolate malts in the sip, while the finish is decidedly vanilla.
Fluffhead Milk Stout (4.3 ABV/27 IBU)- Just a shade blacker than the Truffle Shuffle, and maintained a fluffier head. We tried it on nitro and not, and found on nitro, the coffee palate stayed truer to the coffee promises made by the aroma. Slightly thinner than the porter flavor wise, but still maintains strong character.
133 Remington Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524