With the sun rising over the mighty Rocky Mountains, and the St. Vrain river in sight, Left Hand Brewing Company begins the daily process of brewing its line of delicious craft beers. For those not well traveled, the Longmont, Colorado brewer’s name might be a strange one. But for the locals, and those fortunate to have distribution in their area, Left Hand’s line of ales and lagers continue to impress the palette of even the most discriminating beer lover.
The time was 1990. The place was Longmont, Colorado. With nothing more than a home-brewing kit, Dick Doore brewed his first batch of beer. After several years, and hundreds of pints later, Dick had built enough courage and sense to start his own brewery. With the help of his friend, Eric Wallace, Indian Peaks Brewing Company was born.
In 1994, the doors officially opened with a name change to suit: Left Hand Brewing Company. Legend has it that the name, the result of a naming dispute with an active brewery, came about due to the interpretation of the Arapahoe word “niwot”, meaning “left hand.” A local Native American chief of the same name was said to have once wintered his tribe in the area.
Beginning with the first batch of Sawtooth Ale, First Hand Brewing Company has gained international and regional fame.
In October of 1994, Left Hand’s first entries into the Great American Beer Festival garnered two golds and a bronze. This was an impressive feat for a young competitor in the burgeoning American craft brewery market of the early 90s. The smooth textures and bold flavors were a departure from the decades old, tired mainstream beers that Americans had consumed.
Left Hand continues to innovate and garner attention from the industry. As recently as 2011, Left Hand Brewing Company introduced a nitro series of beers featuring bubbly carbonation to their lineup of other craft beers and seasonals, the first being their Milk Stout Nitro. They were the first American and first craft brewery to bottle a nitro beer without a widget. The nitro concept allows for a tingling enhancement to the typical beer drinking experience. The company has done this successfully in two other varieties, Sawtooth Nitro and Wake Up Dead Nitro.
In 2017 they made history again with their introduction of the Milk Stout Nitro cans, which would make their most popular and influential beer more accessible than ever.
Left Hand now distributes to 44 states, as well as countries in Europe and Asia.
As a way to give back to their community, they started Left Hand Brewing Foundation. They aim to connect their brewing community with local non-profits and causes. At their large events they highlight specific beneficiaries, as well as giving year-round to charities. A portion of their revenue also goes towards an endowment for future emergency needs in the community.
Because of the widespread popularity of their beers, it gives the opportunity to help spread the word about Longmont, the charities and causes that they work with, and community needs. Last year they also opened up at festivals to not only donate a portion of revenue to chosen beneficiaries, but also host any local non-profit at the event free of charge. This gave the opportunity to connect their fan base with non-profits that may need that audience and awareness to grow their missions.
A Bright Future
The company has experienced rapid growth in recent years. With the addition of several new fermenters, a bright tank, and warehousing space, Left Hand continues to grow exponentially. And that’s something that everyone can raise a pint glass to!
Put this Colorado brewery at the top of your list to visit and enjoy their incredible beer!