Live Like a Local in Loveland – Aaron Heaton Spotlight
Be a local tourist or live like a local when you visit and be inspired by Loveland resident and Vice President/Co-Founder of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Aaron Heaton.
Aaron is a native Coloradoan and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Economics. Aaron’s obsession with beer started in 2001 when he immersed himself in the craft world as well as homebrewing. He graduated from American Brewers Guild in 2006, has been a beer judge for BJCP since 2007, became a Certified Beer Server in 2013 and is an active member of Liquid Poets and Weizguys homebrew clubs. Known as the “beer geek” for Grimm Brothers, Aaron is usually found in the tap room and beer festivals and is always down on beer chatter.
“I have lived in Loveland for 8 years. I found a home that is close to downtown, close to Centerra and close to my work. I can walk, bike anywhere in about 15 minutes or so. I came to Loveland as I started a business here. It was cheaper than Fort Collins and not as crowded. I stay for the people and more sense of a community. It like a small town with all the benefits of a larger city. Loveland is right up against the Rocky Mountains. There are countless trails and places to go. Some of my favorites are Devil’s Backbone and Boyd Lake. My favorite time to go is around sunset. Everything has a different light and hue around it as the sun fades past Long’s peak. Loveland is know for it’s fantastic art community. Benson Sculpture Garden is a great to visit especially around annual Art in the Park. Artists from all over the world descend on to my town and it’s always something new to see.”
Check out Aaron’s tips for a perfect 24 hours in Loveland.
Where are your favorite places to eat and what do you order?
I love the food and beer here. There is a good variety to pick from and some of the best food and beer have ever had. If you are looking for bangers and mash, I love Henry’s and pair it with a Fearless Youth from Grimm Brothers. Looking for a solid burger, Sports Station is a can’t miss with a pint of Crow Hop Rado’s Red. BBQ more your style, try Nordy’s BBQ with Verboten Brewing’s Killer Boots. Origin’s Pizza is a fantastic spot and love to try different pies with Loveland Alework’s Raspberry Sour.
There are a few must hits for breakfast but my favorite is Doug’s Diner in downtown Loveland. My to go there is the Papa’s. It literally is a mountain of hash browns, meat, eggs and of course green chili. Doug’s is great cause there are options for vegetarians and kids as well. What’s nice is they have lunch menu’s as well so good variety and worth the price.
I am a beer guy. When you love beer then you must hit up The Pourhouse. They have 75 beers on tap and I can always find a beer that I have never had before. I love their cordon bleu poppers with a good IPA for lunch. Or a Colorado style poutine with a Brown Ale. Looking for something more of a meal, the barbeque ribs are fall off the bone delicious and make it an oatmeal stout to pair. My usual to go is the Cubano and pair it up with a red of whatever the wait staff’s choice is. Can’t go wrong there.
For dinner, Door 222, located right next to the Rialto Theater in downtown makes wonderful tappas. Every time I go, I always get the bacon wrapped dates but that seems to be the only thing I order. They have daily specials that change and usually sounds too good to pass up. My favorite was on my birthday they had a lamb and potato dinner special that was heavenly. The bar tenders there are fantastic, I like the variety of drinks and great wine selection.
When it is time for some liquid art or liquid therapy, where do you go?
Laureate’s Publick House is where you meet the locals. Fantastic drink orders and the owner is super knowledgeable and friendly. A lot of the brewery owners like to go there for their ever-rotating tap options. If there is a special releases, chances are Laureate will have it available. But my favorite thing there is their old fashions. A peel of orange and the best cherries. Yummy.
Where do you love to shop?
There are a lot of places to go shopping but if you are looking for everything then Centerra has what you need. There are a few restaurants, a movie theater, some clothing shops and something important to me, a place to find hats.
When it is time to have fun, where do you go?
I may not be a pinball wizard, but I will take on the apprenticeship role. Two places that are fun to play at is The Flipside downtown and Loveland Laser Tag east of town. The Flipside lets my inner child out. Love the 4 player Pacman game, or course the pinball games, skeeball and of course air hockey. Plus they have a bar so I can order a beer or a mixed drink and have a great time. If I am more competitive then I head to Loveland Laser Tag. I don’t care who you are it’s search and destroy. I get a bunch of friends and we all try to get top scores. After a few games everyone has a story and a smile.
Where is your favorite place to spend outdoors?
The mountains are an easy choice, but I think I will say I really like the patio out at Backyard Tap. It’s a small building with a big yard near downtown. Plenty of games and usually a food truck or two available. But when it gets dark and quiet, they turn on the fires and everyone just sits around watching the flames and talk about music or whatever. Plus there is beer so that is always a plus.
When you have visitors in town, where do you take them?
Loveland is a beer town. With 9 breweries in town and a variety of beers how can you not visit the breweries. Many of these breweries have won multiple awards so it’s not just a local favorite sort of thing. The diversity and variety from place to place makes Loveland breweries a must visit.
If you are willing to share, what do you think are Loveland’s hidden gems or hot spots?
Not per say a hidden gem but I love going out to the Budweiser Events Center. It really is the center of Northern Colorado between Greeley, Loveland and Fort Collins. It is great to be able to watch a big concert, comedian or a hockey game. The county fair is out there and a lot of other events.
Anything else to add that you do to be a tourist in Loveland?
Loveland is unique in for all the events that they do through out the year. It really shows a community that supports and is together. I love the Loveland Sweetheart Festival events with the mailing program. Loveland Loves BBQ Bands & Brews bringing nation wide BBQ to town. The Corn Roast Festival, Art in the Park and Oktoberfest. Every month there is something new and fund to do.
Locals – want to share how you are a tourist in your own town? Find out how with our toolkit.
Visitors – continue to get inspired and plan your trip with our visitors guide, or other local itinerary suggestions.