Tour, taste and have money left to waste

Hadley Vandiver | Boulder Weekly

Valentine’s Day is approaching with all the speed and sickly sweetness of a bright pink freight train full of cherubs. It is a holiday bent on making people who need to save money miserable. Happy couples starve for months after breaking the bank for a Valentine’s Day meal, while singles are forced to drown their sorrows with expensive wines and avoid hugs from overenthusiastic strangers.


That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Suzann Robins, owner of Inner Visions Relationship Coaching in Boulder and author of the book Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships Through Insight and Intuition, says that Valentine’s Day can be stressful both for couples and singles.

“It’s a bit of a made-up holiday, a ‘Hallmark holiday,’” Robins says. “Couples should be celebrating Valentine’s Day and their love every day of the year.”

Rather than submitting to the expensive and tedious activities of a “normal” Valentine’s Day this year, some suggest taking advantage of Boulder’s local breweries. Many offer free tastings and tours that are a good time whether you’re visiting as a couple or with your friends, and there is a low probability that anyone will try to hug you while you walk around a brewery.

Avery Brewing Company offers tours seven days a week. While touring Avery’s facilities you might catch snippets of Snoop Dogg blaring from the speakers or see brewers hard at work, and you’ll leave knowing more about beer than you ever thought possible.

“People used to think that the only people that came on tours were ‘beer geeks,’ but that’s really changed in the last couple of years,” says Joe Osborne, marketing director at Avery. “We do get a lot of couples in here, and in my opinion everyone that goes on a brewery tour looks pretty happy about it.” For information on Avery’s tour times, visit

Boulder Beer also offers some of the best free tours, which start and end in their lively pub, complete with witty commentary. Keep in mind that the fewer questions you ask on the tour, the quicker you reach the table laden with beer for your tasting pleasure. Their tour times can be found at

If you get bored with the beer tastings, the honey wines of the Redstone Meadery are deliciously different and perfect for Valentine’s Day. Historically known as “the drink of love,” mead was at the center of an ancient tradition that involved sending newlyweds off for a month of canoodling with large quanti ties of the honey wine — hence the word, “honeymoon.” Mead was also thought to increase fertility, so be careful if you don’t have any baby plans for the near future. Visit for tour times.

If you really don’t feel like getting drunk on Valentine’s Day, Celestial Seasonings offers free tours of their tea production plant. The free tea flows abundantly, and even the ticket to go on the tour is a tea bag to take home. The powerful smells and vapors of the Mint Room will knock anything out of your sinuses in seconds and leave you smelling like a pretty little mint leaf for the rest of the day. For information on tea tour times, go to

Though these free tours may have your mouth watering already, tread carefully if you’re in a new relationship.

“If someone is going to go to take another person on a free tour for Valentine’s Day, people really need to communicate and find out what they’re interested in, what’s attractive to them,” says Robins. “If you take someone on a free tour for Valentine’s Day as a surprise, they might be really insulted. But if you bring it up first as a fun and free alternative, then they might see it as a bonding experience. Everything in a relationship needs to be about negotiation and communication.”

Singles can also benefit from venturing into the unknown world of free tours. “If you’re single, first you really need to know yourself and what you value before you can be in a relationship with anyone else,” Robins says. “Exploring something new with a friend is a great way to discover what you like.”