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Get addicted to Colorado Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop

Drifters co-owner Beckie Clarke finishes brewing coffee in the downtown New Castle boutique.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

There’s a new buzz to pick up in Old Town New Castle.

Combining the West’s love for trout fishing and potent elixirs, Colorado Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop truly reflects highland culture at its best.

As the great Colorado River rushes a few hundred yards from its back porch, New Castle’s freshest cup of coffee in town offers both a full coffee bar and, yes, an entire fishing section. fly.



“Who doesn’t love coffee and fly fishing, seriously?” Wonders co-owner Kyla Hemelt, 36, standing behind the rustic cafe’s caramel-colored wooden bar adorned with a school of fish to the side. “Or, who doesn’t like coffee in the river?” “

Housed in a high-ceilinged historic monument in the heart of New Castle’s West Main Street, guests can sip locally brewed coffee while sinking into the welcoming furnishings greeting the front door. Palates can enjoy the Bonfire artisan roaster based in Carbondale. Hemelt said Drifters will soon sell two in-house mixes using this primary supplier.



For every bag sold, 3% of the proceeds will go to Fish For Change, a Denver-based nonprofit that promotes international fly fishing programs. Specifically, the funds will help sponsor a member of the Coal Ridge High School Fly Fishing Club.

Drifters co-owner Kyla Hemelt chats with business partner Beckie Clarke in the downtown New Castle boutique.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Beyond its roasted benefits, Drifters offers so much, like sweet treats, breakfast burritos, and homemade tea, called “Here, Fish, Fish.” Source: Moving Mountains Tea Company in Steamboat Springs.

But uniquely adapting to that ragweed of organic coffee harvested from small farms in the Roaring Fork Valley and high mountain tea is a recreational expertise. Meet 40-year-old co-owner Beckie Clarke, there’s a good chance she’ll serve you a hot cup of Jo before she talks about trout pretty quickly.

Clarke is from Fernie, British Columbia, Canada. There she ran a fly fishing guide outfit for 17 years.

“My heart runs through the waters of these mountains and I know them very intimately,” she said. “Unlike these waters, everything is new and great. It’s just a completely different fishery. It’s pretty epic.

Not surprisingly, Colorado Drifters offers recreational opportunities in harmony with the landscape. Stand-up paddleboard rentals, fly fishing lessons, and qualified fly fishing guides are available for trips along the Colorado River Valley, a world-famous artery that sometimes jumps with 16-inch trout. inches.

Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop in downtown New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

To catch these behemoths, the next customer is a sip of fresh coffee to check out the vast collection of Colorado Drifters flies backwards.

“We probably have the most flies in the valley,” Clarke said. “We have minimal space there, but we focused on the flies. You should choose two things that you are really good at when starting a business.

Products available at Drifters Coffee and Fly Shop in downtown New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

While fly fishing can be an expensive habit, Colorado Drifters’ selection is all about modesty. All fly rods are priced from $ 80 to $ 150.

“Everything that we have chosen to go to this store has been specially chosen for our community,” said Clarke. “We definitely want tourists, but we want to support local people and families and make things affordable, because rivers are our passion.”

“We are not fancy,” she added. “We are a family.”

Clarke and Hemelt first met during the height of COVID-19. Hemelt, a mother of two, grew up “living the river life” as a native of Gunnison. She started hanging out with Clarke, a mother of three who was passionate about the subject of trout.

One day, the two new friends noticed that something was missing in the restaurants of Old Town New Castle: a coffee shop.

“There was no cafe and there was no fly shop,” Clarke said.

Drifters in downtown New Castle is a combination of cafe and fly shop.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

After spending many late nights texting each other and ultimately making a business plan, Clarke and Hemelt acquired the storefront and began work on the building in May. By the time they opened the doors, “New Castle arrived,” said the owners.

Now, locals have a place to sip an early morning coffee in the mountains and bask in the Colorado Drifters mantra.

“The river brings everything to life, but it’s also what brought us together,” said Hemelt. “It brings people together.”

A wide variety of flies available at the Drifters Coffee and Fly store in downtown New Castle.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Journalist Ray K. Erku can be contacted at 612-423-5273 or [email protected]


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Rodney N.

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