It’s been a full weekend of craft beer in the form of breweries, brewpubs, and beer festivals. A marathon road trip with frequent pit stops to refresh the taste buds and meet new friends. It was also a weekend full of news and various gathered tidbits, as well as fodder for many new posts to come. I know I posted on the Brew Trek Facebook page that the next article would be on the Denver Summer Brewfest, and it is in the works, it’s just that a recap of the weekend was in order first. Speaking of Facebook, it’s become the perfect way for us to share many more photos of the places and events covered in this blog, a preview of what’s to come, and day to day observations that don’t warrant a full article here. Check it out and make sure to “like” us!
The focus of the trip was Rails and Ales, but we also stopped in at four breweries/brewpubs, two of which were first time visits; Pikes Peak Brewing and Phantom Canyon Brewing. Pikes Peak Brewing in Monument just opened for business last month and is already a big hit in the community. We stopped in on both the way down and on our return to Denver; Diane, our super bartender, related that it had been a big weekend, resulting in two taps run dry by the demand. A future post will be in the works.
Phantom Canyon Brewing in Colorado Springs was a great respite, the food, beer, and conversations being the perfect cure for what ailed us that day. We greatly enjoyed our talk with two regulars, Chris and Jerry, as well as Lyle the bartender. Lyle mentioned when asked, that Phantom was included in the recent combination of operations between Wynkoop and Breckenridge, and that he is looking forward to a better health plan as a result of the deal. A full article on Phantom will also be in the works.
Stops at past favorites of Shamrock Brewing in Pueblo, and San Luis Valley Brewing in Alamosa were a mixed bag. The Double Red at Shamrock comes in at 9% ABV, and is an extremely smooth, full bodied, and complex brew. The Scotch Eggs were also incredible.
We’ve been in to San Luis Valley Brewing a number of times in years past and had a great time on each previous visit, which made the crappy service and mediocre food we experienced this time a severe disappointment. The biggest slap in the face was when our server brought the check without even asking if we wanted another beer. I’ll probably be dropping them a line to let the management know all the sordid details, since I know they don’t normally offer this kind of sub-par service.
Rails and Ales itself was great fun, the ride and great selection of craft beer being well worth the price. There were a few notable no shows, including Durango Brewing, Ourayle, and Steamworks; if they were there, they were well hidden. Two standouts for us were Horsefly Brewing out of Montrose and Crazy Mountain Brewing from Edwards. Horsefly’s Porter and true Pale Ale, as well as the conversations with the owners seduced us to the point of marking a trip to Montrose a must for a future trek.
Crazy Mountain’s Cara de Luna Black Ale was both light and yet complex tasting, I’ll be keeping an eye out for it at the Denver taphouses that carry it; Freshcraft and Euclid Hall. Crazy Mountain’s rep also passed along that Gore Range Brewery in Edwards is changing owners and may not be brewing anymore in the future. CM is in talks with them to provide a house beer if the new owners decide onsite brewing isn’t in the cards.
Palisade Brewing, as mentioned in a previous post, became a Brew Trek favorite when I visited them last fall, and the selections that they brought didn’t disappoint. The Dirty Hippie drained quite early from it’s popularity amongst the revelers. They mentioned that they’ve been tweaking the IPA and Red, and I must say that both are still favorites after tasting.
There’s much more to tell about all of the topics in this post, but I’ll leave that for another day, another article where I can go into more detail. Suffice it to say that it’s been a long and fun Independence Day weekend, one that will provide stories for many months to come.