brew trek

2012 western slope brew trek – stage 1b

For me, the best vacations are those where you can take a day or two and do absolutely nothing. Days when there’s no itinerary, no place to be other than the dinner table; add soaking in hot springs sipping a fresh craft beer, and you’ve got perfection.

Brew Trek 2012 Stage 1b

That was just the scenario after leaving Edwards, Colorado and its two breweries, Crazy Mountain and Gore Range to continue our 10 day brewery tour and vacation. The one hour drive from Edwards to just outside of Redstone was laid back, the highlight being the twists and turns of driving through Glenwood Canyon enjoying the acceleration of the turbo Beetle Brew Trek-mobile.

Avalanche Ranch Cabins

Our destination was Avalanche Ranch Cabins which we had discovered quite a few years back when the Wife’s knee surgery didn’t allow us to do our traditional tent camping. Nestled in the Crystal River Valley just north of Redstone and 15 minutes south of Carbondale, Avalanche Ranch has 13 cabins and one ‘Ranch House’ that sleep anywhere from two to six people each. With fully equipped kitchenettes, bathrooms with showers, and wood stoves, it’s perfect for getting away from it all without totally roughing it during any season of the year. And with the recent addition of hot springs pools, the rustic cabins are now just a short stroll to total relaxation.

Avalanche Ranch CabinsA few years after our first visit, the family decided to join us for the Wife’s birthday at the Ranch, allowing my brother and his brood of two teenagers and a toddler to enjoy the great outdoors without the hassle of cramming them into tents. The sheep, goats, donkey, and llama also provided entertainment for the youngsters, along with the stocked trout pond with its wily denizens.

The recent addition of hot springs to the property were the cherry on top for my youngest nephew who’s now four; every available hour that didn’t involve fishing, hiking, or animal appreciation became ‘swimming’ time for him.

As I’ve done too many times than I’d like to remember, I had forgotten to pack my swimsuit for the trip. The usual distractions of getting ready for a vacation always conspire to form a mental block of that particular necessity, leaving me uttering a “Doh!” when we arrive wherever there’s water involved. So on the second day of our stay the Wife and I, along with my oldest nephew, drove into Carbondale to buy a new one and pick up a few last minute grocery items.

Carbondale Beer Works

Not needing to be anywhere urgently, we cruised around the main street in the center of the old town, happening upon Carbondale Beer Works as we explored. I fully intended to keep to the task at hand and kept driving trying to identify a promising shop for my purchase. Yet as we headed out of the center of town the Wife said the words that every man loves to hear: “Let’s stop in for a beer!”

So we backtracked to the brewery to quench our thirst and introduce our eldest nephew, who’s 15, to the world of craft beer even though he couldn’t imbibe. The bar was fairly full, many others had had the same idea as the Wife, sipping brews and enjoying a spot of lunch. The single bartender, who may or may not have been the brewer/owner, was scrambling to keep up with the orders pouring in, and I didn’t want to slow him down by asking questions. We got a quick mention of being left by himself and left it at that.

Carbondale Beer WorksWe sat at one of the many pub tables scattered throughout the room and quenched our thirst while giving our nephew a brief education on breweries and brewpubs; my brother has taught him a little too well in politeness, as we could only get him to order a water, nor could we get him to let us order something for him to eat. They offer many tasty options that would have tempted us had we not just had a hearty breakfast.

It wasn’t the best of situations for us to evaluate the brewery since we didn’t have the camera with us and only had time to enjoy a single pint each. What we did have was in the vein of traditional English style recipes, satisfying, but much lighter than what is in vogue with current craft beer aficionados. The Pale Ale being very malty with just a hint of hops, while the Cream Ale was light in taste, but also very malty.

We will most assuredly return on our next stay in the area, if for nothing else than to take some better photos than the ones I took with my phone, and to sample a flight of whatever they have on tap that day. Maybe enjoying a late lunch in the biergarten just outside their side door, after we’ve explored the shops along the main drag.

Carbondale Beer Works

The rest of stay at Avalanche Ranch involved nothing more than soaking in the multilevel hot springs and exploring the property. We could have driven to Redstone or Marble as we had done on previous stays, but were content to remain in place this time. Redstone is a quaint mountain town notable for its inn, shops, and relics of the coke ovens from when the town was a mining operation. Marble is just a little farther down the road and worth the drive even if you don’t go all the way up to the quarry. The remains of the stone mill, once the largest of its kind in the world, look like the ruins of some ancient civilization with large marble slabs strewn about the site.

Redstone, Colorado

Instead of the day trips, the highlight of our stay this time was the catches by the Wife and my eldest nephew. Coming in at 20 inches, the rainbow trout the Wife caught easily contributed to one of the dinners, while our nephew was beaming with his fish since it was the first he’d ever caught.

By the time we packed up for the rest of our journey on the following Monday, we were fully recharged and ready for what would come down the road. 14 breweries and the rest of the Western Slope awaited us for the week ahead.

Next up, a return visit to Palisade Brewing, a sip at Peach Street Distillers, and Kannah Creek Brewing and Grand Junction.

2012 Western Slope Brew Trek

Stage 1a Stage 1b Stage 2 Stage 3

Crazy Mountain
& Gore Range

Carbondale Beerworks

& Kannah Creek

& Colorado Boy

Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 Stage 7

Ouray, Silverton,
Ska, & Steamworks

& Durango Brewing

Pagosa Brewing
& Moonlight Pizza

& BierWerks

This entry was published on July 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm. It’s filed under Brewery and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “2012 western slope brew trek – stage 1b

  1. Pingback: The Find: Avalanche Ranch Backcountry Lodge & Hot Springs … | How To Ski

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