brew trek

2012 western slope brew trek – stage 2

As we drove west, the temperatures rose, the land became more arid, and the beauty of the scenery grew, a sparse allure nearly the complete opposite of where we had recently departed. Our long weekend just outside Carbondale was over and we had miles to drive and breweries and towns to visit.

Stage 2 of 2012 Western Slope Brew Trek

Palisade Brewing CompanyThe heat was a physical, oppressive thing as we arrived at Palisade Brewing near Noon, weighing heavily and parching almost instantly. The new stuccoed walls surrounding the biergarten in front of the brewery skewed my memory from the last time I had visited back in the Autumn of 2010, appearing almost like a mirage in the swelter. But all of that was quickly alleviated as we walked in and grabbed the last two spots at the bar.

Not much had changed inside, it was still as inviting, the craft beer lovers still in abundance even though it was a Monday afternoon. And the beers still satisfied, maybe even more so with the weather more appropriate to Hell settling on the landscape.

Phoenix of Palisade BrewingThe Scarlett IPA went down good and easy, being just hoppy enough to satisfy my never ending craving even though it was only around 68 IBU. Surprisingly the Wife’s Laid Back Blonde clocked in at 71 IBUs and she loved it; being crisp and light, the 5% ABV guaranteed that one pint wouldn’t hit you like a ton of bricks.

Our server for the day, Phoenix, amazed us as she kept up with the demand that day. In addition to two other couples sitting at the bar, a table of eight came in for lunch, combined with another booth of patrons putting in their orders for not only beery goodness, but also the satisfying food offerings as well.

Danny of Palisade BrewingWhen we had come in, we were greeted by Danny Wilson, the head brewer at Palisade, and it was while we were waiting for our lunch that we had the opportunity to talk a bit with him. They’re looking to get a canning line as soon as they can hook up some financing. The convoluted responses they’ve received from lenders sounds like the ever-present Catch-22 that hopefully can be overcome so that we can enjoy their brews across the state.

We were ready for our food when it came, our breakfasts had become just a faint memory by that time. The varied sandwich fare was well prepared and tasty, serving as a good base as we sipped the flight of what was on tap that day.

Palisade BrewingI had sampled the deliciously wheaty Dirty Hippie on my previous visit, and the Wife agreed on its merit when she tried the only beer that had been on tap from that previous time. The River Time Pale Ale was very refreshing having a lighter taste that was very reminiscent of a saison.With a slight hop tang, the High Desert Red was also very good, and with an ABV of 5.8%, very sessionable. Among the beers that both the Wife and I liked was the Palisade’s second anniversary brew, Love Potion #2, a farmhouse that was both citrusy and yeasty.

By the time we prepared to go, the Wife was as enamored of Palisade Brewing as I, the beer, as well as the vibe making it a must stop in any future trips we’ll make to the region. The hospitality we received from both Danny and Phoenix was very much appreciated, the are perfect exemplars of the spirit and friendliness that can be found at most Colorado craft breweries.

Peach Street Distillers

We swam through the heat back out to the car and basically drove across Palisade’s parking to the adjoining lot of Peach Street Distillers, just across the street. The Wife’s recent obsession with cocktails facilitated a need to stop in at the distillery co-owned by Dave Thibodeau and Bill Graham of Ska Brewing along with Rory Donovan.

Peach Street DistillersAs with most of Colorado’s craft distillers, the praise has always been high about their spirits, and it has only grown with PSD’s garnering of 2012 Distillery of the Year by the American Distillery Institute. Coming away with a gold, silver, and two bronze medals from the competition, Peach Street is now sharing recognition with the state’s other prominent distiller, Stranahans.

The newly renovated and expanded tasting room entices with a copper-topped bar, whispering in your ear to spend an afternoon sipping the rest of the day away. If we hadn’t done just that at the brewery, we may well have. Instead, we sampled a few of their wares from incredibly tiny plastic cups.

After those tastes, we couldn’t resist getting some Goat Vodka and Colorado Straight Bourbon; with complex caramel tones, Colorado’s first bourbon is gaining a reputation that I can fully attest to, the vodka’s not too shabby either.

Peach Street Distillers

We eventually did, reluctantly, pull ourselves away. Needing to stop in and visit with some family friends in the town, as well as hoping to hit Kannah Creek, not mention check in to the hotel, we had to limit our time in Palisade. With the orchards, winery, brewery, and distillery, the town is a destination that many communities twice its size would envy.

Kannah Creek Brewing Company

Sitting at the end of a strip mall, Kannah Creek Brewing has been serving up craft beer to Grand Junction for the past seven years. Along with award winning beer, they serve up a full food menu in the mold of a traditional brewpub. When we arrived late in the afternoon, both the bar and restaurant were doing good business considering that it was a Monday. Having a university and a couple of hospitals very close by probably contributes to the steady flow of clientele; a good number of the patrons at the bar looked to be of college age.

Kannah Creek Brewing CompanyThe beers are firmly rooted in the classical British vein, with a few German and Belgian styles rounding out both their everyday and rotating taps. Being on our way into town after a full day, we weren’t prepared for an extended tasting session, and as such only had a pint apiece with one tasting that sparked my interest.

The Broken Oar IPA would be a great quaff any day of the week if you hadn’t had anything more complex as we had had in Palisade. As it was, it fell a little flat on my palate that day. Make no mistake, it has all of the characteristics of a good traditional IPA, if a little too sweet. The Wife’s Lands End Amber enticed us a little more, being very malty with a touch of toasted malt, the dry brew has a good full body. If the ABV had been a little lower, I would have ordered a full pint of their Cask Conditioned IPA that I tasted before we left. Its slight whiskey tones balanced well with the dry-hopping.

Kannah Creek Brewing Company

SpringHill SuitesThe newly built SpringHill Suites Marriott on the town’s main street impressed us as we unpacked for the night. With a post modern decor that Don Draper would feel at home in, the room was clean, spacious, and felt luxurious. The Wife even liked it, even though she usually doesn’t care for that style. It was a shame that we only spent the one night there. In addition to the quality of the room, the staff was very helpful and friendly.

For the Wife’s birthday dinner we chose Il Bistro Italiano just a few blocks away on Main Street. With a menu ranging from pizza to saltinbocca, the mid-range pricing offers something in every budget for authentic Italian cuisine. The wait staff was attentive without being annoying and made the night very enjoyable. While they didn’t have any beer on tap, the bottle list, comprised of mainly Colorado beers, was respectable. A Ska True Blonde went well with our selections since I didn’t want to join the Wife with her wine choice.

Main Street Cafe - Grand Junction

The morning after was topped off by a hearty traditional diner breakfast in a novel setting. Main Street Cafe is just a block farther down Main Street from where we had dined the previous evening, and yet is a world away. With booths and tables decked out in Formica, vinyl, and chrome, photos and memorabilia crammed into every square inch of wall space, it envelops you in an idyllic vision of the 50s. The longer you sit, the more your inner Elvis will work its way to the surface, the urge to curl your lip and say Thank You, Thank You Very Much overwhelming you. Those looking for a healthy breakfast of granola and heart healthy items should keep walking, but for us it was an excellent splurge from being responsible.

Our last hour in Grand Junction before heading to points South was spent in the antique store next door to the cafe. One of many such shops along Main, it continued the nostalgia fest we had begun while eating breakfast. It laid the foundation for what we thought would be a pleasant drive that day. As you will see in the next post, what should have been a laid back leg of our trip turned into a drive of equal parts frustration and tedium.

Next up, Horsefly Brewing in Montrose and Colorado Boy Brewing in Ridgway.

2012 Western Slope Brew Trek

Stage 1a Stage 1b Stage 2 Stage 3

Crazy Mountain
& Gore Range

Carbondale Beerworks

Palisade
& Kannah Creek

Horsefly
& Colorado Boy

Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 Stage 7

Ouray, Silverton,
Ska, & Steamworks

Avalanche
& Durango Brewing

Pagosa Brewing
& Moonlight Pizza

Amica’s
& BierWerks

This entry was published on July 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm. It’s filed under Brew Pub, Brewery and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “2012 western slope brew trek – stage 2

  1. I wish your wife a belated happy birthday. I am mini-trekking on Sunday to Santa Rosa, CA for a Pliny the Elder with a lifelong friend. Your trek sounds like a great deal of fun. Because, it’s all about the beer.

    • I’m jealous! Enjoy Russian River, my favorite has always been the Younger whenever we can get it here, but the Elder is awesome too. Have fun!

  2. Nice design and layout on your blog; especially like your maps!

    • Thanks! I really wish WordPress would offer the pro version of the Autofocus theme so that I could have widgets on every post; my biggest concern currently with the layout is improving the navigation.

  3. I’m loving the movement to craft beers and craft distillers.

    • We’ve been running into more and more craft distillers in recent years all across the country, they are definitely poised for the explosion that craft beer has experienced. The only thing holding them back is the lack of legislation that helped kickstart the brewing revolution. Luckily for us, Colorado encourages both brewing and distilling!

      • NC has become quite open to distilling as well. Cardinal makes a dynamite gin right down the run and it is run by two young kids in their twenties. Hopefully we will see more quality like that in my state other than the moonshine clones that are more gimmicky than quality.

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