brew trek

2012 western slope brew trek – stage 7

Stage 7It had been a long and enriching week. A week of new friends, new breweries, and fantastic beers. The journey had traversed the varied landscapes of the Colorado high country, from arid mesas, broad mountain valleys, soaring peaks, and alpine vales. It had also encompassed well established breweries as well as innovative new comers, all bringing fresh and tasty brews to the craft beer table.

Our preparations to head home were both bittersweet and anticipatory. While we had enjoyed ourselves, we were eager to be home again, even if it meant tearing ourselves away from the luscious private hot springs and cabins of Antero.

Initially we had only planned for one brewery visit on the last leg home, but circumstances happily conspired to add one more. I had forgotten to add a pint glass to the tab when we had stopped in at Moonlight Pizza and Brewery two days before, so we made the quick hop to Salida before the drive home began in earnest. An easy Sunday morning made us wait for that though, the restaurant was still closed when we pulled into town, and a local gallery we’d spotted earlier called to us.

Steph Brady of Green Cat GallerySteph Brady, owner and artist, had just pulled up on her bicycle as we parked next to The Green Cat Gallery. The old brick structure houses not only Steph’s fused and stained glass artworks, but also many pieces from other local artisans, all intriguing and appealing. As we had repeated many times over the trip when when asked where we were from, and where we had traveled from, we related to Steph our current craft beer vacation, and the breweries and people we had met. It didn’t take long for Moonlight and Amica’s to come up.

Amica's Pizza & BreweryAfter we had finished our purchases, she asked if we wanted to join her for a beer at  Amica’s before we headed out, we naturally agreed. As mentioned in a past post, we had been to Amica’s before and had really enjoyed their beers, pizzas, and vibe; and evidently, a considerable amount of the town’s art community does too. As we sat sipping our pints, Steph told tales of late nights sitting with the owners, brewers, and locals relishing the moments, times, and shenanigans. The sense of camaraderie was brought to life by her stories and the happy coincidence that Amica’s was celebrating their 10th anniversary that day; balloons and families filling the rooms with cheer.

The beers and conversation were regrettably put to an early end in our need to get on the road. We were hours away from home, and wanted to put one more brewery in before we finished the trip.

BierWerks Brewery

Our choice for the final hurrah was BierWerks Brewery in Woodland Park, west of Colorado Springs. The trip from Salida to Woodland Park necessitated both a beer and yet also a limited stay. Just outside of Buena Vista we ran into the traffic backup to end all backups. The inevitable Summer highway construction inflicted a bumper to bumper, 20 mph slog along Highway 285 all the way to where we needed to turn off onto 24. By the time we arrived at BierWerks, the nerves were frayed, and the schedule shot.

BierWerks BreweryDecked out in a cross between German beer hall and American brewpub, the taproom lends itself to long conversations with excellent Old World beer. The Helles and Kellerbier we wound down with were both true to style and satisfying with just enough body.

A funky Jazz trio played under an awning out front, competing with the noise of the highway that wafted in from the open garage doors. Families and couples had turned out that Sunday afternoon for music, beer, and food to see off the end of the weekend, wishing it to last that much longer.

BierWerks Brewery

The promise of home and the weight of 10 days travel were beginning to have their way with us; our craft beer hearts weren’t into the final brewery, which was quite unfair to BierWerks, and we knew it. With 87 miles and nearly two hours left to drive to Denver, we cut our stay short and headed onto the highway, a melancholy setting over us.

We’ll work BierWerks and Woodland Park in on some road trip in the future, tasting more of their beers and soaking up more of their vibe, it just won’t be soon as it stands now.

By the time we sat down after unloading the car, we were both happy to be home, no matter how fun the trip had been. It was our longest and most ambitious craft beer road trip to date. As stated in the opening post of this series, we had visited 17 breweries in 10 days, covering nearly a thousand miles in the process. We made many friends along the way, friends that we hope we will see again the next time we pass their.

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 October 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm. It’s filed under Brew Pub, Brewery and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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