Here in Colorado, we have mountains and singletrack and wilderness and rivers. We have a lot of space to go outside and play. We also know how to do downtime. Innovative Colorado craft brewers, winemakers and distillers are making this state the epicenter of beverage culuture. We suggest you have it all. Explore the wild then sit back and enjoy it with these fine local drinks.
Just west of the Continental Divide in Grand Junction, some of the purest water in the state flows down Kannah Creek… and straight into the award-winning beers produced at Kannah Creek Brewing Company. The newest offering, Island Mesa Blonde—a crisp English summer ale—serves up cool refreshment on warm summer days, yet it’s got the perfect amount of hops for sipping around the campfire with friends. Best of all? It’s available in most Front Range liquor stores.
Wood’s High Mountain Distillery
Salida’s one Colorado town you must visit this summer. It’s home to the world-famous FIBArk whitewater festival. It claims a proactive mountain bike community that builds new trails (and can give you beta on classics like the Monarch Crest). And Monarch Mountain is just up the road. Beyond outdoor adventure, it’s also the epicenter of Colorado’s powerful local economy movement—supporting everything from art galleries to bike shops to craft brewers… and one world-class distillery. Right in the heart of downtown inside a renovated auto garage, brothers P.T. and Lee Wood have been creating some of the high country’s most unique whiskeys, gins and assorted liquors for the past three years.
With the help of “Ashley,” their 135-year-old German pot still, Wood’s is turning out some exceptional spirits. Tenderfoot Whiskey is the distillery’s pride and joy. It uses five separate malts that make it both smoky, and spicy. The Treeline Gin, a traditional dry style, uses the finest mountain water, Colorado juniper, grains of paradise, coriander and several other fine botanicals. Looking for an interesting departure from the norm? Ask for Treeline Barrel Rested Gin. To create it, the brothers age Wood’s regular gin in charred American Oak barrels, which impart a complex flavor profile reminiscent of whiskey. The Alpine Rye Whiskey uses 70-percent malt-rye and a 30-percent mixture of cherry wood smoked and chocolate barley malts to create a sweet sipper with a spicy finish. Love craft beers? Grab a bottle of the Mountain Hopped Gin. By adding fresh Cascade hops from Paonia, Wood’s may have created one of the most unique spirits on the market. Finally, just in time for summer, the Fleur de Sureau Elderflower Liqueur is ideal for sipping around the campfire.
Curious? Stop by the tasting room located at 144 W. 1st St. in Salida and ask for one of Wood’s crafted cocktails. If you are not in heaven, then you’re pretty damn close.
O’Dell Brewing Company
Summertime is here, and it’s time to hit the road in search of adventure. Why not head to Fort Collins—or Fort Fun as the locals call it? This college town is known for everything from world-class rafting on the Cache La Poudre River to a rollicking downtown that’s stuffed full of eateries and locals who know how to relax while having a good time.
But the best thing in Fort Collins is the beer—and there is enough of it to make Homer Simpson smile. Especially in summer. The 26th annual Colorado Brewers Festival takes place June 27-28 in downtown Ft. Collins. With over 50 breweries present, that should be reason alone to come visit.
On any other day, 12 breweries busily ferment across town, so chances are high you will find some great beer no matter when you visit. But if you are looking for some truly spectacular concoctions, one spot shines above the rest: Odell Brewing Company.
Odell’s recently expanded brewery and taproom is the perfect Fort Collins spot to kick back and unwind. Sit in the outdoor beer garden and you can let your mind wander while contemplating the majesty of the Front Range and sipping superior suds. With live music every Wednesday and Sunday, and over twenty different beers on tap—including several taproom-only brewer specials from Odell’s micro pilot brewery—you won’t want to leave. And you won’t have to, at least if you get hungry: A different food truck parks out front each day to keep you filled with good grub. Looking to see how the beer is created? Brewery tours begin daily on the hour between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
This summer, Odell’s is offering two interesting new beers available throughout the state. Brombeere Blackberry Gose is something quite unique, a German-style sour wheat beer, loaded with blackberry flavors that make it the perfect summer sipper. At only 4.8 percent alcohol by volume, this tangy and sweet brew with a crisp finish is easy to enjoy without fears of falling off your stool. It’s available in four-packs.
The other is Piña Agria, the latest release from Odell’s celebrated Cellar Series. This is a subtly sweet sour beer with a pineapple flavor and a tart finish that will leave your taste buds begging for another sip. At 6.5 percent alcohol by volume, it’s the perfect beer to share with friends before dinner in the backyard or by the campfire. It’s available in 750ml bombers.
If you are looking for a grab-n-go selection of beers, or you need the perfect gift to bring to the neighborhood BBQ, make sure to pick up Odell’s Summer Montage Variety 12 Pack, featuring IPA, Loose Leaf, St. Lupulin and Perle White IPA. It’s the ideal combo for stocking the cooler. Best of all, the Perle White IPA is an experimental, limited release.
After 21 years, Bristol Brewing is finally legal—but they’re still studying up. Two years after moving into historic Ivywild School, business is booming. With two expansive patios to sip on their award winning beers, it’s the perfect place to unwind. Just tapped for summer break, Yellow Kite Pilsner is a throwback to the classic European Pils, with Czech Saaz and German Hallertauer hops. Also don’t miss the enlightened White IPA, perfect for the poolside.
Dillon Dam Brewery
The largest brewpub in the Colorado Rockies just got better. With a newly revamped menu focusing on Colorado sourced items, the food at the Dam is fresher than ever. The summer pub dinner menu offers up a wide range of mountain favorites including Maple Bourbon Pecan Trout, Bison Meatloaf, Honey Sriracha Salmon and Pork Schnitzel.
If you are the type who enjoys creative, masterful brews, the Dillon Dam Brewery is a mandatory stop. With 13–15 fresh creations pouring daily from the taps, you will not go thirsty here. Seasonal favorites like Hefeweizen, Yo Han Bock, Grapefruit IPA and Nitro Chocolate Milk Stout will help you unwind after a day of adventuring in the Summit County peaks and streams.
Want to take some beer home with you? Be sure to grab one of the limited-edition 22-ounce bottles. Each bottling is limited to 200 or less, and they include many rarities. Need more than that? You can purchase your own 64-ounce Hydro Flask Beer Growler on site (or bring your own). The vacuum-insulated container will keep your brew ice cold and carbonated for up to 24 hours—perfect for a cookout or concert.