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Colorado Brewery Reviews

10/22/2009

For 2 weeks in August, my husband and I relaxed on a much-needed and rejuvenating vacation through our  beloved Colorado. We started out with a visit to my cousin’s in the Frederick area and moved down to CO Springs, to Grand Junction and finally to the cozy and comfortable mountain village of Breckenridge. In the course of our travels, we tried to stop at as many breweries as we could for a good meal and a sampler of their individual beer offerings. Decided to do a short review of each.

4 Stars – The Rockslide Brewery – Grand Junction

The comfortable open brick interior on Main Street was bustling both nights we visited, but service was excellent. The food was very good – the buffalo meat in my burger was better than any I’ve had. We also tried the beer battered fish (which was Salmon, an unusual but pleasant difference), nachos, and the Sicilian pizza. The beer sampler was of six 4 ounce glasses at $5 and was by far the best value of anywhere else. Not only were all the beers good, several were excellent and our server even brought us a complimentary 7th glass of a seasonal Apricot Ale that blew our minds – the best beer I’VE ever had.

3 stars – Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. – Glenwood Springs

Though the historic nature and decor of this location were both top notch, the food and beer were slightly higher priced and not as impressive as our other stops. We enjoyed a Reuben and a Canyon salad, both good but nothing extraordinary. The Honey Ale and Raspberry Wheat were very tasty, but the 8 glass sampler of 6 oz. beers was slightly high priced and the larger glasses were daunting to finish in one sitting. Attached to the historic Hotel Denver, I definitely recommend a pass through their beautiful lobby and a dip in the Glenwood Springs pool a few blocks away. Bottom Line: While interesting, not worth going out of your way to sample.

4.5 stars – Breckenridge Brewery – Breckenridge

While there was nothing particularly unique or outstanding about the Breck Brewery decor and service, the sampler was reasonable, the beers were excellent, and the food was a good value and tasty. We enjoyed a burrito and a burger here and the sampler was reasonable in both price and size. Exceptional beers that stood out were the Vanilla Porter, Agave Wheat (my second favorite beer so far) and the Oatmeal Stout. I’ve heard that Taco Mac offers their beers, which I am truly hoping isn’t just a wish because they truly were great! This brewery also offered great specials, like Ladies Night (free beers) and $1 beers after 10pm.

1.5 stars – Backcountry Brewery – Frisco

The food was mediocre – good but not great (nachos and Greek pizza here), the sampler of beers was a no g0 when we found out it was eight 7 ounce glasses! No way we could manage that so we had to choose one glass – Wheeler Wheat was a very good beer, definitely worth trying. However, in the 30 seconds it took for us to decide on a beer, our server was tapping her pen impatiently on her order pad and left us, returning a good round of minutes later. There were only a few other tables/servers occupied and apparently a finishing group in another room, but we only saw her to get the check after our food was delivered. Definitely lacking in service and finesse and a glance at Google reviews show 1-2 star averages as well. But the beer was good….

4.8 stars – Dillon Dam Brewery – Dillon

First, the food was out of this world. I had the best burger ever (the Cortez, with sweet peppers, Chipotle sauce, and pepper Jack cheese) and the beer samplers were conveniently available as 4 or 8 glasses (we chose the 4, hah!). They had a large selection of beers, and each of the ones we tried were good, but especially top notch were the German Dunkelweizen and Sweet George’s Brown, an English style ale. The service here was quick and pleasant, and it’s no wonder it’s rated as #1 for the county area. While we did not imbibe, they also offered a Key Lime Creme Brulee – which sounds rockin’!

The Winner: 5 stars – Tommyknocker Brewery – Idaho Springs

Not only was the service and food great (buffalo burrito and Reuben), the decor was fantastic (local artist’s murals all over the dining room and the pub has the brewing tanks), and the beers were definitely some of the best. Again, a large selection of which the ones we chose were all tasty, but especially good was their Black Powder Stout and Alpine Glacier Lager. Their samplers were 5 oz. and $1.50 each (no platter, just choose what and how many you want). Have to say, this was the one we would visit again and again if we were anywhere nearby and definitely ranked as the best on our list. I’ve heard this one also is at Taco Mac? Hope so!

Next on our brewery list is our very own highly rated Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta which was started by a Boulder native (Colorado knows beer!) who came here and found a “beer desert” in the ’90’s. We’ll let you know our thoughts!

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