Arriving at the Denver airport was just the first leg of this adventure. We pointed our rental car to the Southwest corner of Colorado making stops along the way. Our first stop landed us in Colorado Springs for lunch, not having time to hit every beer spot in town, we managed lunch at Phantom Canyon which offered a delicious lunch menu and a very solid sampler tray of house beers. My favorite that day was the Two Headed Dog Double IPA. We went on to try Trinity Brewing which had some mouth watering saisons, ipas, and sours. Moving on, we journeyed to our night stop (Durango is not a short distance away from Denver), Salida. This tiny town boasts two brew pubs (Moonlight Brewing and Amicas) which both serve solid beers and pizza. Boathouse Cantina, on the Rio Grande River, is a bar which serves up Tex-mex and an excellent craft beer selection from breweries like Great Divide, Firestone Walker, and Russian River.
The next morning took us back on the road for our final destination. Okay, we had one stop for beers and nibbles in Pagosa Springs at Pagosa Brewing Company where we sampled fine beers and chatted with the Master of Liquid Bread, Brandon. We also stopped at Wolfe Brewery which needs a little work on their beer and service, but the owner’s passion should help them progress.
When we finally made our stop in Durango, we were totally ready to be out of the car and grabbing some brew. We dropped our bags at Wapiti Lodge, our home away from home, and went on a beer hunt. As an aside I have to say that Durango is a drinking town with an outdoor sports problem. I love it! The Animas River runs through town, and you will never know who or what it will leave on its shores. I wish I had room to go into detail, but here are a few of my favorite spots: Ska Brewing Company, Animas Brewing Company, Steamworks Brewing Company, and Lady Falconburgh’s Alehouse and Kitchen. There were other breweries and craft beer bars that we enjoyed, but, in my humble opinion, these were the best.
We spent some time at Ska Brewing Company with Dave Thibodeau, co-founder, and Kristen Muraro, marketing maven, drinking Ska beer, talking about the history of the company, and why they loved Durango. It all boils down to community, beautiful location, and a love of good craft beer.
While in Durango, we managed to do some hiking along the Animas River and the breath-taking Mesa Verde National Park between sampling brews, We also took a drive to Telluride to visit Telluride Brewing Company (yum!) and Smuggler’s Brew Pub. It was an amazing trip filled with tasty brews and amazingly good beer. (We also spent some time in Denver on the way home and found new places, but that is for another story,) If you have a sense of adventure, a love of nature, and a thirst for tasty craft beer, you should think about a trip to Durango to drink beer with altitude. Also, my friends, on all of your adventures at home or abroad, always remember to eat well and drink good beer.