Signature Brew: American Pale Ale. An English pale ale turned American by the use of American-grown hops, malt and yeast. Clean, crisp and refreshing with a balanced hoppy-ness.
Price: $3.50 pints
Brewery Vibe: Totally eclectic and constantly changing. The former car repair shop turned cushy lounge is an expansive space with lots of couches, a stage for live music, shelves full of books, and a handcrafted, spacious bar.
Food Pairing: Basic pub fare goes just fine with their special brews. The newly opened brewery is connected to Two Candles restaurant, which serves a full menu, including paninis, and nightly dinner specials.
Also Try: This new brewery plans to have a rotating tap of at least five of its own brews by summer, from IPA to porter to seasonal. Judging from the success of master brewer Brian Hoefling's American Pale, there'll soon be a deliciously creative in-house brew style to satisfy every taste bud.
Location: 1840 Grand Ave. in Norwood, 970/327-0100, open daily from 12 p.m.
Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery
Signature Brew: Irish Red. Lots of flavor without overwhelming the palate. Perfect balance with a malty profile. A simple, easy-to-drink pint in the hand.
Price: $2 half-pints, $3.75 pints
Brewery Vibe: A wee humble pub inside a 1915 brick building in the heart of Ridgway. With seating for about 25 in front of an antique oak bar, this is the place where great minds go to discuss great ideas.
Food Pairing: If the endless free popcorn isn’t enough (and it usually is) grab a classic grilled cheese ($3.95) or a grilled turkey panini with cheddar and green chile ($6.95).
Also Try: There are usually five varying ales on tap that could include an IPA, pilsner, Dark Mild, and a Scottish Ale. Cruise in on Friday evenings for cask ales, they are not to miss. For the kids (and adults) the Colorado Boy root beer is wonderful. Growlers and kegs are available.
Location: 602 Clinton Street in Ridgway, 970/626-5333. Open Mon.-Thurs. 4-8 p.m., Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. 1-9 p.m., and Sun. 3-8 p.m.
Ourayle House Brewery
Signature Brew: “Whatever tap has the least amount of beer is the most popular.”
Price: $4.25 for “his” size (16 oz.), $5.25 for “her” size (22 oz)
Brewery Vibe: A backwoods cabin where the day’s excursions are recounted and the next day’s adventures are planned. A simple brewery with good beers and good company.
Food Pairing: It’s just a brewery so there is no food served. Patrons, however are welcome to bring food to cook on the brewery’s grill and wood-fired stove. Be ready to share.
Also Try: Check the chalkboard behind the bar to see what brews are available. The Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing Co. at the Ourayle House usually has five to six beers on tap that are crafted in the old-country style that may include a Vienna style, English ale or a German ale. Go often as the beer styles are always changing and always good. Go ahead and grab a growler to go.
Location: 215 7th Ave in Ouray. Open daily around 4:30 p.m-ish, Sundays are iffy, depending on climbing or river conditions.
Smuggler’s Brew Pub & Grille
Signature Brew: Rocky Mountain Rye. The rye gives this brew a spicy, herbal dryness that is balanced with a trio of hops. This go-to favorite won a gold medal at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival.
Price: $4 pints
Brewery Vibe: This is a double-threat stop with a huge variety of hand-crafted beers available along with a full menu of food. This is the place to celebrate with friends and family while basking in the high-mountain glory of Telluride.
Food Pairing: A full menu of freshly prepared food is available. The Smugglers Beer Nuggets (lightly fried dough squares) served with marinara are a great snack (7.95). If a full meal is what your body needs, go straight for the BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($18.95).
Also Try: The Two Planker Porter is a 10-grain porter that brings a robust taste followed by a silky-smooth chocolate finish. It’s OK (and actually popular) to ask the bartender to blend different brews for your specialized taste (try a Smugglers Strong Scottish Ale mixed with Road Rash Red). Go ahead – there are often 14 beers on tap – mix away. You’ll no doubt find something more interesting than your grandfather’s traditional black and tans.
Three Locations: 225 S. Pine Street in Telluride (970/728-0919), 1571 Ogden Road in Montrose (970/249-0919) and 2412 U.S. Hwy. 6 and 50 in Grand Junction (970/263-0919).