225 S. Pine Street, Telluride, 970/728-9019
Simply put, there is no place in Telluride that offers what Smuggler Joe’s is able to offer. Yes, there are establishments that serve fresh house-brewed beer. There are others that offer pub food. As Telluride’s only licensed brewpub, Smuggler Joe’s offers the best of both worlds.
Start with a beer. Like a mad scientist, brewmaster TJ Daly is always hard at work “keeping things interesting” with a variety of beer styles. If you are keeping count, Smuggler Joe’s has up to 18 beers on tap, including a house-brewed root beer for those who are not of age. The balanced Rocky Mountain Rye won a gold medal at the 2005 Great American Beer Festival.
More recently, Reckoning Pale Ale and the full-of-kick Debauchery Belgian-style Triple both won awards at the 2012 Ouray Brewfest. Daly’s Dubbel, full of soothing spice flavors, also won accolades at the Brewfest. While Smuggler Joe’s keeps a consistent lineup of brews on tap, do ask to see the seasonal brew menu as well. On one recent afternoon, his seasonal Misty Mountain Wet Hop beer was a memorable showcase of fresh hop flavors.
Awards at Smuggler Joe’s don’t stop at the beer tap. Recently, the brewpub won St. Patrick’s Holy Chili and Salsa cook-off, and yes, Smuggler Joe’s salsa and chili both won. Javier’s Award Winning Chili comes in three sizes; a cup ($6.96), a bowl ($7.95) or a loaded bowl for ($9.95).
All too often, chips and salsa are overlooked, by those making it and by those eating it. It’s just salsa, right? At Smuggler Joe’s, it’s anything but. Freshly made daily, the salsa has the right consistency, is bursting with flavor and drops just the right amount of heat to entice another slug of brew. Ordering chips and salsa ($6.95) is a prerequisite when eating or drinking at the brewpub.
After that, there are a thousand directions you can go when ordering a meal. From half-pound, hand-packed, never-frozen sirloin burgers to salads to steaks, Smuggler Joe’s has it. Try a taste of the Windy City with the Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich ($11.95) that’s made with Giardiniera peppers, as it should. Or you could be comforted by the flavors of the hot roast prime rib open-faced sandwich ($11.95). Slices of Texas toast covered with thin-sliced prime rib covered in gravy and served with mashers.
A wildly popular item on the menu are the fajitas ($15.95) served with sliced sirloin steak and spicy red rice.
Joe Malecki, who’s owned the restaurant for more than a year now, says he can’t get enough of Smuggler Joe’s prime rib. It’s available in three cuts (queen $22.95, king $25.95, and kong $27.95). “It’s like eating Christmas dinner but you can have it every night of the week,” Joe says.
Newly added to the menu is a bone-in New York Strip steak ($29.95) and for those with a taste for chicken, go with the Drunk Chicken ($16.95). It’s a double boneless breast marinated in Two Planker Porter and cooked just right.
Since taking charge of the restaurant, Malecki has remodeled the brewpub giving it a more open feel. Grab a seat at its long bar or a nearby table or even on the patio. With 16 TVs, 18 house-brewed beers on tap, NFL Sunday Ticket, and a full menu, what doesn’t Smuggler Joe’s offer?
LIKE WINGS?: If there was an award for wings, Smuggler Joe’s would own it. These jumbo hot wings (five wings $7.95, 10 wings $11.95) are undoubtedly the biggest wings in town. They are double-fried and extra crispy. Pick a sauce. Dip ‘em and rip ‘em.
FOR THE SWEET TOOTH: Not only does Smuggler Joe’s offer Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, it offers a Grateful Cherry chocolate cheesecake ($6.95). It has the unique flavor of Cherry Garcia ice cream but it’s a cheesecake. No need to say more.
Open seven days a week, 11 a.m.-midnight