Seeking the suds: Your guide to Grand County’s craft breweries (with video)
Colorado is known for many things: mountains, skiing and, increasingly, its micro and craft brewing beer scene.
Grand County is no stranger to this connoisseur culture with several breweries offering locals and visitors some top-notch options for imbibing. You will find unique and experimental flavors at Hideaway Park Brewery in Winter Park where owner and brewer Andy Brumenschenkel likes to play with ageing techniques on his robust beers. Up the road at The Peak, head brewer Tom Caldwell prefers a lighter touch, focusing on smooth drinkability as he plays with the flavors in his recipes. Further north in Granby, Kirk Main’s Never Summer Brewery focuses on perfecting the basics with some of the best beer you will ever taste.
On the southern end of Winter Park, tucked away in a quiet alcove, you will find the diminutive Hideaway Park Brewery. While the taproom might be small the beers offered are big on taste. Hideaway Park Brewery typically has 11 different beers on tap, all brewed in house by Brumenschenkel. The offerings run the gamut from the easy drinking All Day Cream Ale, at 5.5 percent alcohol, to the BruBrew IPA, Hideaway’s most popular selection, at 7.2 percent.
Hideaway is currently working through a set of experimental IPAs they call their Humulus series. Ask about their current selection in that batch, Blood Orange IPA.
Brumenschenkel says he is particularly fond of the Little Mac Pale Ale, coming in at 5.2 percent alcohol.
“It is a nice, light crisp beer,” Brumenschenkel said. “It is a really hoppy pale ale.”
Also on the menu are the Serenity Summer Stout, Flippy Floppy Key Lime Wheat, Nitro Summer Stout, Whiskey Red – aged in whiskey barrels – a Rye Brown and a pilsner.
Hideaway Park offers taster flights of six four-ounce beers, half-pints, pints, growlers in 40 ounce and 64 ounce sizes and crowlers, which are large 32 ounce cans that can be sealed to keep your beer fresher longer.
Hideway Park Brewery is open daily from noon to 9 p.m.
Tom Caldwell runs the brewing operation at The Peak Brewery and Bistro in Winter Park. The Peak typically has about 10 different house brewed beers on tap with a focus on smooth drinkability, lighter flavors and hops over the darker more robust selections at Hideaway Park.
The Peak’s most popular beer, so far this summer, has been the Pomegranate Blueberry Wheat, which Caldwell described as, “a good summer beer” with a light blueberry flavor and a tart finish from the pomegranate juice used in brewing.
Hops lovers will enjoy the selections at The Peak. Caldwell himself has a particular affinity for hops and as of late has been enjoying The Peak’s Sessionable IPA, Summer Session, featuring all the floral bite of an IPA with lower alcohol content. Caldwell said The Peak currently has four different IPAs on offer.
Among their most popular selections is the Elk Bugle ESB featuring nutty caramel malt flavors and earthy hints from the Fuggle hops used in brewing. The beer has a lovely amber-copper color and at slightly over 5 percent alcohol it won’t send you home for a nap after a couple of rounds.
Also on tap at The Peak is the mainstay Winter Park Ale, Arapaho Creek IPA, and the Rifle Sight Rye Pale Ale. The Peak offers everything from four-ounce samplers to half-barrel kegs. Try their sample platter offering a four-ounce glass of each of their house-brewed beers. You can also get pints, 22-ounce bombers, growlers and seven-gallon kegs. Folks at the Winter Park Resort base will find beers from The Peak offered for sale at Riverside Spirits.
The Peak is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Never Summer Brewing Company
The Never Summer Brewing Company in Granby brews the best beer I have ever had. That is a bold claim, but if you take the time to sample brewery owner and operator Kirk Main’s selection of simple flavorful beers you will not be disappointed.
The Never Summer Brewery has six different beers on tap including their flagship offering Wiley Rye-Oatey Pale Ale, Main’s own personal favorite. The Wiley Rye-Oatey is a smooth beer, light on the pallet with a gentle, yet flavorful finish whose citra hops won’t burn your nose.
The other mainstay of Never Summer Brewing Co. is the Total Hopulation IPA, weighing in at six-percent alcohol. It has piney and fruity flavors on top of citrus notes and is one of Main’s most popular sellers.
Also on tap at Never Summer is the Old Smoke Smoked Porter, Sprekenze Kolsch, the Be Nice Bavarian Weise and the potent malty rum barrel flavored Rum Monkey Imperial Red with an alcohol level of 6.8 percent.
Never Summer Brewing offers taster flights, 12-ounce glasses, pints, and various sizes of growlers. The brewery is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
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