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Exploring Summit County Breweries

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

We recently spent a week on vacation in beautiful Summit County, Colorado. Our agenda was simply to relax, spend time with family, and sample the offerings of some of the local breweries. Whenever we visit a new or haven’t-been-here-in-a-while brewery, we like to do a beer tasting. This allows us to sample small amounts of a wide variety of beers. Also, we typically have very different styles of beer that we each like; Jason tends to gravitate toward IPAs, stouts, and porters while Sarah prefers kolsches, reds, and dunkels. We typically each get a flight of the beers we think are interesting and share what we think the other might enjoy.

Our first stop and lunch spot as we arrived was the Dillon Dam Brewery. This family-friendly brewpub and restaurant has been one of our favorites for years. They have a wide selection of beers and the food never disappoints. Jason really enjoyed the Tropical Hefeweizen. Sarah’s favorite was the American Cream Ale as it reminded her of her favorite beer and Wisconsin mainstay: New Glarus Brewing Company’s Spotted Cow.

A tasty flight at Dillon Dam Brewery!

While we waited for the rest of our family to arrive, we hung out at Outer Range Brewing Company in Frisco. Outer Range now includes a chicken shack and coffee bar, and judging by the line out the door to the chicken shack we guessed it must be good. Jason became obsessed with the Sendy IPA - a New England-style IPA made with Citra, Mosaic, and Nelson hops. Sarah was intrigued by the Just Passing Through Gose that was brewed with yuzu, prickly pear, and dragonfruit.

Great views (and beer) at Outer Range Brewing!

The next day, we stumbled upon a vintage baseball game in Frisco where the players played by the rules from the mid-1800s and also wore uniforms from that era. The umpire (also in period clothing, complete with a tin cup) explained the intricacy of the rules in between plays. He said it was standard procedure at the time for the umps to take bribes of whiskey - ha! We tried some of the delicious beer provided by Angry James Brewing Company and Broken Compass Brewing Company. Angry James’ Bavarian Blonde and Broken Compass’ Strawberry Blonde were crowd pleasers. We had such a great time at the game, that nobody in our group took any photos! For a really nice recap, and some excellent photos of the game, check out this article in the Summit Daily by clicking HERE

A few days into our trip, we took a train ride on the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad. Despite living in this state for many years, we had never participated in this tourist attraction. The train ride was fun and the scenery was spectacular! Afterwards we had lunch at the Guanella Pass Brewing Company. Jason really liked the Rye Saison. Sarah enjoyed the crisp and refreshing Blackberry Blonde. One of the brewers was sampling beer from one of the tanks, so we went over and asked him what was brewing. He was working on a fresh-hop IPA featuring Cascade and Centennial hops from High Wire Hops in Paonia. It was due to be released in a few weeks, so we made a mental note to come up with an excuse to have to go to Georgetown in mid-September so that we could stop back and try this beer.

A diverse flight at Guanella Pass Brewery!

A few days later while exploring downtown Breckenridge we stopped in for a flight at Broken Compass Brewing Company to try more of their beers than what they were pouring at the vintage baseball game. Jason was extremely happy to get reacquainted with their flagship beer, the Coconut Porter. In his words, “It’s a liquid Mounds bar!”

Solid beers at Broken Compass!

We returned to Grand Junction at the end of our vacation relaxed, happy, and with a cooler of beer from Summit County breweries to continue to enjoy.

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