When it comes to the Colorado beer scene, the majority of breweries have a loyal customer base. Whether it is in a small town where are the local goes to get together, or in a high traffic area where there are both regulars and a consistent wave of new customers. But what if there were a brewery that mostly relied not only on new customers, but tourists on top of that? Well in the small mountain town of Estes Park there is a small brewery that offers free samples downstairs, a bar and restaurant upstairs, and a wide variety of beers for all the first time customers to try. What is this brewery called? Of course it is the Estes Park Brewery, pouring quality Colorado ales since 1994.
Located next to a miniature golf course with only a banner for a sign this two story white building can be very easy to drive by. Inside on the lower level you will find racks of merchandise and a cooler with six packs available. At the back counter there is the tasting area where a bartender will be more than happy to pour you up to four samples for no charge. Upstairs you will find the restaurant and bar area with long windows that display all the wonderful scenery in Estes Park. In addition is a mural covering all the all four walls that show off the scenery and wildlife in the area, plus there is an overhead look into the production area where all the brewing and bottling occurs. With eleven beers to choose from sometimes it can be hard to decide which one to try, and there are not only high quality ales at Estes Park but also a wide variety.
With such a wide variety to choose from it is usually best to ask and try the brewery’s most popular beer, and that is the Longs Peak Raspberry Wheat. A light wheat beer with all natural raspberry flavor added to it this beer is both refreshing and subtle. The light flavor of the wheat comes through and while the raspberry is present it does not overpower the rest of the beer. One sip and it is pretty obvious why this is the most popular beer available. Now if raspberry beer is not your favorite but you like fruit ales there is also a blueberry wheat available. Estes Park’s honey wheat ale uses six pounds of Colorado ambrosia honey per barrel and is also one of the best available for fans of light, wheat beers.
Sometimes wheat beers can be too light and if something with more body and flavor is craved then there is also a wide selection to choose from. One of the best is named after a line in a classic horror novel that took place at none other than the famous Stanley Hotel, and that is the Redrum Ale. Despite the fact that this beer is not really red, more of a copper color, it is still very complex. With a medium body and a medium bitterness this beer brings out the flavor of hops, but it does not overtake the beer. With a clean aftertaste this is one beer that you will keep sipping, and enjoy more and more with each sip. Also available is a lager, IPA, porter, and stout all named after local scenery, wildlife, and landmarks. All are unique in their own way and all definitely worth trying.
It’s hard to believe that in such a small town there is a brewery that produces not only a large amount, but also high quality and flavorful beers. With both traditional and unique ales, it is hard to be disappointed with whatever you choose to try. While there is some distribution throughout the state, it is very limited in both where to find it and the flavors available. Even living in Colorado it is ok to be a tourist in certain towns, and when in Estes Park be a tourist and explore the town and especially this brewery.
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