Colorado Springs Day Trip

With so many breweries all along the Front Range, a free Sunday seemed like a good excuse to get out of town with some friends and try a tour of Colorado Springs breweries. We hit three starting with very old (in  Colorado terms) – Bristol – to very new – Cogstone. The drive from Denver should only take about an hour (see traffic notes below) and between each brewery is only about 10 min or so driving.

Bristol is in a beautiful 100-year-old schoolhouse that houses boutique shops and eateries. Inside is hardwood and brick and outside is a wonderful patio – either one a great place to kill a couple hours. They have wide distribution in Denver so I tried to stick to the beers I hadn’t seen before. Most everything was tasty,  but for me the standouts were the Mass Transit and the KolschMass Transit was a great balance between hops and malt, with the malt having a slight edge while the Kolsch had amazing crispness and German hop bite that seemed to go best with a 90-degree day.

Old School Bristol

Heading toward downtown we stopped at Iron Bird Brewing, which is in another historic building that the brewers resurrected. Iron Bird is known for its hoppy beers and cask ales, although I only tried their (very solid) IPAs . However the highlight was the pizza. I ordered the Zephyr, which was packed with flavor – olives, pepperocini, roasted red peppers, and pesto. I’d almost recommend this place more for their pizza than their beer – other versions that I saw coming out of the kitchen looked equally good. The only disappointment was the service – not sure if it was a Sunday hangover but the server behind the bar definitely wanted to be somewhere else.


Cogstone Brewing
Cogstone Sampler

On to Cogstone Brewing– probably the most fun of our stops. Don’t be put off by the dreary strip mall – the beers inside are great and the service is outstanding. Both of the owners/brewers stopped by the table to check in on us and how we like their beer. They pretty much do it all – pouring, serving, cooking, and everything else. We tried a flight that included every beer and there  were some standouts, along with some that needed a bit of work but I’m willing to cut them some slack since they’ve only been open 5 months. Must-try beers include the Cucumber Cream (light and fresh with heavy cucumber flavor), and the Coconut Brown (made with toasted coconut and also pretty heavy on the flavor so you better like coconut). My favorite was the Belgian Blonde – definitely more Belgian than blonde with a good intensity of flavor and a malty/yeasty combination.  My friends tried the food and said the duck fat fries were good and the Burrata (mozzerella ball with cream to spread on crusty bread) was fantastic.

One note of caution (other than please arrange a DD!) – Traffic on I25 can be unbearable. Plan ahead for non-peak times (if any exist!), use a good traffic app, and if coming from SE Denver Metro try Parker Road/State Highway 83.

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