Brewery Snapshot: Atrevida Beer Co.

Stuck in the corner of an uninspiring strip mall, but with a focus on small batch production and creative twists on traditional styles, Atrevida Beer Co. is kind of a sleeper in my book that greatly exceeds outward expectations. Add in the funky Mexican taproom and friendly staff and and Atrevida rises pretty high on the must-visit list if I’m in Colorado Springs.

BEER LINEUP: Atrevida’s small-ish taplist covers a lot of territory, from standards like a brown and pale ale, through a tasty strawberry cream ale, to beers with pineapple and lemongrass. You’ll definitely find the basics, but be prepared to also have your horizons expanded – in the best possible way of course.atrevida-taproom.jpg

ATMOSPHERE: The small taproom has a chill Mexican theme going for it and feels a lot more comfortable than it looks from outside with a lot of bright colors, murals, and interesting decorations. There’s a definite industrial undertone of steel-and-concrete and on one side are racks of equipment producing the small-batch and experimental beers. The brewery also has a rather stark, sunbaked patio out front. Overall, the mashup of different elements works to create an unpretentious feel for hanging out. atrevida-brewing.jpg

SERVICE: Our server was very friendly and fast, both at the bar and the table.

LOCATION: There’s not much to recommend the atrevida-exterior.jpgindustrial-park neighborhood next to a busy highway except the plentiful parking. Atrevida is most definitely a destination brewery.

STANDOUT BEER: The Bouriqua Belgian Blonde with pineapple and citrus takes a solid, golden Belgian blonde and spices it up with a tasty balance of pineapple sweetness set off by lime-flavored citrus. Overall a very refreshing beer.

Brewery Snapshot: Cerberus Brewing

With a huge beer garden offering mountain views and tasty gourmet-pub fare, Cerberus Brewing has created a great place to enjoy Colorado’s beautiful weather and relax outdoors. Add in a full spectrum of tasty beers and it’s the perfect combination for an afternoon of chilling.

20181026_125314_hdr1.jpgBEER LINEUP: The broad taplist offers up a full range of styles, from the 2018 World Beer Cup bronze-medal-winning Kolsch to stouts and a tripel. Some have creative twists while others stick close to style.

ATMOSPHERE: On our lunchtime visit the indoor industrial-looking taproom was mostly filled with working folks taking a lunch break while the outdoor patio and huge, comfortable beer garden seemed to have small groups of friends a grabbing a beer and food with nowhere to rush back to. Regardless, the environment felt very relaxed and pleasant for hanging out and enjoying the great food. The sunny day and mountain views from the patio no doubt encourage a more relaxed state of mind, although the traffic blasting by on the adjoining  thoroughfare counter-acts that to some extent. Cerberus had a full kitchen and specializes in brisket, which infuses the parking lot with the mouth-watering smell of the smoker.20181026_125857_hdr.jpg

SERVICE: The servers were all very friendly, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable about both the food and drink. We sat on the patio which can sometimes be a blind spot at craft breweries but we still received extremely attentive service.

LOCATION: The area has a mix of older residential houses and varied retail, service and restaurant businesses on the main road in front of Cerberus and the surrounding area. You could easily pair a quick beer and bite with other nearby errands. Whether you make Cerberus a destination or a quick stop, the medium-sized lot and additional street parking should let you stash your car, and there’s a bike shop across the street if that’s more your style.

STANDOUT BEER: Hathor California Common. This actually rather un-common style fit the warm fall day perfectly with a medium-bodied dryness bringing forth flavors of straw and non-floral hops. While that was the most noticeable flavor it was not excessive and was nicely balanced by the malt. The orange/yellow color also fit right in with the fall season.

Brewery Snapshot: Goat Patch Brewing Co.

20181026_141841_HDRLocated in what appears to be an old school converted into a mashup of businesses, Goat Patch Brewing Co. offers up a solid, standard brewery experience. In my opinion, it’s not a place to necessarily go out of the way for, but if you’re in the area and like beer you won’t come away disappointed.

BEER LINEUP: Goat Patch mostly offers the standards like a blond, a stout and several IPAs but includes a few more creative choices such as a pistachio nut brown and pumpkin porter. All the beers I sampled were decent, though none really jumped out as remarkable.

ATMOSPHERE: We visited in the afternoon and the 20181026_142228_HDRgenerously-sized taproom and ample patio were fairly full but with a relaxed feel. It seemed like a lot of regulars were in to either enjoy the patio or the airy interior. The taproom itself is your basic taproom – industrial with lots of concrete and steel and garage doors opening to the patio – but comfortable enough.

SERVICE: Our server was friendly and efficient and carded everyone with a passion rarely seen at craft breweries. 20181026_141819_hdr.jpg

LOCATION: Goat Patch occupies part of a former school that has been creatively converted to a strip mall to house various businesses in the classrooms and a fitness center in the gym. Though we didn’t eat there, the scandinavian restaurant next door looked tempting. The surrounding neighborhood is a mix of housing and20181026_143414_HDR random businesses, with nothing to particularly draw you except the businesses in Goat Patch’s strip mall. The mall offers loads of free and convenient parking.

STANDOUT BEER: Keeping with the relaxed and basic theme of the taproom, I thought the Red Ale was a comfortable choice to kick back with. The clear amber/brown brew came across very malty and rich without any unnecessary complexity or added flavors.

Patio Weather in the Springs

The patio-drinking season is winding down so a friend and I decided to take a trip to Colorado Springs for a short hike and a few patio beers.

After a morning hike we stopped at Cerberus Brewing Company 20181026_125401_hdr.jpgto enjoy their expansive patio/beer garden and some lunch. Cerberus serves up what I’d call “gourmet pub food”, which seems like overkill for a brewery, but was certainly tasty. They specialize in smoked brisket and our hunger was piqued when we smelled the smoker as we pulled into the parking lot. As far as the beer, my friend went light and I went dark and we both enjoyed all of the beers that we tried. They offer a varied selection for all tastes and exceptionally friendly and efficient servers. The overall atmosphere definitely encourages lingering, chilling, eating and drinking – especially on a warm sunny day.

From there we headed 10 minutes through downtown Colorado Springs to Goat Patch Brewing Co., which looks like a dated strip mall from the outside but inside is an old 20181026_142228_HDRschoolhouse converted to retail with businesses in the old classrooms and gym. The taproom offers up the standard craft-brewery experience; light-industrial design, garage doors opening to a patio, and a handful of beers that stay reasonably true to style and cover the full spectrum. The brewery offers up a pleasant experience but nothing about it would make me go out of my way to visit. In the context of this little tour, it’s a fine drop-in between Cerberus or Atrevida but you could easily substitute one of the other downtown breweries and not miss out on anything.

Our last stop in The Springs was Atrevida Beer Co., which was  a spur-of-the-moment choice but a fortuitous one. Located in a depressing-looking industrial park/strip mall, the exterior did not inspire confidence. However the indoor Mexican-themed taproom felt warm and cozy, enough so that we didn’t even bother with the small front patio. The 20181026_154621_hdr.jpgbeers mostly focused on traditional styles with interesting additions such as the Fresas con Crema strawberry cream ale and Boriqua Belgian blonde with pineapple and citrus. Based on all the brews we sampled, Atrevida has that approach dialed-in. We greatly enjoyed the creative beers, the friendly server, and checking out the tiny production units that make these small-batch creations.

Finally it was time to head back to Denver but not without a mid-way refreshment stop in Castle Rock at Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Co., which had just held their grand opening the previous day. We expected a quiet environment20181026_173437_hdr.jpg to wind down our day but it seems like the place has already become the go-to stop for Friday Happy Hour. The trendy-industrial taproom, front patio, and huge beer garden were packed and buzzing with energy. Although I didn’t try any of their food, the two beers I enjoyed while playing cornhole outdoors were absolutely fantastic. It often seems to take time for a brewery to settle into  their recipes and equipment but Wild Blue Yonder appears to have hit the ground running. It’s definitely worth the short drive from Denver.

From there it was back to the city and on to other Friday night Halloween-ish fun. Despite the fact that we packed in a drive, a hike and four breweries this day trip didn’t seem at all rushed and would also make a great weekend excursion. And if hiking isn’t your thing, Colorado Springs offers up a bunch more breweries that could give you an early start! Note: The earliest-opening brewery we found was 11 a.m.

Route Map and Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/bsQRzWDRyFQ2

 

Field Trip: Colorado Springs

With this past weekend’s great weather it seemed like a good time to get out of town and check out the sunny scenery, not to mention finding a good patio, so we headed south to Colorado Springs. The Springs has loads of breweries but for a break in the middle and some wonderful scenery we headed up Highway 24 to Ute Pass and The Winery at Pikes Peak. This drive is super-easy to navigate and goes right past Garden of the Gods if you want to take a break for some sightseeing or hiking

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In their own words  . . . One of the “challenging” beers

 

Heading down I25 from Denver it’s a straight shot and just over an hour to exit 146, Garden of the Gods Road. Head west about 3 minutes and Trinity Brew sits on your right in a strip mall. The inside has a mountain-dive-bar look, but outside the wrap-around patio offers plenty of space to catch some sun and hang out. Though bit windy we still enjoyed the beautiful weather, a bite to eat, and good service. Trinity concentrates on what I’d call “challenging” beers – with many hoppy and/or sour options – and they do an amazing job. It’s a great place to expand your palate, and they also offer a couple of sessionable options too. Trinity also has a full-service kitchen if you need something to balance out your beer.

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Rocky Mountain Brewing News August-Sept Edition Is Out

Rocky Mountain Brewing News has just published their August/September issue online, which features some of the Colorado Springs breweries we visited back in July and has some ideas for some more if you want to create your own brewery-filled day trip. Check it out! . Print copies are also available in lots of local breweries.

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.

Bristol
Old School Bristol

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