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Brew vivant: A prolific pack of pint-slingers packs our peaks

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In line with the growth of the craft beer industry — up 18 percent by volume and 20 percent by dollars in 2013, according to the Brewers Association — Colorado Springs' brewing outfits have multiplied like, well, other hop-heads. We count nearly double the entities since just Fall 2010, when we last compiled a listing of this sudsy sort. Here's where they celebrate their awesomeness:

BierWerks Brewery

121 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 686-8100, bierwerks.com

Woody P's first brewery, now 3½ years old, serves up traditional German concoctions mostly, plus a few American styles such as the ever-cool Spring Water Pale Ale, made with Manitou Springs mineral water. Drink your Dunkel outside by the fire pit for true mountain splendor.

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse

5150 N. Nevada Ave., 268-0505, bjsbrewhouse.com

BJ's is a California-launched chain with lots of locations and respectably good brewpub pints and eats. (When it comes to the avocado egg rolls, just make sure to get them.) The suds served here are brewed in Boulder, and top-quality seasonals rotate in with the standard array of 10 to 15 house taps and 30-plus guest taps.

Bristol Brewing Company

1604 S. Cascade Ave., 633-2555, bristolbrewing.com

With its long-awaited expansion into the Ivywild School, our town's 20-year-old juggernaut finally enjoys a suitably sized taproom, big-ass 34-barrel brewhouse and increased distribution around the state. Their beloved beer labels — Laughing Lab Scottish Ale and Beehive Honey Wheat at the fore — are ubiquitous to any local tap or bottle list worth a damn. But the expansion has allowed space for new labels too, like the special Give! Black Lager brewed in conjunction with the Indy last November.

Brues Brothers Brewing Co.

130 Central Main St., Pueblo, bruesbros.com

This conversion of the Steel City's former police building should make a lovely addition to the Arkansas Riverwalk. Info remained sparse as of March, but the outfit's interweb fodder points to an opening sometime this summer; see architectural renderings on their Facebook page.

Colorado Mountain Brewery

1110 Interquest Pkwy., 434-5750; 600 S. 21st St., 466-8240; cmbrew.com

Former Phantom Canyon brewer Andrew Bradley produces CMB's flagship labels for both locations from the larger north-store brewery, and describes CMB as "Colorado cuisine and handcrafted brews." Former Trinity brewer Darren Baze gets a little more leeway for experimentation on the south store's smaller equipment.

Fieldhouse Brewing Company

521 S. Tejon St., 640-6814

As of press time, brewer Travis Fields aimed to have his four-barrel brewhouse up and running in time for Colorado Springs Craft Week (April 27 through May 4), if not a week or so prior. We first sampled and were impressed by his beers in Fall 2011, so it's been a long time in the making ... but the Sticky Paws and Fist Pump Milk Stout are soon to be locally famous.

Fossil Brewing Company

2845 Ore Mill Road, #1, 375-8298, fossilbrewing.com

With mid-May eyed for a launch, Fossil is the collaborative brew-child of five friends, and a seven-barrel brewhouse with a planned eight house taps — three flagships, the rest rotating. As homebrewers, team members have won county and state fair awards, so expect goodness. And food trucks outside.

Great Storm Brewing

204 Mount View Lane, #3, 266-4200, greatstormbrewing.com

Having just celebrated its second anniversary in style (with a frosted cake tossed in the Birthday Pils' mash), Great Storm expected this spring to jump from its one-barrel brewhouse into a 10-barrel system, to accommodate demand for popular brews like its Rum Raisin Stout. Think of it as a model for smart nano expansion, where a little done right can grow into a lot.

Lofty Brewing Company

2935 N. Prospect St., #108, 970/988-3526, loftybrewingcompany.com

Nearly year-old Lofty is a wholesale nano outfit that doesn't have a taproom, but is available in a few bars and restaurants, such as the Green Man Taproom and Front Range Barbeque.

Manitou Brewing Company

725 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 963-5210, manitou-brewing.com

This new five-barrel brewhouse opened March 1, and at press time was still working its way toward filling out its 18 taps with eight to 10 of its own rotating beers at a given time. Brewer Curtis Bain came from Portland's noted Cascade Brewing, a pioneer in the sour-beer movement. Look before long for those barrel-aged goodies and standard styles with a full food menu.

Nano 108 Brewing Company

2402 Waynoka Road, 596-2337

Brewer Keith Altemose declines to name his beers in order to place full focus on styles, which constantly rotate through his 18 taps in batches ranging from five gallons to a barrel or more. He uses interesting ingredients, some local, plus different used spirit barrels for fun drinks like an añejo-tequila-barrel-aged chocolate oatmeal stout.

Paradox Beer Company

106 E. Village Terrace, #100, Woodland Park, 686-8081, paradoxbeercompany.com

Paradox buys base wort from Pikes Peak Brewing Company and only ferments on-site. Brewers here commonly play with aging, using a dozen 10-barrel fermenters and nearly 200 wine and spirit barrels (having recently doubled production). Their cask- or bottle-conditioned brews are now in 200-plus liquor stores and restaurants, and in some firkins on tap, but mostly in 750-ml. bottles and new 500-ml. sour-series bottles. Tasting-room tastes also available.

Phantom Canyon Brewing Company

2 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 635-2800, phantomcanyon.com

Phantom Canyon turned 20 in December, and enjoyed a significant brewery expansion last year that's enabled increased production, more special releases regularly on tap, and new, small-batch bomber series available at the hostess stand and in liquor stores. Go for hearty food plates and pints over pool upstairs.

Pikes Peak Brewing Company

1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument, 208-4098, pikespeakbrewing.com

Yes, those pink boots in the brewhouse do hold significance. They belong to assistant brewer Alyson Hartwig, who recently organized an International Women's Collaboration Brew Day onsite; brews the cancer-research-benefiting Beer 4 Boobies; and is behind the upcoming inaugural Colorado Springs Craft Week. From other benefit brews to an active event calendar, PPB has become a community driver inside a couple short years — fueled, of course, by quality suds.

Red Leg Brewing Company

4630 Forge Road, Suite B, 598-3776, redlegbrewingco.com

Being named after Army artillerymen might be the most obvious tribute that Red Leg extends our servicemen and -women, but veterans and co-founders Todd Baldwin and Jeff Lockhart have placed military touches across their taproom. They're just now expanding from a three-barrel brew system to a 10-, which will set their canning line in motion come June and place two of their labels into liquor stores. Catch small-batch new releases every Friday.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

3316 Cinema Point Drive, 550-3586, rockbottom.com

Rock Bottom does its best to subvert the corporate vibe with smart beers brewed on site and seasonal specials that sometimes employ local ingredients — for example, a 2013 Summer Honey Ale that sourced its nectar from Schmidt Apiaries. Its beer-friendly eats have been the answer to "What's after the IMAX?" since 2005.

Rocky Mountain Brewing

625 Paonia St., 528-1651, rockymountainbrews.com

Nearly six-year-old RMB's Da' Yoopers cherry and Eat a Peach fruit beers won medals in 2012 at the biannual World Beer Cup. The fun continues with around a dozen rotating house taps offering atypical brews, such as a lemongrass brew and chai porter, in addition to more standard styles. Our last visit found a Szechuan Porter made with garlic, ginger, chili paste and sesame seeds. The B'z BBQ food truck runs corresponding hours outside for brat and barbecue pairings.

Royal Gorge Brewing Co. & Restaurant

413 Main St., Cañon City, 719/345-4141, royalgorgebrewing.com

Royal Gorge acts as that vital brewpub for an active outdoors town — the post-rafting respite for a burger and a hearty IPA. Eight house taps also bleed standard styles like brown and wheat beers, but some seasonals rotate in, such as a raspberry lambic, chili beer, and the recent Poor House Porter, a dark chocolate-espresso concoction.

Shamrock Brewing Company

108 W. Third St., Pueblo, 719/542-9974, shamrockbrewing.com

Shamrock is a strong Irish brewpub with good eats, like a Jameson meatloaf. The flagship P.A.P.A. (Pueblo American Pale Ale) should kick off any sampling or session (though it hits hard at 6.1-percent ABV), and special releases such as the 3rd St. Coffee Stout, which uses nearby Solar Roast Coffee's brew, reward a drive from the Springs. The sourcing of Colorado Malting Company malted barley reinforces that love of local, which shows across the taproom.

Smiling Toad Brewing Co.

3668 E. Bijou St., 418-2936, smilingtoadbrewery.com

In their tiny, 900-square-foot nanobrewery, co-owners and brewers Biff Morehead and Fred Davis are part of a visit's charm, gabbing freely over a six-tap line that's fed by constant production off a half-barrel system. English-style beers tend to dominate the lineup, but amusing seasonals rotate in also, such as a basil-honey brew and apricot sour. Former occupant Kevin Baity Kraft Beer's interesting lavender beer also makes honorary appearances.

Trinity Brewing Company

1466 W. Garden of the Gods Road, 634-0029, trinitybrew.com

Trinity was the only Springs brewery to medal this year at the Great American Beer Fest, winning gold for its Elektrick Cukumbahh. It offers a perpetual salute to saisons and their incorporated and celebrated Brettanomyces yeast. After only 3½ years in business, Trinity tripled its production in 2012, and founder Jason Yester reportedly plans to open a second brewery in Denver by 2016.

Ute Pass Brewing Co.

209 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, 686-8722, utepassbrewingcompany.com

Ute has been threatening to serve its own beers since this time last year, but setbacks have kept its handles pouring guest brews. As soon as June, the owners hope to remedy that, with seven active barrels and an ultimate goal of four to six of their own brews rotating into 10 taps, next to a simple sandwich and burger menu.

Notable taprooms

Brewer's Republic (112 N. Nevada Ave., 633-2105) features 20 taps plus a fat, fine bottled-beer cooler. Host of many a rare-brew tap-takeover.

Green Man Taproom & Beer Garden (320 S. Weber St., 237-2711) should hit nearly 50 taps in 2014 as part of its initial goal to promote great craft beer from all over the country.

Old Chicago (multiple locations, oldchicago.com) can't be denied, with its World Beer Tours and giant beer selections, more than 100 at any time, including more than 30 taps.

• Honorable mentions: Front Range Barbeque (2330 W. Colorado Ave., frbbq.com) and Wild Goose Meeting House (401 N. Tejon St., wildgoosemeetinghouse.com), for quality selections.

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