Food & Drink » Dining Reviews

Buena Vista's Jailhouse is spot on historic cool


  • Matthew Schniper
Friends in the Springs recommended The Jailhouse (412 E. Main St., Buena Vista,), actually located in the town’s historic jail; go to the bathrooms past the rear courtyard to see preserved inmate writings that date back over 100 years. Owner Sarah Haughey’s decor is spot-on, with some prison bars separating one punch-out between the main social area and one side nook. Warm light from Edison bulbs, some hung with thick rope like a noose, shines off pipe and rusty metal fixtures, absorbed into rough-hewn thick woods and a stacked stone/mortar wall. A small bar area serves some snack plates, wines, craft beers from 10 taps, and a longer specialty bottle list from better breweries around the country.

Coincidentally, we feel a bit captive after we’ve failed to notice the $40 price tag when ordering a Casey Brewing and Blending cherry oak barrel-aged brew, out of Glenwood Springs. It’s already in front of us with glassware, the top popped, before we look closer to see this line on the menu: “6.0% ABV. (2016)... 40.00/750ml.” Yeah, our bad, though I could have gone for a $ in there instead of the extra 0s, as somehow on initial look our eyes glazed over it. (I blame the distractingly cool atmosphere.) So we’re determined to relish these sips like last meals on death row. After two years of cellaring, the nose leads off with barnyard/zoo aromas, including horse urine. Funk — yeah. But once our olfactory senses push past that, we’re rewarded with an almost mead-like (but less sweet), semi-tart saison, dark rosé colored, with a dry, wine-like finish. No doubt, it’s a sophisticated sip, but no, I wouldn’t pay 40 rations again for it. Next time I’m in this slammer, it’ll be a $7.50 La Cumbre Brewing Co. Elevated IPA or something of its ilk for this prisoner.

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