- Griffin Swartzell
- Brass Brewing, new to the scene, holds its own.
Colorado Springs and the surrounding area hold more than 30 operating breweries now, and while that's nothing next to the greater Denver area, it makes picking a spot for a pint a one-way street to option paralysis. So rather than list every single brewery (we must flex our curatorial muscle, for brevity), we've whittled it down to 10 standouts. Basically every brewery in the Springs has at least one beer worth driving across town for, but these 10 offer locals an opportunity to impress guests, convert a craft skeptic, try something wildly inventive or maybe just find a new reliable go-to brew.
318 E. Colorado Ave., brassbrewing.com
This brewery's new on the scene as of 2018, sharing streetside visibility with a tattoo shop and a florist on a quieter stretch of Colorado Avenue. Previous tenants Triple S Brewing couldn't make the location work, but we hope Brass can, as it's both a fine place to relax and, on occasion, a decent sports-watching bar. The quality of their beers makes this military-themed spot one of the most promising newer breweries in town, and we've yet to have a bad brew there. Actually, forget promising — Brass is already a fine addition to the Springs' beer scene.
Bristol Brewing Company
1604 S. Cascade Ave., bristolbrewing.com
To call Bristol the iconic beer of the Springs might perhaps be an overreach, but since Mike Bristol and team opened up shop in 1994, brews like Laughing Lab Scottish ale, Red Rocket pale ale and Beehive blonde ale have been synonymous with locally made craft beer. While this spot isn't turning out many envelope-pushing beers, their mildly adventurous brews tend to be solid bets and stick around, like whiskey-barrel-aged Wireless Warlock stout. Most recently, they've added a new flagship brew. It's a tropical pale ale, bursting with tropical fruit notes from the hop bill, and it's called Ivywild School, named for the brewery's iconic home.
Cerberus Brewing Company
702 W. Colorado Ave., cerberusbrewingco.com
Look no further than the Indy's Best Of issues to see that this brewery's won over our readers since it opened, picking up awards for its beer, food and patio. For our beer money, brewer/co-owner Joshua Adamski and assistant brewer Taylor Donner have their brewing chops on lock, producing beers that are not only to-style but, more often than not, exciting. To wit, pun not intended, many breweries turn out a great IPA, a great stout or a great Belgian. Cerberus turns out great IPAs, stouts and Belgians. It's the full package.
Dueces Wild Brewery
- Griffin Swartzell
- Spelling aside, Dueces Wild Brewery rocks.
660 Peterson Road, dwbbrewery.com
When we're not raging at autocorrect to stop changing "dueces" to properly spelled "deuces," we're celebrating the aggression with which this southeast Springs brewery has propagated its beers throughout the city. Jeff Lockhart's a hell of a brewer, already turning out a remarkable blood orange pale ale as well as solid takes on traditional German and Brit styles like their hefeweizen, their amber ale and their IPA. Every beer we have tasted here has been tops. But for all that distro, the brewery's partnership with neighboring Grinder Sandwich Company, purveyors of satisfying sandwiches, and its proximity to the Sand Creek Golf Course make it well worth a visit.
Goat Patch Brewing Company
- Griffin Swartzell
- Trust Goat Patch’s fanbase — this place is great.
2727 N. Cascade Ave., #123, goatpatchbrewing.com
Anchored in the Lincoln Center, Goat Patch opened in mid-2017, and already, owners Justin and Jen Grant and Cate and Darren Baze have proliferated their blonde, red, hazy IPA and more across the city's bars and taprooms. They're supported by an experienced sales director, New Belgium Brewing Co. vet Travis Flett, but even before he joined a year in, Goat Patch built its fan base at a staggering rate. Thank brewer Darren Baze, a veteran of Trinity Brewing. The quality of his brews is second to none. At the 2018 Great American Beer Festival, Goat Patch's It Takes a Tribe red ale got bronze for best Scottish-style ale.
Ice Cave Cider House
174 Washington St., Monument, facebook.com/theicecaveciderhouse
Gluten-free drinkers have never had more options in the craft beverage scene, thanks to the growing number of gluten-free beers, but there's nothing like a good cider. And Monument's petite Ice Cave Cider House absolutely smashes with their apple-based brewing operation. Theirs drink with less residual sweetness than the Woodchucks and Angry Orchards of the world. Traditional English-style ciders drink dry and crisp, often more like a lager or champagne, and variants with additional fruits like local raspberries and, seasonally, Palisade peaches abound. Try a blend in the glass or in a growler to go, too; there's plenty of room to experiment.
- Griffin Swartzell
- Ice Cave satisfies beyond the gluten-free crowd.
320 S. Weber St., localrelic.com
Don't approach the rotating selection of taps and bottles at Local Relic like any other brewery in town. Instead, consider the works of head brewer Grant Goodwiler as one would consider wine. Look for each sip to have a beginning, middle and end, like a good story. Do not expect orthodox renditions of traditional beer styles, especially with regard to IPAs. Local Relic demands a patience and willingness to buy in to a flavor experience that other breweries in town don't, and as a result, each beer is compelling in its own way. What's more, bottles of each new brew come with unique label art, always created by local artists. This spot, located in the former Carter Payne Event Center and one-time AME church, also hosts Brent Beavers' Immerse Cuisine, so the bites are unexpectedly good, too.
Red Leg Brewing Company
4630 Forge Road, Suite B, redlegbrewing.com
It's no secret that Red Leg president and founder Todd Baldwin aspires to make his beers the craft beer of the U.S. military. Since he opened up shop in 2013, he's been continuously improving and expanding his offerings, adding a canning line, distributing to Texas and Oklahoma, and even brewing a signature beer for The Broadmoor. And while brews like award-winning Devil Dog Stout show up all over town, specialty firkins and limited brews make it well worth stopping in at the brewery itself. That'll be doubly true when Red Leg's expanded facility opens, hopefully later in 2019. Baldwin intends for the new location to also host an outdoor food hall and market.
Smiling Toad Brewery
- Matthew Schniper
- Smiling Toad’s IPA passion translates to taste.
1757 S. Eighth St., then 2028 Sheldon Ave. (moving in May 2019, tentatively), smilingtoadbrewery.com
This Springs brewery fills 15 taps with quality beers in a range of styles, but they're perhaps best known for their IPAs, if only for the sheer number of them the brewery's produced. Try their signature IPa Freely for a traditional take, or Commando Queen for a trendy hazy IPA, or Fade to Black for a dark IPA, or Golden Rule for a Champagne-crisp brut IPA, or one of countless others they've brewed over the years. They've got more hops than a cartoon rabbit! But that doesn't mean their maltier beers are weak or inconsistent, either. They've got it all, and soon, they'll have even more once their new facility off 21st Street opens.
1466 Garden of the Gods Road, trinitybrew.com
Nobody in town makes beer like brewer Jason Yester and his crew. Trinity specializes in sours, saisons and other fun and funky fermentations, and their specialization shows in the quality of their beers. Take, for instance, the highly accessible One Ear, a naked saison that's made with grain, hops, water and yeast. There's no herbs or spices. It's a delicious beer that's made not to blow minds with unexpected flavor profiles but to highlight the flavors of good ingredients that taste excellent in concert. It's something complex to sip, or it goes down easy enough to qualify as a lawnmower beer. Trinity's brewers explore a rainbow of flavors and adjuncts, like honey, cucumber, red Zinfandel must, sarsaparilla and more.