Home to a booming craft beer culture, the diverse mix of breweries in the Colorado Springs area offers a vibrant look into the bustling culture of suds in the Centennial State. While Colorado Springs is home to more than 20 breweries, we put together a mini-road trip that will take you to the most unique establishments, giving you a real taste of Olympic City USA along the way.
NOTE: Getting to all of these breweries will involve some driving. Both Uber and Lyft are great ways to get around town. If you’re looking to save some money, use a designated driver.
Stop 1: Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Established in 1993, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company claims the title of the Springs’ oldest brewery – what better place to start a local beer tour. Offering a wide selection of delicious food, beers, and specials, this three-floor establishment is a local favorite for happy hour and weekend nights. Not only is their wide range of menu selections sure to please any set of taste buds, they’ve got a variety of games, like billiards and darts, that will keep anyone in the party entertained.
Recommended Beer: Alpenglow – a classic take on a hefeweizen.
Stop 2: Local Relic
Another downtown establishment, Local Relic offers a unique experience for the fan of craft brews. Technically, this is just the tasting room for Local Relic beer, as the brewing is done off-site, but their ever-changing tap options make this place a must on this list. Found in the sanctuary of an old church, Local Relic taps rotate every week, with the shelved bottle selection bringing the available options estimated at 100 varieties. Everything is small batch and every recipe is a creative blend of ingredients, including past options such as Lemon Coffee IPA and a beer brewed with mushrooms. Also, make sure you check out the artwork on each bottle – most of which are done by local artists.
Recommended Beer: Just get a flight. You’ll be able to taste several of their frequently changing options. You might not like them all, but they’re all so unique, they’re worth trying.
Stop 3: FH Beer Works (Formerly Fieldhouse Brewing Company)
If you’re looking to hit a brewery with a true local feel, FH Beer Works is the place to go. Formerly known as Fieldhouse Brewing Company, FH Beer Works is known for their conversational bar-staff, welcoming atmosphere, and dog-friendly policies. While you won’t find food served here, you’ll be able to find it during dinner hours at a rotating food truck just outside. If you’re looking for the best day to visit, try “Test-Tap Wednesday.” Each Wednesday, they release a new beer that follows suit with their “beers-of-the-month” theme. Oh…and they also serve several gluten-free beers, a rarity among craft breweries.
Recommended Beer: StickyPaws – At an ABV of more than 7%, this shockingly smooth honey wheat packs a punch.
Stop 4: Bristol Brewing Company
Found in an old elementary school, Bristol Brewing Company wins the award for the most memorable spot for a brewery. Halls are still covered with educational murals and the bathrooms have likely gone without renovation for several decades, still catering to those with a height of four feet or less. The beer menu here offers a diverse collection of flagships (which you’ll see on taps all around town) along with a few seasonal brews. There’s also a food menu, and you’ll have access to a distillery and bar that also happen to be in the same building.
Recommended Beer: Red Rocket – Slightly bitter, slightly sweet, this 5.1% ABV pale ale is a favorite among the list of Bristol’s flagship beers.
Stop 5: Smiling Toad Brewing Company
Another brewery that makes the cut for this trip thanks to their awesome staff coupled with a wide selection of delicious beer, the Smiling Toad website describes the joint as “homey,” and that’s spot on. You’ll feel like family when you walk in, even if you’re only passing through. A brewery that’s truly focused on the customer experience, they’re typically able to give visitors a free brewery tour and often have brewers around for you to discuss their beers with. There’s also a nice outdoor seating spot. Keep an eye out for their rotating food truck if you’re hungry.
Recommended Beer: The beer here rotates frequently, but you can’t go wrong with one of their IPAs. Not sure if you want a full pint? Just ask for a taste first.
Stop 6: Manitou Brewing Company
Found at the base of Pikes Peak, Manitou Brewing uses water found near the summit of the mountain for all of their beers. Following suit with most craft breweries, they offer a rotating offering of unique brews in additional to several staple flagships. What steals the cake here is the delicious food, including specialty truffle oil and parmesan fries and a burger topped with bacon jam and bleu cheese dressing.
Recommended Beer: High Ground IPA – If you like hops, you’ll love this one. Using more than 5 pounds of hops per barrel of beer, the IBUs are estimated to be at a bitter 125, though the actual count is unknown.
Stop 7: Cerberus Brewing Company
This brewery has one of the best beer gardens in town. If it’s a sunny day, you can’t leave Cerberus off of your list. While they’ve got a couple flagship beers – Elysium IPA and No Big Deal Kolsch, for example – they thrive when it comes to small batch brews with unique flavors. This is also a great spot to plan for a meal, as their kitchen whips out some of the most creative and delicious dishes in town – I’d recommend the poutine.
Recommended Beer: Something seasonal – or Elysium IPA.
Stop 8: Red Leg Brewing Company
Veteran-owned and veteran-brewed, Red Leg Brewing Company boasts a great atmosphere and the beer to match. Opening in 2013, this brewery’s name actually stems from the cardinal stripe worn on the pants of artillery soldiers during the Civil War, which explains the great branding you’ll find here. Not sure when to plan your visit? They tap a new firkin ever Saturday around noon.
Recommended Beer: Devil Dog – A Bronze Medal Winner at the 2014 World Beer Cup, this 7.1% ABV stout has a flavor profile that includes coffee, chocolate, and fruit.
Here’s the route your designated driver should take if you want to hit all of these spots.
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