Carbondale Beer Works | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale Beer Works

story by Carla Jean Whitley photos by Chelsea Self

Patrice Fuller and Chachi Rodriguez had longtime dreams. The pair of longtime colleagues wanted to combine their food-and-beer experience by opening a brewery in Washington, but it fell through. They decided, instead, to look at existing breweries that were for sale.

After spending 36 hours in Carbondale, in 2016 the pair became owners of Carbondale Beer Works— and they say the reason was simple: the amazing Carbondale community.

The brewpub honors that whirlwind decision with its On a Whim IPA, a Pacific Northwest-style India pale ale named for its creators' quick decision. It's one of several reminders that, although Fuller and Rodriguez take their work seriously, they also have fun along the way.

That shows up in gatherings such as the Carbondale Beer Works Girl Gang brew, in which female staff brewed the Bitchin' Brew IPA. It's also evident in the customer service; a restaurant regular recently described the restaurant as Carbondale's living room. "That's the nicest compliment I've ever had," Fuller says.

Fuller and Rodriguez have been hard at work, along with their staff, to bring the food and cocktail menus up to the same standards as the restaurant's beer. ("Really killer beer comes out of that little space," Fuller says of her business partner's work.)

The bar uses small-batch liquors instead of those that are widely available. If a customer orders a drink made with Grey Goose, the staff will suggest Woody Creek Vodka instead. Want Kahula? Try the neighborhood distillery's Marble Moonlight EXPresso.

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That level of detail also shows up in the kitchen, where Chef Calder Morrison works to source as many local ingredients as possible. Everything is house-made, save for ketchup and bread, and 30 to 40 percent of the Colorado ingredients come from within 60 miles. A small herb garden adjacent to the patio includes plants from Osage Gardens in New Castle. Morrison experiments with the herbs, resulting in drink specials and other menu variations.

Fuller and Rodriguez have poured their passion for food and beer into Carbondale Beer Works, and they hope they've established new expectations within the community. The menu balances pub favorites, like chicken wings, with healthier options, such as avocado hummus.

"We just trusted each other," Fuller says of her business partner."

Details: 647 Main St. • 970-704-1216, carbondalebeerworks.com

Prices: Inexpensive

Ambience: Carbondale Beer Works is a low-key neighborhood pub. Inside, lots of wood make the room feel warm and welcoming. The patio is surrounded by hops in the summer, with shade overhead.

Signature dishes: Grains and Things includes kale, chick peas, farro, carrot, red onion, fried avocado and avocado vinaigrette, served warm. The Brewben is stout-braised corned beef, sauerkraut, house thousand island dressing and swiss cheese on marble rye. The fish and chips is beer-battered cod, served with fries, house slaw and tarter sauce.

Not to miss: No matter your palate, Beer Works has a brew to satisfy. Chocolate fans will favor Yo Bro Porter; folks who prefer something boozy but balanced should turn to Brother Czar Imperial Russian Stout. Valley Girl Blonde is light and crisp, and Kama Citra is a citrus favorite. On A Whim starts tropical and finishes bitter. The restaurant has increased its attention to food, and can satisfy every dietary requirement. (“It’s awesome that we can meet their needs,” says Chef Calder Morrison.) Meatless Mondays always feature vegan specials that are so enticing, they make meat-lovers take a second look. Follow Carbondale Beer Works on social media for updates on the many charity benefits it hosts.

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