Something’s brewing in Glenwood
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A haven for locals and a destination for thirsty tourists in search of a local brew, the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub produces more than 1,000 barrels of beer a year ” all sold fresh on the premises.
It also boasts an extensive menu of American and Southwestern cuisine to tempt any discerning palate. From a succulent salmon pasta dressed with a light Alfredo sauce, to smoked chicken pizza, to cheddar cheese beer soup in a bread bowl, to towers of juicy onion rings, to baby-back ribs ” the kitchen elegantly presents each dish with the special touch of kitchen manager Tim Mason. And while the menu is heavy in its array, it’s light on the pocketbook, with prices mainly in the $8 to $15 range.
Mason, front-of-house manager Corrie Gentry, and brewer Ken Jones have run the restaurant as partners for the past decade. Mason has worked in the kitchens of The Little Nell in Aspen and Ship of Fools in Carbondale. Jones has been professionally brewing for 12 years ” although he’s been a home brewer “for a lot longer.”” He’s trained at schools including the University of California at Davis and the Siebel Institute in Chicago.
Located in the historic Hotel Denver in Glenwood Springs ” across from the train station and a quick stroll from the Hot Spring pool ” the Brewpub opened 11 years ago in a space that in the early 1900s housed a bottling plant. Today, Jones heads the spotless on-site brewery, and curious clientele can peek into where the beer is fermented and stored. Jones oversees the detailed brewing process that begins with malt germinating in the basement and ends with foamy, fresh beer pumped straight to the tap.
The Brewpub keeps eight beers on tap, but over the course of a year, carries 25 different styles that vary with the seasons. Always available are the Hanging Lake Honey Ale, made with local honey; Red Mountain ESB, a hearty amber beer; Shoshone Stout, dark, rich and full; Grizzly Creek Raspberry Wheat, refreshing, fruity and brewed with real raspberries; No Name Nut Brown Ale, smooth and malty; and Vapor Cave IPA, with the classic IPA hop overtones.
Seasonal beers coming this summer are consistent with the “lighter” theme, for example the strawberry beer that appears in June for Glenwood’s Strawberry Days festival. But Jones changes them up every few weeks so there’s always something new to try.
“The focus is to serve fresh beer on the premises,” Jones said. (The Brewpub doesn’t distribute elsewhere, although you can order kegs to go.) “There’s the saying, ‘Think globally, drink locally.’ When people come to Glenwood, they can get beer they can’t get anywhere else. People seek us out. When they come for special breweries, they expect something local.”
“Beer tourists” won’t be disappointed. Jones’ brews ” entered annually in the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and the Brewers Association World Beer Cup every other year ” keep winning awards. As it turns out, fans of British brews should look no further than Glenwood, as the Brewpub has taken gold medals at the World Cup for its English and Scottish ales.
“The first time we won a medal and they read off my name, it was like being told I had won the World Series,” Jones recalled. But most of all, it’s a matter of pride to be a part of the micro-brewing community.
“It’s like a fraternity ” an outgrowth of the home brewers, with a shared knowledge of beers,” he said.
Visitors and locals can share in that knowledge. If you don’t like beer, the Brewpub carries wines by the glass and bottle, as well as specialty cocktails and more from a fully stocked bar. Try the raspberry cream soda with Chambord liqueur and Stoli vanilla vodka, or Naughty root beer. For nondrinkers and kids, there’s always freshly brewed root beer made with local honey.
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