With the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival happening this week in Summit County, Vail’s neighboring county to the east, I’ve got beer on the mind. Whether you’re heading over Vail Pass to check out the festival, taking a break from the festival to check out the Vail Valley or you’re just a beer lover hanging out in Vail, here’s where to go to taste the best brews in the Valley.
Photo: Vail Brewing Company Facebook
Vail Brewing Company
41290 Highway 6, Units 2 & 3, Avon
141 E. Meadow Drive, Suite 209, Vail
Any beer lover's journey through the Vail Valley should include a stop at Vail Brewing Company, whether at their Vail Village taproom or their EagleVail brewery and tasting room. In its less than five years of existence, Vail Brewing Company has racked up the awards for its suds, including two North American Brewers Association awards for excellence in brewing and two World Beer Cup awards. You can’t go wrong with any of their five core beers (four of which are award-winners), including the Pete’s Stash Pale Ale and the Deck Daze Wheat, but I heard they recently released three new IPAs, so I’d say a tasting flight is in order.
Food: There’s usually a food truck at the EagleVail location, and they serve food from Bol restaurant and bowling alley at the Vail location (Bol is their downstairs neighbor).
Dogs: Welcome on the patio at both locations.padding: 10px 0px 10px 10px;
Special events: They host a range of shows and events, including concerts, comedy shows and trivia nights. Check out the Vail Comedy Show at their EagleVail location this Saturday, January 11.
Check out Vail Brewing Company's website for more info.
127 W. 2nd Street, Eagle
Bonfire Brewing, a Vail Valley craft beer staple and locals’ favorite, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. They’ve come a long way since their home-brewing-in-the-garage days and now have more than 20 brews on tap in their tasting room. The staff knows its stuff and loves sharing its beer knowledge with the customers. Start with a Firestarter IPA, move on to a Demshitz Brown Ale and go from there.
Food: You can BYO food or they have an in-house phone with a direct line to a local pizza place so you can order a pie for delivery to the taproom.
Dogs: Welcome in the taproom and on the patio.
Special events: They regularly have live music and also host special events like the upcoming (on Friday, January 10) Beats and Brews, which combines yoga, house beats and beer. They also founded the annual Bonfire Block Party (slated for June 12 to 14 this year).
7 Hermits Brewing
1020 Capitol Street, Eagle
278 Hanson Ranch Road, Vail
7 Hermits’ flagship location in Eagle is a full-service brewpub, so this is a great stop to make on your craft beer tour if you have non-beer drinkers and/or kids in tow. There’s a kids' menu, and the drink menu includes wine, cocktails and guest taps with beer from other brewers, in addition to Bonfire's own craft brews. Speaking of brews, their beer menu changes with the season, but if you happen to catch the Fire It Up! green chili lager on tap, it’s a must-try. Stalin’s Crutch 2018 Russian imperial stout is a good second choice, especially on a cold, snowy day.
Food: They have a full menu of pub-style food at the Eagle location and serve crepes from their neighbor cafe, Crespelle, at the Vail location.
Dogs: Welcome on the patio at the Eagle location.
Special events: They host regular live music and ladies’ nights as well as special events, like Barre & Brunch, that combine a fitness class with food and drink specials. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming events.
Gore Range Brewery
105 Edwards Village Boulevard, Edwards
I don’t know about you, but my favorite snack with a craft beer is a giant pretzel, and the handmade pretzel sticks at Gore Range Brewery pair perfectly with any one of their brews. Gore Range is also a full-service brewpub with a full bar that includes guest taps with beer from other brewers. Gore Range Brewery is the longest-standing craft brewer in the Vail Valley and for that reason alone earns itself a spot on your beer tour. I’m always a fan of a good IPA, so I recommend the Hoppy Valley IPA, but their Great Sex Honey Lager is also a popular choice.
Food: They have a full menu of pub-style food.
Dogs: Welcome on the patio.
Special events: They host a weekly FAC (Friday Afternoon Club) during the summer months with live music and drink specials.
That concludes your tour of Vail Valley breweries. If you’re looking for a spot where you can try a variety of brews from all around Colorado, I recommend the Vail Ale House in West Vail, where they have a rotating tap list of more than 20 craft beers or The Met Kitchen in Beaver Creek and Craftsman in Edwards, both of which feature a rotating selection of craft beers from around the country.
Cheers! We’ll see you around Vail!