Taste Garfield County summer beers
As the days grow longer, you may notice local brews also grow lighter. Summer beers are typically lower in alcohol by volume, so you can easily enjoy more than one on a scorching day. They are also lighter in taste to provide a refreshing break from summer’s heat. Area breweries will embrace seasonal beers with several specials.
Carbondale Beer works
Carbondale’s Main Street brewpub offers a taste of summer in its Hippytown Wit. The Belgian-style witbier is brewed with orange peel, chamomile and coriander, and clocks in at 6.7 percent ABV. Beer Works also keeps a blonde and an IPA available year round.
Keep an eye on the menu: Co-owner Patrice Fuller said her partner, head brewer Chachi Rodriguez, brews based not only season, but also whatever inspires him at the time.
647 Main St., Carbondale | 970-704-1216 | carbondalebeerworks.com
Casey Brewing & Blending
Casey begins each of its beers with either a saison or Belgian sour base, and then builds frequently changing recipes from there. This summer, owner Troy Casey is excited for The Cut: Cherry. The beer is based on his Oak Theory Belgian sour, aged with Danube sour cherries from Hotchkiss. Casey said he’s been after these cherries for years, but birds have always beat him to this particular variety. He expects the 5 percent ABV beer to be ready for release by late June. Casey offers ticketed tours of its facility and taproom and sells 750 ml bottles through area bottle shops. “People love being able to share,” he said.
The summer will also see more stone fruit blended into Casey beers, and Funky Blender, a farmhouse-style ale with citrus, grapefruit and mango flavors.
3421 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | 970-230-9691 | caseybrewing.com
Glenwood Canyon Brewpub
A rotating beer menu is the norm at Glenwood Canyon, but something big on the board. When the restaurant’s menu changed for the summer, Director of Brewing Todd Malloy unveiled the Alpha Beta Project.
Brewers aim to maximize alpha acids, which reveal the hops’ desirable attributes, and minimize beta acids. Malloy’s new series will do that while highlighting a variety of hops. He’ll source from the Yakima Valley, New Zealand, South African and fresh local, as well.
“I’m on a constant hunt to find varietals,” he said.
The resulting India pale ales will be on the menu indefinitely. Most will be lower to moderate in alcohol, with 6 to 8 percent alcohol by volume. Malloy expects international bitterness units to be moderate as well, ranging from 40 to 65 unless his team opts to brew a double IPA.
Look also for the debut of California Blonde Ale, which will be malt forward with tons of late-addition hops, and the return of Strawberry Daze. Malloy has a Belgian quad in store and expects it to be ready in late July. The brewpub’s rotating barrel projects will also continue throughout the summer.
402 Seventh St., Glenwood Springs | 970-945-1276 | glenwoodcanyon.com
Brennan Buckley’s Idylwilde Brewing creates small-batch beers available exclusively on draft. That means a constant change in his offerings, as well. Buckley looks forward to this summer’s Little Fluffy Clouds, an IPA that uses Galaxy hops. “It’s a lower alcohol affair clocking in around 6.3 percent with the aroma and flavor of passion fruit and mild pithy citrus backed by subdued dankness and just enough malt backbone to keep it all in check,” said the Carbondale-based brewer. Also look out for Purple Sunshine, a Mosaic-hopped double IPA that clocks in at 8.2 percent ABV.
Available regularly at Free Range in Basalt; Down Valley Tavern in El Jebel; Meat and Cheese, Hooch and Home Team BBQ in Aspen; and Batch in Carbondale | idylwilde brewing.com
Roaring Fork Beer Company
RFBC focuses on beers that reflect the seasons, and so owner Chase Engel has a variety on tap for summer. But his go-to will be Emma, a hibiscus saison named after the nearby agricultural area. The light, refreshing beer is brewed with sweet orange peel and will be available in 22 oz. bombers beginning mid-June, while supplies last. It’s 6 percent ABV and hits 16 IBUs.
It’s not the only beer Engel expects to release this summer. He’s also looking forward to a lager aged in tequila barrels with lime zest and sea salt; a saison that will incorporate grilled Meyer lemon, grains of paradise and rose hips; a white wine-aged saison; imperial IPA aged in tequila barrels; lemon drop lager; and a couple of specials brewed for Carbondale’s Mountain Fair in July.
The brewery recently closed its separate taproom and moved tasting into its production facility. You can also find its beer packaged and on draft around the area, with 12 on at all times at Batch on Carbondale’s Main Street.
1941 Dolores Way, Carbondale | 970-963-5870 | roaringforkbeerco.com