Durango is home to 5 craft beer micro-breweries that are very popular for locals and visitors. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Durango, sampling beer should be one of the first things on your list. High quality micro-brewed beer, paired with delicious food, makes for an exciting addition to your Durango vacation.
The Brewery Environment
As you tour Durango’s breweries, don’t forget to appreciate the differences between each location. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to ask questions and learn more about each location’s processes. Also, some breweries are family friendly, so bringing the kids doesn't have to change your plans. Animas Brewing Company, for example, highlights their environment as being family friendly and Carver Brewing Co offers a designated kid's menu.
If you're planning a group trip, family reunion, bachelor party or something else, breweries are a great option. Brew Pub and Kitchen boasts being group-friendly. There is something for every occasion.
Beer Events & Experiences
Depending on the time of year that you choose to visit, there are multiple opportunities to try a unique beer experience. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a brew train in the fall. Ride through the mountains while sipping on craft brews brought onboard for this special experience. Also, August brings the San Juan Brewfest to Durango, where visitors can enjoy live music and craft beers from over 50 breweries.
The Basics of Beer Tasting
Lagers are known for being refreshing and crisp, and are one of the most popular beer styles in the world. Durango’s beer scene is no exception. You can find varying lagers around the city to satisfy the craving you are having for a smooth, light drink. Don't miss Ska Brewing Co.'s Oktoberfest German-Style Lager, which won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
TIP: Avoid greasy or heavy food when tasting beer. Yes, we know that few things taste as good with a brew as a burger and fries. But you’re visiting the brewery for the beer, not the beef, right? Greasy residue heavy foods leave on your lips can ruin the head on your light lager. Consider waiting to order a heavy meal until you’re confident in your local beer choices.
If you’re interested in a fruitier beer, Ales are generally the way to go. Ales typically have a higher alcohol content, with bold flavors with unique aromas. You can always find one to match your tastes. Steamworks Brewing also won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for their Colorado Kolsch, a light and fruity ale and derivative of the Geran Kolsch.
TIP: Be observant. Use all of your senses when tasting beer. It might sound obvious, but its important to pay attention as you sip. Drinking carefully and slowly allows you to pick up on a number of subtleties in your brew.
Seasonal & Specialty Options
Durango breweries make special efforts to capture each season in specialty brews. Whether it be a light and fruity summer ale or a dark and heavy winter porter, there are unique options at every brewery. If you’re wondering what seasonal brews will be available when you visit, it is worthwhile to look up each breweries website to see what their seasonal offerings look like. As a general rule, be open to enjoying the beers as intended during any given season. There is nothing better than the right beer in the right context.