Not A Sober Moment - One July Weekend in Breckenridge, CO

13 July, 2018

Breckenridge is a ski town. It’s where they actually filmed the downtown scenes for Dumb & Dumber (not Vail!), where Clark drives under the logging truck in the Christmas Vacation open scene and where you can grab a gondola to the slopes right in the middle of downtown. But on one weekend in July Breckenridge is a prime spot to drink, sample and chug some of Colorado’s finest spirits and brews.

Just a preface - this was our trip and while we hit some great places, we could not hit them all - our livers just wouldn’t allow it. We’ll also fess up, being California based reporters, the altitude is no joke if you’re not used to it. So we apologize for any places we left out and gladly welcome locals and Breck familiars to chime in the Facebook comments on more great places!

 

Night 1 (Thursday)

 

Fly into DEN, grab a limo ride up to the mountain simply so we could keep the party going from plane to mountain. This meant hitting up liquor/beer store and grabbing some six packs of local brews. Some of us being past CO residents, we went down the nostalgia trail with Odell’s, Oskar Blues and Great Divide for the ride. These choices are a serious struggle in Colorado, there so many great beers/breweries to choose from!

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Odell's Colorado Lager - Only available in Colorado


Land in Breckenridge, drop our stuff off, head right to closest restaurant bar open as closing time for all kitchens was looming. This landed us at Mi Casa, a traditional Mexican restaurant with 30 year roots in town. A perfect welcome mat of chimichurri tacos, smoky garlic chicken fajitas and a bevy of tequila to wash off that film of  all-day travel.

Since we shut down the town at the bar it was back to the hotel to finish our six packs and prep for a Full Day 2

 

Day 2: Friday and first full day

 

Stop #1: Broken Compass Brewing

brokencompass

We couldn’t figure a better way to kick off a gorgeous mountain town Summer day than starting at Broken Compass Brewing company. Highly rated and highly popular Broken Compass delivered. When we visit a brewery it’s our practice to order a paddle and sample the full breadth of the brewers talents, then grab another pint or two of a favorite. We’d like to point out a favorite but there are too many so here’s what made the top of our list; Imperial Bourbon Brown, Apricot Mango Habanero Golden Strong Ale, Belgian Strong Ale, Coconut Porter and the Ginger Pale Ale (now available in cans) were just awesome!

Stop #2: Breckenridge Distillery

breckenridge distillery

Just two stones throws down Airport Rd is another very popular spot and for good reason, no only is everything distilled at Breckenridge Distillery top notch, the food and atmosphere are excellent. The open bar that divides the restaurant from the outdoor patio is a perfect place to gaze, sip and enjoy. The bourbon was raved about by our Uber driver and while the cocktail menu was excellently crafted with care, we went right to the Bourbon with two ice cubes and splash and it was like a hug from Mom. After that we divulged into the drinks menu and sampled several of the other distillery products within some very cool concoctions including the Perfect Mule (we thought Pearfect Mule was a better name) poured with their Pear Vodka, Cuckoo Coconut with their Spiced Whiskey, Obi Wan Old Fashioned (Star Wars fans, had to) and the Bees Knees made with Brecken-ridge Gin. If that was our last stop, we’d made our way through the menu but there was more ahead.

breckdistillery

In the Summer the outdoor patio, surrounded by a panoramic view of the mountains and loaded with adult games, is a prime place to soak in the moment and take in the Breckenridge Distillery products. We’ll leave the food exploration up to you but let’s just say Maple Pepper Bacon.

Stop #3: The Canteen Tap House
Back to the downtown area and into a solid spot to grab a pint of what we considered a solid selection of Colorado brews. We were a bit cocktail’d out after BD but the Canteen Tap House boast a solid cocktail menu.

Stop #4: Breckenridge Tap House
It was time to start getting some mountain air in our lungs and walking around the downtown stretch. Two blocks up Main St. is Breckenridge Tap House which is another solid place to grab a pint. We may be odd ducks but when we see a beer menu on a chalk board we get giddy. More great selections of CO beers from Avery to Upslope but you’ll also find some great out-of-state brews here too, but mostly a Colorado line-up. We loved the Ski Apres feel in the bright Summer light.

Stop #5: Breckenridge Brewery & Pub

breckenridge brewery

From one end of town to the other, we land at the towns name sake brewery. Almost 28 years of brewing legit brews, BB was a perfect place to wind down with good food and good beers on the eve of the 2018 Hootenanny (more below). The seasonal Summer Pils pairs with almost anything on the menu like a baseball to a glove and everything from the Agave Wheat to the Mango Mosaic Pale are wonderfully crafted craft beers. We know some beer aficionado’s might be quick to cry “AB InBev” on us for visiting BB, let it be know that AB InBev has no stake in the restaurants and brewpubs. In closing, the 50/50 Burger.

 

Day 2: Saturday is festival day

 

While on these “tours” it’s about sampling the town but after days like Day #1 sometimes you need to just start off with the quickest and closest available Bloody Mary. Nothing special, nothing fancy, just to goods and maybe a coffee back. So there’s no artisanal vodka or mile high snacks piled on the edge of the glass to report here. Simple hotel lobby bar well concoction please. We also do it in style and sleep in.

Stop #1: Breckenridge Beer Festival

breckenridge summer beer festival

Sleeping in and coming around right about the time the Breckenridge Beer Festival kicks off was perfectly timed. We cruised the Beaver Run Resort grounds with coffee in hand watching the breweries pack in with the amazing Breckenridge mountain slopes provide the back drop. The mid-80’s was prime for this gathering of breweries, craft knick knacks and music. It’s a great “unlimited pour” event ($45) very well attended by an array of local and other craft breweries. The resort even offers a special price for festival patrons.

Stop #2 & 3: The Sweet Stops: Daylight Donuts and Crepes A La Carte
Yup, we’re sweet tooth’s so we needed to stop in the two sweet shops downtown and satisfy our jones’ing. Both highly rated and both did not disappoint.

Stop #4: Breckenridge Brewery 28th Anniversary Party Hootenanny

breckenridge brewery hootenany

The first weekend of July is the BB annual Hootenanny celebrating the anniversary of the brewery and brewpub. Another great beer, food and music festival with the almost fake looking panoramic mountain backdrop. Simply a great stop to hang with friends, chat, laugh and toast while jamming out to solid line-up of musical acts.

Stop #5: Briar Rose Chophouse and Saloon

briar rose chop house

The word saloon is synonymous with term “cocktail hour.” After almost 48-hours of going hard it was time to level out with a good steak. While tempted by Breckenridge’s Porterhouse for two ($150) we liked the several chop offerings at the Briar Rose. Just off the Main St hubbub, the Victorian decorated “house” was a great place to catch our breath and dine down. Pleasant surprise cut - Kobe style Flank Steak. Yep, flank, but not like how you’re used to it. The Briar Rose also has a great wine selection and a welcoming Sommelier to help you pinpoint something you’ll love. This written wanted a “deep red with peppery hints” to pair with my USDA Prime New York and the modestly priced Parducci was a perfect pairing.

Stop #6: Hearthstone (for dessert)

hearthstone

Unfortunately Briar Rose was out of gelato, forcing us to move to a second location. Fortunately for us, this brought us to the door of another highly rated stop right around the corner, Hearthstone. If we had two stomach’s we’d had dinner here again but alas it was time for dessert and dessert cocktails only. Two things stuck out; the Elvis and Brandy Chai Alexander. The Elvis is a banana cake, peanut butter mousse, strawberry preserve, caramelized bananas and crispy pancetta bits - what! For you Northern Californian’s they also have your fav - fernet branca.

 

Day #3 - sober up, go home

 

That’s right, we’re not in our 20’s anymore. For those of you that can go 3-4 days strong, there’s much more in beautiful Breckenridge to explore. For the rest of us, we saw, drank and ate enough to send us home craving a day on the couch with water and reruns.

Breckenridge is beautiful, quaint, walk-able town that has so much more to offer than just great libations including all the outdoor activities you can think of; hiking, biking, golf (Jack Nicklaus designed 27-holes), rafting and the super fun Breckenridge Fun Park (mountain coaster and zipline!)

So don’t worry about abandoning your skis or board and go, explore and find you’re own path in the Summer of Breckenridge.

New Belgium Hub

Fret not, we finished strong as DEN is a beer lovers airport. There’s the New Belgium Hub and a handful of other spots all sporting an impressive line-up of the Colorado beers you may have missed.

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