Right off Route 70 at a nondescript maroon-paneled mini-mall in the ski-bound town bearing its name, VAIL BREWING COMPANY opened its doors during 2014. Next door to a marijuana dispensary, this glorified cement-floored barn house features a small metal-furnished patio, garage-like overhead door, and L-shaped laminated wood bar.
Right side brew tanks serve a continuously changing beer selection, including a smattering of one-offs, seasonals, hybrids and wondrous India Pale Ales. Edison lights hover above the bar stools and the left-walled tie rod design adds serene Rocky Mountain rusticity. A sofa and chairs are arranged near the brick hearth and several community tables fill out the expansive one-room space.
After snowmobiling up a fabulous Vail-Breckenridge trail, my wife and I and friend Dennis stopped in for a few samplers. Each brew available this beautiful March ’19 afternoon had a completely accessible, easygoing temperament.
Crisply clean light-bodied opener, Crystal Lite Kolsch, let sour lemon-candied tartness pick up peaty compost moisture, maize-dried pilsner malting and cucumber watered freshness.
Lemony floral-daubed Pete’s Stash Pale Ale caressed dried pale malt spicing with grassy hop astringency with sheer lucidity.
Tart light-bodied Raspberry Blonde let washed-out raspberry compost override mild fennel-rhubarb influence and soapy wheat-honeyed base.
Sharp woody hop bittering consumed dry ‘mellow citrus’ moderation, Hot Mess Blonde, leaving vegetal herbage in the distance.
Lemony cranberry, raspberry and blackberry tartness gained vinous green grape tannins for Jam Session Sour, where lightly salted oaken cherry dryness aided the mouth-puckering acidic sourness.
As for the amazingly varied IPA’s, brisk champagne yeast-affected Simultaneous Release Hazy Brut IPA brought Muscat grape tannins and grapefruit rind souring to barley-floured milled graining.
Similarly stylized Mosaic Brut IPA upped the champagne sparkle for its mandarin orange, yellow grapefruit and gooseberry tartness, gaining a slight metallic sheen.
Dry tropical hybrid, Deck Daze Wheat Ale with Passionfruit got infused with white tea herbage, picking up mild floral-perfumed sweetness to contrast its spritzy lemon-soured passionfruit tartness.
Vail’s year-round staple, Gore Creek IPA, pitted yellow grapefruit-peeled orange pith bittering plus bark-dried pine tones against less enthusiastic caramelized pale malt sugaring.
On the dark side, velvety Midnight Romance Porter loaded raspberry puree upon dry dark chocolate malts, musty cocoa powdering and dewy grains.
For midday dessert, local Breckenridge whiskey validated dry bourbon mocha-toned Barrel Aged Stout, rallying creamy chocolate resonance past tertiary rum, anise and molasses notions.