Ring the Pikes Peak Beer Tour
Southern Colorado offers tons of craft brewery options, but most people come to visit for the scenery. We’ve created a tour that will help you mix great brews with amazing views—hopefully we’ll give you a quintessential Colorado trip worth talking about! So, find your designated driver and set out to discover these pioneers of the industry nestled in cities and on hills across southern Colorado.
You can join this tour at any spot and complete a loop back to where you began your journey.
Start at Bristol Brewing Company or Colorado Mountain Brewery. Bristol Brewing lives in the historic Ivywild School and cultivates a community-conscious vibe dating back to 1994. Bristol holds fun events every week (find them at BristolBrewing.com) while investing in the local area through programs like Community Ales. The beer selection is vast and always changing; the menu offers creative treats like battered avocados.
Colorado Mountain Brewery has two locations in Colorado Springs, and both cater to beautiful summer evenings with stunning patios and outdoor fireplaces. The menu includes a variety of beer and wines, and the views are second to none.
Visit the closest thing Colorado Springs has to Cheers—a brewery where everyone knows your name. Smiling Toad Brewery is the go-to for friendly faces that will only have to ask your name once. Biff, Fred, or Big Bob will gladly pour you one of their favorite hoppy beers, but since their brewers aren’t afraid to experiment, you’ll also be able to choose from the large variety available on tap. You’ll be happy with any IPA you choose, but grab a taster of something new—lavender-, blood orange-, rose-, or coconut-infused—to walk away even happier.
Step into Cerberus Brewing Company for unmatched food and a huge selection of craft beer. With seasonal creations and a commitment to the community, Cerberus offers a great vibe and ample outdoor seating.
Head south from Cerberus for the quick drive between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Located in the old jailhouse on the Pueblo Riverwalk, Brues Alehouse serves up both the best bread pudding in the state and a trustworthy beer listing that ranges from light and crisp beers to rich, creamy stouts. Brues also faithfully carries several guest taps and has created interesting beer cocktails… do not miss out! We recommend the Lead Head Whiskey Sour with Stranahan’s Whiskey from Denver and Brues’ own IPA for something a little different and majorly memorable.
Start turning west and head towards Florence Brewing Company—a perfect spot between Pueblo and Cañon City to quench your thirst. Their emphasis is traditional beers with classic mouth-feels and taste to focus on the intentions of beer’s original brewers. The brewers then add innovative and local ingredients, creating your unexpected and totally unique new favorite. This small-town stop is exceptional. We recommend trying a hefeweizen to get back to the classics and a follow-up seasonal tap to get in touch with the area.
Royal Gorge Brewing Company and Restaurant is in the heart of downtown Cañon City, less than a mile from rafting, kayaking, and fly-fishing in the area. They use their brews to flavor some of their menu items, too, and don’t skimp out on locally inspired choices like Rocky Mountain oysters and rabbit-rattlesnake brats. Before or after this stop make sure you see the Royal Gorge Bridge, the world’s highest suspension bridge.
The winding road between Cañon City and Salida follows the Arkansas River up through the hills. As you climb in elevation, watch out for wildlife, fishermen, and rafters enjoying the scenery of southern Colorado. As you drive into Salida, the new Soulcraft brewery will greet you with great beer on the edge of the small, historic mountain town. Their beer is so good you will want a flight—which they may supplement just so you have a chance to try all the options. Classic stouts and IPAs tap right next to Green Chili Ale and delightful seasonal beers. Soulcraft is a young brewery with a mature and discerning approach to brewing beer.
Just up the road, Elevation Beer Company perches next to the Chaffee County Fairgrounds off Highway 50 in Poncha Springs. Up here in the semi-arid hills, you will want to sample barrel-aged brews while you sit on an old tractor seat stool or out in the dry Colorado air. Their barrel-aged beer drinker favorite is the Oil Man Imperial Stout with deep, rich flavor and a smooth finish. Their spring Raspberry Gulch saison should definitely become a staple in your fridge.
The tour continues to Eddyline Brewery in the Old South Main district of Buena Vista. Eddyline’s focus on representing the Colorado outdoors and making beers suited for adventure makes them a mandatory stop. The Arkansas River rushes past the Collegiate Peaks just outside their doors, commonly inspiring beers and their names. Boater Beer, the “epitome of whitewater,” and River Runner, “just as satisfying as crushing a Class V line and as easy as the eddy after,” are perfect examples.
Next, climb towards Pikes Peak. At the highest elevation of any of the breweries on our list and sitting at 9,165 feet above sea level,
Paradox Beer Company specializes in wild and spontaneous fermentations. They are best known for creating memorable farmhouse ales, but their creativity expands to clean, hoppy, and exciting options—all under the gaze of the famous 14er. Their barrels line the walls, promising a future of amazing flavor and exciting concoctions that push the boundaries of beer.
Drive the winding pass down to Colorado Springs and exit into Manitou Springs for your final two stops. Manitou Brewing Company, the only local brewery in Manitou, sits just a couple steps from the main historic street in this eclectic town. Their award-winning beers are great for craft beer enthusiasts and craft beer virgins alike. Their taps include their own artisan-crafted beers in addition to some of their favorites from around the world. Don’t be surprised if you are sitting next to an award-winning ultrarunner or an elite athlete as this brewery is at the base of one of the most visited peaks in the country.
Congratulations, it’s time for the last stop on the Ring the Peak Beer tour, situated just east of Manitou Springs down Highway 24. Fossil Craft Beer Company takes a unique element of Colorado history and “unearths” it by making remarkable beer in a family and dog friendly brewery. Grab a unique flavoring and sit on the patio to enjoy your success.
We hope you found not only great beers and great views, but soaked in what makes Colorado the best state in the country—passionate people who love what they do and the places they get to do it in.