Aspen, CO – Many people come to Aspen to “live the dream” or to follow their passion; skiing or riding, hiking, biking…the list is endless. For the owners of Aspen Brewing Company, and for me, these passions include beer. I’m not talking about a Bud Light drinking binge, I mean flavorful, innovative, locally crafted beer. Since March of 2008 Aspen Brewing Company has been sharing their passion for beer in a location slightly off the beaten path. That has recently changed, however.
The Aspen Brewing Company taproom has moved to the old Social Restaurant space at 304 East Hopkins Avenue. The new location will be seen by many more tourists and locals as they pass by. Zoning here is also much more favorable, releasing the brewery from the restrictions it faced in the old location of a 9:00 PM closing time and three pints per customer maximum. Now the brewery can remain open until 2:00 AM and faces no more restrictions than any other bar. Despite the increased traffic and decreased restrictions, the owners plan to maintain the laid-back local atmosphere of the old location. The new location is a fairly small space. The board games will make the move and owners will continue to brew and serve the beer themselves. The current BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) policy will remain in place. Surrounding restaurants have hinted that even if they don’t typically do takeout, they may be willing to make exceptions for customers of the taproom.
The brewing operations will also move to a new location in the near future. Aspen Brewing Company beers are currently available at twenty local restaurants and bars. They are forced to turn down new restaurant accounts due to their small brewing capacity. This will change when the new location in the Aspen Airport Business Center opens (ABC brewing at the ABC…fitting isn’t it?). Brewing capacity will increase, and beers will also be canned for sale to liquor stores. They hope to have this packaging system in place and producing by April.
Aspen Brewing Company is the third, and currently the only, brewery in Aspen. The first was also called Aspen Brewery, and it operated from 1885 until 1902, serving the miners. In 1990 Flying Dog Brew Pub opened in downtown Aspen, where it remained for three years before moving to Denver. If you have never visited Aspen Brewing Company, now is the time to try it. Current beers on tap include Ajax Pilsner, Brown Bearale, Conundrum Red Ale, Pyramid Peak Porter, Smuggler Wheat Ale, This Season’s Blonde, and the most popular of the brews, Independence Pass IPA. According to Head Brewer and Owner Rory Douthit, a stout will soon join the list. Come check out the new Aspen Brewing Company Taproom and Duncan Clauss, Brad Veltman, or Rory Douthit are likely to be behind the bar welcoming you with a cold glass of their passion.