Exploring the Historic Breweries of Colorado: A Journey Through Time

Since the 19th century, Colorado has been a hub for beer culture. With the gold rush bringing thousands of people in search of wealth and glory, an opportunity and demand for beer arose. In 1859, Rocky Mountain Brewing became the first known brewery in Colorado, but it only lasted a year. Despite this, the thirst of Colorado residents was far from quenched, and other establishments soon followed in mining towns across the mountains.

When a new mining camp was being built, setting up a tavern was often the first priority. This created an opportunity for anyone with a basic knowledge of brewing to provide their products to a thirsty clientele. Zang Brewing, a historic Denver brewery located in what is now the Denver Aquarium, produced enough beer in 1910 to place it among the top five breweries in Colorado today. On a Saturday, there is plenty of time to explore before visiting the breweries in Salida and its surrounding area.

The first stop is at T Road Brewing Company, located in the small town of Crestone with a population of 138 inhabitants - making it the smallest city with a brewery in Colorado. Small neighborhood breweries are as essential to local culture as the taverns that were once the center of mining camps. Everywhere you look, you can find a new brewery or flavor of beer that you've never tried before. When people from Colorado and across the country moved to the suburbs during the decades of prosperity that followed World War II, brewers followed them to their homes. Continuing with this outdoor environment, just south of Alamosa is The Colorado Farm Brewery, headquarters of the Colorado Malting Company. If you take a closer look at one of those pints from the right angle, you'll discover broader issues in Colorado history such as social networks of newly arrived immigrants, growing political influence of women, suburban lifestyles of returning soldiers and their families, Chicano civil rights movement, role of Coors in defining Rocky Mountains mystique and brewery policy that launched a governor and presidential candidate.

This could explain why there were up to 129 breweries across Colorado at the height of gold rush beer boom. After settling into your accommodation in downtown Pueblo, you can walk to the last three breweries located within a mile from each other. Gold Rush breweries mainly produced German-style beers such as pilsners and lagers. However, due to barley scarcity they had to get creative and supplement their beans with rice or corn.

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Betsy Nevels
Betsy Nevels

Hardcore tv aficionado. General music trailblazer. Friendly bacon maven. Lifelong twitter specialist. Infuriatingly humble social media maven.

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