Saturday, September 8, 2012

Durango to Silverton for more breweries part 3

Silverton, COWhether you get there by train or by road, the trip to Silverton is well worth it. And waiting for you at the end of the journey are even more breweries. Silverton may be a rustic old mining town populated mostly by tourists in the summer, but it has several spots just ripe for enjoying a craft beer. In this last of 3 segments of the breweries of Durango, we add a bit about the neighboring town of Silverton, just a mere 45 miles up the tracks from Durango. Silverton currently has two breweries, the Avalanche Cafe & Brewery and the Silverton Brewery.

Silverton Brewery

Silverton Brewery truckSilverton Brewery is nestled in the heart of the downtown in the main street heading through town. If you blink, you might miss it, but it's hard to miss the barrel shingle and the old fashioned beer truck parked outside.

We got to town around 5:30pm on a Sunday afternoon and wandered up and down the main road where dozens of old-fashioned looking shops were huddled together. You could hear the sounds of an old-time municipal band playing on one of the street corners and it seemed to breathe life into this quite little town.

Silverton BreweryBeing Labor Day weekend and on a Sunday, several shops were already closed. And by the time we got to Silverton Brewery, they had just closed their doors for the day. The crew was still inside and a few people tried to convince the owners to open back up for a bit, but they were not successful (much to my dismay). I guess once the last train leaves town back to Durango most places close up.

As I peaked inside, I found the tap room there to be small, but just big enough to seat a few dozen people. They had about 5 beers on tap including their Bear Ass Brown, Ice Pick Ale, Red Mountain Ale, Gold Digger Lager and a special seasonal beer.

Brown Bear Cafe barWe settled for another spot in town, the Brown Bear Cafe. There they had about 4 to 5 beers on tap in a rustic late 1800's bar setting. Since I was the driver that day, I decided to forego the usual pint with dinner for a soda with caffeine so that I'd stay awake during the long trip back to Durango. I chose to eat the Chicken Fried Steak and was pleased with the meal. The prices were fairly reasonable considering it was a tourist town. 

Update December 6, 2012: The Denver Post reported that their location in Silverton is now closed and they will no longer brew there. They plan to contract brew with another business in Denver, CO and will begin distributing statewide sometime in early 2013. Their location may be closed, but their beer will live on.

Silverton Brewery
1333 Greene Street
Silverton, CO 81433

Avalanche Brewing Company

Avalanche Brewing CoAfter the meal, we wandered over a block or so to the southeast and found the Avalanche Brewing Company sitting on a corner in an old building on the intersection of Blair Street and E. 11th Street. This place was one of the few places still open this time of day and it had several locals hanging out on the front porch area.

One unique feature of this place was the back fence around the rear of the faded purple building. The entire fence was made from old pairs of skis. Assorted lawn furniture were scattered along the side of the building along a muddy brick patio. Apparently the locals love this place, although someone coming in from out of town might take exception to its rather "casual" appearance.

Back streets of Silverton, COThis business started out as a cafe and still serves coffee, breakfast burritos, sandwiches and assorted baked goods. And it now serves as the 2nd brewery in town. If anything, this place keeps going based upon the draw of hot coffee in the morning and cold beer in the later part of the day. Among their regular beers are: White-Out Wit, Treasure Mountain Pale Ale, Sultan IPA, and Pride of the West Porter.

And unfortunately for me, we had to leave as it was starting to get near sunset and we didn't want to drive back to Durango completely in the dark.

Between Silverton and DugangoThe real treat of this visit to Silverton was the scenery along the way. This area of the country is absolutely gorgeous. The leaves were just starting to change and that night on the way back we saw the most spectacular sunset and colors being struck along the mountain peaks. I'm sure I'll have to make another return trip here just to taste the beers.

Avalanche Brewing Company
1067 Blair Street
Silverton, CO 81433

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