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Road Trippin’ On I-70. Palisade and Grand Junction, CO

A few months back I did a little bloggin’ about some of the breweries west of Denver, along I-70. Between Denver and Breckenridge, we visited multiple breweries, each with their own unique atmosphere, serving up a variety of beers.  I broke it up into several parts and if you missed it, you can find them here: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.   In this blog entry, I’m going to cover another chunk of territory along I-70 by visiting the far outposts of Palisade and Grand Junction.

Palisade, CO is just under 4 hours west of Denver and takes you through a beautiful section of the state.  70 follows the Colorado River, weaving through canyons and between ancient mountains.  My son kept his eyes on the railroad tracks along the way, as it’s a busy route for trains.

Pulling into Palisade, you’re immediately greeted by orchards and vineyards.  There’s a nearly 20 mile loop that winds through the beautiful farms and wineries scattered across the valley.  We set off in our car and discovered some great wines, delicious fruits and even got to meet a baby alpaca at one of the local farms.

Back in the downtown area, we came across Palisade Brewing Company.

We arrived just in time for lunch and a few pints.  It didn’t take us long to meet Palisade’s Head Brewer, Danny Wilson, who was chatting with several customers at the bar.  I introduced myself and he was quick to offer a tour of his brew house.

Danny runs Palisade Brewing on a 20 BBL brew system, with 40 BBL’s of fermentation tanks.  He came over and sat with us while we sipped on Love Potion #2.  This beer was brewed to celebrate Palisade’s recent 2nd Anniversary.  Love Potion #2 is a Belgian Farmhouse ale that pours a cloudy, straw color.  Aroma is bread, light fruit, yeast and a touch of funk, while the taste is refreshing and fruity, with pepper, spice, earth and yeast.  A really well crafted beer.  Very enjoyable and sessionable.

We followed up Love Potion #2 with a pint of Hopta Session IPA.  Danny has been experimenting with different IPA recipes and this one is a hoppy, yet lighter ABV, sessionable variation.

Things seem to be going well for Palisade Brewing Company as they slowly convert the palates of the towns’ popular wine drinkers into equally appreciative craft beer drinkers.  There’s talk about eventually getting into the canning business and out onto store shelves.

I really get excited to hear news like this and wish Danny and Palisade the best.  He is very passionate about his craft and loves to talk to fellow beer geeks.  Check them out next time you’re out that way or give them a try at GABF this year.  You won’t regret it.  Palisade Brewing Company is located at: 200 Peach Ave, Palisade, CO 81526.  970-464-1462.

Right out the back door and 1/2 a block down from Palisade Brewing Company is Peach Street Distillers.  I know, I know, we’re all about beer on this blog, but the process is so similar, I’ve got to give credit to the distillers when I can.  Peach Street makes a variety of liquors including straight and fruit vodkas, brandies, gins and a straight bourbon.  I even saw a pear brandy that had a full size pear inside the bottle.  They put the bottles around little pears and let the pears grow inside the bottle!  Wild stuff.

Peach Street was named Distiller of the Year for 2012 and is making some really nice stuff.  Like I said, it’s just across the street from Palisade Brewing Company and should be on your list if you’re out that way.  Peach Street Distillers is located at: 144 S Kluge #2, Palisade, CO 81526.  970-464-1128.

Travel just another 10 minutes further west, down I-70 and you reach Grand Junction, CO.  Going to Grand Junction is like taking a step back in time.  Everyone we met was friendly and the pace seemed a little slower.  It just had that small town feel about it.

We arrived into town in time to catch the first farmer’s market of the summer.  This is a weekly event in downtown Grand Junction, where they close down Main Street to traffic and allow farmers, artisans and vendors to set up booths and sell their goods.  The first booth we approached was selling a variety of cherries, plums and apricots.

Man, oh man, there’s some tasty fruit out there.  Someone should really think about setting up a lambic or fruit based brewery out that way.  I’m a huge fan of CO peaches and those should be showing up in grocery stores very shortly.  We took our time exploring the market, listening to live, local music and even getting a horse-drawn carriage ride for the kids.

Eventually, we made our way to Rockslide Brewing Company for dinner and a few beers.

The Rockslide had more of a Rock Bottom, almost chain atmosphere to it, but the food and beers were still very good and the place was absolutely packed.  For beers, we went with the seasonal Wimpy Dark Chocolate Pale Ale.  It was essentially a Black IPA, which had roasted, chocolatey notes to it.  Their other seasonal was called Vintage, which was an American Pilsner.  A very clean, crisp beer, which paired well with the 95 degree heat outside.

Rockslide Brewing is located at: 401 Main St, Grand Junction, CO 81501.  970-245-2111.

We also made a quick stop at Kannah Creek for a growler fill.  This place was packed and has the brewery on display behind the bar.  I got my growler filled with the IPA for the journey home.

Kannah Creek is located at: 1960 North 12th St, Grand Junction, CO 81501.  970-263-0111.

Just down the street from Kannah Creek, is the Breckenridge Ale House , which is located at: 2531 North 12th St, Grand Junction 81501.  970-242-7253.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to stop in for a visit.  There’s only so many hours in the day.  But, it’s part of the Breckenridge Brewing family and I’m sure it’s worth a stop.

I also stumbled upon a great liquor store with a massive selection of bombers.  They had everything from hard to find Dogfish Head 750’s, interesting Belgians and even vintage beers.  Although, I may have picked up the last of the older World Wide Stouts they had back there.  I’m still confident you’ll find something interesting for your cellar.

After wrapping up my first visit to Palisade and Grand Junction, I can definitely say that I’ll be making a trip back again in the future.  Palisade hosts the Colorado Wine Festival every year in September, which looks like a ton of fun.  It’s a beautiful area of Colorado, with plenty to see and do for both kids and adults.

I’ll wrap this up with some random shots from the weekend.

Cheers!

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One response

  1. Tim

    Nicely written Mark. Check out Revolution Brewing in Paonia, Horsefly Brewing in Montrose, and the other great breweries of SW Colorado. Kids would love the Durango Silverton train ride. later tm

    June 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm