Craft Breweries in Durango

Durango_Beer_Brewpub_Streamworks Brewing
Photo: SteamworksBrewing.com

Everywhere you look, a new craft brewery is popping up. But Durango has been a haven for hop-heads since the late 1980s, so it was doing it before it was cool. Durango is now home to six craft breweries, which pair perfectly with its mountain-town vibe. Whether you’re looking for a patio pint, a full-blown flight or a sit-down dinner, these Durango breweries offer all the options.

Carver Brewing Co.

Carver Brewing Co. was the O.G. craft brewer in Durango, but it actually got its start in another business that uses yeast: baking. Caver Brothers Bakery opened in 1983 in Winter Park, Colorado, followed by Carver’s Bakery and Cafe in Durango in 1986. Two years later, the Carvers opened the brewery, making it the Four Corners’ first brewery since the end of Prohibition, according to the company. Carver Brewing Co. may be Durango’s original and oldest brewery, but it’s never outdated. The brewery has a full farm-to-table menu serving breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a cocktail menu (for those who — blasphemy! — don’t drink beer). In addition to its slate of flagship brews, including Old Oak Amber Ale and Lightning Creek Lager, the brewery always has something new on tap with special brews and seasonal beers making the rounds.

Ska Brewing Co.

Two guys who shall be known simply as “Bill” and “Dave” started Ska Brewing Co. when they started brewing their own beer in 1995. Today, Durango is world headquarters of Ska (so named because they listened to a lot of it back in the early beer-brewing days). Ska is known for its canned brews, including flagship beers such as Modus Hoperandi IPA and Buster Nut Brown Ale, which you know you want to order just to say the name. Food options abound at The Container of Food: Think stationary food truck housed in a shipping container parked in Ska’s beer garden. The menu is chock full of brick-oven pizzas, gourmet sandwiches, snacks, salads and sweets. The brewery also does fun stuff like Happy Hour Yoga every Monday and live music on Thursday nights.

Durango Brewing Co.

Durango Brewing Co. is another legacy brewer in our mountain town. Durango started brewing in 1990, and the brewery’s original taproom had only enough space for 11 people. That room is now the brewery’s grain-handling room. The company grew and expanded over the years, eventually buying the entire building to house the taproom and kitchen, and in 2016 completed renovations that included a new parking lot, a refresh of the taproom and expanding the patio. Durango Brewing today is a full-service restaurant with tasty brewpub fare such as burgers, beer-battered onion rings and chips and queso. With several year-round beers, such as Derail Ale and and Colorado Wheat, and a lineup of seasonal rotators with brews like a Blueberry Wheat and Saison on the roster, Durango Brewing has something for everyone.

Steamworks Brewing Co.

Steamworks Brewing Co. has been serving up its brews since 1996 and in that time has brought home 16 Great American Beer Fest awards, including two 2016 Silver Medals for Slam Dunkel and Backside Stout, and four World Beer Cup awards, most recently for the 2016 Gold for Steam Engine Lager. Not too shabby for something that the founders started for fun — and as a way to keep their home kegerators filled. Steamworks is a standby for locals and a favorite for visitors. In addition to a menu that features staples like burgers and pizza and surprises like Indonesian peanut salad, one of Steamworks’ staples is its Cajun boil.

 

Brew Pub & Kitchen

Longtime locals Erik and Lainie Maxson opened Brew Pub & Kitchen in March 2013, marrying two of their loves: Durango and beer. Note that both “brew” and “kitchen” are in the name for a reason. The couple focuses on making from-scratch food in the brewpub’s kitchen to complement the handcrafted beers. Brew doesn’t label beers by their color: red, brown, amber, blah, blah, blah. Instead, they focus on ingredients and categorize their beers that way: malt, yeast, hops, etc.

Animas Brewing Co.

You can’t go wrong with a pint and pasty. Animas Brewing Co. is the newest addition to the lineup of Durango breweries. Owner Scott Bickert opened the doors in December 2014 after spending plenty of time working for other Durango brewers, so he knows both the scene and what he’s doing as evidenced by his beers, such as What’s Up Wit, Hogsback Black and Boxcar Red. The menu gives a twist on comfort food, but ABC-goers won’t find pizza or fries. Instead, they’ll find things they probably won’t make at home, like pasties: a traditional handheld pastry stuffed with hearty goodness that miners could take with them into the tunnels for lunch.

 

Durango Polar Express Train

Durango train Polar Express conductor
Not Tom Hanks…this time. (Photo: DurangoTrain.com)

Will Tom Hanks be there? Well, we can’t say for sure he won’t be on the Durango Polar Express train, but you’ll have to ride to find out for sure. However, we know with certainty that one celebrity will be there: Mr. Claus himself.

The Polar Express Train Ride is the Durango and Silverton train’s premier annual event, and cars fill up quickly with Santa-seeking, Christmas-loving, pajama-wearing kiddos. The Durango Polar Express ride runs nearly every night through Jan. 2 with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The award-winning childhood classic, the Polar Express, comes alive aboard the Durango train as the Conductor, Hobo, Hero Boy, Billy, Santa and elves sing Christmas carols during the trip to and from the North Pole. Personal chefs serve each passenger hot chocolate and a treat and also read story on the train ride to the North Pole (cough*Cascade Canyon*cough) to pick up Santa.

Chefs will lead everybody in singing Christmas songs as Santa makes his way to visit each car to give a special gift to each kid!

Three levels of passenger cars are available. First-class cars include seating at tables and chairs, festive Christmas decor in each car and upgrades such as a souvenir Polar Express mug. Deluxe passenger cars have “flip-over” seating so people can face each other, tickets also include a take-home ceramic mug. Coach cars have forward-facing, side-by-side seating for up to 40 passengers per car.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a historic train that runs alongside the Animas River from Durango to Silverton in the summer and from Durango to Cascade Canyon wye in the winter. The Durango train offers a number

While visiting Durango (to visit the North Pole), stay with us at the Econo Lodge Durango! Warm up by the fireplace in our recently remodeled lobby. Our downtown Durango hotel is only a mile north of the Durango train depot, a straight shot on Main Avenue, and you can even ride the Durango trolley from our hotel to the Durango depot and museum! The Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango is one of the top affordable Durango hotels and is under new ownership. Book your room today!

 

Christmas in Durango

Christmas-in-Durango
Santa Claus on the Mountain at Purgatory Resort

It’s almost Christmas. Seriously, it’s three weeks away. There seem to be two types of holiday people: Those who finish all their shopping before Labor Day, and people who hate those people those who are always scrambling with last-minute shopping, decorating and planning.

To top it off, if you have kids, they’ll be out of school and sooooooo bored, or if you have family visiting for Christmas, they’ll be sooooooo bored if you don’t find fun things to do for Christmas in Durango.

Purgatory Resort

Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides — sure, those are amazing things to do at Purgatory Resort. But for extra-special holiday fun, don’t miss Santa on the Mountain from 2-3:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at the base area. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be handing out candy canes and taking last-minute gift requests — but only if you’ve been nice! That same day, Purgatory is offering free holiday wreath-making classes at Durango Mountain Institute from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It that’s not exciting enough, take your kin on a scenic snowcat tour on Saturday, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Visitors will first ride the chairlift to the mountaintop then take a ride in a snowcat while taking in panoramic views and sipping hot cocoa. The tour is $50 per person and reservations are required. Tickets may be booked by calling 800-525-0892.

People can also leave the Christmas Eve cooking to the pros at Purgatory with a family-friendly holiday buffet at Purgy’s Slopeside from 4-9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The smorgasbord includes a dessert buffet, a Christmas cookie station and a build-your-own hot chocolate bar.

Downtown Durango

Downtown Durango manages to be both hip and happening while also being cute and quaint. The historic downtown promises some of the city’s best shopping at boutiques and specialty shops, art galleries and wineries, natural products stores and shops that peddle the three Cs: candy, chocolate and coffee.

Some of the major sights to see in downtown include the Durango train depot and the historic Strater Hotel. Enjoy a tasting flight at Four Leaves Winery, get an array of sweets for those stockings at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory or browse any number of art galleries and markets. Check out the Winter Solstice Artisan’s Market at the Durango Arts Center that runs through Saturday, Dec. 23. The annual market features more than 40 artists who were selected to show and sell their artwork and creations, such as ceramics, glass, jewelry, textiles, photography, paintings and more.

On Christmas Eve morning, head over to the Henry Strater Theatre to ring in Christmas with the Patrick Crossing Band playing Celtic Christmas tunes and Christmas songs.

Durango Hotels

While you’re spending Christmas in Durango — or if you have people visiting for the holidays, and you can’t (or don’t want to) have houseguests — stay with us at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites Durango. We’re located on Main Avenue, just a few blocks from the hub of downtown, and Purgatory is only a short drive straight north from our front door. Come check out our newly renovated lobby and warm up by the fireplace! Book your holiday stay with the Econo Lodge Durango today.