Grand Lake Brewing Company
Ratings: 13 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by benito:
4/5 rDev -4.1%
In winter, Grand Lake is literally where the road ends. The Trail Ridge Road that traverses Rocky Mountain National Park, from Grand Lake on the west to Estes Park on the East, is closed, and the tourists disappear from both towns. Despite, or perhaps because of, this remoteness, there's a reason that everyone should visit Grand Lake in December. The Grand Lake Brewing Company is hands down one of the best brewpubs in Colorado.
This may be the tiniest brewpub I've ever visited; it's tucked in a narrow storefront on Grand Lake's mainstreet. The brewery occupies the adjacent space, and inside there are seat for about fifteen folks total. The night my friends and I visited, there were some locals finishing their after-work brews, and the bartender said that it was the busiest he'd seen the place since August!
They had eight beers on tap--helles lager, American wheat, English pale ale, amber, IPA (on nitro as well), nut brown, coffee porter, and scotch. Between the eight of us, we tried all the brews, and they ranged from exceptional (the English pale ale, scotch ale, and coffee porter) to good (the IPA and nut brown) to average (amber, helles, wheat); everyone found something that they loved and enjoyed pint after pint. They also keep bottles of their two specialty beers: Super Chicken Barley Wine, which is very well balanced, and Holy Grail--a strong ale aged on dark rum casks that prices at $25 for a half-litre bottle. The Holy Grail is easily one of the most complex strong ales I've tasted. It is vinous, malty, with a strong flavor of cane sugar, oak, and pineapple; congratulations to the brewers at Grand Lake for brewing something so ambitious. Split with friends, this beer is worth every cent of the price.
Their food is limited to pizzas made in the small bar area by the bartender himself. The food is tasty, though it plays a distant second fiddle to the beer here.
Though the quality of beer helps set this place apart, what really separates it in my book is the combination of good brews and tiny ambience--the feeling that this is a locals' place, where if you visited it on your own, you'd strike up a great conversation, where the servers are tasting the beers with you, that it's a tiny labor of love that promotes local beer in the best way.
They bottle six packs that are sold throughout the Fraser Valley/Grand County area. Hopefully they'll keep it that way; half the fun of the beer is having to go and find it! Highly recommended for any beer traveler or anyone passing through the area in summer or winter.
12-30-2007 17:58:42 | More by benito
More User Reviews:
4.08/5 rDev -2.2%
Did a flight and the line up was solid as expected. Liked many of the beers... the IPA, the brown, the scotch ale, etc but on the other hand there was nothing innovative or earth moving that I had hoped for from an established brewery. This is not much of a slight... it would be a great place to stop while on vacation or for a newbie to get good representation of the styles. I would stop back again... hope to try the Holy Grail someday.
05-29-2013 16:55:06 | More by MilwaukeeCrusher
3.63/5 rDev -12.9%
I have had the beers from Grand Lake many of times but this was my first trip to their brewery and I must say that all and all it was okay but not great. The beers are fantstic especially the Plaid Bastard Scotch Ale and the Super Chicken Barley Wine Ale. The food was was good but our service was terrible. It may have just been the waitress that we had, who was very rude to my group and I, as well as, all the other tables around us. There were 2 tables that just got up and left seconds after they were seated because of how rude this girl was. I was really dissapointed.
07-30-2010 14:22:08 | More by WhatsNewinBooze
4.75/5 rDev +13.9%
Stopped in to Grand Lakes specifically to go to this place. To repeat what was said above, this place is definitely small, but the atmosphere was just perfect - especially after a few hours of soaking in the local hot springs just 30 minutes away. We had the pizza- hit the spot perfectly. Maybe it's just me, but I'm convinced that the best food to have with beer is pizza- so the small size of the menu didn't bother me- as there were at least a dozen different "gourmet" pizzas on the menu.
We had the sampler- $10 for 9 different 4oz beers. Coming from Boston, this was an amazing steal. My wife and I liked basically everything- she thought the coffee porter was awesome (too much coffee for my pallet) and I liked the milk stout, plaid bastard, and russian imperial the best. (oh, and the IPA)... basically you can't go wrong at this spot.
Had to score a bit lower on the service b/c the bartender had "just got back from vacation," but he was still in the Bahamas if you ask me...
Wish you could get a brew pub/ bar like this back in Boston....
03-19-2009 01:10:40 | More by jeffkowaleski
3.9/5 rDev -6.5%
Stopped in on our way over Trail Ridge. Food menu is very limited - pizzas, burgers, some other snacks. We had chips with guacamole and salsa. All of the ingredients were obviously pre-packaged, but of good quality. I had an 8 beer sampler for $10 - all of the beers were good quality and enjoyable. I have seen these on the front range lately, and I'm glad to get them. The place is very small, but has a nice atmosphere and a decent patio out back. I probably wouldn't come back for the food, but I'd certainly stop in for a drink.
07-15-2008 02:07:45 | More by rowew
3.84/5 rDev -7.9%
I love the drive through Estes Park, into Rocky Mountain National Park and into the city of Grand Lake. Great scenery, went above timberline, tons of elk and not one but two moose's? Is that the plural of moose? We ended up camping just south of town. It was amazing to see the devastation that the pine beetle had though. Almost scary if there was a fire.
GLBC Very easy to find in the small mountain time, located right on the main drag. Parking was easy enough even for a Friday evening. Once in side there was a very small seating area and a decent bar. More seating outside up the stairs, but very small location. The brewing equipment was pretty small as well, 3 barrels, but hey it is a mountain town after all. The bar tender was the only one working. Knew a bit about beer, but not really geeky in an sense. A bit odd but still had a fun time.
The selection is decent with mostly American style beers. They had 8 beers on tap, IPA, Wee Heavy, Pale, Wheat, Nut Brown, Red, Stout and a Barleywine. I have had a few of these already but it was interesting to try them fresh. Mostly we had pints for the night but did share two tasters amount the ten of us. The Super Chicken B-wine still remained by favorite but the IPA seemed a better on tap than bottle. The Wee Heavy was very interesting with a lot of peat smoked malt. Turns out they smoke their own malt when they do this beer. We agree that there wasn't anything that we didn't like.
Overall it we had a great time. I guess they close typically at nine but because there was a bunch of us and a lot of locals that came and left they stayed open a longer.
06-30-2008 22:45:55 | More by Oxymoron
4.4/5 rDev +5.5%
This is one of my favorite places to go in the mountains. We have made it a point to stop in every year since stumbling upon it soon after it opened. If you stay into the evening, the place slowly fills up with locals, which is the best at any mountain stop. You get to hear stories and chat about what prompted them to settle in what most of us consider an outpost. It was there that I heard the story of the founder's decision to "commute" to Denver for a year and a half before establishing the brewery. No matter how you slice it, that would be a killer commute. Anyway, the beer has always been surprisingly good. I have sometimes been frustrated by a lack of IPA on tap, but their others are almost always satisfying. Food is a weakness, but it's not about the food. It's for emergency buzz management only. Service always is friendly and happy to help with any questions. Great place!
06-24-2008 16:29:11 | More by dpkpr
3.9/5 rDev -6.5%
Update labor day 2008
Their food is fairly tasty, we had the 4 cheese pizza & they have pub grub covered.
$12 to fill a growler. Service was good & there were 8 beers on tap
Stopped by after lunch yesterday.
This place seemed pretty barebones, but was all about their beer, so I enjoyed it. There's porch out back for warm weather customers, shame there wasn't better views giving the locale (you get to see fence).
Quality of the beer was pretty good. The Imp Stout & Scotch Ale were both good to very good. The brown & the coffee porter were above average
Service was great at the bar & they humored my many questions about their beer
Selection was pretty good, I took home bottles of red ale & barley wine, plus a growler of the Plaid Bastard . There was also a lager & wheat beer, &root beer on offer, a total of 7 beer taps . Ironically, they had no IPA, but the liquor store across the street did. So give that place a look if you don't find a particular beer.
They do have food, but not an extensive menu, so my family & I passed on lunch.
$4.50 pints are a bit pricey, plus the cost of a growler refill was $20 for the daim bramage, so maybe find out if they have a happy hour. Well worth a visit
08-21-2007 22:52:30 | More by russpowell
4.66/5 rDev +11.8%
Like the others have stated it's a tiny place that I drove past twice before I decided to just park and walk around till I found it. The "tasting room" is small but it works out just fine and the guy behind the bar was very cool and enjoyed the fact that I liked talking beer.
They had a great selection with most of the varieties available. I had a sampler and was very impressed with the size of them. Only one they were out of was their wheat which was fine by me....since dude fixed me up their impy stout to replace that missing wheat.
All the beer was very well crafted and there wasn't one that i disliked. For the brewmaster to be "part-time" seemed odd and I can't believe this guy hasn't been scooped up by some bigger brewery to make beer. They even bottle their beer for you to take with you and chances are good that you'll want to...just don't plan on taking any out of there on a Sunday, luckily I was able to go back and get some later! If you are any where near this little summer tourist town stop in here and get a beer you'll be glad you did.
06-04-2007 04:43:04 | More by caddylac
4.35/5 rDev +4.3%
I'll start with saying if you are anywhere close to this place, you have to get in to try their beer.
It's a tiny little whole in the wall without much of a sign. Look carefully for it. It's on the north side of the main street.
They had about 7 or 8 beers on tap the times I've been there. This past time they had their Barleywine on tap. That stuff is exceptional. Plaid Bastard is a great beer too and as good as any Scottish Ale I've had. You can't go wrong with any choice here. The IPA is good one too.
I put a 5 for service because the two brewmasters were serving the last time I was there. They were bending over backwards to get people food and beers and going out of their way to make sure everyone was comfortable. They would also talk beer with you as long as you wanted. If you need a taster, it's a pretty good pour.
Don't come here to eat dinner. They have good appetizers and pizza, but nothing super special.
I don't know if I got a discount for talking beer with them so much, but for the amount of beer and food we got, I thought it was really cheap. Especially considering the fact that several of those beer were high ABVs that you usually get charged a bit more for.
01-05-2007 23:13:32 | More by biking4beer
Grand Lake Brewing Company in Grand Lake, CO
92 out of 100 based on 13 ratings.