Pagosa Springs, CO
118 N. Pagosa Boulevard
Last fall my wife and I decided to head south to Pagosa Springs to enjoy a relaxing weekend before I was to start a new job. This trip had been on our schedule for years. Pagosa Springs is a beautiful little town sandwiched in the mountains and surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. It is home to a spring much celebrated for its therapeutic powers - one of the largest and hottest natural springs in the world. It is also home to the Pagosa Brewing Company. (PBC)
Pagosa Brewing Company features a relatively small five-barrel system. They have seven of their own beers on tap as well as two guest taps – one from Dry Dock in Aurora, CO, and the other from Ska Brewing down the road in Durango. A sample tray gave me a good feel for all of their excellent offerings.
My favorite PBC beer was their “Poor Richard’s Ale.” This beer originated as a recipe challenge five years ago to develop an authentic beer for Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday celebration. Head brewer, Tony Simmons, researched the Colonial era in his quest for a suitable beer recipe fit for Benjamin Franklin. He discovered that brewers of that time most likely used creative ingredients in their beers due to shortages of imported hops and malted barley. Along those lines, Tony’s recipe included ingredients available to brewers of the time such as corn and molasses.
Tony must have done his homework well, because his recipe for Poor Richard’s Ale was awarded the most authentic Colonial Ale. In recognition of the honor, his recipe was brewed by over 100 breweries for the big birthday party. Tony was even flown out to Philadelphia, Franklin’s hometown, to brew his own recipe at one of the local breweries.
One thing that really impressed me about PBC was a commitment to educate their patrons about beer and brewing. I just missed it, but they hosted a four-year vertical tasting of their Nipple Mountain Barley Wine. It takes forethought and patients (and discipline) to save beer for events like this. But when done right, such tastings can be very educational and display how strong beers mature over time. Nice job guys!
While in Town
If you get to visit Pagosa Springs, make sure and take time to relax and enjoy the springs at the resort. You can also take the beautiful one-hour drive west to Durango and visit their wonderful breweries - Carver, Ska, Steamworks, and Durango Brewing. And don’t forget to visit the PBC and have a Poor Richard’s Ale in the courtyard around a fire.