If you’re looking for the country’s best brewpub, look no further than Colorado’s Western Slope, where a tiny brewery recently won that title in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards, known as 10Best.
Opened in October 2020, Stronghouse Brew Pub in Telluride makes about 350 barrels of beer per year – the vast majority of which it sells onsite, said general manager Mike Hayes. He’s not sure how the brewery and restaurant landed on USA Today’s radar, but it has been included on the previous lists of best brewpubs. This year, however, marks the first time Stronghouse took the top spot.
“We’re stoked,” Hayes said. “We toe a different line of beer as far as Telluride goes. Telluride Brewing Company has, in the beer world, put Telluride on the map. We go on the lighter side versus a big hop direction.”
USA Today’s 10Best nominees are curated by a group of experts before the publication offers readers the opportunity to vote for their favorite businesses in a variety of categories. (Colorado also made an impressive showing in spirits production and tasting rooms.)
“The motto of Telluride’s Stronghouse Brew Pub is ‘Let’s Beer’ – an invitation to grab a brew and some food after a day of adventure,” the publication said. “The brewpub, housed within a historic 1892 building, serves a menu of Alpine comfort foods, like salted Bavarian pretzels, bratwurst and corned beer brisket.”
The brewery’s top-selling recipes include the Stonghouse Lager and the Coldfire Pale Ale, which are available on draft at the Telluride spot. They’re also available in cans to-go there, said brewmaster Sam Enders.
Other Colorado beer makers, hot spots and local events made a strong showing in the 10Best awards. Both the Great American Beer Festival and Collaboration Fest landed on the list of – you guessed it – best beer festivals, at No. 4 and No. 10, respectively.
Lyons ranked as the No. 3 best small-town beer scene for its local watering holes and being the birthplace of canned craft beer. USA Today readers also hailed Lowry Beer Garden in Denver as among the best beer gardens in the country (No. 7); Windsor’s High Hops Brewery as having one of the best beer labels (No. 7 for Dr. Pat’s Double IPA); and Denver’s Public Offering Brewing Co. as among the best new breweries (No. 4).
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