Colorado Springs has a strong field of craft breweries, so it will take a special beer to win its way through the field. Here’s the breakdown of all 16 contenders, along with some fun bracketology. Will one of the longtime dynasties take the title? Or is there a Cinderella ready to slip on the glass slipper? Who’s your dark horse? It’s time to prognosticate. Then place your votes here!
The Defending Champion
Fieldhouse Brewing Company: Fieldhouse’s Sticky Paws, a highly drinkable honey wheat, won last year’s Beer Madness competition, which we conducted with a small panel of judges. Though it’s popular, it potentially has to beat out two dynasties to reach the Final Four.
Bristol Brewing Company, Phantom Canyon, Pikes Peak Brewing, Trinity Brewing: Call them the Big Four of the 30-some breweries in the Pikes Peak region. Phantom Canyon is the oldest in town, followed closely by the iconic Bristol, which opened just a year later. Pikes Peak Brewing produces the most beer locally, and Trinity is known for its long list of creative, award-winning saisons and sours.
Storybook Brewing and JAKs Brewing: The name makes Storybook an obvious Cinderella story, but JAKs could be the big surprise. Its reputation is strong, but JAKs’ location on the Peyton perimeter is trickier for many walk-in visitors. Still, the east-side outfit rode an extremely strong wave of fan support into the bracket.
Nano 108 Brewing Company and Smiling Toad Brewery: Most breweries have some type of flagship beer, but small-batch Nano 108 and Smiling Toad will have to rely on reputation and the diligence of tasters. We like to think of these unique beers as an excuse to drink. Smiling Toad earns “Cheekiest Beer Name” with its Callipygian, defined by Webster’s as “having shapely buttocks.”
The Dark Horse
Oskar Blues: Yes, we know, Oskar Blues doesn’t brew in Colorado Springs. But they do brew beer in Colorado and have a local restaurant and bar, so we included them on the initial list of breweries. The people spoke, and they’ll make the final hometown call with their votes.
Goat Patch Brewing Company: Goat Patch is the youngest brewery, but it’s quickly gained popularity in less than a year, especially due to its variety of IPAs.
The Sweet Sixteen
A mix of malty to somewhat hopped. Generally pair well with pizza, root vegetables and cured meats.
JAKs Brewing: Kastoff Irish Red
The Irish red ale has a oderate malt aroma and a toasty, caramel-like taste with a small bitterness from the hop profile. It finishes in a color resembling copper.
Oskar Blues Brewery: Dale’s Pale Ale
Dale’s Pale Ale is a defiant, proud, voluminously hopped pale ale. If you’re looking for a fistful of flavor, look no further than this hopped-up trail ride. It delivers a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from the first sip to the final swig.
Bristol Brewing Company: Laughing Lab Scottish Ale
Laughing Lab has a complex maltiness that comes from a careful blend of specialty malts. Its nutty, roasted flavor is mildly sweet, but not too rich. Smooth and luscious!
Smiling Toad: Callipygian Pale Ale
Light in color, medium bodied, and moderate bittering with Nelson Sauvin hops give this pale a ’shapely’ profile.
Generally crisper, cleaner flavors. Pair well with spicy foods, salads, chicken or generally lighter fare.
Fieldhouse Brewing Company: Sticky Paws Honey Wheat
A cloudy, unfiltered wheat beer with a mild hop profile. It starts off light and crisp and ends with sweet honey and citrus undertones.
Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. : Alpenglow Hefeweizen
Weissbier is a Bavarian tradition. Our version is an immensely refreshing and authentic unfiltered wheat beer, delivering the classic weiss aromas of banana and clove flavor.
Peaks N Pines Brewing Company: Blizzard Pilsner
The Peaks N Pines Blizzard Pilsner is a light, full of body, Bohemian Pilsner. They use 95-percent Czech pils grains, German Tettnang hops and German Weihenstephan yeast for this crisp lager.
Trinity Brewing: One Ear Saison
One Ear is an unspiced ‘naked’ Saison brewed with barley, oats and rye. A Free-Rise fermentation develops a light fruit and pepper, while the assertive hoping profile creates a dry finish.
Full-bodied with rich mouthfeels. Pair these robust brews with grilled pork, barbecue, game and dessert.
Iron Bird Brewing Co. : Black Auger Stout
Our take on a dry irish stout. Aromas of coffee, chocolate and hazelnuts meld together with roasty caramel malts and a touch of earthy hops. Full of flavor but very sessionable due to the dry finish and slightly thin mouthfeel for the style.
Storybook Brewing: Java Dragon Nitro Coffee Porter
Dark roasted flavors and slight chocolate malts dominate the flavor while a hint of smooth cold brewed coffee rounds out the taste. East Kent Golding Hops lend a refined flavor to the finish of the beer.
Nano 108 Brewing Co. : Munich Dunkel Lager (Dark Lager)
Mahogany brown in color. Light mouthfeel leads to a mild balance between malt sweetness and hop character. This beer is extra smooth with a light noble hop presence and rich malty taste. Dark chocolate and roasted malt aromas with a clean, dry finish.
Red Leg Brewing Company: Devil Dog Stout
A very dark, sweet, moderately strong ale with smooth roasted flavors of coffee and chocolate and undertones of dark stone fruit.
Typically feature the bitterness of heavy hops. Pair with burgers, fried foods, rich meats and hard cheese.
Goat Patch Brewing Co.: Hazy Unfiltered IPA
A vibrant yellow IPA brewed with large quantities of aroma hops
(EL Dorado, Mandarina, Mosaic).
Cerberus Brewing Company: Tiny Umbrella Party IPA
Tropical, not overly bitter. Perfect for sunny days on the patio or daydreams of your favorite tropical locales.
Manitou Brewing Company: High Ground IPA
This beer is meticulously crafted with care in every step of the process. Hop bursted and dry hopped with over 5 lbs of hops per barrel.
Pikes Peak Brewing Company: Elephant Rock IPA
Our American IPA has a bold, commanding spirit worthy of the local landmark. Over two pounds per barrel of late-addition hops give Elephant Rock its resinous pine and bright citrus profile. It’s monumental flavor worth discovering.