Spirits of the Springs

    The craft spirits wave is certainly sweeping Colorado Springs. Distillery 291 was the first—now there are many. Here’s an overview of the ever-growing local distillers.

    mixing at distillery ax and the oak
    Mixologist at Axe and the Oak. Photo by Scott Majors.

    Axe and the Oak Distillery 

    The second local distillery to open, Axe and the Oak began in 2013 and has since expanded to cover the breadth of the Springs, with distilling operations between Academy and Powers boulevards and a tasting room with food and specialty cocktails (Chai moonshine sour? Yes, please) at Ivywild School. Axe and the Oak comes off 2016 with a handful of silver medals from high profile competitions and plans to expand production.

    The Whiskey House, 1604 S. Cascade Ave. inside Ivywild School | axeandtheoak.com

    Axe and the Oak distillery
    Mixologist at Axe and the Oak. Photo by Scott Majors.

    3 Hundred Days of Shine

    The prevailing wisdom surrounding 3 Hundred Days is to watch your consumption, because this moonshine is definitely easy drinking. Co-founder Mike Girard spent 14 of his 22 years of military service disarming explosive devices; that experience led him to experiment with the chemical reactions in alcohol that create his moonshines. Now, 3 Hundred Days offers a fleet of flavored shines, including candy, honey and simple wheat.

    379 Beacon Lite Road, Unit G, Monument | 3hundreddays.com

    Lee Spirits Co. 

    Unique among the distilleries here, Lee Spirits focuses solely on gin and flavored liqueurs since launching in 2015. The Jazz Age never ended for cousins Ian and Nick Lee, whose classy Prohibition-style tasting room, Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street, is a model speakeasy complete with password and moody lighting. Grumps may try to sour the romance with the dreaded H-word (that would be hipster), but you can’t beat the top-notch bar talent.

    110 E. Boulder St. | leespirits.com

    distillery 291 stills
    The stills at 291. Photo by Scott Majors.

    Black Bear Distillery 

    Victor Matthews has worn many hats over the last several decades, from heading Paragon Culinary School and his own restaurant to now distilling what he calls “craftshine.” From his small operation out of a 60-year-old cabin lakeside in Green Mountain Falls, Matthews currently has two moonshine products out, with an Irish-style whiskey in the works. Watch for the bar opening and tours soon.

    10375 Ute Pass Ave., Green Mountain Falls | blackbeardistillery.com

    Blue Fish Distillery 

    A lifelong dream of owner-distiller John Fisher, who began experimenting with moonshine in high school, Blue Fish started in 2014 and opened its doors in October 2016. A blue agave spirit is still in the works, but the nano distillery has produced a vodka, rum and Pikes Peak Clear, a moonshine.

    5745 Industrial Place, Suite A | facebook.com/bluefishdistillery

    distillery 291 barrels
    Aging the barrels at Distillery 291. Photo by Scott Majors.

    Cockpit Craft Distillery 

    Aviation buffs will love Cockpit Craft, from the WWII-era naming of the whiskey, rum and ’shine, to the C-45 tail section bar top that adorns the tasting room. The liquor’s the star of the show though, thanks to owner and head distiller Calder Curtis’ education at Downslope Distilling’s Distillery School.

    4893 Galley Road | cockpitdistillery.com

    Colorado Gold Distillery 

    Last August, this 10-year-old outfit relocated from Cedarredge on the Western Slope to Colorado Springs. Look for bourbon and rye, as well as a hemp vodka, in local stores. Head distiller Mike Almy says a future tasting room is in the plans for the North Nevada site.

    4242 N. Nevada Ave. | coloradogolddistillers.com

     


    Around the Region

    Spirits of the Rockies

    Pueblo’s first distillery produces tequila, rye whiskey, grain neutral moonshine and Colorado Apple Pie Moonshine. spiritsoftherockies.com

    Boathouse Distillery

    The Salida-based outfit produces bourbon, tequila and rum as well as an advocate’s spirit, thanks to owner Jerry Mallett’s history working with the Wilderness Society, American Wildlands and Chaffee County. boathousedistillery.com

    Wood’s High Mountain Distillery

    Find Wood’s right off the main drag in Salida, and you’ll find founding brothers PT and Lee creating gins, whiskeys and liqueurs. woodsdistillery.com

    Deerhammer

    Single malt whiskey is the cornerstone of this Buena Vista outfit, founded in 2010. From that same spirit base, they also make a Dutch-style gin, but don’t forget to grab a taste of the seasonal Buena Vista Brandy. deerhammer.com

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