Brew Dogs: Durango, Colorado

Brew Dogs Druango Colorado

This week the Brew Dogs find themselves in Durango, Colorado,  a one-horse town with a seven-craft-breweries thirst. The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park are rich in brewing history. Or, none at all. The people of Mesa Verde did not brew beer. But, local Apache tribes brewed corn beer. With no carbonation and a low alcohol content, Native American corn beer doesn’t sound very good at all, but hey. Beer is beer, right?

James and Martin plan an ancient-inspired beer at a brewery called Ska Brewing, inspired by Ska music. I like this place already. After tasting many, many beers, the boys decide to brew a beer as if it were a thousand years ago and maybe use some corn in the recipe. So…corny…ska…perfect.

For some reason, locals are asked to taste beers while dangling from a zip line. It seems like maybe James and Martin are trying to infuse the beer with adrenaline? I don’t know, I’ve never really understood Colorado. It’s an outdoorsy state and I’m an indoorsy girl.

With no electricity or stainless steel, James and Martin have to figure out how to brew beer in clay pots. They head to Red Cliff’s Pottery, and this should be interesting. Spinning clay pottery is hard, as James and Martin soon find out when they make something not even worthy to be called a second-grader’s first ashtray. Of course they reenact that scene in Ghost.

Next, it’s time to harvest pine nuts which I learn are inside of pine cones. I did not know that! Huh. Also news to me is the fact that pinecones are fruit. These are things that indoor girls just never ponder. And, oh wow. Those pinecones are really high up in those trees. That looks about twelve stories in the air before the bucket doesn’t go any higher and they have to climb the rest of the way. And of course the pinecones are on the outer branches. Nobody dies, but James and Martin seem genuinely annoyed at the pinecone collection process.

More about pinecones—you have to burn them to get the pine nuts out of the pinecones, and there’s a fireman on hand to offer both his handsomeness and fire prevention savvy. Once the pinecones are burned to a certain special amount, the pinecones must be smashed in order to shake out the pine nuts. Wow. That’s a lot of effort for a tiny nut.

Listicles! The top five craft beer bars in tiny little Durango, Colorado are:

5. Lady Falconburgh’s Barley Exchange

4. The Office Spiritorium

3. Derailed Pour House

2. El Rancho Tavern

1. El Moro Spirits & Tavern

It’s finally time to brew some beer. Unfortunately, the clay pot is cracking over the open flame. And then it just plain old falls apart. A new brew system is built that involves less of an open flame and more of a boiling water type of thing. Corn is crushed with a rock and it takes just about forever.

I can’t believe there are enough to make a list of five, but these are the top five craft breweries in Durango, Colorado:

5. Durango Brewing Co.

4. Steamworks Brewing Co.

3. BREW Pub & Kitchen

2. Pagosa Brewing Co.

1. Carver Brewing Co.

Somehow, the water boils and beer is brewed without anyone losing an eye. But how does the new ancient ale taste? The crowd at Ska Brewing give it a mixed-yet-polite review.

Next week, milking cows in California.

Reprinted from

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