ON TAP: Retreat from Baca Retreat

When I receive a syllabus for class, part of me always hopes that it will list a field trip, especially to the Baca Campus. I had not been to Baca until this semester, but I’ve loved spending time there. Located in Crestone, Colo., Baca is a retreat from the busy and stressful nature of Colorado College. It is a chance to enjoy nature, art, company, and community.

But even on the best of retreats, there is sometimes a desire to get away from home base. One place where you can hide away while staying at Baca is Crestone Brewery, about a 15-minute walk away from the townhouses in the middle of Crestone.

Crestone Brewery is the culmination of what makes a bar great; it has events, home brews, a cozy atmosphere, and a small community to support it. Upon arriving, I noticed the blue cloudy sky painted beneath the entryway, a worn and populated porch, and the sounds of conversation and music. It looks like someone’s home, but stepping inside exposes you to wooden floors and an open room.

The brewery is also a restaurant, so the place is well-organized with a small bar and plenty of tables. My favorite table is the booth in the back with a window peeking into the brewery, showing kegs stacked on top of one another, waiting for their turn at the tap. I also enjoyed sitting on the porch, dimly lit with Christmas lights and surrounded by repurposed building materials such as shipping pallets with plants in the cracks.

Because Crestone is a small town, the place is lively inside and outside; people talk on the street and continuously filter in and out. Everywhere you look, people have beers in their hands. Crestone Brewery puts out a lot of different styles of beer: lagers, ales, India pale ales, and a porter. Their variety provides a style for everyone, which makes it the perfect place to bring classmates of all pallets. They also have a small selection of cocktails and wines with rotating drink specials, such as blueberry margaritas (as I saw on the board while there).

The brewery hosts open mics every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. and Friday Night Music at 9:30 p.m. While I was at Baca, I had the chance to attend the Open Mic, where a full room of people watched local musicians grace the stage with varying styles of music. That’s the real sense of Crestone Brewery: a chance to feel at home and enjoy the moment.

 

THE HOUSE BEERS:

Bighorn Bock: This is the house dark lager, and a smooth one at that. It was a pretty milky and heavy beer with minimal carbonation. I would actually have thought it was a milk stout if they hadn’t told me. It’s a beautiful dark color—a murky caramel. It’s sweet on the first sip, then settles into a good acidic flavor. The Bighorn Bock is supremely drinkable with a pretty decent alcohol by volume of 7.1 percent.

Valley Pride: The Valley Pride is an English ale. It has a light and bright color that is very clear. Out of the two I tried, this one was definitely the most classic—as in close to the average cheap beer. But it doesn’t taste cheap; it has a clean palate with a clear citrus flavor. The other flavors are pretty muted, it has a nice balance and mouthfeel to it—foamy, yet substantial. This is one of those beers you can order again and again without it growing old. It isn’t bitter enough to be overbearing, but also not too sugary. It’s simple and straightforward, which is nice to have when other drinks try to be complicated.

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