Visited on: Tuesday 5th June 2018
Even in comparison with many of the towns we were visiting on our journey by road from Alamosa to Durango, Bayfield is very small. It has a population of around 2,300 citizens. It’s nestled in the Pine River valley just south of Highway 160 which connects Pagosa Springs with Durango.
Despite its relatively small size this is the town’s second brewery. The first was Steamworks that closed in 2009 to consolidate its production in Durango, please see details of our visit there in a separate article.
Bottom Shelf is the brainchild of Chris Young and Greg Allen. They met when Young started work with Allen’s construction business. There they hatched the idea of having their own brew-pub. The idea partially came to fruition in October 2013 when they opened this pub. Then, they had to rely on beers from other small Colorado breweries. During August 2014 their own beer started to flow, produced in their 3.5 barrel (bbls) brewery in the cellar.
Myself, John and Linda arrived on a sunny late afternoon. We were travelling from Alamosa to Durango and this was our last stop before the destination city. In fact Bayfield is not far from Durango and a number of residents here commute between the two. The pub is of wooden construction, as is nearly every other building here. It has a small patio either side of the steps up to the entrance.
Inside we found a medium-sized room with a bar counter along the left side. There are number of bar stools and many of them were occupied on this afternoon.
In contrast we were the only customers using the tall tables of which there are ten. Nearly everything in the room is made of wood: furniture, floorboards, the bar counter and bar back. There are paintings hanging on the walls along with other decorations.
Six regular beers are offered: Broken Bridge IPA (5.5%); Poor Boaters' Murica Lager (5.2%); Rockwood Wheat (5.0%); Boatman's Breakfast Oatmeal Stout (5.0%); Redwall Cavern Irish Red (5.3%) and Bear Necessity Blackberry Wheat (5.0%).
There are always two seasonal / special beers, one of which is launched every Friday evening. When we visited they were: Wings of Silence Golden Ale (6.4%) and Day Man Kölsch (4.5%).
We tried two of the core range and the two specials and these are our views: Day Man Kölsch was a good interpretation of the style with a nice balance. Wings of Silence Golden Ale was a disappointment having no bitterness and was even slightly sweet. Boatman’s Breakfast Oatmeal Stout. We could taste the oatmeal in this and found it slightly bitter with a soft smooth taste throughout. Broken Bridge IPA was very good with a nice medium bitterness throughout; taste and after-taste. The best of them all.
This pub is worth visiting even to travel out of Durango for. It has a good food menu including many specials and they smoke their own meats. I love smoked foods and I wished I’d looked at their menu whilst visiting.
Bottom Shelf Brewery, 118 East Mill Street, Bayfield, Colorado 81122. Tel: 970 884 2442
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.00-21.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-22.00; Sunday 10.00-20.00
Bayfield is a half mile off Highway 160. The pub is in the down town area.
There is no known public transport.