Del Norte, Colorado:
Three Barrel Brewing
Visited on: Tuesday 5th June 2018
Today we were on the second section of our road trip from Denver to Durango and after breakfast in an Alamosa diner it was less than an hour’s drive to our afirst wtering (?) stop. This was Del Norte which is a very small former cattle town on Route 160. The sort of town that might normally not be worth investigating. But, it has a brewery, so becomes a compulsory stop off point.
The brewery was founded by John Bricker, a former journalist. He settled in Alamosa to work on the Valley Courier, the newspaper of the San Luis valley. He then went into insurance with his father-in-law, Will Kreutzer and opened an agency.
He started Three Barrel in 2005 with his insurance business at the front of the building and the brewery around the back. Back then his production all went into bottles. His specialities were sour beers.
The company’s name is derived from the capacity of their first brewery. Kreutzer moved to Del Norte in 2011 and the Three Barrel brewery took off when he became the General Manager. The insurance office moved next door and then the way was open to make changes.
They added a tasting room along with a very large terrace and installed a larger brewery. They put in a pizza oven and haven’t look back, see comments below.
Entering the building via a corner door we walked past what I would call the “pizza zone”, where the oven is. There is also a small take-away counter. When we were there the number of customers who took out pizzas was considerable and the cook was really busy. Either there is no other pizza place in town or that Three Barrels has driven any rivals away. The latter would not be surprising as I could see that the quality was very high indeed.
We went past the pizza counter and sat in a corner near the front window. We were almost in front of the bar counter which was at right-angles to the pizza counter. Beyond that the room opens out and there were lots of loose tables and chairs in quite a large room.
At the very end was another room where you could observe the brewery behind glass windows. There were some paintings on the wall but most of the decoration consisted of cycles and cycling regalia.
There are supposed to be six beers in the permanent range. We had five of them plus two others. These are our opinions: Trashy Blonde (4.9%) was described as a Belgian Ale. It wasn’t very bitter and tasted very Belgian, which I suppose is a compliment. It wasn’t our type of beer. Bad Phil American Pale Ale (6.6%) was very hoppy and both dry and fruity at the same time, very good indeed.
Hop Trash IPA (7.7%) had no aroma yet a very smooth taste and a soft floral after taste, also very good. Burnt Toast (5.6%) was a brown ale which was a bit thin with medium bitterness, just about OK. Thurday (sic) Special (4.9%). This is described as a Coconut Brown Lager (!) (4.9%). It didn’t taste like a lager, was a bit sweet, with a slight coconut taste. Black Yak was on the core list but didn’t seem to be available that day.
There were two seasonal / specials: Seven Beez Kölsch (4.9%) was a quite good interpretation of the style, and at the right strength just for once!
Then we had Sipster IPA (5.9%). This was very hoppy and also dry. Some citrus in the body and after taste. They also make their own Root Beer and Cream Soda, non-alcoholic of course!
We thought this was an excellent pub for its beers and more than likely its pizzas too!
Three Barrel Brewing Company, 475 Grand Avenue, Del Norte, Colorado 81132. Tel: 719 657 0681
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11.00-21.00
Del Norte is on National Route 160 between Alamosa and Durango. There is no known public transport.