Visited on: Thursday 7th June 2018
To explain the name behind the name, “Pug Ryan” was the moniker of Louis A. Scott, an outlaw of the late 1800’s who operated around Summit County, which is where Dillon is located.
It opened as Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse in 1975. During 1986 it was purchased by Travis and Annie Holton. It assumed its present name in 1997 when a 15 barrel (bbls) brewery was installed by the couple.
A major change was in May 2017 when pub-restaurant-brewery was sold. The purchasers were John and Judy Jordan. John was working for nearby Breckenridge Brewing running their laboratory for the last six years, after being with them for 17 years. He started in the brewing business in 1994 as an assistant brewer at a brew-pub in Kansas City. After a few months there the Head Brewer suddenly left and John had to replace him.
Travis was very particular as to who took over the business as many financial institutions and even multi-national breweries were interested and he wanted the new owner to build on the foundations he had laid over the previous twenty years and run it along similar lines. Interestingly new owner John stated the one style of beer he was not going to produce were sour beers. The previous owner agreed with this, but never say never, the saying goes. Look at the beer menu shown below and see what was on it when we visited.
I was with John and Linda and we were staying in Dillon that evening. This was to be our last overnight stop on our journey around Colorado before arriving back at John’s place in Lakewood, near Denver. After climbing the steps at the entrance of the pub we noticed an outside terrace on our right before entering the main room. The brewery was behind glass on the right and the bar counter was found on the left. The décor is very rustic and is appropriate for a mountain bar.
The beer list was quite extensive: Peacepipe Pilsner (5.8%), a Bohemian pils; Azanck Olde Ale (7.0%), an English old ale; Never say never Sour (Reluctant Sour Project #1) (4.7%), a sour Berliner Weisse; Cream Ale (6.0%), an American cream ale; Krystal Bock (4.3%), a light bock; Amber Ale (5.0%), an American amber ale; Classic IPA (5.5%), a west coast IPA; Outlaw Vanilla Stout (5.5%); Pack Iron Pale Ale (6.0%), an American pale ale and Deadwood Dunkel (6.0%), a dark lager. They also served Cühl Cider from C-Squared Cider of Denver.
We tried some of these beers and our opinions are as follows: Peacepipe Pilsner was a good attempt at the Bohemian style, having only medium bitterness at most. Amber Ale had low bitterness, which is appropriate for this type of beer; it was enjoyed. Pack Iron Pale Ale was a very good example of an American Pale Ale. It had good bitterness and was very smooth. Classic IPA lived up to its name, a typical US IPA having a very dry bitter taste and after taste.
I must also mention the Tiki Bar which is on the side of Lake Dillon a few hundred metres from the brewery. This is run by Pug Ryan’s and sells all of their beers and has a full service menu during the day.
It opens from mid-May to mid-September and is located at 150 Marina Drive, Dillon, CO 80435. Food service finishes at 17.00 and transfers to the main pub. Bar hours are from 11.30 to sunset.
Pug Ryan’s has some interesting beers and is well worth calling in to. We had an enjoyable visit.
Pug Ryan’s Brewery, 104 Village Place, Dillon, Colorado 80435. Tel: 970 468 2145. Web: pugryans.com
Hours: Monday-Friday 14.00-23.00; Saturday-Sunday 11:30-23.00
Dillon is in Summit County. With its neighbouring communities it has a very good local bus service. It’s called Summit Stage and it operates ten routes, eleven in winter. Frequency is generally every half hour.
What’s more, it is free! It links the brew-pubs in the Silverthorne/Dillon area. Web: summitcountyco.gov
It’s centred on Frisco Transit Center. Here there are connections to Bustang inter-regional routes.
These run from Denver to Glenwood Springs (twice a day) and Grand Junction (once a day).
Frisco Transit Center is also served by Greyhound from Denver to Grand Junction and beyond twice a day.