Visited on: Thursday 7th June 2018
Bob Thompson (Photographs by Linda Thompson)
The Dam Brewery has been around for a comparatively long time, twenty-two years to be precise. It first opened its doors in February 1997. Since then it has become a bit of institution in Summit County which administers this part of Colorado. There are seven brew-pubs in the county and the Dam Brewery has been either first or second in the “Best of Summit” award for sixteen years. Even more important is the almost endless list of awards for the quality of its beers in many competitions both nationally and regionally in the USA.
The brewery is named after the Dillon Dam which is adjacent to the pub. It was constructed between 1961 and 1963 and the water contained in the Dillon Lake supplies the City of Denver. It is at the natural confluence of three rivers: the Blue, the Snake and the Ten Mile. But this is the interesting bit. The lake and these rivers are on the western side of the Continental Divide and so their waters would naturally flow to the Pacific Ocean.
Of course Denver is on the eastern side of the Rockies. The imaginative solution to this problem is the Roberts Tunnel which transfers the water to the South Platte River. As it flows under the mountains it is at a maximum 4,465 feet underground at the point it passes under Santa Fe peak.
Dillon is an all year-round holiday destination with many ski slopes nearby. During the summer the lake is used for sailing and the surrounding mountains are a Mecca for off-road cyclists, hikers and those seeking outdoor pursuits.
It was dusk when we arrived at the pub. The first surprise was that it was rammed tight. We eventually found a small table in an alcove. The reason for this invasion was that there was a band playing that night. There wasn’t much of an opportunity to walk around the pub because of the crowd. What’s more, I’d left my camera in the hotel. However, we were saved when the band ceased for the night and people started to drift away.
Linda was able to get around and used her phone camera to get these photographs. The pub is big, laid out over two floors, holding 220 patrons. The bar counter is large and horseshoe-shaped. There is a large balcony with lots more seating.
The brewing equipment is at the back situated over both floors between the two ends of the “horseshoe”. The band played here.
The rest of the space is occupied with loose tables and chairs along with a merchandise counter on the lower floor. There is an outside terrace holding another sixty customers.
There are any number of different beers available up to a maximum of sixteen. Eight are regulars and the remainder are seasonal or specials. It was the end of a long day when we visited and I cannot find any notes of what the seasonal beers were, I guess it was because they were so busy. They normally offer tasters, but for reasons unknown we had two pints. I can only assume that the sale of tasters was suspended on that evening.
The regular beers available were: McLuhr’s Irish Stout (5.0%), served by mixed gas; Sweet George’s Brown (5.4%), an English brown ale; Dillon DAM: Extra Pale Ale (6.1%) in the American style; DAM Straight Lager (5.0%), in the Vienna style.
Continuing, there was Paradise Pilsner (5.0%), in the German style; Wilderness Wheat (5.2%), an American wheat beer; DAM Lyte (4.0%), a light (lite) American lager and finally: Here’s your DAM IPA (7.0%), an American IPA.
McLuhr’s Irish Stout, we thought was a bit thin and should be a little more bitter if it was brewed in the Irish dry stout style which it claimed to be. Here’s your DAM IPA had a spicy aroma and a typical US IPA hop taste with hints of grapefruit, and was well thought of.
This is a good pub in a scenic and attractive area and should not be missed if you are in Summit County.
Dillon Dam Brewery and Restaurant, 754 Anemone Terrace, Dillon, Colorado 80435. Tel: 970 262 7777
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11.30-23.30; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00; Sunday 11.00-23.30
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.