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Colorado Roadtrip: Where to Drink in Salida

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by Carrie Dow on Oct 13, 2014 in Roundups
Colorado Roadtrip: Where to Drink in Salida

As much as we love living in the big city, sometimes we just have to get away. Just a two-hour drive from Denver on Highway 285, Salida offers up a small town atmosphere with cool things to do. Try kayaking on the Arkansas in the summer, biking the city’s trails in the spring or fall, and skiing at Monarch in the winter. After a hard day’s play, we need to relax and relive our adventures over some good food and beverages. Here are some places where you can “DrinkSalida” on a weekend road trip.

Benson’s Tavern & Beer Garden: Benson’s is as old school as it gets; old brick building right in the middle of Main Street with a neon sign above the door. Inside, you’ll find booths with giant vinyl seats on one side and a long wooden bar on the other. While the inside is a bit cramped, what makes Benson’s truly special is the outdoor beer garden complete with a stage for bands on weekends. The kitchen at Benson’s is also open after 10 PM in case of late night nacho cravings. While the bar serves plenty of Colorado craft, something about drinking a Coors Banquet here just seems right. (128 N. F St.; 719-539-9391)

Boathouse Cantina: With stunning views of all the action on the Arkansas River, the Boathouse Cantina has the feel of a Rhode Island marina café instead of a ski town grill. However, these great views make this place incredibly busy so get there early to get the riverside tables, especially on weekends. The bar serves up a variety of Colorado craft beers and house-made sangrias, perfect sips while watching the river flow. (228 N. F St.; 719-539-5004)

Elevation Beer Company: While the zip code is Poncha Springs, getting to the fine brews at Elevation is merely a 15-minute drive on Highway 50 from hotel row in Salida. Don’t miss the brewery’s flagship beer, First Cast IPA (2013 gold medal US Open Beer Championship). The brewery also created a Kölsch that was served as a specialty beer at the county rodeo and became an immediate hit. Now the 8 Second Kölsch is on tap year around. More interesting beers include the Signal de Botrange, a farmhouse ale aged in chardonnay barrels or Fanboy, an American Oak aged Double IPA. (115 Pahlone Parkway, Poncha Springs; 719-539-5258)

Rivers Edge Bar & Restaurant: Also located along the Arkansas, Rivers Edge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a full service bar with soft seating. The bar has 13 taps and features Elevation Beer Company brews if you can’t make it over to Poncha Springs. The expansive deck overlooking the river also has giant infrared heaters to keep things comfortable well into the ski season. (300 W. Sackett Ave.; 719-207-4267)

Victoria Tavern: Warning: Now entering a true honky tonk. The wood floors have had so much beer spilled on them, it’s turned into a shiny acrylic coat on the floor. The weathered wooden bar is half a block long with only two bartenders behind it. Wait service at one of the lopsided tables? Forget it. Occasional 50 cent PBRs? Hell, yes! Live music from blues to reggae to zydeco on weekends and an awesome shuffle board complete the scene. Built in the 1900s, the place became a tavern in 1910 that continues to this day. If those sticky floors could talk… Find yourself next to real live cowboys at the bar or groovin’ with wedding parties in high heels and tuxedos on the dance floor. (143 N. F St.; 719-539-9003)

Vino Salida: No drinking trip is complete without a stop at a winery. Located on Highway 50, Vino Salida has been in operation since 2009 and is owner/winemaker Steve Flynn’s labor of love. Using Colorado grapes for the wine and Salida’s own Beeyond the Hive honey for mead, this winery/meadery creates some truly unique flavors. If you like what you taste in the tasting room, join Club Vino to have wines shipped back home to Denver. (8100 W. Hwy 50: 719-539-6299)

Wallbangers Sports Bar & Grill: For those who need to see the big game, watch it at Wallbangers located on hotel row, otherwise known as Highway 50. It’s got a gazillion TVs with a variety of sports. It’s also welcoming to little ones with a large kids menu. The staff are very proud of the food, which is mostly made from scratch: Hand-pattied burgers and fresh baked buns (who does that anymore?), and in-house smoked wings, ribs, pork and turkey served with hand-battered appetizers. Gluten-free buns are also available. (720 E. Hwy 50; 719-539-9544)

Wood’s High Mountain Distillery: Have a taste for the hooch? Just a half block from Main Street is Wood’s Distillery which produces small-batch gin, aged gin and whiskey and serves craft cocktails in the tasting room. Using Rocky Mountain juniper, the gin has an outdoor crispness without the burn. Try it in the Things Fall Apart cocktail made with muddled blueberries, blueberry simple syrup and basil. Tenderfoot Whiskey is best with an ice cube and has a buttery texture with a smoky oak taste and slight burn at the finish that the ice cube will temper. Buy a bottle to take with you and when you run out, Wood’s spirits are available in stores along the Front Range. (144 W. 1st St.; 719-207-4315)

Photos by Carrie Dow


Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Food, Shuffleboard, Spirits, Sports
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