ESTES PARK BREWERY
Estes Park Brewery was not what we expected. Looked good from the outside; just weird on the inside. Open the front door and you’ll wonder if you’re in the wrong place. Instead of walking into a cool bar, it seemed we were walking into a poorly lit clothing store (see picture). Behind racks of Estes Park Brewery schwag, you can see a little tasting bar. Since we didn’t want to drink in that atmosphere, we headed upstairs to the main pub area.
Unfortunately, the upstairs wasn’t much of an improvement. It was a vast space – largely empty when we were there – with a slew of light wood tables. It resembled more of a Cracker Barrel than a restaurant, aside from the two pool tables and handful of arcade games in the corner. When informed by the bartender that we couldn’t taste anything (for free) before buying a pint (they only do this in the merchandise area downstairs), I took a chance on an IPA and Lauren on their flagship Raspberry Wheat. We didn’t stay long.
In addition to the staple beers shown in the menu picture, they also had four seasonals, a Marzen Octoberfest, a Blueberry Wheat, a Pale Ale and a Barley Wine.
ROCK CUT BREWING CO
After our quick visit to Estes Park Brewery, Rock Cut was more what the doctor ordered. It’s a small place that is well laid out and the focus is only on beer, with pretzels the only food available. Our only complaint about the atmosphere was that the music was barely audible.
Rock Cut only opened in August, but they’re off to a strong start, with quality beers and a nice setting. We had the IPA (of course) and the Pilsner and sampled a few others. All were solid.