Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery, which has been a fixture in Summit County for more than two decades, closed its doors last week, just as the ski and snowboarding season began. Charlie Eazor, who has owned the brewpub since 2010 with his brother, Joe, told the Summit Daily that he is thinking about retirement and that none of his family members wants to take it over; the Eazors also sold Frisco’s Blue Spruce restaurant earlier this year.
Backcountry is the second longtime Summit County brewpub to change hands this year. In May, the owners of Pug Ryan’s Brewery, Travis and Annie Holton, retired and sold the business to longtime Breckenridge Brewery brewer John Jordan and his wife, Judy. The Holtons had owned Pug's as just a restaurant since 1986 and converted it into a full brewpub in 1997. The new owners plan to change some of the beers, but they have so far kept the Pug’s name. That probably won’t happen in Backcountry’s case, though.
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That’s because the owners of Broken Compass Brewing in Breckenridge have taken over the prominent two-story building, which sits at the intersection of Summit Boulevard/Colorado Highway 9, which runs from I-70 south to Breckenridge, and Frisco’s quaint Main Street. Broken Compass co-owner David Axelrod says he can’t comment yet on what his plans are for the brewery.
Founded in 1996 by a group of investors that included Frisco city councilman Woody VanGundy, Backcountry was sold in 2010 to Charlie and Joe Eazor, who owned several Summit County restaurants. They expanded the brewing operations shortly thereafter and began packaging their beer as a way to help the brewery survive during the slow spring and fall months. Eazor couldn't be reached for comment.
The Eazors also inherited brewer Alan Simons, who won two Great American Beer Festival medals — for Saison du Summer and May Bock — and created the brewery’s stellar but rare double IPA as well as its Pilsner and Breakfast Stout. Simons left in 2015 to take the top job at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora.
Backcountry will remain closed in the near future as Broken Compass dials in its plans for the brewery. Since all of the equipment is in place, though, beer-making could resume before year’s end.