Beer

Pueblo’s Four Breweries Offer a Diverse Beer Scene

Walter Brewing Company is located in an 1800s lager depot.
Walter Brewing Company is located in an 1800s lager depot. Ryan Pachmayer
Many Denverites know Pueblo as the site of the Colorado State Fair. Others might know the Pueblo chile, which has a hot rivalry with the New Mexico-grown Hatch variety. And Denver recently become home to a Pueblo-themed bar, Fuel & Iron, which owners and real estate brokers Zach Cytryn and Nathan Stern hope will get the city on the radar of Denverites as a destination for food, drinks and history, as Stern wrote in a recent op-ed.

Despite having far fewer breweries per capita than Denver, Boulder or Fort Collins, Pueblo does have an active local beer scene. It offers a surprisingly diverse and high-quality range of beers, served at locations with a deep and rich history.

Here's a rundown of Pueblo's four breweries:
click to enlarge A group of lagers from Brues Alehouse. - RYAN PACHMAYER
A group of lagers from Brues Alehouse.
Ryan Pachmayer
Brues Alehouse Brewing Company
120 Riverwalk Place, Pueblo
719-924-9670

Brues Alehouse is located right off the Arkansas Riverwalk, in a converted police station and jailhouse. Ironically, Brues Alehouse actually operates more like a lagerhaus — currently, eight of its thirteen beers on tap are made with lager yeast. Many of Brues’s beers are inspired by trips to Europe, specifically Germany and the Czech Republic. Brues even has its own reverse-osmosis water treatment in-house, to better replicate the water profiles of German and Czech-inspired lagers.

A recent sampling with a group of beer judges revealed solid beers across the board, from its Vienna Lager to the Export Gold, to the side-pull-served Czech 10°. Brues is not just a one-note brewery, however. Its hoppy lagers, or India pale lagers (IPLs), are a wonderful mix of IPA-style hops on a clean, crisp malt base.

On the ale side, the Exp. 472 Hazy IPA is a terrific example of the style, with a pillowy malt backbone setting the stage for big tropical fruit flavors. Brues’s food menu is reminiscent of upscale pub food. The Alehouse Grinder stood out, with a moderately spicy sausage patty, flavorful green chiles and cheese served on a hoagie roll. Brues also has an extensive list of appetizers, soups, salads and burgers. When the weather is nice, sitting outside on the patio is a fantastic option, right along the Riverwalk.
click to enlarge Shamrock Brewing Company is housed in a building with a rich Irish history. - RYAN PACHMAYER
Shamrock Brewing Company is housed in a building with a rich Irish history.
Ryan Pachmayer
Shamrock Brewing Company
108 West 3rd Street, Pueblo
719-542-9974

Shamrock Brewing Company, which has been brewing beer since 2005, is located in a building that was previously home to an Irish Pub since the 1960s. Memorabilia from the pub, such as a copy of the original liquor license, can be found in and around the bar.

Shamrock leans into the building's Irish heritage with a host of Irish-style beer and food. The Irish Red, an exemplar of a quickly disappearing beer style, is a delicious, malty, toasty brew with a touch of roast and a dry finish. Bags of imported Irish malt line the brewery, giving drinkers the confidence that what they’re sipping is made with care and intent. Other standouts include the Irish Porter, a brown porter-style beer that drinks similarly to a dry Irish stout.

Shamrock also offers a full lunch and dinner menu, with weekend brunch. Its Famous Scotch Eggs are a highlight, a delicious appetizer before main-course options that consist of burgers, sandwiches, corned beef and Irish beef boxty.
click to enlarge Walter Brewing Company's beer garden often hosts food trucks. - RYAN PACHMAYER
Walter Brewing Company's beer garden often hosts food trucks.
Ryan Pachmayer

The Walter Brewing Company
126 Oneida Street, Pueblo
719-542-0766

Another brewery with a whole lot of history behind it is the Walter Brewing Company, which is located in a building that was originally a late-1800s lager depot. The original company has roots in both Colorado and Wisconsin, and this 2000s revival of it in Pueblo brews several of the original recipes.

Walter’s Original Premium Pre-Prohibition American Pilsner is based on an 1800s German pilsner recipe. The beer is easy-drinking, with a distinct grainy flavor and a moderate hop bitterness. Walter’s Pueblo Chile Beer packs a great deal of pepper flavor from the town’s namesake chile, with a touch of heat at the end. The bock is dark and malty, a delicious brew, but at only 5.2 percent ABV, it won’t keep you from reaching for a second.

You can find a regular lineup of food trucks at the Walter as well, along with plenty of music acts. Its outdoor beer garden spans the side and back of the building and provides a nice atmosphere for socializing.
click to enlarge Reservoir Brewing is located in Pueblo West. - RYAN PACHMAYER
Reservoir Brewing is located in Pueblo West.
Ryan Pachmayer
Reservoir Brewing
181 South Purcell Boulevard, Pueblo West
719-647-8864

Despite only being fifteen minutes from downtown Pueblo, most of the people I met in Pueblo West indicated that they don’t often head “into town.” Pueblo West has the feel of a far metro suburb, akin to a town like Watkins, just east of Aurora. Reservoir Brewing has been open for almost four years, and the inside is fairly cozy. A bar occupies a majority of the front of the house, giving the space a very homey feel. Service is friendly and engaging as well. The spicy cheese curds were a menu favorite, delivering a flavorful, slow-burning — but manageable — heat from habaneros. The Pueblo grilled cheese was another menu item that had people with full mouths nodding in approval.

While some of the beers had a distinctly high level of acetaldehyde (green apple) flavor, standouts included the Spillway Kölsch, a clean, malt-forward interpretation of the style. The Revolution New England IPA was another favorite, with a pleasant mix of tropical hops and a reasonable bitterness that helps balance all that sweet malt and citrus hop flavor.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ryan Pachmayer is a beer writer living in Arvada. He has written for publications such as Craft Beer & Brewing, Zymurgy, Porch Drinking, Homebrewing DIY and Punch. He is also the head brewer at Yak & Yeti Brewpub, marketing director at New Image Brewing and a BJCP Certified Judge.