Durango breweries release new craft beer honoring 50 years of the Colorado Trail


Amanda Knorr with Ska Brewing pours a Colorado Trail beer on June 27 at Ska World Headquarters. Durango breweries celebrated the trail’s 50th anniversary with a new specialty craft beer. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Durango breweries celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Colorado Trail by brewing a specialty craft beer.

Ska, Steamworks Brewing, Anarchy, Carver, Animas and High Trestle brewing companies banded together to produce the Hit the Trail Pale Ale.

“We always like to support what we can with the Colorado Trail,” said Ska Marketing Director Kristen Muraro. “A lot of people finish hiking the trail and come by the breweries in town to have a beer and celebrate after they’ve completed the trail.”

The Colorado Trail was first conceived by the Roundup Riders of the Rockies in 1973. It was formally connected in 1988. Since then, it’s become one of Colorado’s popular attractions, as hikers will trek

Anarchy Brewing Co. owner Matty Sullivan works on the Hit the Trail Pale Ale. (Courtesy of Ska Brewing Co.)

from Denver to Durango by foot (or bike) and vice versa.

According to the Colorado Trail Foundation, about 500 people complete the 486-mile trail each year, often to enjoy a cold brew at one of Durango’s breweries.

This is the first time the breweries have collaborated on this scale since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the philanthropic arm of Durango’s brewing community, called the Bootlegger’s Society, the group felt it was an opportunity to help the Colorado Trail Foundation.

Twenty percent of all proceeds from each beer sale goes toward the Colorado Trail Foundation. The nonprofit organization employs four full-time employees, with the mission of educating people about the trail.

The beer will be sold on tap at all participating breweries for what will likely be two weeks, Muraro said. It will not be available for wholesale purchase.

She said specialty brews tend to do well in Durango.

“Most of our limited release beers are very popular,” she said. “ … People love trying something that they can’t have all the time.”

Carver Brewing Co. head brewer Patrick Jose said it’s been a success so far after its June 28 launch.

Jose said the brew was developed by a brewery in Salida, but participating breweries were able to choose how the beer was finished, giving each a slightly different flavor.

“Everybody uses different varietals for dry hopping,” he said.

Here is a glass of the Colorado Trail specialty craft beer, seen on June 27 at Ska World Headquarters. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

He said it takes about six to seven hours to brew the beer and then about 2½ weeks for the yeast to ferment.

Carver Brewing Co. has historically participated in the Colorado Trail fun, offering a free beer to those who have successfully finished the trail.

“Last year, we gave over 600 pints away for free, so I think we got almost every single one of them as a result,” Jose said. “We’ve always had kind of a special relationship.”

The beer will likely be available for another two weeks and possibly through the end of the month, depending on its popularity.

“Steamworks has a couple more kegs,” he said. “But it could be two to three weeks there, and I know Anarchy has a little bit more than that.”

Post courtesy of DurangoHerald.com.

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