Updated: May 27, 2015

The Breckenridge Brewery & Pub, located on the south end of Main Street where South Ridge intersects, has been a staple in town since Richard Squire opened it back in 1990.

The Founder

As the story goes, Richard Squire, the founder of Breckenridge Brewery, was a ski bum making home brews ever since the 1980s. After a while, he realized he was spending less time skiing than brewing, and his top-notch brews deserved a bigger audience.

The founding story shows what kind of town Breckenridge really is: a fun, authentic ski town. Here we have a skier making beer for himself and his close friends and turning it into a business for others to enjoy.

The Brewery & Pub

With time, Squire realized it would be better to continue creating these fresh beers as a true business venture and set off to create a friendly environment where folks could enjoy those beers along with great homemade food. With an excellent view of the mountains right off Main Street, the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub officially opened in February 1990.

As the third craft brewery in the state, Breckenridge was ahead of the “beer curve” in Colorado. Locals and visitors started visiting the brewpub to enjoy fresh, craft beer and excellent snacks and food. The value proposition was simple: We’ll serve you authentic food, fresh beer, and after a hard day of skiing in the mountains, it’s going to be a great experience. And it has been, for over 20 years.

Atmosphere & Experience

A fresh beer set against a mash tun and a TV at the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub bar

A fresh beer set against a mash tun and a TV at the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub bar

The first time visiting the Breckenridge Brewery may be overwhelming, but for good reason: The small parking lot out front probably doesn’t have any open spots, you may have to wait a few minutes for a table in the bar area, the tall fermenting vessels dominate the scene behind the bar, and staff will be running up and down the stairs.

In addition to the beautiful mountain scene just beyond the windows or the patio, the fermenting tanks are a great photo opportunity. One of the reasons you visit the Brewery is to see, well, brewing, right? It’s happening, and if you’ve brewed beer or visited a brewery before, the signature smell can’t be missed.

The pub is a big, two-story building which means sometimes you can have it all to yourself and other times you’ll get to wait a little bit. Our experience has always been great: The staff is always friendly and happy to chat, talk knowledgeably about beer, or just chit-chat about the snow.

The experimental beer tap handle

The experimental tap handle

In fact, if you’re waiting around by yourself or with friends, watching the TVs at the bar, its very easy to strike up a friendly conversation with someone nearby. And while the guys behind the bar are top-notch at pouring dozens of drinks in just a few minutes, if you’re especially nice (and it’s not too busy) you should ask for a special taster from the house keg; it’s usually full of an experimental beer not available anywhere else.

Expansion & The Future

The local pub is hard to beat, but the Breckenridge Holding Company has grown the original concept of fresh beer, great food, and excellent service in recent years: Breckenridge expanded operations to Denver and has become one of the first craft brewers to package craft beer in 6- and 12-packs. They now operate five brewpubs in Colorado and brew over 62,000 barrels of beer every year. To put that in perspective, the original Breckenridge Brewery was turning out a “mere” 3,000 barrels.

Despite the growth and expansion, the quality has never been sacrificed and the values from the original brewpub remain: authentic, local, community oriented, laid-back, and delicious.

For the causal visitor, hard-core beer aficionados, and skier just looking for some après treats, the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub delivers. The nachos are huge, the Vanilla Porter is a hit for folks who “don’t usually like beer” and the 471 small batch IPA is great for those who like hops.

Be sure to visit the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub on south Main Street to get a taste of the Breckenridge culture for yourself.

Post by Devin Reams, a Denver-based home-brewer, blogger, and frequent visitor (skier) to Breckenridge.