Posts BySue Bjorkman – PorchDrinking.com
In Colorado’s crazy-competitive craft beer climate, what makes the difference between soaring success and sorry, we’re closed? Sometimes, in addition to making amazing beers, it helps to find a niche. Soulcraft Brewery in Salida, Colorado, found theirs, a little unexpectedly—in music.
A passionate group of local investors opened Soulcraft Brewery in November 2016 with every intention of simply being a local tasting room serving incredible beer. It wasn’t surprising that the locals responded immediately. It also wasn’t too shocking that tourists traveling to nearby Monarch Mountain Ski Resort responded big time. Soulcraft is right on Highway 50 with a bright neon sign shouting, “Brewery.” This is more than enough to entice adventure-seekers rolling through.
But then an intriguing thing happened. This music-loving town of just 5,500 residents had always had more soul than space. But Soulcraft’s location was in a large, former furniture warehouse so its rare spaciousness got people thinking. Dreaming. Could their tasting room become an entertainment destination? Oh yea.
Chaffee County’s microbreweries each offer something much more intrinsic and intangible than just great beer. All four radiate that laid back, sun shining, day off; everyone’s your friend, nowhere-else-I-need-to-be kind of feeling. Yea, that’s the beer buzz talking, but it’s also about the human factor here. It’s about local brewers and entrepreneurs who create craft beers with that “I get paid for doing this?!” grin on their faces. Their work-hard, play-hard attitude permeates these taprooms. This summer they’re letting the sun shine on their creativity. Drink ‘em while it’s hot. No extra charge for the spectacular mountain and river views. Visit their taprooms and also sample their specialties at the Colorado Brewer’s Rendezvous in Salida, July 8.
Most beer lovers assume beer fests are for them. Like the liquid smorgasbord is a thank you gift for being loyal craft beer fans. But the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous wasn’t originally intended for you, the beer drinker. Don’t get me wrong, you’re invited now, you’re more than welcome, but initially it was just an annual membership meeting of the Colorado Brewers Guild. When a bunch of brewers gather to rendezvous, though, it’s going to be a party. And parties are meant to be shared.
Feature image credit: FIBArk Facebook page.
Pretty much Anywhere USA can host a music fest. Even a beer fest can find home in plenty of locales. But for a funky festival like FIBArk, it takes a river. In this case, it’s the Arkansas River rushing through Salida in Chaffee County, Colorado. Famous for whitewater rafting, this wild stretch of water is a natural playground for kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, tubes and fly fishing. So FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) celebrates the transformation that happens when the snowmelt turns the river into a thrilling, rapid-filled adventureland.