One of Colorado's small-town breweries may become an essential pitstop on your way to or from the mountains.
Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs
Humble Beginnings: Tim Lenahan and Charlie Sturdavant opened Tommyknocker Brewery  (TKB) in December of 1994, planting its roots in a building that was once known as the Placer Inn . Erected in 1892, the building was originally a stage stop on the edge of the frontier.
Fun Facts: TKB was named for the mythical, gnome-like men  whom Cornish miners believed played practical jokes and created mischief in the mines. Their establishment also happens to be only four-tenths of a mile away from where George A. Jackson found the first gold in Colorado .
Don't Miss: The Imperial Nut Brown Ale (9 percent ABV) and Mountain City Amber (5.5 percent ABV) are year-round staples, but the Cocoa Porter Ale (5.7 percent ABV) is only available seasonally while supplies last. As a brewery that boasts 17 Great American Beer Festival medals and four World Beer Cup awards, there's a good chance you'll fall in love with at least one of their offerings .
What to Expect: With a population of roughly 1,700, anywhere in Idaho Springs is guaranteed to give you that small town vibe. TKB's facilities are split in two: one area is a traditional sit-down restaurant while the other side hosts the bar and brewing facilities (though food is served in the bar, as well). Whichever you choose, expect to see families, amped up Broncos fans, red-faced skiiers, and lots of locals.
Make a Day of It: Nestled in the lower slopes of the Rockies and only a 30-minute drive from Denver, Idaho Springs is easily accessible and convenient year-round. Spend an afternoon perusing the quaint shops and cafes along the downtown strip, or plan to spend your Sundays during football season saddled up at TKB's bar. Since the town is a stone's throw off I-70, you can easily make a ritual out of stopping in for a pint pre- or post-ski weekend.
Visit: Tommyknocker Brewery is located at 1401 Miner St., Idaho Springs