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Road-Trip Restaurant: Leadville’s Periodic Brewing

This high-elevation brewhouse, which sits just off historic Leadville's main drag, is a beer-lover’s retreat.

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It’s no wonder Periodic Brewing’s taproom has been luring craft-beer geeks since it opened in 2015: Not only does the Leadville brewhouse churns out memorable IPAs, imperial stouts, and Scotch ales from its kicked-back bar, but at 10,156 feet, Periodic is the highest-elevation brewery in North America and the second highest brewery in the world.

The Labbe family (Chris Labbe; his wife, Pam; his brother, Evan; and Evan’s wife, Beth), all Leadville locals since the late 1980s, chose a beautifully renovated historic-district Victorian home for their high-altitude brewery. The family’s beer business quickly garnered a hardcore high-country following, becoming so popular, in fact, that the Labbe’s recently opened an ancillary brewery and taproom in Northglenn to expand production and snag a slice of the Front Range fermentation scene.

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My husband, toddler, and I stumbled on the Leadville location after a mid-winter backcountry ski near Mayflower Gulch, just 17 miles from the brewery. Hungry and exhausted, we sidled up to the half-moon wood bar and scanned the day’s brews on the flat-screen. We settled on a four-pack flight served in science class beakers. The substantial 4.5-ounce pours—including the heavily hopped and malted Hope Pass IPA and the dark-as-night Tourmaline Black Ale—were named for big mountain endurance races and quarried minerals.

The real kicker was the tiny kitchen’s unassuming snack menu. The seriously elaborate meat and cheese board ($10) featured pistachio-dusted goat cheese curds sourced from Buena Vista’s Jumpin Good Goat Dairy, house-made smoked ham, balsamic-onion marmalade, a spicy beer mustard, and a smattering of pistachios, pickles, jalapeño slices, and cherry peppers that added heat and crunch to the experience. Served with an overflowing basket of flatbread crackers, it was a filling appetizer that paired perfectly with the cool brews.

The next time you’re traveling along the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway, stop in to Periodic Brewing and see what’s on the 12 revolving taps, order the meat and cheese board, and head upstairs to relax on the cushy couches where you can while away the hours with a well-worn stash of board games. Periodic has got high-altitude brewing, snacking, and relaxing down to a science.

115 E. Seventh St.,
Leadville, 720-316-8144

 

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