Stop Two in the Beer-muda Triangle- Crystal Springs Brewing

Heading south from Twelve Degree Brewing, it is a mere 5 minute walk to Gravity Brewing. Common sense would naturally dictate for that to be the next stop, however I haven’t visited them since December, so that will be Stop Number Three.

Therefore, we head out on a 12 minute bike ride or a quick 8 minute drive to Crystal Springs Brewing, located in the Louisville Tech Center, 657 S. Taylor Ave., Unit E, Louisville, CO

WARNING…it is a little tricky to find this place among all of the similar looking buildings. Don’t give up, intrepid craft beer enthusiasts and you will be well-rewarded.

Some back story…

Just after we moved to Louisville last May I read an article about Crystal Springs and its owner, Tom Horst. I had just deserted a partially completed dissertation, retired from Denver Public Schools, and was becoming more involved with food and beer. I stopped by the place and construction had just begun. I liked Tom. He had a doctorate, was a public school teacher, and had been successfully brewing for years. We had a short chat while we walked around the place and he described the plans he had for the place. I had just passed my Level 1 cicerone certification and I thought I could be very happy serving beers there. I was quite disappointed when I didn’t get a call.

Hence, it has taken me quite awhile to get over the emotional letdown and get over there to taste their beers. Also, truthfully speaking, Twelve Degree Brewing is a mile and a half from our home.


Because the buildings are constructed so they can cater to a wide variety of clientele, they are pretty similar on the outside. Thankfully, there is a blinking “Open” sign in the window. Take care where you park as only a few spots are assigned to the brewery, but there is plenty of on street parking.



From a nondescript outside, step in and find a warm, relaxed, jovial atmosphere. Simple butcher block bar and tables  with ample room to move around. A huge                               chalkboard details the wide range of available beers.




A Happy Couple



Belly up to the bar and have a friendly chat.



This couple enjoys a fine set of tasters.




Aging barrels and fermenters in the back room








My taster tray, nicely labeled, included the following South Ridge Amber, Solano, Doc’s American Porter, Black Saddle #4, and Road Trip Ginger Chocolate Stout


My Tasters

South Ridge Amber, 7.3% ABV, 36.4 IBU’s. Long lasting head, excellent lacing, nice balance on the nose. Long, hoppy finish, but not overpowering. Certainly a great warm weather beer and an excellent pairing for burgers and Mexican food.

Solano, 6.0% ABV, 27 IBU’s. I love the IDEA of chile beers, but have most often been disappointing, one note…a bit of a burn and nothing else. Almost like one just added capsaicin extract to the wort. Not here! This one had a nice roast on the nose and palate, similar to what you would experience if you were standing next to a chile roaster. Moderate carbonation and I was feeling it all the way down my throat. Pair this with chocolate.

Doc’s American Porter, 7.5 ABV, 50 IBU’s.  Fascinating history of porter and its derivative stout. Doc’s is a fine example. Deep brown color, nicely carbonated, a hint of coffee and well-balanced.

Black Saddle #4, 12.6% ABV (Wow!), 70.3 IBU’s. A veritable assault on your sensory apparatus…very good, port-like, great dessert beer. Small glasses only and a great pairing with a dark chocolate flour-less torte. Don’t be fooled by the high IBU’s as it only serves to balance.

Road Trip Ginger Chocolate Stout, 7.2% ABV, 41.1 IBU’s. Very dark, ginger on the nose. Ginger and unsweetened chocolate on the palate, mouth-coating. Not my style, but admirably constructed.

There were several other beers on the menu, but I think my palate gets a bit overloaded after five. They do brew their own root beer and offer a meat and cheese plate as well. Food trucks make a consistent and welcome appearance as it is a bit out of town. Definitely worth a visit. You will taste some fine brews.


Tom Horst