Summit Suds: Quandary Peak and Imperial Fabulously Delicious Finely Hopped Brown |

Summit Suds: Quandary Peak and Imperial Fabulously Delicious Finely Hopped Brown

Hikers walk along the main trail to Summit County's Quandary Peak in August 2017.
Summit Daily file

This excerpt was originally published in the summer 2019 edition of Explore Summit magazine. Pick one up or visit for the full article.

A fabulous way for locals and tourists alike to treat themselves in Summit County is sipping a beer after exercise, whether that be skiing, hiking, biking, paddleboarding or any other outdoor activity. As the snow finally melts and trails dry, now is a great time to explore the wilderness on foot and follow up with a celebratory beverage on a brewery patio.

Being residents of this active community themselves, here are some favorite trails and craft concoctions combos handpicked by brewers.

Almost all local breweries have canned four packs, crowlers (a growler in a can), or accept fills of more portable, nonglass growlers made of materials such as plastic. However, as public consumption is illegal, it is best to consume these beverages at your trailhead rental, other domicile or the brewery itself post-recovery stretching.

Quandary Peak

Gaining 3,330 feet in elevation over 3.1 miles, Ford said the best way to honor the short-but-steep hike is with a big beer that’s meant to be savored and not slammed. Clocking in at a hefty 12.5% alcohol by volume, the Imperial Fabulously Delicious Finely Hopped Brown is just the thing. It has characteristics of roasted grains along with woodsy, bourbon flavors from being aged in Breckenridge Distillery bourbon barrels.

Imperial Fabulously Delicious Finely Hopped Brown

Broken Compass Brewing

68 Continental Court, Unit B12, Breckenridge

Style: Barrel-aged brown

ABV: 12.5%

Ingredients: Chocolate and coffee malts

Pair with: Dried fruit

Quandary Peak is summited about once a year by Broken Compass Brewing owner Jason Ford. “I can see it out the window from my house,” Ford said. “It’s a 14er that’s fun and goes through the woods, and you have some stuff above timberline. It’s cool because it always has goats on it.”

“If they age long enough, they’ll get these dark fruit characteristics of date or prunes, which would go really well with the dried fruit you have on the trail.”

Drive south on Colorado Highway 9 through Breckenridge to reach the trailhead. Once you pass the town of Blue River, continue on for 4 miles and turn right onto Blue Lakes Road (Forest Development Road 850). You can either park along the side of the road after turning right onto McCullough Gulch Road (FDR 851) or keep driving 0.23 miles up to the trailhead for an extremely limited parking area.

“It’s not something you’d do on the regular, and it’s not for everybody, but it’s one of my favorite combos,” Ford said. “There’s a little bit of everything on that hike. I dig it.”

Jefferson Geiger is the arts & entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Everything Summit. Have a question about beer? Send him an email at

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