During a recent event sponsored by Colorado Brewers Guild, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jason (aka Ford) and Jo Ford to discuss their newly opened Broken Compass Brewing, located in Breckenridge, CO. Ford and Jo, together with business partner Dave “Ax” Axelrod, saw a gap in the local market (and a chance to keep up with their skiing) and became the first brewery to open in Summit County in more than a decade.
A departure from many of the surrounding mountain town breweries, Broken Compass has decided to skip the kitchen/brewpub concept, instead focusing strictly on the beer. This sharp focus is evident in current popular offerings such as a Toasted Coconut Porter designed by Jo that boasts 350 pounds of hand roasted organic unsweetened coconut in each 20 barrel batch.
The Chili Pepper Pale Ale features a melange of peppers (anaheim, poblano, serrano, jalapeño and habanero) added during secondary fermentation, which have been hand-roasted and de-seeded, resulting in a beer that boasts bright flavors, minimal heat and is both flavorful and sessionable.
Ford’s Portland roots are evident in his IPA, which he has designed using plenty of residual sugars and a malt backbone big enough to stand up to the assertiveness of the hops. Warrior, Cascade and Centennial are used during the boil with Amarillo, Simcoe, Williamette and Colorado-grown Nugget for dry hopping. Makes us thirsty just typing it!
In addition to the beers mentioned above, current seasonal offerings at Broken Compass include a black IPA, a Double IPA, a Ginger Pale Ale and an Irish Red. They also have a Chocolate Pumpkin Stout in the works that will definitely be worth a trip up the mountain to sample this Fall.
Conveniently located next to the Breckenridge Distillery, Broken Compass has easy access to fresh bourbon barrels and already have eight barrel projects in the works, including a Barrel-Aged India Brown and a Barrel-Aged version of the Black Saison they made in collaboration with Summit County’s other 4 breweries for this past Collab Fest.
On our recent visit to the tap room, all 10 of the beers being offered were great examples of their respective style. Our favorites were the Toasted Coconut Porter and Chili Pale Ale mentioned above, along with the outstanding Chocolate Coffee Stout. Rich and decadent, the Stout seemed to disappear all too quickly.
The tap room is intimate but well-appointed with board games, a nicely finished bar and two large community style tables made out of decommissioned lift chairs. The tasting room is dog and kid friendly, with a selection of non-alcoholic drinks available as well. With a friendly staff that’s willing to go out of their way to make guests feel at home, Broken Compass will surely be a regular stop for us when we’re in the area.
Broken Compass plans to release bombers in the near future to help facilitate the thirsty tourists throughout the Winter months and is also considering canning their beers for future distribution. Look for a tap house to open on Main Street in Breckenridge when growth allows.
In the meantime, get up there and try some of these tasty brews. Stay up to date with all the latest happening and tappings by following Broken Compass on Facebook.
68 Continental Ct., B12
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Open daily from 11:30 a.m. until around 11:00 p.m.
By: Greg Nelson