Best of Vail Valley: Alcoholic Beverages
The valley’s best booze, as voted by readers of the Vail Daily
Thanksgiving is now behind us, and if you are still recovering from the turkey or from batting down the prying questions of family members, these are the best spots in town to get something to sip.
Whether your style is BYOB or specialty house cocktails (shaken, not stirred) you’ll find the glass you’re looking for at these fan-favorite restaurants, stores and drinking holes.
The Vail Valley has a number of places to enjoy an adult beverage in style. Here are our readers’ favorites:
Drunken Goat in Edwards has beer, wine and a host of specialty cocktails, such as its mules, including the traditional Moscow, along with variations from London, Kentucky and Mexico. There’s a red wine mule, too.
The Rose, also in Edwards, focuses on local fare. Specialty cocktails include a traditional mai tai that will send you straight to tiki time. The spicy margarita is a good one, too.
At Root & Flower in Vail Village, you don’t need alcohol to have a good time. Romance is not promised with the Lavender Love Potion #9, but it is delicious. If you’re feeling tropical, try the Banana Dolphin, a delightful combination of bourbon, pineapple amaro, banana liqueur and tiki spices.
Best Craft Beer Selection-Liquor Store
For those hop-crazed beer fanatics, the favorites selected this year by our readers offer the greatest varieties in satisfying suds.
Boone’s Wine and Spirits is a heavyweight in this category, with more than 400 brews stocked in 42 coolers, as well as an aisle dedicated to rare bombers and hard-to-find microbrews. For those wanting to find something new, beer tastings are also a regular happening at Boone’s.
If you’re in the Edwards area, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits has been keeping the coolers stocked since 1996 with a selection to meet the needs of any hop fanatic who walks through their doors.
Avon Liquor is also a consistent winner in this category. Every craft brew in its 300-plus selection is tested by staff before being put on the shelves, and strong vendor relations lead to rare beer finds.
Looking for somewhere to watch the game? Bob’s Place in Avon is everything you could ask for in a sports bar. The walls are lined with TVs. They have pool tables and foosball and serve delicious wings with a variety of sauces. Draft beer and daily drink specials help the case.
In Lionshead Village, Garfinkel’s is the local’s choice for watching your team. Make sure to bring your ski boots and your jersey to this sports bar at the base of the mountain, so you can sneak in some turns at halftime.
For those looking for fine football fare, head to Etown in Edwards for food specials and your game of choice playing on one of the many flat screens.
Best Wine Selection-Restaurant
The extensive wine selection at Vin48 in Avon is expertly curated by longtime local and Wine Director Greg Eynon. The wine bar uses an Enomatic wine serving system that maintains the characteristics of a wine for several weeks after the bottle is opened, allowing the venue to offer a wide selection of labels by the glass while preventing waste. Featuring more than 40 wines by the glass, with half-priced “taste” options available for each, guests have the opportunity to discover new favorites and sample recommendations from the knowledgeable staff. Those who already know what they like can delve into Vin48’s long list of by-the-bottle offerings, which pair nicely with their diverse menu of small and large plates.
The Drunken Goat is drunk for a reason. Located off of U.S. Route 6 in Edwards, their in-house staff of wine experts have hand-selected nearly 50 wine options to satisfy any palette and are happy to walk guests through the extensive menu. If you are seeking a wine and cheese match made in heaven, The Drunken Goat will guide you there, and then invite you to happily indulge on their outdoor patio with a view of the mountains.
The Assembly in Eagle is a newcomer to the valley, but it is already making a splash with its eclectic and out-of-the-box wine offerings. Caleb Mackey, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Jaimie, curates the wine list and focuses on featuring smaller producers who tend to use more traditional and craft-style production methods. The result is a menu that you won’t find anywhere else and wines that reflect both the care and creativity of their niche labels.
Best Wine Selection-Liquor Store
The more you learn about wine, the harder the choices become. At first, developing a taste of wine means finding a few familiar bottles you like. Once you expand that portfolio, you find yourself sifting through the aisles looking for the perfect meal pairing. Luckily, these three liquor stores were voted by our readers as having the best selections, paired with the most helpful staff.
Boone’s Wine and Spirits delivers on both selection and staff knowledge, offering downvalley residents a pathway to a perfect pairing. Since it is always offering specials, Boone’s also eases the decision-making when the choices boil down to a toss-up.
Avon Liquor’s cellar-style wine wing is loaded with crates of fine wines from the world’s most revered regions. Avon Liquor prides itself on its vendor relations and its ability to score rare-find wines for its shoppers.
Beaver Liquors has more than a clever marketing strategy; its downstairs wine cellar offers a large variety in a cozy setting, where the most enthusiastic wine-lovers can take their time reading labels and comparing bottles in a relaxed environment.
Colorado is known for being the land of microbreweries, and the Vail Valley boasts some top-notch ones.
Bonfire Brewing celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020 and proudly brews all of its beer on-site at its taproom in Eagle. Local favorites like Firestarter IPA and Demshitz Brown Ale, plus creative seasonal concoctions like the notorious seltzer and fruit-based blended slush, keep us coming back for more. (Bonfire Brewing taproom is currently closed, but you can still find their beer in taprooms across the valley.)
Vail Brewing Co. in EagleVail and Vail Village has a constantly evolving menu that includes the staple Hot Mess Blonde Ale, Pete’s Stash Pale Ale and Gore Creek IPA alongside brown ales, hazies and sours that are sure to tickle your tastebuds.
Gore Range Brewery in Edwards is owned and operated by chef and brew-master Pascal Coudouy. Coudouy uses the knowledge he gained as a French culinary graduate and his decades of experience to create delicious craft beers that pair with his menu offerings. (Gore Range Brewery is now permanently closed.)