Welcome to Palisade, Colorado! Things are a little different in this temperate high desert, which makes it an ideal place to grow not only its world-famous peaches, but a whole slew of produce. Palisade is also a hotspot for craft beverages and because it is nested in the Grand Valley, rich with fertile agricultural land, very little needs to be imported. In fact, craft beverages around Colorado often begin with Palisade's bounty which produces vegetables and fruits that chefs, brewers, distillers and winemakers can't get enough of.
While there is no wrong way to spend an afternoon indulging in tastefully crafted libations, there is a better way. Cruising from spot to spot by bicycle is a great way to not only enjoy each tasting opportunity, but also a stunning way to view Palisade, which is flanked by some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado.
The 700-foot Book Cliffs tower over the land to the north, the maze of canyons that is Colorado National Monument lies off to the west, and the world’s largest flat top mountain, The Grand Mesa, stands watch in the east. All these unique geological features play a part in Palisade’s one of a kind climate and landscape.
If biking is the better way to embark on this craft beverage tour, then an e-bike is the best way to sip 'n spin. E-bikes are easy to operate and, most importantly, nearly silent - which also makes it convenient and comfortable to chat with friends while you ride. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot! Rapid Creek Cycles rents both regular cruiser bikes and e-bikes, all equipped with baskets to hold any mementos you pick up along the way.
Once you pick up your bike from Rapid Creek, you're ready to get started. Hit this short list of places or add on a few of your own – there are over 26 wineries, 6 breweries and 2 distilleries in the Grand Junction area to explore. Be warned though, once you get settled in at each spot and start sampling the delicious liquid nectar, it can be difficult to remember your favorites. Be sure to take notes for future reference, or place an order for pick-up before you return back home.
Nestled right against the Colorado River, Colterris Winery and tasting room has picturesque views of the water on one side and the Book Cliffs on the other. With a large outdoor seating area, it is the perfect spot to relax with an aromatic glass of wine and enjoy your surroundings. Colterris is also known for their canned wine, Canterris. Born from the dream of a wine that could keep up with Colorado's adventurous outdoor recreation spirit, Colterris goes to great lengths to make sure the same great taste you get from a bottle comes from their cans, perfect for your backpack.
Hint: Plan ahead and the outdoor garden area is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic.
St. Kathryn Cellars and Talon winery makes a great stop on any craft beverage tour. Together, they offer not only the largest tasting room and gift shop of its kind in Palisade, but in all of Colorado. Here, you can taste wine from two different brands as well as their honey inspired wine, Meadery of the Rockies, and don't forget to sample the homemade butter fudge!
Nestled perfectly within 21 acres of grape-producing vines, Colorado's first wine-themed hotel is a must-stop. This charming Victorian style inn is known for its comfortable ambiance and is a relaxing place to enjoy a beverage along with local cuisine - perfect timing along your craft beverage tour. The Inn offers two restaurants, so if you want a quick tavern bite at Tapestry Lounge, try the duck quesadilla; or stay awhile and dine at the French-inspired Caroline's restaurant, the Colorado Honey Trout is amazing. Both are accompanied by the stunning backdrop that is Palisade and is the reason why this special inn is popular for special occasions and weddings.
I didn’t think I liked cider until I tasted Talbott's hard cider – what a pleasant surprise! Add a wide variety of flavors to their refreshing thirst quencher and you've got a guaranteed recipe for a good time. The Talbott family has been in Colorado's Grand valley for over 100 years, and creating top notch cider remains a family affair. The Talbott's still own and operate the farm to ensure their cider lives up to the high standards set by their great-great-great grandfather. Today, the Talbott Cider Tap House is a friendly place to stop and enjoy a game of cornhole with other craft enthusiasts while enjoying Talbott's handcrafted cider perfected over generations.
Photo by @BraveSkiMom
The folks over at Peach Street are known as "fearless craftsmen" for their innovative approach to their masterfully distilled spirits. They have a wide selection to choose from. Seriously, everything from vodka and gin, to brandy, tequila, bourbon and whiskey - you'll find something to wet your whistle here. Keep an eye out for their coveted Tub Gin, infused with plums and released in limited edition micro-batches. If you have the opportunity to snatch up a bottle, jump on it! Schedule ahead for a distillery tour that conveniently ends in their tasting room.
Photo by Palisade Brewing Company
A perfect stop after Peach Street Distillers, for a few reasons. First off, Palisade Brewing Company is right across the street from Peach Street Distillers. There is also the age-old nugget of wisdom "liquor before beer, in the clear" to consider. Head Brewer, Danny Wilson, brews innovative American style beer with respect to traditional European fundamentals of craft brewing. Close the deal of your epic craft beverage tour with a hearty meal at their restaurant - consider a smoked meat sampler or the popular "kitchen sink".
Hint: JR's Carriage Service is another popular way to experience your craft beverage tour. Take in area’s scenic beauty on a custom built Les Voitures Robert Carriage made in Quebec, Canada with beautiful and stately draft horses leading the way. We promise you'll feel like royalty!
Looking for more ways to enjoy the craft beverage scene in Grand Junction? Check out the itinerary on page 23 of the Grand Junction Adventure Guide.