Kaltenberg Brewery

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With its spectacular view of the slopes at the Vail ski resort it would have been easy to skimp on other aspects of the business at the Kaltenberg Castle Royal Bavarian Brewhouse but Prince Luitpold, great-grandson of Bavarian king Ludwig III chose to make his brewpub a memorable one. From the merchandise room at the entrance, through the expansive main dining room, past the ornate main bar, around the elegant side dining room and even out to the patio, everything has the look of being designed for royalty. And that's fine for the drinkers and diners visiting this brewpub that was once the gondola house for the ski resort. Today customers can sit at a dozen large and small wooden tables on red carpet at the outdoor patio and gaze upward at the Lionshead lift. Around the partially enclosed deck hang large Bavarian banners with a small bar and its two taps protected in one corner. While the inside bar features a copper shine and three sets of porcelain and chrome dual taps the outdoor facility is more pragmatic, it pours the beer right where the customers need it.

Beers may be sampled in a wooden holder set ($6.50), from 10 ounce glasses ($3.46), or in half-liter mugs ($4.38). The different glassware for each style of beer is a nice touch. The Kaltenberg Pilsner is a straw color and offers a crisp and clean hoppy flavor that lasts pleasantly into the finish. The Konig Ludwig Dunkel is a clear amber with a dry malty flavor, light body and finishes very clean. The Prinzregent Luitpold Weissbier, served without a lemon, is straw colored with a clove flavor, light body, very smooth mouthfeel, and slightly tart finish. The Oktoberfest is a clear gold color topped by a white creamy head with a medium body. The flavor balance was noticeably toward the hops but this sample cannot be considered representative since it was not being publicly served due to its old age. This example of emphasis on quality and the staff's knowledge and attitude mean this operation, now in its first year, is likely to last well into the future regardless of competitive pressures seen elsewhere in the market.

The food doesn't take a backseat to the beer as evidenced by the sausage sampler and the various main entrees priced from $7 to $19, all being Bavarian in taste and appearance. Particularly tasty are the schnitzels, potatoes, and the spaetzl. Happy hour yields half-off beer prices along with food specials and offers a good chance to experiment with new menu items. A children's menu is available as well. Hours of operation are Monday - Closed, Tuesday through Thursday 4 to 11:30 PM, Friday through Sunday 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM. The kitchen apparently closes at 9 PM nightly and the Sunday brunch runs until 3 PM. The facility is wheelchair accessible and the scenery as beautiful on the inside as out. A suit of armor stands guard over the merchandise room and its contents of clothing, glassware, ceramics and books. Kaltenberg Brewery is worthy of a trip down I-70 regardless of the season.


Kaltenberg Castle Royal Bavarian Brewhouse
600 Lionshead Mall
Vail, CO
(970)479-1050
www.snow.com

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - October, 1998


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