The Barrel, Estes Park’s first outdoor beer garden, to open in spring

The Barrel will soon open in Estes Park (Logo courtesy of The Barrel)

The Barrel will soon open in Estes Park (Logo courtesy of The Barrel)

You’ve just summited Colorado’s storied Longs Peak, you’ve earned a beer.  You spent a night in Room 217 at The Stanley Hotel, saw a ghost, and peed your pants; you need a drink to calm your nerves.  After a few rounds at Estes Park Brewery, you realize you’re still thirsty.  Where can your designated driver take you?  Where in Estes Park does one find a good beer?  Starting in spring of this year, one needs look no further than The Barrel.

Site plan for The Barrel (design courtesy of The Barrel)

Site plan for The Barrel (design courtesy of The Barrel)

Located in downtown Estes Park, next to the under-construction Rocky Mountain Performing Arts Center (RMPAC) on Elkhorn Avenue, what was once an empty lot will soon become the town’s first outdoor beer garden.  Offering sixty rotating taps from local, national, and international breweries, along with meads, ciders, spirits, and wine; whatever your preferred alcohol, The Barrel has you covered.

The Barrel is co-owned by married couple Ingrid and Lou Bush who were inspired to open their own beer garden after touring so many outdoor drinking establishments on their German honeymoon.

Though not officially part of the RMPAC, The Barrel is subleasing the property from Estes Perfromance, Inc. (EPIC), the firm behind the RMPAC project.  The Bushes hope to move from their current concrete slab by the river to the rooftop of the RMPAC when it is eventually built in a few years.

With Rocky Mountain National Park nearby, it’s a sure bet The Barrel will boast spectacular views of Colorado’s most prominent features:  “We are thrilled in being able to offer the residents and tourists an outdoor space where they can enjoy a craft beer, fill their stomachs and enjoy the Rocky Mountains,” says Lou Bush.

As remarkable as the natural surroundings might be, The Barrel recognizes the importance of supporting their fellow local businesses, too.  Ingrid Bush says, “We are committed to breathing new life into the vacant lot, supporting the Rocky Mountain Performing Arts Center and also see value in investing in downtown Estes Park.  We look forward to sharing many experiences with our guests, meeting people from all over and becoming a favorite destination for all.”

The Barrel will be a seasonal operation open from April or May to the first week in November. Can’t be a beer garden and not be open during Oktoberfest season, after all.

No construction has begun on The Barrel yet as the Bushes are waiting for official approval from the Board of Adjustments.  However, they anticipate construction could begin as soon as this week.

Keep track of The Barrel’s development on Facebook, Twitter, or their website.

About Chris Bruns

Chris Bruns is a self-professed beer geek living in Denver. Chris spends much of his time brewing beer at home with friends and family, attempting to visit every brewery in Colorado, attending special beer events and festivals, purchasing and assessing the latest releases from local breweries, and blogging about his adventures in the world of craft beer. He is also the Denver Craft Beer Examiner on Contact Chris by e-mail at or through his blog at