This Fourth of July, 303 Magazine met with Aspen Brewing Company to get a local’s perspective on the best place to crack a six pack in Aspen. The requirements were simple: the brewery would send us down a beautiful mountain trail with one of their six packs, and we would tell the world if it was worth it or not. Read below to see if Aspen Brewing Company knows how to pair its beer with the mountains.

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Beer: Aspen Brewing Company’s Independence Pass Ale (IPA)
ABV: 7. percent
Aspen Brewing Company is everything a person could hope for from a mountain brewery. Each can is embellished with the words, “Downstream from Nobody” to indicate how much pride this company takes in the water quality of each beer. Beneath the lip of the can of Aspen’s Independence Pass Ale (IPA) is the inscription, “Drink in the View,” a clear sign that this is the perfect beer for hiking. Inside the can is a delicious IPA, packed with hops and a beautiful amber color. The hops flavor is less floral, and more bitter with the taste of sweet caramel flavor of body to balance the bitterness out.

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Where: Independence Pass, Aspen, Colorado
Difficulty: Novice
Pro Tip: While the mountains are beautiful and feel timeless, they can get very dangerous at around 1 p.m. when the thunderstorms roll in for the afternoon. To avoid being struck by lightning, get your hiking done in the morning and flee the scene when you see dark clouds begin to enter the area.

Just a 40 minute beautiful drive away from the cool, modern town of Aspen, Colorado, you’ll find Independence Pass straddling the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains in an all of its easily accessible glory. Several trails branch away from the parking lot, but 303 Magazine chose the easiest and most direct route to beauty. A well established dirt path removes itself from the touristy paved area, and winds its way through a massive field of lush green meadows, dotted with colorful wildflowers of all shapes and sizes. The scene might as well be the opener of “The Sound of Music,” as there is nothing impeding a view of the massive mountains, and most people are dancing and singing as they hike (not really, but they should be). With 360 degrees of viewing, you’ll find snow capped peaks scraping the sky, and fluffy clouds floating silently overhead.

The verdict: Aspen Brewing Company knows its stuff! This hike is perfect for “Brew With A View.” Not only is the trail easy enough for a very casual walk, but it begins above the tree line, so the most beautiful views are available from the second you step foot on the trail. We definitely recommend bringing a six pack of Independence Pale Ale (IPA) to the top of Independence Pass during your next visit to Aspen.

All photography by George Hardwick.