When you think craft drinks in Wyoming, what comes to mind? Perhaps no brand or drink comes to mind, but I’m here to change that. The fact is there aren’t a lot of Wyoming spirits or beers you’re likely to find outside of Wyoming. One exception is Wyoming Whiskey, which you can find on the shelves of liquor stores and bars in most U.S. states. Produced in in Kirby, WY, it was the state’s first legal distillery, producing several different whiskies. For most of Wyoming’s other craft drinks, you’ll likely have to go straight to the source. So today I’m taking you on a Wyoming craft drink tour from my recent trip with Travel Wyoming and Travel Mindset.
Any drink tour of Eastern Wyoming really begins in Cheyenne, the state capital. Here you’ll find one of the larger concentrations of breweries in Wyoming, the latest of which is Danielmark’s Brewery and Tap Room. A lot of breweries say they have a homey, family-like atmosphere, but it couldn’t ring any truer at Danielmark’s. It’s actually located in a house. Even better, they have a big outdoor patio in the “backyard,” and frequently have food trucks parked out front. Their beer is pretty good, too, many of which are European-inspired, including the Belgian IPA (my favorite), Irish red, Irish stout, and pilsner.
Elsewhere there’s Freedom’s Edge Brewing in downtown Cheyenne, which features a number of unique beers you won’t find just anywhere, such as the cream ale and chili ale. If you’re lucky like I was, Bella Fuoco will be out front making wood-fired pizzas. Brand new to Cheyenne is Accomplice Beer Company, which opened in the historic Cheyenne Depot, and is your best local brewery for food, specializing in ribs and wings.
It’s just 50 miles west from Cheyenne to Southeastern Wyoming’s next best drink town, Laramie. Like Cheyenne, you have a couple of different breweries in Laramie, beginning with Coal Creek Tap. Coal Creek Tap comes from the same owners of Coal Creek Coffee, which has been providing local residents with their caffeine fix since 1993. Begin your day with craft coffee from Coal Creek Coffee and end it with craft beer at Coal Creek Tap, which has a variety of beer styles, including American and English pale ales and IPAs, several Belgian style beers, and Scottish ales. They also have your typical brewpub fare, including pretzels and pizzas.
Altitude Chophouse and Brewery brings the best of both worlds together in Wyoming. Many of the ingredients on the lunch and dinner menu are local, with a strong emphasis on steaks and burgers, as the menu suggests. It also doubles as a microbrewery, with a number of beers, including their award-winning Tumblewheat and ALTitude Altbier.
Additionally, Laramie has a distillery, Wojtek, which produces a vodka that is available throughout Wyoming, as well as other spirits. While they are open weekends, they are currently finishing a new, bigger and better tasting room.
150 miles north of Laramie is Casper, which is considered the gateway to the Grand Tetons, which are 250 miles to the west. Casper has one of Wyoming’s strongest craft food and drink presences, demonstrated by places like Wonderbar, a bar and grill in Casper’s historic downtown that dates back to 1934. While it’s first and foremost a bar and restaurant, Wonderbar also has a small brewery operation, making more than 15 American and European styles of beer, including a number of ales, an oatmeal stout, pumpkin ale, hefeweizen, and Oktoberfest, just to name a few.
Additionally, one of Wyoming’s most popular new craft drink spots is found in Casper, Backwards Distilling Company. Walking into Backwards Distilling Company feels a bit like walking into a New York City speakeasy-style bar, and not a Southeastern Wyoming Distillery, with its prohibition-era décor and cocktail menu. Backwards has several spirits they produce, including a couple different types of gin, vodka, rum, and moonshine, all of which they use in a variety of custom cocktails they serve at the bar. They offer tours of the distillery on the weekend, though reservations are recommended.