BeerVisits - UK - Europe - USA/Canada - World

Pub Visit - USA/Canada

Riff Raff 1Pagosa Springs, Colorado:
Riff Raff Brewing

Visited on: Tuesday 5th June 2018

Bob Thompson

As soon as you walk into the bar room of Riff Raff you know you've come to the right place. Not just to get a good drink, but in a more metaphorical way as you can feel that it has a genuine atmosphere.

I can just image what it is like on cold mountain winter evenings, a real refuge from the conditions, with good beer on tap. I was with Linda and John and we were on our way from Alamosa to Durango that day. Pagosa Springs provided a nice and convenient place to stop on the way.

Riff Raff 2The pub is housed in an interesting building, an old house that dates from 1896. It has been many other things in its life since ceasing its residential function: doctor’s surgery, hair stylist’s salon, dance studio, flower shop, carpet store and even a mortuary.

It opened in its present form in 2013. A very interesting feature is that it is atop a geothermal spring and this source is used for all heating. The spring itself is the deepest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

The idea for the brewery came from two couples who had moved to Pagosa Springs in the early 2000s. They were Randy and Eleanor Schnose along with Jason and Shelly Cox. Randy and Eleanor met in Arizona, although Eleanor was originally from Seattle. Jason and Shelly hail from Texas.

Riff Raff 3They all had a background in home brewing and, along with further partner Mike Simbro from Denver, moved the dream to reality.

There are six beers in their permanent flagship range and between us we had four of them. This is what we thought: Man’s Best Friend Kölsch (4.5%) was a good attempt, with no strong flavours, which is correct.

Scallywag English Pale Ale (5.2%) used English hops only and was excellent with the floral after-taste I normally associate with Goldings hops.

Riff Raff 4Plebian Porter (5.2%) was reasonable, a drinking porter. It had a slight chocolate malt after-taste. Hopgoblin American IPA (6.9%) was naturally very hoppy, yet it was also balanced, we liked it a lot. The other two flagship beers were St Epchild American Red (6.2%) and El Duende Verde Chili (5.2%).

There were also three specials: Pirourette in Red (5.9%) a red raspberry ale; El Guaro Hefeweizen (4.3%) and Unbroken Chain (11.0%) which was a barrel-aged American Imperial Stout. If I have got this right that was their 500th brew since opening.

This is a great little pub to visit for a stop off at or as a destination. The menu is eclectic with things like goat, lamb and yak burgers. For the warmer months there is a beer garden and a terrace. Well recommended!

Important Information:

Riff Raff Brewing Company, 274 Pagosa Street, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147
Tel: 970 264 4677. Web:

Hours: Monday-Sunday 11.00-22.00

Pagosa Springs is on National Highway 160.
There is no known public transport except possibly Greyhound.