The first thing you notice when you arrive at Break Room Brewing Co. in Pagosa Springs is its large outdoor patio. The second thing you notice is that it’s very much a community hangout, à la “Cheers.”
We wish that our visit to the establishment occurred during the non-COVID-19 times (remember those?), because the first thing to catch our eye was the blackboard above the brewery advertising its beers. We tried to order a brew from the blackboard menu, only to be told that none were available. But we believe that Break Room is, in fact, a brewery, because we could see all of their brewing equipment over in a different part of the building. We assume that the constantly-changing rules during quarantine about what could be open, and when, disrupted their beer-brewing process.
The “Blue Bus Porter” and “Big Fats Red” both sound like brews I would enjoy, but alas, I had to order a different beer to cry into. Fortunately, Break Room had quite a number of other great beers on tap, including Eddyline Brewery’s Crank Yanker IPA, New Belgium Brewing’s 154 Black Ale, and four beers from Ska Brewing Co. Its happy hour is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Tuesday, when happy hour begins at noon instead.
After ordering my second (or fifth) choice beer, I ordered some spicy fried pickles and took in the ambiance. I gathered that the bar had recently moved from a smaller location only a block or so up the street and changed its name from the Western Slope Break Room. As such, it seemed to have maintained its cast of usuals. As I sat there on a weekday afternoon, the bar filled up just about as much as it could while maintaining social-distancing, and the majority of the people seemed to know one another. At least one person’s name got called out, Norm-style, when he entered. The patio, where one can smoke, collected even more people.
True to its name, Break Room had a number of things to do in the bar, including a pool table and Golden Tee Golf. A tiled area between the bar and the brewing area seemed designed as a dance floor for live music. At one point, a child ran by the door carrying a throwing ax, so I chose to believe that’s also one of the activities at the bar.
The spicy fried pickles were hand-battered in a mixture that added some surprising elements to them but didn’t quite mask the sourness of the pickles. That is ideal, though — after all, why order pickles if you’re not going to be able to tell that they’re pickles? They came with spicy ranch as a dipping sauce. It was pretty decent bar food that paired well with a Rue B. Soho from Ska.
I was disappointed that I couldn’t try the one thing that I went there to try — original beers — but the visit was not a waste of time. I’ll be back for Break Room’s original brews at some point, especially when this pandemic comes to an end, and I might even get a burger while I’m at it.