Aspen Brewing Co. founder Duncan Clauss is not a billionaire. “The billionaire stereotype in Aspen exists for a couple weeks a year,” he says. “But the rest of the time, it’s a cool, laid-back local’s town.” He shows us his favorite low-key spots in the village, jacket and tie not required.
1. “Bonnie’s is hands-down my favorite breakfast on the planet. It’s known for lunch, but they have an incredible oatmeal pancake—I get it with two eggs and two slices of bacon for $11. It’s right on the mountain, so it’s great fuel for skiing all day long.”
2. “The Big Wrap is right at the base of the mountain; it’s mostly a lunch place, but they serve a huge, $5 breakfast burrito from 10 to 11:30 that’s kind of under the radar. Every time I have one, I skip lunch!”
3. “A great place to go for après ski is 39degrees at the Sky Hotel right at the bottom of Aspen Mountain; you can ski almost right up to their door. One of their cocktails is the IPA Smash; they make it with our IPA, jalapeño-lime syrup, gin and grapefruit juice.”
4. “The Belly Up is a local music venue with incredible music year-round ranging from free bluegrass to bigger artists. Steve Angello from Swedish House Mafia played there, Snoop Dogg, Widespread Panic; for a 400-person venue, it’s top-of-the-line music.”
5. “Jimmy’s is an Aspen classic; it’s an American bar and grill with great beer, a great margarita, Salsa Night every Saturday, and the bar menu is one of the best. I went the other night and had the buffalo burger, but they’ve got a surf-n-turf for $22!”
6. “One of Aspen’s oldest bars is Little Annie’s. They have our beer on tap, and you can’t beat their special: a beer and a shot for $4, or a pitcher and five shots for $17!”
7. “Highlands Pizza is at the bottom of Highlands, which is considered a locals’ mountain; it’s a hangout for guys ripping around the mountain all day. I like the Veggie Temerity pizza, and they pour our beer plus other Colorado micros.”
8. “The Irish gastropub Finnbar’s has a great beer selection and great menu. My favorites are the Poutine of the Moment that’s always changing, and Irish breakfast for dinner.”
* “The mountain” is Aspen Mountain (aka Ajax), which soars over Aspen Village. Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are other mountains within the overall Aspen resort, all accessible via shuttle. Aspen’s known for its pricey lift tickets, but Clauss suggests booking agency StayAspenSnowmass.com for lift/flight/hotel deals.