The new brewpub that opened in February around the corner from Main Street in Eagle Ranch, 7 Hermits, takes its name from the craggy peaks that cleave the horizon outside of town. So what’s with “Haystacker,” the moniker of 7 Hermits’ amber?
Brewer Matt Marple meant to call it “Haymaker,” in homage to Eagle’s newest mountain biking trail. But he’s been so absorbed with the buildout and opening and fine-tuning of 7 Hermits that he hasn’t actually had a chance to ride Haymaker, or any other track. By the time Marple realized his mistake, the tap handles already said “Haystacker,” so the name stuck.
But you can forgive him. Because the beer that he’s brewing here in the massive fermentation tanks that dominate the industrial-chic, concrete-floored dining room is exceptional, among the finest craft-made suds in the county, if not the country. Need proof? After sampling the Paul Imperial IPA, Kelly Liken, an Eagle resident and 7 Hermits regular, ordered kegs of it for her Vail restaurant before 7 Hermits even started kegging.
That alone should warrant the downvalley road trip. But then there are the four varieties of flatbreads (think Colorado lamb over hummus with harissa raisin pepper relish and microgreens) and other healthy pub grub (such as roasted olives with almonds and basil) issuing forth from chef Tyler Aldrich’s kitchen. They represent a distinct uptick in culinary ambition for Eagle County brewpubdom, a brick-and-mortar response to the variety and aspiration of Crazy Mountain’s Crazy Wagon in Edwards.
And there’s another refreshing twist at 7 Hermits. Where other local brewpubs embrace the high country’s dog-loving ethos by reserving an honored spot for our canine friends—almost to the point where you’d expect a Cheers-like greeting of “Fido!” at happy hour every day—7 Hermits has devised an alternate plan. Sure, bring your pooch along, but leave it next door at Wanderlust Dog Ranch (wanderlustdogs.com), an upscale doggy day care where the first hour of play time is on 7 Hermits, as long as you order a pint.
Let’s tally up the pluses: great beer, healthful food, dog-friendly (but not gone to the dogs). So what’s missing here? Bikes. Not the full-suspensions parked on the patio by the dozens; given its proximity to Haymaker,
7 Hermits is Eagle’s après cycling destination. But stationary bikes like the ones at Hopworks, the foremost bike bar in Beervana (also known as Portland, Oregon), where thirsty patrons can exercise while they socialize. Your best friend gets the same next door, so why shouldn’t you? —T.K.