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Guanella Pass Brewery – Empire

Guanella Pass Brewery

I have been trying to go to the Guanella Pass Brewery for a few weeks now but every time I would show up after a hike it would be before they opened at noon. Well I finally got my chance and it was great for a meal after Mount Flora!

Hard Rock Cafe?

For those of you long time readers of this blog this won’t come as much of a surprise but what had me so excited about the brewery was their old timey signs. The first one that caught my eye driving down US-40 was the classic “Hard Rock Cafe” sign. A fun story the bartender told was that this was actually the very first known restaurant to be called Hard Rock Cafe, predating the popular chain.

While the Hard Rock sign was great I did also enjoy the Guanella Brewery sign that kept to the classic tradition.

The Guanella Pass Brewery isn’t exactly on Guanella pass but there is another location on that pass. This location in Empire has a kitchen and some really cool décor inside. I think this might have been the coolest fan system I have seen. All run by a series of pulleys!

The Food

Enough of the history and time for the food! I woke up early to get in my first thirteen thousand foot peak of the season in the morning so I was pretty hungry by the time I made it in for lunch. That had nothing to do with why I ordered an appetizer though, that was so my review could be more thorough for you!

I started with the chicken wings appetizer. To start I have to say that the presentation of these chicken wings was pretty spot on. The wings all in a row and symmetrically cut carrot and celery slices. It was pretty fancy.

The wings were a good size and I had them with traditional buffalo sauce. The sauce had a nice little spice to it and I enjoyed them very much. The wings also had a good breading on them and were fried nice and crisp. Very good.

The chicken wing appetizer from the Guanella Pass Brewery in Empire

The Pizza

The signs on the wall said the brewery was known for their Detroit style pizza so I had to try that as well. The small pizza is 4 slices while the large is 8 slices. The pan style pizza was probably around 1-2 inches thick.

I went with the “Onion” pizza which had mushrooms, onions, peperoni, and green onions. The toppings were cut into big pieces and were super fresh and tasted delicious. I could have gone for a bit crispier crust as the pizza kind of fell apart as I was eating it. Overall the taste was top notch.

The onion pizza.  A Detroit style 4 slice pizza from Guanella Pass Brewery in Empire.

The brewery also has a nice selection of craft brews that they make so if that is your jam this might be a great place for you. If you find yourself in Empire and want to see a cool old building with some really nice food, give the Guanella Pass Brewery a shot.

Finding Guanella Pass Brewery in Empire

If you have ever driven through Empire you have probably seen the Guanella Pass Brewery. It is located right on the main strip of US-40. The old style Hard Rock Cafe can be seen fairly well from the road. There is limited street parking and a gravel lot just one block away for additional parking.

I have added this restaurant and all of the restaurants I have been to on my interactive map that you can find here. If you have a suggestion for a restaurant or any comments feel free to email me at or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Bon Appetit!

Help Me Help a Small Business

Unlike some other bloggers, I never ask for discounted or free meals on my site. I think it is important, especially now, to support our local restaurants and small business owners. It does get expensive though and I am just a small business myself so if you are willing to help me out by making a donation below I would greatly appreciate it and be able to continue to bring you the content you love!

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1 thought on “Guanella Pass Brewery – Empire”

  1. Pingback: Mount Flora - Fat Man Little Trail

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