Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greetings from Denver (Sans luggage)

"It has been a long day - one full of home brew housekeeping, beer bars, flights, and lost luggage. I got into Denver at 10:30 PM local time to find that my luggage wasn't on the plane, which is awesome because I have no clothes."

That was the beginning of the post I started writing on Sunday night/Monday morning from the Quality Inn next to the Denver International Airport. Did I mention that at the time my luggage was still in Chicago? No? Well, it was. Luckily it showed up Monday afternoon. But such is life, and has no bearing on reporting this business trip that I'm on that just so happens to take me to one of beer Meccas of the US.

Ah, Colorado - the state with more microbreweries per capita than any other state in this great Union, and I'm currently trying to hit them all. The perks of being an outside salesman. I've been in Denver for just over 48 hours, and have hit no less than a half dozen beer destinations. It started Monday night after a long day of working and worrying whether or not I'd be wearing a wardrobe from Target all week. well, about 2 PM on said workday my luggage arrived at my hotel, putting an end to any worrying, and allowing me to concentrate on beer that evening.

After my last call on Monday, I hit up Bubbles Liquor Mart in Castle Rock, no less that 20,000 sq. ft. of booze with a moderately adequate beer selection. I picked up a bomber of Alaskan Amber Ale, which for a reason that escapes is somehow a fan favorite according to some locals. It was average at best. I guess it popularity is attributed to its novelty, since the likes of Fat Tire is so readily available. I then began the evening at Falling Rock Tap House, which, by any estimation is the best taproom that I've ever been in. Sixty plus on tap, and an unknown number of rare bottles helped satiate my thirst after a long day. Highlights of the evening included Duchesse de Bourgogne Flanders Brown and New Belgium Lips of Faith Eric's Sour Peach Ale on tap, and an at length conversation with Mark, GABF's assistant Cellar Master, concerning all things beer. That got me primed for a long night of a decent Pale Ale at Rock Bottom Denver while watching Alan Rodgers prove his worth in Green Bay and Michael Phelps winning gold in Beijing.

Tuesday found me ending my work day in Golden at the town's "second largest brewery", Golden City Brewing. "Largest" would have to be the most exaggerated statement I've heard in a while. Located in two houses that total no more than 2000 sq. ft., this little gem puts together a surprisingly delicious IPA, skunky and bready, and the perfect primer to an evening of brewery-hopping, with a baseball game thrown in the middle. I started at Great Divide Brewing's Tap room, a rather sterile tasting room attached to the brewery, with windows looking in on said libation manufacturing facility. This could be the best deal in the city, with up to 4 samples for free, and only $5 for every 4 following. I sampled seven, including Oak Aged Yeti, Hades Golden BSA, and two brewery-only small batch beers, Bee Sting Ale, which is GD's Samurai with honey and raisins, and an oak-aged coffee stout, which is said Yeti aged on espresso beans. I swear this brewery can't miss. A must visit when you're in town. Afterward I strolled down to Coors Field to watch The Big Unit lead the Diamondbacks to a victory over the Rockies. OK, I only stayed for three innings due to some crazy lightening, but while there I hit up Blue Moon Brewing's Sandlot brewpub at the ballpark for their seasonal Alt. I then headed across the street to Breckenridge at the Ballpark for dinner and a pint of 471 IPA. I then found myself at Falling Rock again for some more Duchesse, Oskar Blues Gordon, and some St. Bernardus Abt. 12 on tap.

This trip has been insane beer-wise so far, with much more to come over the next 48 hours, so stay tuned.

On the homebrew front, I transferred both the Dark IPA (MB0021) and the Saison du Muqunee (MB0022) to secondary before I left, the former dry-hopped with an ounce each of Amarillo and Cascade hops. Also, Justin informed me that he procured an ounce of homegrown hops this evening at the homebrew club meeting. I guess we'll have to make another IPA. Darn.

Have a good night. I'm off to bed.



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