Sunday, March 15, 2009
AHHHH Yes my favorite place for Beer Travel, Denver, the sunshine state. It had been way too long (October 2007, crazy I know) since Meg and I made the pilgrimage to the US capital of all things hoppy, malty and delicious.
We left last Friday and arrived at Denver International around noon. We promptly rented a 4 wheel drive (the only way to get around in Colorado) and headed for our hotel in Longmont. Why Longmont, you may ask? Because that is the location of Left Hand Brewing Company. On our way to the hotel, Meg and I were looking for something to eat so we made an impromptu turn on Main St. and chanced upon Pumphouse Brewpub. The third picture up above is from the Pumphouse or as the locals refer to it, just da' House. Pictured is their IPA, which was very good and I think Meg's club sandwich and you might be able to make out a little bit if the fish tacos I ordered (playing the good Catholic boy on a Friday in lent).
After dropping off our bags we hit up the Left Hand tasting room for some drankz. Different than VA, breweries can just sell their beer on site and not offer food. Now some breweries may have a small bar where visitors can taste their beers, but this place large and well decorated and it was truly more of a bar scene than a "tasting room." I was surprised at the wide variety of Coloradans that were at the tasting room for happy hour. Everyone from guys and gals with suits on (just getting off work) to blue collar guys and college kids. The first photo above is the flight of six that Meg and I went with. If memory serves I believe we tried the: pilsner, winter warmer, warrior ipa, milk stout, imperial stout (aged in brandy barrels for a year!!!) and the twin sisters (double IPA, right up my alley).
After re-hydrating at the hotel, we headed for Lyons, CO for dinner at the Oskar Blues restaurant. If the name doesn't ring a bell, then they are the guys who make Dale's Pale ale and Old Chub, really the modern day champion of canned craft beer. Meg and I were so full from pumphouse and left hand that we choked down a little food and did the best we could on a couple of beers from the bar.
The next morning after some much needed exercise, we hit up Boulder for lunch. Now, Boulder might be one of the coolest towns in all of the US. If my company had an office there, I'd be on the first flight. After a nice lunch of gyros, MEg and I asked around for a good beer store. We were heading for Vail for the next couple of days, but wanted to make sure we tried some new beer while we were hitting the slopes. We settled on a sixer of Deschutes Inversion IPA (absolutely fantastic stuff, I wish they would distribute to the east coast) and Upslope IPA (a very nice offering from Boulder, CO).
The next couple of days we spent skiing. Monday evening we found ourselves back in Denver and decided to stop by the famed Falling Rock taphouse. The Rock had 69 beers on draft, wow what a selection. Meg and I both went for Russian River offerings since we can't get them here on the east coast. I went with Damnation and Meg went with the famous Pliny the elder. Both awesome. It was a slow night and we starting chatting it up with Chris Black, the owner of The Rock. He's a great guy and he regaled with a ton of beery stories. He's actually on the Brewer's Association events committee and was getting us excited for this years Savor in DC. As always, Denver/Vail was a memorable voyage. I think I could plan every vacation there for the next ten years and be very very happy.