Hello Beer Friends Nation! While one Beer Friend held down the fort in NYC, the other three travelled out to the Great (Brewery) State of Colorado for a look around. Below is a brief recap of the days and breweries we hit.
August 12th -
Phil, James (honorary BF this trip) and Brad arrive in Colorado Springs, quickly finding themselves standing in front of a liquor store cooler inspecting the new and interesting beers in the cooler. Then a quick run around Garden of the Gods, in North-west Colorado Springs. Then a drive to Denver to pick up Graham and back home for our first beers of the tour - an extension of Christmas in July/August with a New Belgium 2 Below and Odell's Isolation Ale to kick off the trip (beers remaining from my winter holiday trip home).
August 13th -
A beautiful drive to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. After taking some time to find a campsite (be sure to call ahead) we stop at our first brewery, Estes Park Brewery. This small brewery stays true to their roots, producing small batches to sell to local stores and supply their pub which is upstairs. A few highlights were the Trail Ridge Red - also known as the Redrum Ale (playing off the famed Stanley Hotel in Estes Park - inspiration for the Steven King novel "The Shining") and the Estes Park Porter. Then we headed into Fort Collins to check out Coopersmiths Pub and Brewing and Equinox Brewery a short walk away. Equinox had a great feel - a bit of a coffee house vibe, it's a bar without any heels and no Coors Light on draft. We enjoyed their sampler with six offerings - Sunrise Golden Ale, Vernal Hefeweizen, MidSummer Pale Ale, Orbit ESB, Zenith IPA, and the Sunset Stout. All we very enjoyable but MidSummer Pale Ale was a favorite of these Beer Friends. From there we headed to a favorite drinking hole - Old Chicago, had a few before returning to the forrest.
August 14th -
After waking up in Roosevelt National Forest, we pack the tents and head to Fort Collins to visit
Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewery. Odell had some fantastic stuff - including a Cutthroat Porter on Nitro and we played some board games, which turns into a theme this trip. From Odell's we head to New Belgium to try to get on a tour, but on a Saturday afternoon we had no chance. We decide to head to Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado before heading down to Denver for a Colorado Rockies game. Oskar Blues was a great experience in visiting a brewery known for craft beers in cans. Dale's Pale Ale is always delicious and no different here.
August 15th -
On Sunday we headed down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. A beautiful 4.5 hour drive from Colorado Springs, with a visit to San Luis Valley Brewing Company. This was a very cool brewery built inside of a old bank building, using the thick layered vault as the cooler. At the campsite we enjoyed some Ska Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery and Bridgeport Brewery beers.
August 16th -
The Beer Friends jumped in the car again and drive through Pike National Forest on route to Denver. In
August 17th -
After a early start we head up through the town of Breckenridge on our way to Mount Evans, home of the highest paved road in America. After coming off the mountain, we visited Dostal Alley Brewpub in Central City, Colorado before heading to Lefthand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado.
August 18th -
After a tearful goodbye to Phil, Brad and Graham head up to Fort Collins again for their scheduled tour of
New Belgium. Before New Belgium we stopped at Fort Collins Brewery which was moving into a beautiful new facility, but alas not open for business. Right down the road was ODell Brewery and we stopped in for another taste and tour, including exciting news of Odell's shipping beer to England starting in September! Lucky Brits! After a long and very informative tour of New Belgium (including four different beer tastings!) we stop in to Equinox Brewery for a game of Candyland, and - since we were there - a beer. Then into Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park for another night under the stars.
August 19th -
Tents packed and campsite cleaned, the Beer Friends head down to Boulder with a quick stop off in Lyons to check out the original Oskar Blues location. Once in Boulder we head to the Boulder Brewing Company and then to Avery Brewing Company - with highlights of Cold Hop (at Boulder Brewing) and Out of Bounds Stout small batch with a coffee kick. Then we drove and wondered around Red Rocks and Garden of the Gods before heading to our last brewery, Bristol Brewing Company.
Overall an excellent time had by all and look forward to Colorado Breweries becoming our Breweries of the Week!