Monday, September 17, 2012

Jim's Travels: Colorado

Yesterday, I posted for the first time in over two months. Today, I am going to write the post that I intended to do yesterday before I went off on a tangent about Facebook. About two and a half weeks ago, I flew to Colorado to spend eight days including Labor Day weekend with my sister April and her family. They live in a small town outside of Boulder. As I mentioned yesterday, April has posted about my trip on her site, and we have both posted photos of the trip on Facebook. I have made several previous trips to Colorado to visit April and her family. My last trip was in April 2011, and I posted about that trip. That post primarily focused on beer, and since most of the rest of this trip has already been covered elsewhere, this post will focus on beer as well.

On my first full day in Colorado, April and I took my nephew Jack and niece Grace to the Oskar Blues restaurant location in Longmont, Colorado. April ordered food for the kids off the children's menu. I remember one of them got macaroni and cheese, and I think the other got chicken fingers with french fries (which were tasty). I do not remember what April ordered for herself, but something possessed me to order the special of the day which was fried chicken and a waffle. The chicken was peppery which was good. The waffle was good as well, but I did end up sharing about half of it with the kids.

Oskar Blues Brewery is primarily known for featuring beer in cans, but at their restaurant, I enjoyed two draft beers. The first was One-Nut Brown Ale which is a nutty English-style brown ale of the Newcastle family. The second was Dave's Pale Ale which is not to be confused with their flagship Dale's Pale Ale. The Dave's was a very nice summery brew which reminded me of Oberon Ale from Bell's Brewery.

The next day, we picked up a sample pack from Twisted Pine Brewing Company. The 12-pack contained two bottles each of six different brews. The package shows their complete product line, so I was disappointed that the box did not actually have a bottle of Billy’s Chilies which is a wheat beer brewed with a variety of peppers. Over the next few days, I drank five of the six varieties that we did get. April's husband Christian and I both skipped the Raspberry Wheat, so April must have drank both of those. The first one I had was the Honey Brown Ale which was a good drinkable beer. I followed that with the Cream Style Stout. On Twitter, I noted that it was pretty smooth and tasty. It reminded me of another local beer, Left Hand Milk Stout. The next day, I tried the Blond Ale which was not particularly memorable, and the following day, I had the American Amber Ale which was reminiscent of other amber ales. I saved their flagship brew for last. On Twitter, I stated that their Hoppy Boy IPA was hoppy, as expected by the name, but not insanely so.

Backing up a couple of days in my narrative, April, Christian and I went to the Boulder Brew and Music Festival on the Saturday before Labor Day We attended the first session in the afternoon. I would not attempt to cover all the different beers that I sampled even if I remembered them all. I will mention that I did finally get to try a sample of the Billy’s Chilies brew from Twisted Pine. It was quite spicy, and the one-ounce sample was plenty. I will also mention that I was surprised by all of the fruits that were represented. According to the festival webpage and the scorecard that was provided, there were 21 breweries with booths. Three of those 21, Angry Orchard, Colorado Cider, and Crispin, were cider brewer. There was also Twisted Tea which has a Raspberry Hard Ice Tea. Plus several of the traditional breweries were offering fruit-flavored beers.

On Sunday, April and I traveled up to the Rocky Mountains with the kids. First, we rode the Estes Park Aerial Tramway up and down Prospect Mountain. We then had lunch at the Estes Park Brewery. The food was standard bar food. I believe April and I split some sliders and a plate of nachos that wase much larger than we anticipated. I had two drafts, the Trail Ridge Red and the Staggering Elk Lager. Both were drinkable although neither were particularly memorable.

I have one final beer to mention in relation to this Colorado trip. April dropped me off at the Denver airport on the Wednesday after Labor Day. I had a connecting flight to Chicago which was delayed about an hour and a half. I stopped into one of the airport bars and ordered a beer. I picked the Singletrack Copper Ale from Boulder Beer Company. Singletrack is an American pale ale, and it was very helpful while I was trying to down the spicy soup that I ordered.

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