We spent a month living in Denver being grandparents, hiking and enjoying living in another city. I like Denver, it’s a young, hip and vibrant city. The part of the Rocky mountains known as the Front Range are a short drive and the micro-brews are ubiquitous. The drivers here are a bit crazy but still better than Panama.
This hike to Devils Head Lookout was wonderful, a quick drive out of Denver. For a couple of out of shape sailors from sea level this hike caught our attention. For Bill Ellis the ranger/lookout, it’s a once a week hike to his car for supplies.
Our daughter got us – difficult to get – tickets to the Great American Brewfest, a three day, monster sized venue of beer tasting with 800+ breweries represented in one space. Once inside, tasting is free. This was at the Denver Convention Center in central Denver an easy trip on Denver’s Light Rail. There were over 2500 beers to taste so an early start was a necessity. We didn’t get far. The breweries were grouped inside the building by geographic region of the United States; from a quick survey I think there were beers from every State in the Union.
On entry to the building, each person we were given a plastic cup with the one ounce line marked. Some beers were very popular with long lines and a long wait. But more typically we would walk directly up to the booth, ask for a sample, taste and dump the remainder into the ubiquitous pails available for unwanted samples.
There were serious students of beer, notebooks in hand and there were more fun loving types as well. Most people wore necklaces of dozens of pretzels threaded on fishing line or other string. A bite of pretzel every so often reduced the effects of the alcohol.
If anyone accidentally dropped their tasting glass (an event that happened more often as the evening progressed) everyone in the vicinity of the drop yells in apparent disapproval. Shouts from groups of people came every few minutes from all over the convention center.
There were a few beers that stood out for me: ‘Hop Nosh’, an IPA from Uinta in Salt Lake City was exceptional as was (California’s) Russian River Brew Company’s ‘Pliny the Elder’ . There was also a Mango flavored IPA (can’t remember the brewery) that was interesting. Also learned I don’t like any of the ‘sours’.
An entire section of the festival was “meet the brewmaster” where we could ask questions and learn about beer making. Among the other “tidbits” learned: “reds” are not type of beer, just an ingredient.
Altogether a fun and educational evening.
Since it was August, Colorado was full of color at the higher elevations where even if one wanted to ignore the inspirational views it would be hard to ignore.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir
In spite of needing to buy a new car while we were in Denver, we had fun.