8. Hike, bike & beer…Colorado 8.2013

Day EIGHT--Saturday 

We woke early & found coffee & then found our way south to Denver.  Today was the last day of this trip & we still had specific places to visit.

I thought fighting even weekend traffic in Denver would be bad, but we popped down the highway & into downtown.  Free parking is rare here & most places have a two hour limit.  We were going to spend the day on our bikes, so we parked in the REI parking lot.  You still have to pay, but there’s not a limit...at least not one longer than our self-imposed limit.

We messed around in REI for about an hour looking at work boots, bikes, bike stuff & travel items (& I always get a thrill watching the GoPro videos...love them!) & then went out & started negotiating Denver’s downtown---vehicles, pedestrians & (by far the worst) cab drivers (I believe they think 6” is enough space between you & them...eek!)

We headed toward the 16th Street mall to Mellow Mushroom.  A pizza place Sara told us about that is also in Florida.  We parked the bikes & sat on the patio & shared a wonderful red potato/bacon/cheese/ caramelized onion pizza.  

The places we wanted to visit today were Prost (a German brewery); Strange (the brewery who’s owner we met at Oskar Blues yesterday); the Denver Beer Co (my top choice), a place called Falling Rock Tap house (recommended by Dickie the bartender at the Brick...she said they have over 100 craft beers on tap) & if possible, a re-trip (yes, it breaks the stupid rule again) back to River North Brewing.

The earliest any of them opened was noon.  So, we started with the farthest away from downtown (all the rest were around the downtown area) which took awhile.  We rode part on the Cherry Creek Trail but also on the sidewalks & streets.  We finally found (a mailman stopped & asked what we were trying to find...he knew the place well!) Strange Brewing in more of a “strip mall meets dark industrial” area....but the big garage door was up, they had a bar, tables, stools & were open for business.

We shared the sampler...which is actually all 10 of their beers ...except their seasonal (Zorba Rosemary Ale, Strange Pale Ale, IPAphany IPA, Juliette Belgian Pale Ale, Breakfast Grapefruit IPA, LeBruit Diable Farmhouse Ale, 1000 Barrels Imperial IPA, Powerhouse Porter, Cherry Bomb Stout & Cherry Kriek).  We were both surprised how good it was for such a tiny brewery.  But, the staff-especially the lady we’d met the day before-was distracted & focused on doing her “paperwork” right there at the bar...neither one of them were overly friendly.  We discussed how good it is to enjoy the beer we drink, but the whole experience is made much richer by the people you are surrounded by.

We’d never seen one of these before.  It’s called a “TapIt Cap” for growlers.  They received one because they donated to the kickstarter program.  It was created by a Denver guy & was successful in receiving all the funding needed.  Pretty cool if you use growlers a bunch.

After Strange, we rode back downtown & over I-25 to Prost Brewing...which serves mostly German styles of beer.  We shared another sampler here, but I have to admit, I wasn’t as crazy about any of this beer as Danny was.  We had their Pils, Weibbler (Hefeweizen), Dunkel bier Lager, Albuer (Brown) & the Kolsch.

Back on the bikes to backtrack over I-25 to Denver Beer Co.  I was hoping to try their Maya Nut Brown, but this place was crazy busy hoppin’ jammin’ with live music & hundreds of beer nuts helping to celebrate Denver Beer Company’s birthday!

We did manage to find a couple of seats at the bar, & since neither of us is claustrophobic, it worked.  What a fun place to people watch!  No samples today...they were way too busy.  We shared a Citra IPA (OMG...soooo good) & a Belgian Cherry Crusher (really awesome too).  We also tried the Charles A. Ginger beer....thats the only one I wouldn’t order again--way too ginger- strong.  I never did get to try the Maya Nut Brown beer.

I could have stayed here longer, but after we finished our beers, we rode to the Falling Rock Tap house.  We shared a burger & fries...AND...GET READY...I’VE BEEN CHASING THIS DOWN FOR THE LAST MONTH... A Pliney the Elder from Russian River Brewing.  YES!!! Score!!!

It was very, very, very good!

It was time to skip re-visiting the River North Brewery & start thinking about heading east...for the next 550 miles (BOO-HOO!) 

We did manage to stop at Argonauts Liquor Store in downtown Denver (last year was our first time; does twice make it a tradition?) to check out any exciting beer they have that Kansas/Missouri does not distribute.

Our first two questions were...anything by Russian River?  Dogfish Head?Yes to both!  We scored one bottle of Pliney the Elder , a bottle of Sah Tea & 120 Minute IPA...all from the back room.  Those guys are pretty fun to chat with...they know they’re beer & will share the knowledge happily.

It was about 10pm, time to head East towards the house.

This trip had included frequent elements of the stuff we love to do; to play at; to see; to taste; to smell; to experience....it was pretty perfect.

We’re driving through the night, so we can be home in the morning to begin unpacking, putting away, cleaning up & getting ready for the upcoming week.

It’s been a great vacation...Danny & I travel so well together...we just need the time & money to do it more often.  He’s funny, brave, tolerant of car camping, & once a day meals.  He appreciates the art of meeting strangers that turn into trip magic...he enjoys it as much as I do.  He goes with the flow & doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  He’s awed by the beauty we find in nature & is great at really SEEING things...not just looking at them.  He, like me, enjoys simplicity, not complications or drama.  I have been really lucky this summer to have been able to travel with him & time to share doing our favorite things!

r A n D o M    t H o U g H t S

*By my quick count, we tried 75 different beers from 13 breweries & 2 pubs/tap houses*

*I love it that every time we go back to Crested Butte, Danny likes it more & more...enjoying the hiking, the place & the people!*

*It’s great to meet new people when you travel, but also a ton of fun to surprise old friends when you cross paths in the same place.  We had a great time watching our high school friend compete in an Ironman.*

*It’s absolutely amazing how many breweries Colorado has...Home of some really great tasting beer & fun loving people!*

*I ended up with 14 different stickers & duplicates of most of those.  I have enough to finish “pimping” my bike helmet...I live for these important projects.*

*Urban biking requires nerves of steel.*

*I wish I was more brave..*

*Mobile Mapquest pronounces Limon, Colorado... “Lee-moan”.  Love it!*

*It’s true...there are “liquid” calories...reality sets in now.*

Where are you headed to next?  

home     2   3   4   5   6   7   8

 vikhill@gmail.com   Wweroiweuprou                                                                                                                                                 © Vicki Hill 2024