Combining our multifaceted interests–family, beer and mountains–our recent trip to Colorado made good on its promise to rejuvinate. Nothing like a little barstool mountaineering to peel the layers of stress and exhaustion away.
Avery Brewing Company
Our second beery foray followed our morning whitewater rafting trip down the Cache Le Poudre River. Avery Brewing Company was locked in our Garmin, and Boulder was the place to be. The taproom is tucked back (way back) in an industrial area with seating in and out, and thankfully, additional parking in the rear.
We weren’t in time for the tour, but Avery was bustling and we settled in to work our way around some of the beers they had on offer. One of my favorites, The Reverend, stood out as I expected, and we also enjoyed the Karma Belgian Pale Ale. On cask were 14er ESB and Piglet, the latter being a cut-in-half version of Hog Wild Barley Wine. Despite being half, it maintained a spunky hop character and went down joyfully. However, if you’d given me ten glasses (or five), I wouldn’t have been able to guess which were the cask beers.
Slightly divergent from the beeriness, Redstone is a location I’ve been looking forward to checking out for quite some time. There, we tucked into a free tasting of eleven different meads, some with fruit, some with spices, some with hops and some straight up. We also forked out a nominal fee for samples of two Reserves, a 2004 Cyser and 2003 Boysenberry. Wow.
Setting those two aside, my favorite was probably the juniper berry while Michelle fell in love with the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. The only problem with this stop is that Michelle might have turned away from beer. The good thing about this is that I might just have a meadmaker in my house.
Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery
We hadn’t planned on Mountain Sun. But after Redstone, the boys were itching for something a little different, so we conceded a trip to an army surplus store they’d found on a map in Redstone’s s tasting room. This took us downtown, and following our time checking out cool hats and crampons, we returned to our car. And where do you suppose we’d parked? Right in front of Mountain Sun. Taking a page out of Ron Pattinson’s book, we couldn’t help but venture inside for a pint.
Thank St. Arnold we did. This hippy-hootenany-tapestry of beery love had a good groove going. We were short on time, due to our dinner plans, so I asked the bartender to help me narrow down two beers. She took our likes into consideration and deftly described their stouts/porters and Belgians on offer and I ordered an Isadore Java Porter for Michelle and Temperence BPA for myself. Both were excellent, and we wished we could stay longer. If we could have, we’d have had more beer, and possibly a meal, and certainly dessert, because the desserts served at the table next to ours looked freaking delicious.
To cap the trip, we planned hitting Oskar Blues for a little cajun and a little Ten Fidy, if it were possible. What was possible was oak-aged Ten Fidy. That and a doppelbock. Both were delicious, as were all the beers we tried. The food was solid, as well, but we most certainly walked into a breakdown of sorts that I’m sure is something outside of the norm. We had to wait for quite a while for a table, and even then it was clear that the kitchen was still in the weeds.
We really didn’t care, because there was so much bloody good bluesified American folk art to take in. And Tom got acquainted with Asteroids. Before we’d been seated, he’d carved out T-O-M pretty heavily on the high score list. I felt bad for OB, as some of those on the waiting list clearly ditched, because we wound up sitting in a fairly sparse dining room while the kitchen labored to get back on its feet. The staff was friendly, and none of our party were any the worse for the wear. I’d definitely head back here again. More on the menu to work my way through. And there’s always another good beer in the Oskar Blues lineup.
Beer is refreshing. Mountains are refreshing. Combining the two for a little Barstool Mountaineering had more than a double effect on rejuvinating a worn down body. Tough to go home after this trip, but then again, it’s tough to not disappear in the middle of the night all too often. Many thanks to the Great Outdoors and the great Colorado brewers that made our trip so refreshing.