As I mentioned in my last post, we hit a couple of snags, and spent a little more time in Wyoming than anticipated. This meant we lost a day in Denver, which we were super bummed about, but we did our best to make up for lost time, cramming a sizable chunk of activity into a very short period of time. Here is what we did.
We got to Denver early Saturday afternoon, and immediately met up with one of my other oldest friends, Rachel. Besides being an all around awesome person, Rachel is also a big fan of beer, and was a fantastic sherpa as we navigated the ginormous Denver craft beer scene.
- We made our way over to Crooked Stave, which is in the same space as Comida, and shared a sampler tray. All their offerings were pretty delicious, but our personal favorites were:
- Progenitor Batch 4 (Dry Hopped Golden Sour)
- Mama Bear's Sour Cherry Pie (Burgundy Sour ale aged in oak barrels with cherries)
- Dinner at Falling Rock Tap House
- Great Veggie burger (with green chilis!)
- Drank Nelson from Alpine Beer Company- Golden Rye IPA brewed with Nelson Sauvin Hops from New Zealand. Big juicy hop flavor balanced out with detectable maltiness.
- Bottle Share at Rachel and Jan's (Jan is Rachel's husband. He's also awesome)
- Humulus Terreux from Bruery Terreux
- Sherry Barrel Atrial Rubicite from Jester King
- 2012 Odio Equum from Avery Brewing Company - I couldn't find it on their website to link to it, but it's an ale brewed with red raspberries aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels.
- Brett Loves Citra from Casey Brewing
Looking back, this bottle share was very well curated (Thanks, Jan!) Beers chock a block full of brett and hops are new to me, but they are for sure a style I will now seek out. I was also surprised by how different two wild sour raspberry beers aged in red wine barrels could be- the Sherry Atrial Rubicite was very raspberry forward, where the malt in the Odio Equum created an almost chocolate raspberry flavor. Both were fantastic.
Oh! We also got to hang out with Rachel and Jan's adorable dog, Luanne.
We checked out Dinosaur Ridge, where we took a free self-guided tour and saw fossils, footprints, and bones in and around the Morrison formation. It was difficult to make out what everything was in the rock formations, but it was nice to get out for a walk, and it's impressive that this record of prehistoric life is still largely intact and open to the public.
- We visited Spangalang Brewery, where we sampled the following:
- Art Pepper Saison (brewed with pink peppercorns and orange peel). Very pleasant. Also learned that pink peppercorns are part of the cashew family, which, considering Casey's nut allergy, was some pretty valuable intel! Seriously. I wish all breweries would take a lesson from these cats and pay careful attention to the potential presence of allergens in their beer!
- D-Train IPA
- Tipel Risotto Milanese Belgian Tripel (Collaboration with Birrificio Argo and the future Liberati Brewing Company). Normally, I'm not big into Belgians, because I find them clove-y or sweet (probably not the right description, but there's a flavor in most of them that makes me want to not enjoy them). I found this guy to be a little more well balanced than most, perhaps because of the addition of saffron.
- We stopped by Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company. Jan is the head brewer here, so we got to take a behind the scenes tour. They brew on a 7 bbl system, and do a bunch of barrel aging and barrel fermenting.
- They strive to be hyper local. All their grain is grown in Colorado, and they roast their own malt in house (I think this is the first brewery I've visited that does this, but I might be making that up).
- We tried the Segale Rye Pale Ale, the Avenoir Sour Brown Ale, the PR-cubed Brett Saison, and the Novo Coffee Stout. All of the beers were delicious, but I think my favorite was the coffee stout.
- Last, but not least, we went to Ratio Beerworks, and tried the Repeater Extra Pale Ale, which had a little more oomph than a pale ale, but not quite as much as an IPA, which was the perfect way to close out what turned out to be a rather long session of beer drinking.
At this point, we parted ways with Rachel and Jan,and we headed out to check into our hotel and meet our friend Kerry and her boyfriend for dinner at Osteria Marco, where I ate half my body weight in burrata (in case you were wondering, it was the jam).
And now, for a little bit about our hotel. We decided to book one night in Denver at the Best Western Denver Southwest in Lakewood, because we had seen a comic about it on The Oatmeal. If you know me, you know I like dinosaurs, and this hotel was recently completely renovated to pay tribute to the dinosaurs and other prehistoric inhabitants of the Morrison formation in Colorado.
This place is great! When we checked in, I noticed a few casts and some dinosaur themed artwork, which I thought were pretty neat. But in the morning? Ohmgosh! The breakfast area has a cast of a Tylosaurus (I think... it was a huge lizard or dinosaur) on the ceiling, a mural of the Cretaceous Interior Seaway at the bottom of their pool, and TONS of dinosaur artifacts in the lobby area. They even have someone from the Morrison Natural History Museum onsite 7 days a week to talk to guests about the prehistoric history of the area and answer any questions. It was such a unique experience, and I'm way glad we did it.
Despite losing a day, we were able to pack a lot of activities into our visit. I think Casey and I both agree that we could have easily spent a few extra days (weeks even) exploring Denver, so we will definitely be coming back.
We spent Monday and Tuesday driving through Nebraska and Iowa, and we are headed to Chicago today to spend Thanksgiving with a fellow Boston transplant, who just so happens to be one of my favorites. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!