We went, we saw, we drank, we ate, we conquered. It was one of the most fun trips I’d ever taken, all that was missing was Evan (he would have been in heaven)! We made loose plans on where were wanted to go and what we wanted to see and did pretty damn good at getting a lot of it done. We didn’t see everything (we would have need a week for that at least)! It was a whirlwind of fun, beer, food, and I even got to reunite with my God Father Kent and his wife Lisa!
When we first arrived to Denver before we could even leave the airport we had to stop in the lounge for a local beer. A Singletrack Ale by Boulder Beer.
Our friend Hannah (the redhead) and her friend picked Lori and I up from the airport (in a convertible I might add) Yes we dropped the top! Who cares about hair and the fact that it was 57 F. outside, we were on vacation! We got dropped off at our humble abode, which was pretty sweet: an older 3 bedroom home decorated in retro modern furniture and art posters. It also has a great backyard patio! It was perfect! After settling in a getting ready for our first adventure we made our way to the bike rental place The Bike Doctor they were nice over there and hooked us up with some bikes for our downtown excursion. We all managed to stay on our bikes and not have any malfunctions so that was a plus!
Beer time: We biked all over downtown hitting up these places…
Flying Dog was the first stop (they were closed) 😦 We never made it back… I was sad…
Breckenridge Brewery: We tried a sampler of 6 beers. I’m a bit biased because on of my favorite beers is the 471 Small Batch IPA, they had this beer on cask aged in Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrels…. MY NEW FAV! It was wonderful so complex, delicious, and I shouldn’t forget HOPPY, I love hops!!! I have to say that Breckenridge was my favorite spot for a beer in downtown, Stuart (the GM) was serving our beer and he was so friendly and personable. He let us walk in the back and check out the beer set up. We liked him a lot! We felt at home here! I definitely recommend going here the beers are well rounded and there’s something for everyone here, including some BBQ.
Stranahan’s Whiskey : I know this isn’t beer… but I love whiskey too… A LOT. The whiskey was good, it was no Jameson’s but it was good. They use Rock Mountain Water to make their whiskey so I thought that was really cool! I also was very curious to try the whiskey that the barrels were used for in the 471 Small Batch Cask! While we were there I had a Deviant Dales IPA which was pretty damn good (note if it’s an IPA chances are good I’ll stay it was damn good, I’m a biased IPA snob remember). We decided to have a bite to eat while we were there and after a suggestion from one of the locals named we ordered the Chefs Plate, which consisted of American style cheeses • cured meats • appropriate condiments • all for $ 17 it was delish! The table next to us had burgers that were ginormous and looked phenomenal.
Great Divide Brewing We got here just as a Baseball game let out… it was packed and this apparently was the place to go after games. I finagled my way to the front of the bar and ordered 3 beers 2 double IPA’s and one regular… I don’t remember which I had but I did remember the Titan IPA was the non double. We were approached by several dudes with half of their beers split down their white Denver Rockies Baseball Jersey’s, none of which had mustard stains which was quit surprising. 🙂 We left after the first beer to grab a bite.
We moseyed our way down to have some dinner at Biker Jim’s Dogs for a little Denver wiener and beer. We all had Dale’s Pale Ale and I had the Pheasant Dog it was really incredible! Had I not been so full of beer I could have eaten 2 or 3!
After cruising around town for a bit more we called it a night and biked home!
We rented a car for this day to make our ways to Fort Collins- but before a day of beer we needed brunch!
The Kitchen: To be honest I don’t even know what I ate… It was a scramble egg kind of dish on toast…I forgot to get a photo of this one… I do however remember my beer because I wrote it down! I had the Strange Pale Ale and it was pretty good. We also had a side of garlic fries that were amazing!
First Stop New Belgium Brewery: This place was INCREDIBLE and it completely blew our minds! This was the only “official tour” we did and with good reason… their set up is amazing! To be honest I was not a huge fan of NBB until I came here. I absolutely LOVE how everything was so well thought out, everything had meaning, purpose, and a great story behind it. It just felt good being here. We learned so much in the 1.5 hr tour from the origins of the brewery to how they decide on beers to release. Many of you may have tried the Ranger IPA (you know I have) and may be thinking… “well that’s not a “Belgium Style Ale”… it’s not but the beer rangers told NB that they needed an IPA so they made one and I’m glad they did!
*Beer Rangers are their beloved folks out in the field. Spanning all 29 of our states from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the Beer Rangers do their best to protect, to pour and to partake. And explore many a beer from many a brewery, they do.
We tried so many different beers on the tour and each one was so awesomely explained! We of course started off with a Fat Tire, then onto Biere de Mars, then a Ranger IPA, then a Shift, and lastly and my FAVORITE of them all the La Folie a sour brown ale that I thought I’d hate but in all actuality loved and found my self craving once I got back to Texas (yes I had one last night).
This place was just incredible all around, a great company, great people, and really great beers! Everyone was so friendly here. One interesting tid bit… upon signing our tabs there was no tip option…they don’t accept tips because it’s an employee owned company! I think that’s so awesome! Please go check this place out asap!
Odell’s Brewery This place it a hop away from New Belgium Brewery. It’s a sweet little spot and very lively. We supposedly met Willie Nelsons Cousin at the New Belgium Brewery and he followed us over to Odell’s… Not sure if we buy that dudirino, although he did look reminiscent of him… Needless to say he bought us our first and only beers here, thanks… *(It apparently is very common to get followed to beer places in Denver, I’m not sure if it was our good looks 😉 , the fact that we love beer, just random, or all three)hahaha! I had a an IPA of course. From here we made the executive decision to have our Fancy dinner on this evening. I perused our map and Open Table and we decided on a 8:45 reservation at Mizuna…
Mizuna: Before I start let me just say I’m so glad we decided on a “fancy” dinner! It would have been incomplete without it! This place was hands down probably one of the top places to eat in Denver, Anthony Bourdain ate here, it’s gotta be good! We started off with some cocktails and appetizers I had the Basil Cucumber Fizz (I know it’s not beer… GASP) and we shared the Burgundian Escargot: Gruyère Crouton, Hon Shimeji Mushrooms, Parsley Aigo Bouido and the Rabbit Confit Ravioletta: Chanterelle Mushrooms, Tomme Rabelais Fondue, Grain Mustard Beurre Blanc. Oh my GOD it was so wonderful! The escargot was so wonderful and nutty the mushrooms were such a great compliment to the snails and the rabbit confit, mind blowing!
I had the Seared Veal Tenderloin Oyster Mushroom Leek Bread Pudding, Chestnut Soubise, Wilted Spinach, Hannah had the Sautéed Red Snapper Braised Endive, Sunchoke Mousseline, Truffle Vinaigrette, Garlic Nage and Lori had the Dry Aged NY Strip Au Poivre Black Truffle Porcini Gratin, Grilled Ramps. They were impeccable and well worth the money! We drank a bottle of LUCIEN ALBRECHT , CREMANT, BRUT ROSÉ – ALSACE with dinner, some of the best bubbly I’ve ever had!
Great meal with great ladies!
After a long day we had to head home to rest and prepare for day 3.
Sorry for the poor pictures it was very dark in Mizuna!
Time to brunch it up again and drop of the rental car. Today is the day we will meet my God Father Kent and his wife Lisa so I’m very excited!
Brunch: The Lobby I had a bloody mary WITH House bacon infused vodka, killer! I had the blue lump crap spinach and cream over poached eggs on an English muffin and we all split green chili pork tater tots… prob not the best choice since we couldn’t eat our meals after that!
Now it’s time for hiking and fun with my God Father Kent and Lisa! I hadn’t seen them since I was 2 so naturally I don’t remember that… at all! We got picked up by Kent and made our way out to Evergreen, a lovely little town about 25 min from Denver proper. We saw tons of snow capped mountains and wildlife like Elk, black squirrels, and black tailed deer. We went out and walked around Echo Lake and made our way to hike about a 4 mile trail. It was pretty cold at the time about mid 30’s-40’s but when the wind wasn’t blowing we were fine. We collected rocks and specimens along the way (that reminds I need to check my pockets for those things) 🙂 It was a blast, us Texan girls even made us some snowballs! Haha! It snowed a bit while we were out and about which was neat!
After hiking we made our way back to Kent and Lisa’s home in Evergreen for some great BBQ: burgers, brats, bean salad, and a spinach salad! It was so nice catching up and seeing them it was the highlight of my trip! After dinner we looked through some old photographs and talked about the old days. Kent told me my Dad’s old nickname “Bird” minus the definition… I had to get it from my Dad when I got home… hahah good times for sure! Shortly after dinner Kent drove us back to Denver taking us on the scenic route! We wen’t through Red Rocks amphitheater and some small towns. Red Rocks is amazing! Once we arrived home he patiently waited for the girls to get ready for our last night out on the town (thanks Kent). It’s amazing that 26 years of not seeing someone and reuniting with them felt so natural, like we’d been friends and in contact forever! Lisa is probably one of the sweetest ladies I know, she was so nice! I now know why my parent’s picked Kent to be my God Father… they picked a great down to earth man!
Next Stop: Falling Rock Tap House This place was a popular hangout, it was packed and nearly impossible to get a seat, we finally did and we had…. a beer! I had the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum. It was a cool spot, def the younger crowd hangout. We had one beer and made our way on to get a snack.
Marcos Coal Fired Pizza We spilt a pizza here the Del Re: Truffle and Porcini Mushroom Pecorino Sardo Spread, Fresh Mozzarella, Topped with Mushrooms, Proscuitto di Parma, Fresh Basil it was good but I wasn’t completely blown away… I gues I’m kind of a pizza snob… go figure! The crust was off in my opinion… Oh well. Next stop Star Bar right next door.
Star Bar: I loved this place! It totally reminded me of being in Texas 🙂 They had a nice live band that did mainly covers and people were letting loose in this place, I’m talking dancing like there would be no tomorrow! The served GIANT beers here after the first I felt so full but after the second and third we were good to go! We danced, laughed, and closed this bar down, we had to it was our last night! 😉 After this we ventured back cab style (prob the worst cabby ever), but we made it back to that humble abode.
The last day in Denver, luckily our flight wasn’t until 3:45 (it was actually much later because we were delayed due to slide malfunctioning). We took our time getting up, cleaned the place a bit, and packed…then got ready for one final brunch.
Strings: We walked about 2 miles to get here, it was SO windy but we made it. We of course ordered the $12 bottomless mimosa’s I think we had like 6 each (we got our monies worth)! And we ALL ordered the crab cake eggs benny’s! It was so delish! At the end of brunch we felt we had to order dessert since we hadn’t done it all trip… crème brûlée it was and it was phenomenal! I was a bit worried upon going on this trip that I’d gain like 10lbs… surprisingly with all the walking, biking, and hiking I lost .5 a lb! That NEVER happens EVER! Glad we got that dessert!
From here we take off to the airport and say goodbye to Denver. It was a wonderful trip with 2 of my best friends I couldn’t imagine anyone I’d rather take a beer trip with (other than Evan of course). We definitely did this trip up right! Until next time Denver! Cheers!