I find airports interesting. The people you see there, especially early in the morning. Are a combination of exhausted, grouchy, dehydrated, and annoyed at the world, specifically the TSA. In short, it is a good place to see humans at their most open and vulnerable. Airports often have an aroma that is a combination of cleaning chemicals, human waste, fried food, and coffee.
I landed and after about 3 hours in Denver I was relaxed. That is an almost foreign feeling. My primary goal besides seeing one of my best friends get married is to only drink beer I’ve never had before or are not available in Charlotte.
So, this happened. A weird lady with a Star of David tattooed on her forehead joined me at my table by the fountain outside Union Station. Not dangerous weird, just weird. She talked a lot about what I’m not really sure. Something about waiting for her husband and his crazy family.
Then, at the Terminal Bar, I had an angry little man sitting a couple of seats down from me. The angry elf was pissed at the whole world especially the incompetent people who were thinking about hiring him. He muttered and talked to himself the whole time he was there calling the people he was trying to work for “dykes and faggots” in a wonderful stream of crazy. He was mad at the bartender for carding him (its Union Station policy to card anyone ordering alcohol), didn’t like any of the 30 taps, couldn’t get cell reception, had a hard time figuring out Google Maps or something. I stopped listening and just enjoyed my Telluride Brewing Face Down Brown on nitro. When he left, the bartender and I looked at each and just laughed.
After dealing with a screw up by the hotel, I got a nap before meeting Dave and Ginny for dinner and a few beers. We went to Bierstadt Lagerhaus. Great German style beer and great food. I had the Vegetarian Mac & Cheese and we shared a vegetarian poutine along with two excellent dunkels. I finished the food later that night in my hotel room. It was great to see the two of them together before the wedding both being kind of twitchy with the last of the preparations. After Bierstadt, we walked over to Epic where I had the Smoked Porter just before they closed.
The next day I woke up and got some coffee and walked around the neighborhood a bit. Then I walked down to Freshcraft for lunch and a couple of beers. This is now on my list of places I must go whenever I’m in Denver. Good food, good beer selection, and better atmosphere.
From there, my path took me to the Great Divide Barrel Bar. When I heard they were building a new tap room I was afraid it would be an overly elaborate monstrosity. Part of the charm of the old taproom is that it is so damn small and cramped. While the new tap room is bigger, it isn’t much bigger. There is room for a few tables and a more expansive bar, but it is still a small and decently intimate place to have a beer.
After that, I met up with Dave and Brian at Ratio. I love this place. First, it is great beer. Second, it has a great atmosphere and vibe that makes me feel comfortable. That is a theme to all the places I like in Denver. I always find places that I feel comfortable just sitting and drinking. After that, we adjourned to Los Chingones for a little quick Mexican food.
After picking up Dan at Union Station we made our way to Hops and Pie. I’ve been here a couple of times now and the beer is great and the pizza is great. Another place I will tell anyone to make their way to. Once we finished eating, we were all tired and found our way to our beds for a night’s sleep.
The next day was great. I did nothing until the picnic at Sloan’s Lake. There I just ate more Mexican food and hung out. Wait, I forgot. I timed it so I could go by Hogshead Brewery first for a pint. Another place that I love. Good cask ales served at the correct temperature. Session beers all around. After the picnic, most of the wedding guest went there for a few more pints. Then some of us ended up at US Thai. Then we went back to the Dan, Dave, and Brian’s Airbnb where they partook in some of Denver’s finest that past guests left for others since they couldn’t get it on the airplane.
Sunday, Wedding day, I met up with the three of them again for a hike at Red Rocks. That is an awesome and beautiful place and I want to get there for a concert at least once in my life. We left there and had lunch and Block and Larder before getting ready for the wedding.
The wedding took place at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms. It was a beautiful facility and beautiful setting for a beautiful wedding. Dave and Ginny are two of my favorite people separately and they are perfect together. The ceremony was short, simple and beautiful. Then before the reception got started the surprised and honored me by asking me to be one of the witnesses for their wedding license. The more I think about it, the more honored I am and the more emotional I get about it. Then the reception and its two types of mashed potatoes started. There was bourbon, vodka, and beer. I was in heaven.
The next morning, I was back in an airport in the early morning. Being there on 9/11 was an interesting feeling. I was struck by the transience of life and how the memories of that day are clear as a movie with the same emotional impact. I don’t feel the same about that day as I did. It is still a demarcation point in memory of how the world works, but for me the emotions are muted. It is almost a wistfulness of how things were and not the sadness of a tragedy that changed how we all live.
I flew home and landed in a rain storm still relaxed from the vacation and happy to have been honored to be invited to this wedding.