Tag Archives: denver

Things I Did In Denver

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.

I had a nice view from the 22nd floor of the Hyatt Place in Downtown Denver

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.

The elusive Velvet Yeti

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.

GABF 2016: Notes On Arrrival

10/5/16, 6:20 am

Airports always seem like they are full of refugees fleeing a war zone. Especially at 6 in the morning. Everyone has the stunned punchy look of just waking up and moves at 3/4 speed at best. The ones just off an airplane appear lost and disoriented because they are.  Hopefully, I’ll get some sleep on the plane. I didn’t get much last night. Anticipatory insomnia sucks. Just checked the weather. Is a nice and balmy 37 degrees in Denver.

 

7:05 am

The cattle call of status. “Those of you willing to overpay for the comfort of sitting in a seat with adequate padding come first.  The rest of you unwashed, try to find somewhere to sit.”  That is followed by the annoyed feeling of walking down the aisle stopping and starting again worried you won’t find any room in the overheads for your carry-on. I did meet a guy who will be pouring for Winchester Brew Works out of Winchester, VA.  I will check them out tomorrow.

 

8:23 am

We just landed.   In Charlotte. One of the flight crew figured out that smoke in the cabin isn’t a good thing, so we turned back. They are currently looking for a new plane for us.  That stunned punchy look has been replaced by the annoyed as hell look on the face of most of the passengers.  Luckily, I don’t have to be in Denver for anything in particular like some of the brewery people.  They have to check in at 10 am Denver time to get their credentials.  I don’t think some of them are going to make it.  Of course, I was just starting to go to sleep when we made our u-turn.

 

12:09 MT

Once we got a plane that didn’t have the smell of burning hydraulic fluid leaking into the cabin, the flight went as expected. Now I have gone from a metal transportation tube in the sky to one on and underground. I’m taking the RTD light rail from the airport to Union Station in downtown Denver. This is awesome and convenient.  Union Station is right next to Coors Field.  What a wonderful concept to be able to take a cheap light rail ride right into the heart of your city. Paying attention Charlotte?

I always forget how bright it is here being closers to the sun.

 

3:00 pm

Three of the cask ale beer engines at Hogshead Brewery.

Three of the cask ale beer engines at Hogshead Brewery.

After a nice brunch at Snooze in Union Station and a drive through Denver to pick up deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, Dave and I have arrived at Hogshead Brewery.  It is a small brewery making British style beers on cask that is a two block walk from Dave and Ginny’s house.  The staff is cool and so is the atmosphere.  It is the exact kind of place we try to make Craft.  Oh yeah, Dave is my best friend from high school who lives in Denver is always kind enough to put me up during GABF and Ginny is his lovely fiancé.  My favorite of the Hogshead beers is either the Downtown Julie Brown or the Extra Stout.  I’m going to have to do some more research and get back to you on that one.

 

8:00 pm

After a couple of appetizers and drinks at Vital Roots, a slow food restaurant with awesome food, we head across the street to Hops & Pie for pizza and $2 craft beer can night.  Us and a

The crowd on the Wednesday before GABF at Hops & Pie

The crowd on the Wednesday before GABF at Hops & Pie

ton of brewers and others in for GABF.  The place has a great can and draft selection.  As well as great pizza.  After a couple of great beers (Uplsope Brown Ale and Creature Comforts Athena) and a good pizza, my body has decided it needs sleep.  I have feeling tomorrow will include another visit to Hogshead among others and Day 1 of GABF.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 7/15/15

There is a lot of Denver and a lot of food in this version of the Five Articles.  Also, some of me being annoyed that my fall plans were disrupted this year, by my friend’s falling in love and deciding to get married.

  • The Great American Beer Festival is expanding. This is great news for those who will be attending this year.  Unfortunately, I won’t be one of those people.  I have two friends who have selfishly decided to get married in October.  So, I have two weddings to go to this year instead of a week in Denver (one of my favorite places) drinking beer (my favorite past time).
  • Speaking of Denver. There is now a beer kiosk in the Denver International Airport.  Have I mentioned how much I love Denver?
  • This is why people love Louisiana. Everything comes down to food and having a good time.  Thinking of beer as part of food and as part of your meal is something more people should do.  Beer and food pairings are fun to do.  The primary way to do it is to find complimentary flavors. In this case the Maillard reaction is the basis of pairing.  The Maillard reaction is what makes food brown when it is cooked.  Darker beers usually work well with seared and pan fried meat.
  • Greensboro is going to be home to the National Folk Festival for the next 3 years and Natty Greene’s and Foothills Brewing will be the beer sponsors. Since, I won’t be going to the GABF this year (as we have already discussed) this might be a good alternative.
  • Beer brunches are a growing thing. I love beer as much as the next guy, but drinking at 9 am even if it is a breakfast beer cocktail is a bit much for me.  I drink enough from noon until I go to sleep that it never occurs to me to have a beer in the morning.  I have enough trouble waking up that I don’t need alcohol to make it any harder. However, people love to drink during Saturday and Sunday brunch and drinking something like a breakfast stout makes as much sense as anything.