Tag Archives: Colorado

The Long Way Home

I made it to Colorado!
am12 I love my new state and my new view! We took our time on the drive out east, leaving Friday morning and stopping many times along the way. I had a few favorite places to visit before I left the grand state of California.
am A second final Golden Road brew – It’s Not Always Sunny in LA black IPA.
am1 Enegren Langsamweizen and a Custom Salad at Custom Melt.
am2 And on my very last night in town, Derailleur and tons of mac ‘n cheese with bacon and jalapeños at Ladyface Alehouse. I spent the rest of the night hanging out with my roomies and the new pup and then prepared myself for a morning of trying to stuff my life into my car.
am3 After the game of car Tetris was complete (and everything fit!!!), we headed out to grab some elixer of life. Soy chai for me – I was going to treat the drive out like vacation!
am4 We stopped for gas just inside Nevada…
am5 And I was very successful at losing $1.25 on the slot machines at the gas station. When in Rome…
am6 Since I wanted to drag out my vacation-trip, St. George, Utah was the first stop. We checked out the Brigham Young house, grabbed a bite to eat at one of the local Thai restaurants and headed back to the hotel for Cali brews and a movie.
am7 Jubilee by Island Brewing Company with the new movie Drinking Buddies on in the background!
am8 And a little bit of smoky Solidarity black mild by Eagle Rock Brewery.
am9 The next day we curved through the vast expanses of canyons and red rocks in Utah before coming to the Colorado state line to take the obligatory state sign picture. Someone else was already there, sadly photographer-less, so I offered to take the border pic for him.
am15 Mine wasn’t quite as epic…
am10 But I was pretty freaking happy to be there! Bill F***in’ Murray and I enjoyed the first step into my new home.
am11 We stopped in Grand Junction (again, taking our sweet time), and went to Rockslide Brewpub for a beer before passing out. On Sunday, I finally made it all the way home and was welcomed with local brews, Thai food, family, and an unexpected jam-packed plan for Monday.

On Monday morning, I met with random dude from the Colorado sign in Boulder for some spicy iced Bhakti Chai, then we made our way to Denver and the British Bulldog to watch the Chelsea vs. Manchester United game with the Rocky Mountain Blues Chelsea fanatics.
AM16 Random guy from the Colorado sign is Landon Cooper, the founder of Miles 2 Give who just completed a 3,000 mile ultra-run from coast to coast to raise funding for Sarcoma cancer research. Their normal mileage was 30-40 miles per day, plus a few 60 mile days studded throughout, and they dedicated each run to a different patient, survivor or family. Completely insane. Completely amazing. Check out the site and donate to the cause!
AM14 In between loud chanting, singing and jeering the two Man U. fans that were surrounded by blue jerseys at the British Bulldog, we feasted on fish ‘n chips, Guinness and some local brews before heading over to Great Divide Brewery.
am19 I’d seen this two blocks away as we drove into the city and knew I had to visit.
am18 If I’d known we were to be so close, I would’ve planned ahead and gotten tickets for a brewery tour. And brought my nice camera.
am17' Small tastes of Yeti, Espresso Yeti, Wolfgang and Rumble. Landon and Bret approved.
am20 I’ll be going back here sooner than later so I can begin officially documenting the wonderful extravagant number of new (to me) breweries that keep appearing in my new, wonderful state.

It’s great to be home.

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Filed under New Life

Two Weeks Notice

My life has been turned upside down. The past few months have been incredibly difficult for me, even though I’ve kept it light on the blog.

In the last few months I found out that someone I once considered a good friend was the exact opposite. Suddenly, I was no longer welcome into one of my favorite places where I’d enjoyed spending almost every day learning, helping, building. Because of this situation, I also lost my best friend, my appetite for over a week (disastrous for a food blogger) and way too much weight. Needless to say, it’s been a little rough.
am I booked a trip to Colorado for a quick escape when all of this went down.
am1 I flew in over the mountains as the sun gently set, sipping on my complimentary gin and tonic and contemplating life.
am8 The first morning I was greeted with a green monsta and one of the most amazing views available to man. The parentals and I decided to start off healthy since we had the Gnarly Barley beer festival to attend.
am2 #42 Poblano Stout by Big Choice Brewing out of my old hometown, Broomfield. This was my favorite of the day.
am3 I was pleasantly tipsy thanks to the altitude and the wide varieties of tasters we got to try, and we ended up leaving at the perfect time.
am4 The storm wreaked havoc on the remaining hours of the festival. Tents were destroyed, tornado warnings blared and I enjoyed the torrential downpour from inside a cozy restaurant, eating deep fried food and sipping pale ale on nitro.

Sitting there, I finalized my decision that I’ve been contemplating for over two years. I’m moving to Colorado.

This morning I put in my two weeks notice at my job. My last full day in California will be August 23rd and then I’ll be journeying cross country in my Wheezy little car and embarking on an amazing adventure called life. The initiation into this new life will be a trip to Munich, Amsterdam AND Scotland!
am7 Breakfast at my new favorite place – Rainbow Restaurant in Fort Collins. Pumpkin bread french toast with rum butter and caramelized bananas. The appetite has returned.
am5 Celebration with Consecration. And now, to pack up my entire life and go back to where I belong, wearing jeans and flannel in the mecca of craft beer!

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Filed under Daily Life

Springtime in Colorado

I’m in Colorado again for a wonderful visit with my wonderful family, wonderful breweries and wonderful eateries! I took a well-deserved long weekend and flew in yesterday.
am Noodles and Company was my first stop. While it is a chain, I can’t find it anywhere by me in California! I’ll always have wonderful memories of high school – biking here with friends for a piping hot bowl of Wisconsin Mac & Cheese or something equally unhealthy. This time, peanuts were calling to me.
am1 Indonesian Peanut Saute! Rice noodles with tons of veggies and ridiculously spicy peanut sauce. I forgot to add meat and didn’t even notice. Accidental vegan!
am2 We also had to hit a brewery on the way home. Grimm Brothers has been a local favorite of mine for a few years now.
am3 I’m a huge fan of Snow Drop, but when they add Funkwerks Saison yeast to it… HUGE FAN. Oh, happy days. Their sessionable Willow Wren Erntebier (harvest beer) clocks in at 3.4%ABV with rich cocoa and coffee aroma, but still clean and light enough to enjoy on a hot summer day. I see a growler in my very near future with the 80+ degree heat here this week.
am4 Today was even more rice noodles. Sri Thai is a Thai restaurant I’ve frequented since I was eleven years old. Unfortunately, it’s been less frequent since I moved from Colorado ten years ago, but I make a point to stop by every time I’m in town.
am5 Thai iced tea with soymilk. Avoiding dairy is difficult, but this place is quite vegan friendly. I consumed my Pad Thai with chicken too quickly to photograph… I can only vegan so much in one week.
am6 After lunches I got a haircut, compliments of my wonderful parental unit who spoil me too much, and then headed to Odell Brewing Company.
am8 American Homebrewers Association cards get you $4 off any flight here! I went for one of the new seasonal flights.
am7 One of the standouts here was Press Pale Ale – a pale ale with coffee added. It was extremely strange and wonderful. Light and refreshing graham cracker flavor with a huge coffee aroma and finish, but still crystal clear and pale. I also adored the rye hefeweizen. And all the others on this flight. Since they’re under construction, adding yet another building onto their ever-expanding brewery, there was no Small Batch Revival this year. Le sigh. They promised me next year would happen

The evening was spent at the local golf clubhouse with amazing Good Juju Ginger Ale from Left Hand Brewing out of Longmont paired with spicy wings, and then on the porch of my parental unit’s beautiful home.
fire Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA – this will always be a nostalgic favorite of mine.

Happy spring to all!

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Beer + Guns = Colorado

I had an amazing, ridiculously fast three day vacation in Colorado this weekend!
Commander Matt and I took an evening flight to Denver to hang with my parentals and attend the Odell Small Batch Revival. It was a painlessly quick flight. My parental unit picked us up at DIA and we headed back to their house to have some Enegren brews we’d brought as gifts, and then to pass out.
The views from their place are absolutely hideous. What’s with all the open space? It’s also incredibly noisy – that little creek below their porch makes quite a ruckus as it burbles over the rocks with the trout darting through.
They also have these rude deer that traipse through their yard whenever they please. Ugh.
We got all fancy and made breakfast – chocolate chip pancakes and grilled bacon!
These pancakes are made with almond milk and vinegar as a buttermilk substitute, and OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS.
After fooding, we met up with my brother and his wife and headed over to the Odell Small Batch Revival. It was HOT and packed!
We waited in exceptionally long lines for our beers and then found the small amount of shade that was available.
So. Many. People! This was taken right before the swarms of people arrived.
Ah, yet another perfect capture of how much we enjoy each other’s company.
I had the Totes McGotes Pale Ale Wheat – funky and sour with a strong Reisling flavor from the barrel, and the Extra Special Red. I was saving the Mash of the Titans for last, but they ran out right as I got to the front of the line. Heartbroken.

The next day we had a full schedule as well. First thing on the list:
Smith & Wesson 686 revolver. 357 magnum! I have no idea what all this means, but firing it is fun.
My bro firing his Glock. I preferred the .22 for accuracy, but this one was enjoyable too!
And back to the revolver!
Those holes in the head? All courtesy of me via the 686, before I started switching guns and throwing off my aim.
Can I have it? Christmas is coming up in only seven months. A Ruger Mark 3 would be lovely, thanks!
After shooting, we moseyed about twenty feet through the parking lot to the brewery. Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – it was nice to be able to taste and smell the beers, unlike last year!
I got a flight of eight. Had to try them all since I really hadn’t been able to before.
Shockingly enough, the Snow Drop was my favorite. The honey and molasses aroma were subtle but noticeable, with a sweet, almost mead-like honey flavor. This was an easy light sipper, but still came through at 7.1%ABV!
I also loved the Little Red Cap Altbier. Nice and malty and clean with a pleasant American hop bitterness.
My brother, Matt and I continued on to Funkwerks – a brewery that brews only Saisons!
The interior of this place is cozy and well lit, and full of craft beer enthusiasts.
I had to get a taster flight, of course. I was on vacation!
My favorite was the Codename: Farmhouse – roasted candied apricot and a bready finish with a hint of tartness.
To wrap up the evening, we swung by my brother’s work and he showed us some of the planes he’s rewired.
The new Garmin system is almost exactly like a video game! I’m fairly certain I played this game when I was twelve… The graphics are slightly better though, I must admit.

The next day was Memorial Day, and I was completely exhausted. We decided to have a slow day and regenerate on the lake.
Carter Lake was pretty quiet considering it was Memorial Day. We sat down on the dock and enjoyed the warm breeze.
Peaceful. Until he tried to throw me in.
Our flight out was at 9pm that night. It was tough to say goodbye to the parentals and the beauty of Colorado, but the bagpiper TSA agent helped ease the pain.
It was a wonderful, albeit far too short, weekend. I’m counting down the days until my next trip out.

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Filed under beer, beer sampler, beer tasting, brewery, Travel

Breckenridge Foods!

Breckenridge foods that are worth mentioning! (Besides the obvious and amazing grilled veggie sandwich I had yesterday at Breckenridge Brewery)
Dragon Roll at Mountain Flying Fish! Adorable!
And filling! I tried my hardest, but I couldn’t finish it. Stupid petite stomach of mine – I can only eat a small amount at a time, but I’m hungry every half hour. I need to keep a portable fridge on me at all times, filled with fried delicacies and chocolate. And bacon, that would be good too…
No other food was worthy of notice until we went back to Breckenridge Brewery tonight! Sweet Grilled Corn Bruschetta. If you don’t like regular bruschetta (I’m not a big fan myself), then drive all the way to Breckenridge to try this! Seriously, it’s that good. Charred corn with silky avocado and cilantro atop warm ciabatta that’s been smothered in a spicy mayo. Corn is a vegetable, so this appetizer is healthy.
It just wouldn’t be complete without a 471 Double Hopped IPA. Holy mothers, I LOVE this IPA! Extremely aromatic, great head retention and just the right amount of bitters to make your tongue tingle. They serve this in a 12oz glass, seeing that it’s 9.2% ABV. Le sigh de happiness.
Oooooh, yeah! I’m thinking of getting this permanently tattooed on my wrist or the back of my neck. Any thoughts?
I fully believe that when you appreciate a brewery, you should buy a shirt. After you’ve purchased said shirt, you should most definitely go down to the hotel bar, grab a 90 Shilling from Odell Brewing and practice some billiards. If a guy does happen to challenge you whilst you are wearing said shirt and drinking that 90 Shilling, practicing billiards, you should most definitely whoop his ass.

Three times in a row.

Then let him win so he doesn’t feel completely emasculated.

You should most definitely do that.

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Breckenridge Brewery

Today I got to check out Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge, Colorado, and got a personal tour from the brewmaster himself, Matt Darling. His first words when he saw me: “Chive on!” Awesome. Just plain awesome.
You can tell the brewers by their epic beards. It’s just a fact.

Matt Darling has been homebrewing since he was 15 years old, starting with vodka and wine before moving to beer. He’s been the head brewer at Breckenridge Brewery for five years after working as the assistant to Drake Schmid for three. He considers John Jordan, the brewer at Flying Monkey who is also a microbiologist, his mentor. I had a mini-interview with Matt to follow:

Becki: What was your “gateway” beer that made you really appreciate good craft beer?
Matt: Probably Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. (Very classy “gateway”, Matt!)
Becki: Of all of the beers at Breckenridge, what’s your personal favorite.
Matt: Our ESB (Extra Special Bitter).
Becki: Ooooh, can I try that one? Is it year round?
Matt: No, it’s seasonal. We make it in autumn.
Becki: *Sniffle* *sad face*

So my quotes aren’t quite exact, but all the information in them is! (At least I think it is. Correct me if anything’s wrong, Matt!)
The brewery is located just south of the busy part of Main Street, nestled in between dozens of aspen trees.
When you walk in, you’re greeted by the entire brew system. It’s laid out behind the bar in all its glory. On brew days, you can actually sit at the bar and watch them go through the entire process. You’d be pretty trashed by the end though – on brewing days Matt is there from 9am to 6pm with only his assistant, Jimmy Walker, to help. That mash tun has to be filled twice in order to fill one fermenter. That’s a crapload of brewing!
The entire brewpub is bigger than it appears from the outside. The second floor that’s not filled with fermenters is used for seating, with lovely views of the brewery.
Oh, and the mountains. Those are lovely too…
Excuse the following blurry images – macro in dim lighting. Upstairs they have the specialty grains in the mill room. All the regular grains are located in a silo behind the brewpub.
Once all the ales are fermented, they’re transferred down to the refrigerated basement into gigantic kegs where they’re siphoned up to the brewery until they’re empty. It doesn’t take too long. They brew about four days a week during summer to keep up with demand here. In winter, it’s up to six times a week! Them snowboarders get thirsty!
Delicious Cascade hops! They use pellets instead of whole leaf hops to avoid clogging their brew system.
Back up at the bar I got to try the beer from the “brewer’s handle”. It was a Belgian pale ale with Trappist ale yeast pitched in – beautiful golden color with slightly fruity esters. I was too busy drinking it to get a picture. The beer above is their seasonal brown ale that had been run through the brand new lines in order to allow the hoppy aroma to really come out. They have a barrel that they got from Breckenridge Distillery filled with this brown downstairs, absorbing all the intense bourbon flavors. I wish I could be in town when they open that one!
Here’s the wonderful, big board full of all of their brews, excluding the few fresh seasonals they have out now: Lucky “U” IPA, Oatmeal Stout, 471 Double Hopped IPA and Baldy Mountain Brown (I think that’s what I tried above).
Of course, since it is a brewPUB, I had to try their food! I got the grilled vegetable sandwich – portobello mushrooms, peppers, onions and cheese topped with fresh spinach, piled onto fresh ciabatta bread and covered with pesto sauce. Holy frick, this was amazing. Even better was the beer they suggested I pair with it:
Vanilla Porter. Out of this freakin’ world! Seriously, I can’t fully describe the awesomeness of this beer. There are no aroma hops used in this, so the vanilla and malt smell comes through cleanly. The first sip is slightly sweet with a warm vanilla flavor rounded out with a full mouthfeel and faint touch of hop bite that lingers on your tongue after you swallow. Only 4.7% ABV, but since I just came from sea level, that was enough to make me feel it!
Thanks again to Matt for letting me barge in and giving me all the info! I’ll be back tomorrow to try a few more beers – gotta try them while I can since they don’t distribute to California. *Sniffle* *sad face*

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Grimm Brothers Brewhouse

Back to the Colorado recap!
We visited Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, Colorado.
This quaint little brewhouse opened in July 2010. They’re located in a small business park that you would pass by if you didn’t know it was there. That is the best part – you have to really love beer to know it’s there, so it’s not a place where people go to get trashed. This is for the true beer enthusiasts.
We got two flights to sample all of the brews. Unfortunately, the hops only increased my coughing, so I couldn’t fully appreciate the deliciousness of this true German-style beer.
All their beers are named after, you guessed it, Grimm Brothers fairy tales (which are a lot more ominous than the happy Disney versions). They were hand-labeling bottles (which had the most amazing artwork) for distribution when we got there.
It was a toss-up between Little Red Cap and Master Thief for my favorite… You know me though, I always fall hard for a good amber!
We got to check out the brewery in back where they were brewing up another batch. Nothing smells better than a working brewery!

I’m excited to go back HEALTHY and be able to fully appreciate these beers! For now, I sit back and wait for them to start distributing to California. Or ask someone to FedEx me a few bottles…

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Odell’s Small Batch Revival!

AKA Colorado: Part IV!

Best. Day. EVER! Odell Brewing in Fort Collins held their 3rd annual Small Batch Revival (formerly known as Small Batch Beer Festival), where they brew small batches of DOZENS of types of beer. Once that stuff is gone, it’s gone, which I sadly found out as I got to the front of the line just in time to watch them erase their only honey amber from the board. Sniff.
Luckily, they had plenty more to choose from. This is one of three boards – all the same length. Heaven.
The festival was PACKED! They gave out over 5,000 wristbands this year! It was beautifully overcast and cool, and the rain kept mostly at bay despite a few drops that fell into my beer.
It’s okay, though. My beer(s) still tasted awesome! I first got the Magnum Hopus (delicious!), and then the Full Blown IPA (also delicious!). In between I got to sip the Coconut Milk Porter, which I am currently OBSESSED with! I don’t generally go for porters when there is an IPA or amber around, but this one may have converted me. I’m thinking maybe a winter brew may be in the works?
As I said before, the Revival was PACKED! Tons of people – elderly folks, TONS of babies, TONS of dudes with beards (I think almost every single homebrewer I’ve come across has/had a beard at some point) and exactly two girls who were wearing heels. Everyone else was in comfortable shoes.

Reason 1,295,032 I love Colorado – I’m allergic to heels.
The merchandise table! I wanted one of everything! My mom and dad generously bought me an IPA sweatshirt that I am wearing at this moment with pride!
I was too busy repping my favorite Ladyface Ale sweatshirt to put it on at that moment, but it kept my arm nice and warm. As did my awesome arm warmers. The picture above is my bro and sister-in-law (The Vegans) highlighting some of the brewing processes of the ale I was sipping. At least I think that’s what we were talking about. I was a little fuzzy at that point…
The press in their high and mighty spot! Normally, I’d be jealous, but I was in the midst of beer and many, many beer enthusiasts – right where I wanted to be!
They asked that everyone bike to the event, but as you can see, quite a few decided that the weather wasn’t quite right for that…
As soon as I got back home to Cali, I pulled my bike out, tuned it up, and I’m ready to jump back on! Or I will be, just as soon as this pesky virus goes away.

I’m getting rid of it with spicy Tom Kha Gai and beer. I’m pretty sure that’s the cure…

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Colorado: Part III

I’ve been ridiculously sick and therefore passing out after taking coughing meds every single night before I had time to blog. Now, however, I’m home, slowly getting better, and ready to wedge myself in the couch and type away!
Our lovely friends invited us over to their house for dinner. I was too busy shoveling the delicious pork roast, rice salad and buttery carrots into my face to get a picture, but I DID remember to take one of Louise’s AMAZING biscotti! She used to make this for my bestie Michelle and me when we were wee tykes rollerblading around the neighborhood and packing picnics to eat on the golf course. To this day, I can’t even look at any other biscotti with any respect at all.
Since we were in Colorado, I had to pick up a local brew. This is Friek, a kriek beer that Odell Brewing made a single batch of. Once this is gone, it’s gone for good (at least until the next Small Batch Revival which we attended – more on that in the upcoming blog). This was not as sweet as I was expecting from a kriek. It was more of a sour ale that you’d enjoy sipping slowly over the course of an evening.
Which I did. This is a delicious beer, made to be enjoyed in a single glass. Personally, I think more than that would be overwhelming and ruin the palate.
The next day we drove around to check out neighborhoods in the area. I love this about Colorado – elk wander freely through the lawns, chowing down on young saplings. I love this because I don’t own saplings that are being chewed on by elk.
For lunch we went to Mad Greens. ANOTHER thing I love about Colorado – this Chipotle-style restaurant with salad. You choose your lettuce and walk down the assembly line picking other vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and proteins to be added, which are all married together with one of their HUGE selections of dressings.

I ate here twice in one day. I want to go back already!
After our healthy lunch, Michelle and I went up to Boulder to walk around Pearl Street and visit the Walnut Brewery – a place I used to go after playing billiards at the Foundry next door. The Foundry is now Absinthe Club. I weep for the loss of innocent pool tables.
Walnut Brewery is a big local brewpub that serves chicken-fried chicken (my favorite when I was eleven), nachos, potato skins and a huge variety of other artery-clogging deliciousness. They also brew their own beer on site in these big mash tuns and fermenters.
We split a taster of their five beers and then ordered a pint each. After 3/4 of that pint, we were both incredibly tipsy (read: a little bit drunk), and had no idea why until we realized that we’d both come from sea level up to altitude. Cheap dates!

Afterwards, we slowly made our way around the different shops of Pearl Street until we sobered up, then I headed to my hotel before the long trek up to Fort Collins. Best friends and beer – not a bad way to spend the day.

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Gelato and Liquor!

AKA Colorado: Part II!

Now seriously, gelato is amazing. You know how much I adore Paciugo. I used to visit every day whilst working at my crappy retail job. However… I have found something that tops even Paciugo!!
This is a Mudslide Gelatini. Double chocolate chip gelato, vodka, Irish cream and coffee liquer.
OH. YES.
GELAZZI! This little lounge in Littleton, Colorado is the perfect spot for kids after school (there were way too many of those), and adults (or people who pretend that they are) for any time of the day.  My best friend Michelle, who I’ve known since I was eight, and I stumbled upon this beautiful little place while driving around town.
Nothing like a liquor-infused gelato to celebrate 2pm on a Tuesday!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Paciugo, but if a Gelazzi moves to town… watch out!

I just had to dedicate an entire post to this. It’s THAT awesome!

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