The days have been full of many firsts since I got my new house!
My first official breakfast in the new house – leftover sammiches and coffee! This is the Pilgrim from Backcountry Deli in Old Town Fort Collins. Absolutely love this sammich!
It happened to be leftover from a collaboration brew day I was lucky enough to participate in at New Belgium! Brewing beer and free sammiches? This is the life!
The first sunset at my new house. Blindingly beautiful.
My first housewarming beer from Goose Island! I’m doing a little recipe development, and they were kind enough to send a few samples for me to try out before.
Some first decorating has been done as well! A beautiful pic of my favorite beer-centric family right where they belong.
I also had Ethiopian food! I’m not sure if this really has anything to do with the new house, but it was definitely a first for me! Those baskets are actually the tables…
My bestie and I couldn’t figure it out, so we used the smaller, shorter tables next to the basket tables.
The first thing I actually baked in my house – cinnamon rolls on Easter!
My first visit to William Oliver’s Publick House for my first IPA by Horse & Dragon Brewing!
We were there to celebrate my brother’s first sip of 30 year old scotch to celebrate his first 30th birthday! Happy birthday, brudder!
I headed over to Verboten to say a quick hello and a nice sample of their award winning stout – Pure Imagination, and grab a few growlers for an evening with my bro, sis-in-law, niece and nephew.
Ain’t they cute?
Almost as cute as my handsome lil fella.
I had my first sip of Bhakti Chai with coffee added! Tastes like gingerbread cookies and happiness!
And the first kitchen table I’ve ever purchased! I loaded this into my house yesterday and enjoyed a freshly oven-heated frozen lasagna with my family. I’m nothing if not classy.
You guys have seen this before, I just think it’s pretty. And now, it’s time for the Colorado Avalanche’s first Game 7 of the playoffs!
What are some firsts you’ve experienced lately?
At last – here’s my recap from the CBC 2014 down in Denver! After attending in 2012, I knew I couldn’t miss one that was being held in my home state! Many pictures, few words. Life has been ridiculously hectic with the closing, the move, and the everything else that’s stealing time from me.
Tuesday of CBC week was absolutely gorgeous! It was 75 degrees in downtown Denver and all of the craft beer folk were slowly starting to filter into town from all over the world. There were 9,000 attendees this year!
I walked the four miles (very slight exaggeration) through the convention center, checked in for my media pass and buckled in for the crazy ride to come.
Symposium brew – Centennial State Pale!
I headed over to the German hops hospitality suite while I waited for my people to arrive and was treated to a variety of beer samples hopped with a bunch of new varieties.
Lotsa green! German green, not Colorado green.
The Hallertau Hop Queen of the year was there to give a very long, yet oh-so-adorable speech about the new hops.
Charlie Papazian spotting! Similar to my creeper Jim Koch spotting of CBC12.
I made my way through masses of body odor and crop dusting until I stumbled into my saving graces who were literally a breath of fresh air in the crowds.
Kaitlyn Canfield, the Hallertau Hop Queen, and Karie Scuiller. Kaitlyn and Karie work for Caliber Creative branding out of Dallas, Texas, and kindly took me into their small circle of delicious amber aroma and general sweetness and creative talent.
I also ran into some old friends in that same room – Organic Dan of Bison Brewing was there!
Along with his head honcho, Ashley Routson aka The Beer Wench!
We all insta-bonded and headed out to the welcome reception that was held at Mile High Stadium! It took us a few blocks of walking and a desperate jog to a taxi, but we eventually made it there!
The reception was held inside the first floor of the stadium, and ON the field! The evening was spent wandering around, having a few samples of the brews that were stationed across the entire facility, and reconnecting with old friends like my beautiful birthday twin Acacia Coast of the Brewers Association and Rob and Laina of Wolf Creek Brewery (my old job)!
The next day was spent mainly on the exhibition floor. IDD from Moorpark, California!
American Beer Equipment out of Lincoln, Nebraska! ‘Murika!
They provided free lunch to all attendees. Chicken ‘n swiss sammich! I was very grateful for the free absorbency.
There were plenty of beer samples on the floor to keep up with. I met up with some friends and we perused all the booths and sipped all the beer.
I also ran into this keg and did a double take – Council Brewing! My friends Liz and Curtis had their first brew day a few days ago, and it was awesome to see their kegs on display at such a big exhibition!
Big Ass Fans. Just because.
As the afternoon wound down, I stuck with Organic Dan and the Wench and wandered over to Falling Rock for some networking and good beers.
And I mean goooooood beers! We ended up sitting with Dr. Bill Sysak from Stone Brewing and were treated to glasses of Prairie Eliza5beth farmhouse ale. That’s a 3L bottle right there…
Firestone PNC tequila barrel-aged imperial buckwheat stout. One of my favorites of the night.
And my all time favorite of the evening – Stone’s Saison aged in white wine barrels. Mind bogglingly delicious and not at all what I expected to come out of Stone. Want. More.
The next day was full of seminar after seminar.
So much learning and note-taking. I was in beer nerd heaven.
I sat in on the Brewpub Panel which featured the wonderful Cyrena Nouzille of Ladyface Alehouse! Ahh, I miss my Ladies at Ladyface so much!
I also attended the annual Pink Boots Society CBC meeting where I met Franny from both The Full Pint and all things Golden Road/Mohawk Bend/Tony’s Darts Away! Franny flattered my brains out when she complimented the beer pairing dinner I designed and hosted at Tuning Fork in Studio City and said it was the best that Golden Road has ever had and possibly the best pairing in the universe. That last part might not have been said out loud…
The next day started off as all mornings should – with coffee beer. Oh, and learning. We were there to learn, too.
The day passed by in a blur of seminars and long chats about distribution. I made it up to the exhibition hall one last time to take this very sad, lonely picture. It’s just not fun to see everything taken apart and packed up to head back home. But now, it was time for the World Beer Cup.
We headed to the Hyatt to wait for the doors to open and enjoyed the gorgeous view overlooking Denver and the mountains.
And then, chaos. There was a long line to reach the beer pouring station where they were serving the remains of all the bottles sent in for the WBC competition. Buffet stations lined the outskirts and I managed to grab some brisket and short ribs, most of which rolled off onto my shirt. Thank goodness for the color black. Conceals all.
We arrived early and were able to snag seats in the second row.
The Hallertau Hop Queen made her appearance yet again!
And VERBOTEN! They got a bronze for their Bourbon Barrel Aged Mountain Man…
And blew my mind again with a SILVER for their Pure Imagination oatmeal stout! I don’t think I’ve ever cheered louder. Except maybe for the Colorado Avalanche games… But this was a close second.
And then Brazil won a bunch of awards and spent the night dancing and chanting “Brah-ceel!”. That was entertaining as well.
We celebrated the World Beer Cup with another visit to Falling Rock and wandered around congratulating everyone. I ran into Steve from Kinetic Brewing as well as AJ from Figueroa Mountain Brewing (I love seeing my California friends), and ended the night at the Brown Palace with Organic Dan, Ashley and the awesome Brian Lenzo – owner of Blue Palms Brewhouse.
We got a personal tour of the haunted rooms thanks to our awesome bartender, and then spent the rest of the evening taking ridiculous pictures in front of the upside down grillwork panels we spent half an hour trying to find.
Waaaaay too happy about finding those panels.
Bacon, fruit and green tea signaled the end of the Craft Brewers Conference of 2014. Looking forward to next year in Portland, Oregon!
…this brew day at New Belgium thingy happened yesterday, but that’s another story for another time…
Good news/bad news.
The Craft Brewers Conference of 2014 was absolutely amazing!
I can’t wait to recap it for you…
…sometime next week. I’m in the middle of all the final walk-throughs, inspections and closing (!!!!) on my house! I’m growing up, turning into an adult and going to be a homeowner!
My days have been filled with nothing but visiting thrift stores (I found these almost brand-new brew-style stools for $12.95!) and ordering mattresses and kegerators. Well, not the kegerator part. I guess a place to sleep is slightly more important than a kegerator. Priorities, people.
With all the stress, it’s been nice to have a few seconds of down time here and there. I stopped at the brand new 1933 Brewing in Fort Collins to enjoy a short afternoon and taster flight with a friend before work.
I also found a night to sneak out to Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins for the most amazing cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno pretzel with raspberry jam in the entire universe! Geez, I can’t wait to be living in Fort Collins so I can eat these every day! (or just stare longingly at the menu and sniff at the air since I have a mortgage to pay and won’t be able to afford to buy universally-delicious pretzels…)
I received some sanity-preserving gifts in the mail yesterday! My favorite chimichurri sauce in the whole world! I already have visions of relaxing outside of my new house, sipping a brew and grilling with these wonderful spreads and jams!
But first, I had to try some of that chimichurri sauce to make sure it tasted just as I remember. It does. Oh, Lordy, it does!
So bad news is that you guys will have to wait until next week for the CBC recap, but the good news is…
You also have some more time to enter for free Bhakti Chai!!! Head back to this post and leave a comment for your chance to win and I’ll choose the winner sometime next week after all the insanity has slightly waned!
Have you ever found anything good at a thrift shop? I will never doubt again!
I was invited to visit the Bhakti Chai brewery in Longmont last week and jumped at the chance!
I discovered Bhakti Chai a little over a year ago when my bro forced me to have a sip at Cranknstein when I was visiting from California. I instantly fell in the love with the intensely spicy, gingery cup of warm deliciousness.
Ever since then, I’ve been touting my love for the local company and their wonderful drink. I even moved back to Colorado just so I could have more access to it! Well, not really, but it’s been an added bonus.
Since my bro is the one who initiated me into the Bhakti love club, I had to bring him and my sis-in-law along! Ignore the pained looks on our faces – we were actually thrilled to be there, but dang, that sun was bright!
We arrived at the brewery in the morning and were greeted by the warm scents of mulled spices before we even entered the building. This adorable, colorful table was laid out with a handful of the Bhakti products, most of which I’ve never had the chance to try before!
Our tour guide/marketing genius Allison gave us each one of the bottles to sip while we chatted about the history of the company.
See that coffee blend? That is going to be the very first thing that I run to after Lent is over. Coffee and chai? I can’t wait!
I grabbed the new almond blend. I love that they’re using almond milk now – I’ve never been a huge fan of soy, so this one called to me.
Brook Eddy is the mastermind behind Bhakti Chai. She began making her own blend of spicy chai in her kitchen years ago, and stored it in mason jars to keep in her fridge.
Brook’s creation became incredibly popular with her friends who started snagging these jars from her fridge and leaving a few bucks in their place. Soon, a local cafe caught on and ordered three gallons of the blend to sell in-house, and Brook’s company was officially open!
Bhakti means devotion through social action, and this company is committed to the empowerment of women and girls.
Their walls are lined with examples of all the different organizations that they support. I love how deeply involved and committed they are with these causes. Allison was thrilled to share all of the work they’ve done.
Then, it was time for the tour! We grabbed our bottles, put on some sexy hairnets and entered the brewery.
This baby is basically a giant Vitamix. They grind all of their ginger into a pulp to feed into the vice.
Nate hard at work. Grindin’ ginger. Sportin’ a beard-net.
All of the pressed ginger is scooped into this vice which squeezes all of the spicy goodness into large buckets for brewing.
Allison informed us that this number has more than doubled. They actually press around 3,500 pounds of fresh, organic ginger every week.
The chai brewery is similar to a beer brewery.
In fact, these tanks used to be the brew system for the now-defunct Oasis Brewing out of Boulder!
Gallons and gallons of ginger juice and organic sugar being prepped to hop into the boil kettle!
I also love their use of organic EVERYTHING!
I forced brewer Jared to take a break and pose for me.
Yes. Yes, they do.
Up until six months ago, Bhakti was hand filling all of their bottles.
Considering how far spread out Bhakti is, this handy bottling line was quite necessary to keep up with demand.
They’re spread out across the states with more accounts being gained every month.
Just a sample of the amount of ginger juice stored up in the walk-in!
They receive their soy and almond milk in these gigantic vats so they can make their ready-to-drink bottles.
And fresh ginger. So. Much. Ginger!
Bhakti Chai is also a certified B Corp – one of about only 1,000 businesses around the world who meet the standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Happy magnets! I was able to get one of these to go on my new fridge!
They recently introduced a new, dry Bhakti Chai! Now you can take Bhakti with you when you travel! Since the ginger pulp still has plenty of flavor left in it after going through the press, they decided to dry and pelletize the pulp to put into the new dry tea bags, reducing waste of perfectly good ingredients.
I still have to find some of this ice cream to try! If they start making some almond milk ice cream, I will be their most devoted customer – even more so than I am now!
It was one of the most wonderful smelling and interesting brew tours I’ve been on. A huge thanks to Allison and the entire Bhakti crew for inviting us in!
Since I walked home with some special presents that they spoiled us with, I felt inspired to create a recipe. In the food blogger world, almond milk is in, Bhakti Chai is in, and chia seeds are IN.
Combine the seeds, almond milk and Bhakti Chai…
And WHISK your heart out!
Refrigerate overnight and ta-da!
(Note: If you haven’t had chia pudding, the texture takes some getting used to, but it is deeeee-lish!)
Aaaaaaand now for yet another giveaway!!! Bhakti Chai has kindly offered up two quarts of their amazing drink for one winner! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your beverage of choice is. It’s that easy! I’ll pick a winner on April 14th! Open to U.S. residents only.
Note: Bhakti Chai provided me with product samples for tasting and a brewery tour, and is also furnishing two quarts of chai to the contest winner, but I received no other compensation for this review, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.