Day -1 of Beer Bloggers Conference
Since today is the first day of the Beer Bloggers Conference, yesterday must have been day -1, right? Regardless of what it is or was, it was my first ever day in Denver. And I got lucky! No not that lucky, I had a great tour guide for the afternoon, my Beer Trading Guru, Scott gave me the whirlwind 6 hour tour of all things great in Denver.
The first stop and the first time actually meeting Scott was at the rustic and very friendly Brewpub in south east Denver, called the Bull and Bush Pub and Brewery (@BandBManBeer). Most Denver locals seem to know this brewpub for some of their GABF medal winning beers, but I was also impressed with their Vintage Beer Cellar. So what better way to meet a friend for the first time then to share an 8yr old bottle, 2002 vintage, of New Belgium La Folie. I was amazed how much this beer had mellowed. I had drunk a 2009 La Folie several weeks ago and the sharp acrid bite was almost gone in the ’02, it had transformed in a lovely “ciderish” tingly mouthfeel. Maybe it is just me, but I can’t go into a brew pub and not sample the local nectar! So, I also sampled the Happy Hoppy Pilsner, Tower ESB, and couldn’t pass on “Man Beer”. Then the bar tender poured us a sample of the Cask Big Ben Brown. I was really impressed with the 4 BandB beers I had. Either the ESB or Man Beer was my favorite.
Next a quick Detour to the Colorado Liquor Mart where Scott introduced me to their beer manager Andre. Very knowledgeable guy who really wants to keep expanding the breathe of their beer selection. Saw lots of great beers I don’t see in New Jersey, but my wallet kept me from going all out, but I got a Lost Abbey Deliverance and a Russian Pliney the Elder. Both of which I enjoyed in my hotel room later that night.
From the Liquor Mart, Scott took us into some crazy Denver traffic on I-25, didn’t realize traffic was so bad… so 25 minutes later but maybe only 2 or 3 miles away was Stranahan’s Brewery and the Rackhouse Pub. Unfortunately there were no Barrel Aged Stranahan beers on tap they had just kicked the one they had. So I ordered a class of Stanahan Whiskey, neat. It was mighty tasty, creamy and so smooth. We tried to get into the Brewery, but the doors were locked and they only do tours on Mon, Wed, and Fri. Of course we were there on a Thursday. What I loved about this pub was all the whiskey barrels on the wall and the open vents to the brewery so you could smell all the grains mashing. I love that smell!
Next up in our tour was Falling Rock by way of the Great Divide tap room. A tiny, crowded bar server some awesome Great Divide beer. Like any good beer geek, I went straight for the beer I hadn’t had, the Smoked Baltic Porter. Awesome beer, tasted just like its namesake. Not to much smoke to overpower the base Baltic Porter, but enough so that it was a primary flavor. That was quickly followed up with a small sample of Oaked Yeti. I’ve had it many times, but couldn’t pass up on tap and über fresh. The hops were really strong in the aroma about some what subdued in the flavor making for another awesome beer!
Now onto the last stop of the night where Scott and I meet up with fellow blogger and homebrewer Billy Broas at the Falling Rock Tap House. Beer Geek Heaven! wow. What struck me as I walked up to the front door, a hand written note on the door, “No Face Paint Allowed!” I didn’t get it until I was leaving and saw all the “people” across the street at some concert, half of them had their face painted. With a couple sours, Including Russian River Temptation, Petrus Age Pale and Some trappist Sour “something something Cuvee” (the waiter recommended it and I didn’t catch the name) and some onion rings made for a awesome quick tour of Denver.
Today, Avery Brewing Company, Beer Bloggers Conference, and Oskar Blues!
Oh man! Sounds like a great intro to Denver if you ask me. When I was there I was 8, and obviously, couldnt have cared less about the emerging craft beer scene, haha.
I’m happy to see that A) you are attending BBC and B) that you are going to share the awesomeness, that is BBC with us non-attendees.
Also, I don’t know if the tweet was from you or someone else, but read the same thing about the “no face paint” rule thanks to a concert full of ignorant folks across the road.
Plus, a 2002 La Folie? Nice grab!
Yawn. I did that tour when I was out there for GABF 2 months ago. Only difference was that we hit Breckenridge first, walked to Stranahan’s and, since we were there on a Wednesday, got a tour. That combo pot/still is wacky! j/k. Sounds like a great day of beer!
Sounds like you’re making the best of your trip already! I was at the B and B years ago in my infancy of beer appreciation. I’d love to go back!
James, it was a heck of a first night, with a couple great nights that followed. I end up having 4 different vintages of la folie over the 3 days.
John, Great minds think alike! I loved the stranahans whiskey.
Pete, if you ever get back to B and B, give ’em a shot. I had a BeerShine they made from a beer they distilled down to a 42%abv spirit. It was mighty tasty
Peter – what a fun time catching up with you while you were out my way. I really enjoyed the crazy tour with you – (and Billy for a bit) – and grabbing some fun brews and food. Hope you made it back home to the family safe and sound and got to catch up on some sleep….
I’m looking forward to doing it again. Only 15 or so more breweries and 40 more great pubs to tour on your next trip to Colorado….=)