Our trip began with a flight from Charlotte to Atlanta. We then had a half hour layover in Atlanta. Um….there is a Sweetwater Bar literally right next to our gate! So I get an IPA and Cat gets a Sweet Georgia Brown- Vacation has begun!!! Next a flight to Denver and a short rental car ride over to our hotel- The Grande La Quinta!!! Ok, so I am exaggerating the glamour of the cheapest reasonable hotel located close to Crooked Stave Brewery and Falling Rock Taphouse. Just a regular La Quinta.
We are in Denver and ready for a cold beer; a sour, barrel aged, funky beer! So we call a cab- just to be safe in an unfamiliar city. (Stay safe friends!) We arrive at Crooked Stave and are delighted to find they are located in this little market area that reminds us of our very own 7th Street Market in Charlotte. This cool area is know as The Source. A fancy restaurant in the front, butcher shop, produce, coffee shop, bakery, and everything else you may need in an old brick foundry building. And at the back, the hidden gem, Crooked Stave!
Crooked Stave has been a brewery for three years but has only been in the current location for six months or so. The full name is Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and all of the beers are sours. Sours are one of the fastest growing styles of craft beer and we are seeing sour fests and other sour features more than ever before. Unfortunately, as we arrived they were closing for the evening and the only other folks in there were purchasing cases of beer to take back to Minnesota. Fortunately, the bartender was nice enough to let us drink a beer while she cleaned up. I had the Batch 60, a barrel fermented dry hopped American wild ale with Brettanomyces added to it. AMAZING!!! Cat had the Surette, a farmhouse ale aged in wood with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. Oh Yeah!!! In addition to these tasty sours, we brought home with us the Vieille Saison aged in Oak Barrels and St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier. We are looking forward to trying both of these and will encourage anyone who is not sure about sour beers to try them again, especially from Crooked Stave if you can get your hands on them. These guys are making some GREAT beers!!!
A short cab ride later- oh look, there is Coors Field! We arrive at Falling Rock Taphouse. “No Crap on Tap!” That is their motto. I agree, mostly. I am not sure what I think of Stella Artois on tap as “not crap.” But the beer and food were good.
After we ate we made friends with the table of people next to us that were the same group that we saw at Crooked Stave when we arrived. They always say the friendliest people are from the South. With this I agree, but I will say the second friendliest are from Minnesota! After joining our new friends we enjoyed the following:
Russian River Damnation, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Telluride Fishwater IPA, New Belgium Rock Star Blend, Rogue Old Crustacean, Elevation Beer Little Mo’ Porter, Left Hand Windershinns Barley wine, Oskar Blues ODB Barley wine, and Epic Escape to Colorado. It was barley wine month at Falling Rock and for those of you scoring at home, or even if you are drinking alone, that is a lot of high alcohol beer.
The next morning was not the highlight of the trip. We awoke a little woozy, clearly due to the altitude and having NOTHING to do with our own private Barley Wine festival. We checked out of our hotel and made our way to the mountains. For those of us from the East Coast, Denver’s altitude of 5000 is quite a change, and Breckenridge is 9600 at the base! So adjusting took a little time. That evening, we walked to The Breckenridge Brew Pub. What a cool place! NVP!!!
That is Nitro Vanilla Porter!!! Anyone familiar with Breckenridge Brewery knows of the famous Vanilla Porter. This was the same beer but nitrogenated. Amazing does not even describe the taste and mouthfeel of this beer. They also had an excellent IPA and a great double IPA. The menu is amazing as the majority of the items featured offer sauces made from the beers they pour. The appetizer we ordered was the Beer Cheese French Fries with Candied Bacon and Scallions!!! HOLY WOW!!! Great food, Great people, and WE TOO, escaped to Colorado!
More posts will be coming soon about the rest of our week in Colorado.