Thursday, April 4th
Held annually in a different city every year, the Craft Brewers Conference is an absolutely awesome opportunity to see the latest kit, raw materials, additives, etc in the brewing world. This year the conference is being held in Denver, Colorado and literally as I type this, a blizzard is raging outside. 800 flights cancelled..... luckily I've got a couple more days so hopefully it will be alright.
I landed around noon in Denver after an epic 15 hour flight and a transfer at LAX. I met one of my best friends from high school Jared Dougherty at the airport, who is attending the conference for the first time. He's building his brewery in NJ - DoubleTap Brewing (watch this space). An Uber ride later we were sitting up in my other mate's flat on the edge of the Denver CBD. The tasting and discussion began almost immediately.
Casey Brewing & Blending Fruit Stand Peach (I'll be talking about these guys quite a bit a little later on) as well as their East Bank Honey Ale aged in Oak Barrels.
Black Project Spontaneous Supercruise Cab Franc followed up quickly by my friends at Superstition Meadery's Blue Berry White.
Every beer was eye opening and inspiring. Let's just say it was nice to sit down over great beers and catch up with some old friends.
The tasting was followed up by dinner at a wonderful tapas style restaurant called Acorn located at the Source. If you are traveling to Denver, make a reservation. Across the hall from the place is a Crooked Stave Taproom. Framboise 2016........Wow.......
To say the least, we came home and attempted to tackle a few more beers, but all in all it was a bit much. Jet lag plus the altitude among others things forced the issue and an early night was had by all.
Friday, April 5th
Having never been to Red Rocks itself, it was wonderful to get a chance to see the venue it all its glory. I can only hope to catch a show there at some stage!
A groggy start to the day resulted in a quick drive out to Red Rocks to do some hiking and see the legendary music venue. Incredible experience. I will definitely time out my next visit with a solid rock 'n roll show. Hunger slowly set in and we headed to Golden, CO for lunch at Barrels & Bottles Brewery. A gourmet mac 'n cheese and Russian River Blind Pig. I could have sat there all day......
Being from West Virginia means that John Denver and his song Country Roads has a special place in my heart, so it was very exciting to see the statue
From there, the excitement began to build as our travels took us to Frisco, CO and Outer Range Brewing Co. 7 IPAs, 2 Imperial Stouts, a Grisette, a Belgian Dubbel and a Saison. Spectacular. Absolutely Haze for Daze. After an extended chat with the staff, we got a quick chance to meet the brewer and take a tour of their facility. If hazy flavorful IPA's are your bag, you can't beat this shop in Denver. They've even got a yurt for warm outside sitting. Just like lunch, I could have sat there all day. . . .
But alas, we looked at our purchase limits, stocked up on some Sluff and Skitchin and made our way to Carbondale where our secluded cabin stood ready. And to my surprise, a giant TeePee.
Notepads out, glasses rinsed, and Tasting 2 begins.
A heavy hand of Casey's, a splattering of Cigar City El Catador series, and a few other bottles left us in deep discussion about brewing methods and the inspiration behind them.
Pastry stouts, heavily fruited sours, and everything in between. I can't wait to start brewing back in Melbourne. We are going to do it all.....
It's only been two days. And tomorrow . . . Casey . . . .
Cheers and remember always drink fresh,