Sleep does not come easy for me as I’m still anxious about getting to see the Pack play against the Broncos. Our Sunday Night Football bus is still there. Breakfast is served in the hotel and it is good for a mass produced free breakfast. Bryan and Caitlin join us on this beautiful Halloween morning. Skies are clear as the sun is shining brightly. Bryan maps out an area that Carolyn and I can run and we set off into Denver.
We run towards the state capital building and figure why not get a picture. I’m about to try and snap a selfie and this gentlemen comes strolling up and asks us if we would like him to take our picture. I’m amazed at how friendly people are and he simply says, anything I can do for a fellow Packer fan. You see I’m still wearing my colors out on the run. We really enjoy running through the side streets and down towards Cherry Creek and Carolyn pushes me into my best mile average time in months. While out out on the run, Bryan is texting me about us all going to Fort Collins and up to the New Belgium Brewery and to the Odell Brewing Company. New Belgium has no room on their tours but Odell is wide open. Sounds like a plan.
My son-in-law is a master at the good deals. He secures a brand new Chrysler mini van with leather for the sum of $17 bucks and it is located across the street at the Hyatt. What a smoking deal. We head off around 12:30 and as we drive down the highway we pass the buses transporting the Packers into Denver. They have police escorts and that just adds to my excitement of waiting for Sunday night. I waved to Aaron but I’m thinking he didn’t notice. On the trip, we pass two Costco’s. You don’t how bad I wanted to go into one of them but I was overruled 3 to 1. Next time.
First stop is Odell Brewing Company. What an epic setting. Beautiful day, beautiful patio, beautiful brewery, and a good tour with a few free tastings. Odell brews my favorite winter time strong stout Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout. Only brewed and bottled in December through February. The beer is named after a local farmer that buys the spent grains used to make the beer and feeds them to the cows. Very intriguing story. We enjoyed sitting out on the patio with the temperature in the 70’s. If you get to Fort Collins, CO you must stop in. The place is packed and great information given. Outside of CO, AZ is the next biggest seller of their brews. Quite interesting to note that they are now in 11 states. Learned a whole bunch about beer on this tour. For example the session in a beer means less then 5% alcohol. Never knew that. Even old guys like me can still learn new things. We also order from the food truck and get some awesome fries with cheese curds and brown gravy on top. Delicious!
Time to move on. Next stop is right down the road and that is New Belgium. They are the fourth largest brewer of craft beers and the eighth largest brewery in the U.S. The place is expanding and is a must see. The tour spots are all taken but we get on the waiting list and I stand by and they go through all these names that are not right there and they finally get to us and we get to take the tour. This tour is a must. You learn everything about their history and it is a great history of guy and his passion for brewing beers in his basement in Fort Collins. You learn all sorts of things. Their flagship beer, Fat Tire, makes up about 51% of all their sales. They started out sort of mimicking the Belgium beers and have gone from there. In fact their brewmaster didn’t even want to do an IPA until they basically made him and of course Ranger was born and it is right up there with the best IPAs out there. I even learned what IPA means and why and how it got its hoppy taste. The tour takes about an hour and a half and well worth it (its free). We getting various tastings and we even see the bottling process and get Fat Tire and Ranger right off of the line. Best beer tour ever.
We learn about company culture and why people want to work there. Don’t believe me? Check out these corporate benefits at New Belgium. Little known fact is I actually own one of their bikes. It is a 2013 model and I know you will be jealous. Did I mention, free beer at various points on the tour? Yes, this company works hard to reduce their use of resources and prides itself in sustainability. Very cool company.
Time to head back to Denver. Bryan has had to make a tremendous sacrifice as our driver and we greatly appreciate his sacrifices. He’s a good man and we continue to discuss the upcoming football game. I let him know that I am most concerned with the Packer receiving corp. They have been decimated and I’m not certain they can continue to win on a quick passing game to rookies. What a trip, but it’s not over. Bryan and Caitlin, decide to take us to this burger joint, The Cherry Cricket. It is one of those hometown classics and the burgers are great. Bryan and I get some half pound burger of the week special with fries and our burger is loaded with jalapeño slices, bacon, onion rings, special sauce, and pepper jack. I just know it rocks!
As we head back to our hotel, we see all kinds of costumes since it is Saturday night. I’m just in hog heaven. This Denver trip is going well. Bryan and Caitlin are such great hosts and Carolyn and I are really having fun with them. You know it is sort of tough keeping up with young people but us golden oldies are doing our best. Day two is in the books the dream continues, but, I’m still waiting for Sunday night.